10 ways to up your kids’ lunch game this school year

Mother making school lunch to her children. Getty

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Now that kids are officially back to school, it means one thing for frazzled parents: the return of the school lunch. Keep things fun and interesting for you and the kids with these helpful tips and tools that make packing those daily lunches a little more joyful.

Use silicone baking cups for fresh muffins or bakes

Silicone baking cups in many different colours and shaped like bears
Once you begin baking with silicone baking cups you won’t go back to paper liners. Whatever you make pops right out—muffins, egg cups, frozen yogurt cups, or French toast “muffins” with all of those leftover sandwich crusts from the week. These cups can also double as lunchbox dividers if you want to make your own bento box. Kids love them, especially when they come in a fun shapes and colours.
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Use pancake moulds for fun shapes

Silicone moulds in the shape of stars and rainbows to use while making pancaks
When you and your kids are tired of sandwiches, switch things up with their favourite pancakes. (Make a batch on Sunday, then toast them up through the week for a quick and easy lunch idea.) These silicone tabs are non-stick and heat-resistant up to 500°F, plus they’re dishwasher safe for an easy cleanup.


Invest in a Bento Box

An easy way to put together a “snacky” lunch is a bento box. They come with various compartments that you and your kids can fill with all of their favourite items. Bentgo boxes are leak-proof and feature easy-to-open latches, and more importantly they’re built to last. Worried about yogurt or apple sauce leaking? Place a small piece of plastic wrap over the compartment before sealing to keep everything locked in.


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Seal sandwiches into fun shapes

Plastic shapes that will cut and seal your sandwich into fun shapes for kids
If you’re putting together a “pizza” sandwich or any other handheld with a fun filling, consider sealing the sandwich into a fun shape with sandwich sealers. These work best on glutenous breads that stick together easily, transforming your child’s lunch into edible art that they can’t wait to dig into.


Keep lunch cool with fun coolers

Kids lunchboxes tend to be small, which means there isn’t always enough room for a large ice pack. So what should you do if you’re packing yogurts, cheese, or other items you want to keep cool until lunch? One option is to freeze certain items before throwing them into the lunch bag. But if you’re short on time, these slim unicorn-shaped ice packs can save the day. Toss a couple in before your kids head out the door so that their nosh stays chilled until lunchtime.


Add Condiments and Dips

Small stainless steel dip containers with variety of colour of lids
If your kid likes dipping and dunking, don’t deprive them of the opportunity at lunch. Add ketchup, honey, nugget sauce, hummus, guacamole and any other dip or sauce that will get them excited about eating. Invest in a set of salad dressing containers with colourful lids to help keep those sauces separate until lunchtime, when kids can sauce it up to their heart’s desire.
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Grab fresh inspiration with a new book

The Little Lunchbox Cookbook for kids
Packing lunch every day for an entire school year gets tiring, no matter how you spin it or enlist your child’s help. So why not draw inspiration from an outside source? Renee Kohley’s book puts an emphasis on fresh ingredients and simple solutions for unique lunches that will appeal to kids with all kinds of tastes.


Let kids pick their own snacks or sides

six clear plastic pantry organizer bins
Kids love being able to make their own lunch selections, especially when it comes to snacks. One way to help that process is to use a hanging shoe organizer or bins to organize snacks in the fridge and cupboard. Tell your child how many of each cupboard and fridge snack they should choose from each day, then let them pack their selections into their own lunch bags.


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Pack their own colourful utensils

Two sets of stainless steel cutlery that is multi coloured. Includes fork, knife, spoon and chopsticks
Kids loving having their own set of anything, including their own fork or set of chopsticks. Designating a certain set as their lunch tools can help create excitement around the meal.


Top it off with a note

container with lunch box notes inside
Who doesn’t love getting a little surprise note every once in a while? Surprising kids with a handwritten note in their lunch randomly is a sweet and simple way to remind them you’re thinking about them even when you’re not there. It can be as easy as a Post-It note, or invest in a cute set for inspiration, like this Hungry Little Caterpillar box of blank note cards.


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