Of course, the easiest way to tackle your kids' daily school lunch routine is with the requisite sandwich-apple-cookie combo. But that's bound to get old. We've come up with nine crafty and clever ways to sneak fruits and veggies into your kiddos' lunches, ensuring that even the pickiest eaters get a well-balanced midday meal. Bon appetit!
Some kids collect rocks or marbles. Ten-year-old Archer and his 6-year-old brother, Ansel, collect napkins . . . their mom's, that is.
Every day since Archer was in nursery school, Nina Levy has created colorful napkin illustrations and packed them with her sons' lunches to remind them that she loves them and is mindful of what they're doing each day, reports the Huffington Post.
"The act of drawing something for them every evening reminds me to pay attention to what they are thinking about, even if it is the 15th rendition of Batman," she says.
The creative napkins became such a hit that Archer and Ansel slowly began bringing more and more of them home at the end of the day. And after garnering even the New York Times' attention, Levy has begun collating the art into a series, "24 hours of dysfunctional parenting," that tells the story of a day in the life of her family.
With such works of art, the boys might give up a tuna sandwich or even a cookie from their school lunches, but it's unlikely that they'll trade away their napkins.
Whether you're outfitting your kid or just getting nostalgic for your own childhood, lunch boxes are a fun and useful item to have around the house. Sure, you can pack your lunch in them, but they also make great storage and fun decorative items. We've rounded up some of the best geek-approved lunch boxes available, both vintage and new, for your eye-feasting pleasure.
Get an A+ in sustainability by preparing school lunches that produce absolutely zero waste. Investing in an eco-friendly lunchbox is the first step in reducing the huge amount of trash typically produced by kids' lunch, but it's easy to forget about little everyday things like utensils and napkins. Greening tots' lunch routine is more than ecologically friendly; it's economically beneficial as well. Families can save an average of $50 annually by simply replacing disposable with sustainable, reusable versions.
From left to right:
- To-Go Ware Repeat Utensil Set ($13): These reusable utensil are made from bamboo, a lightweight but strong material that won't absorb flavors. Even the case is eco-friendly; it's made from recycling plastic that would otherwise end up in a landfill.
- SIGG Customizable Water Bottles ($11-$30): Kids will love that they can customize their water bottle, with their name or a design. Constructed from a single piece of nontoxic, BPA-free aluminum, SIGG bottles are virtually unbreakable, and they're all 100-percent recyclable backed by a lifetime warranty.
- Stainless Steel Drinking Straws ($10): Stainless steel straws are an underutilized way of cutting down on plastic and paper waste. Free of BPA, phthalates, PVC, and lead, they're obviously not suitable for young children to carry around, so parents' commonsense will dictate when their kids will be able to safely manage them.
- Kids Konserve 4-Pack Cotton Napkin ($20): These cloth napkins have a prominently displayed name tag for easy identification in the lost and found bin, and they double as a great place mat ensuring a clean, germ-free surface for tots to eat on, regardless of the grimy surroundings.
Take the Quiz
Gourmet's annual celebrity lunchbox auction launched last Thursday with a party hosted by Mario Batali. The online auction features one-of-a-kind lunchboxes designed by celebrities. The proceeds from the lunchbox sales go to the Food Bank of New York City and the Lunchbox Fund of South Africa. Each lunchbox starts at the bidding price of $100 and the sale runs through December 18. While all of the lunchboxes are original and creative, I've picked ten of my favorite. Can you guess who designed them? Find out now when you take my quiz.
Who said lunchboxes are only for kids? The Lunchbox Auction, along with chef Mario Batali and Michael Stipe, has summoned a slew of creative celebrities to customize a lunchbox targeted towards adults. From now until Thursday, December 18, 12:00 p.m. EST, you can bid on one, or multiple lunchboxes by the likes of Diane von Furstenberg, Gwyneth Paltrow, Heatherette, Liv Tyler, Eva Mendes, and more. My bid goes to Kelly Klein's ode to old-school supermodels like Bridget Hall and Christy Turlington, opening bid $100 (seen below). Each auction has a different opening bid price but all proceeds benefit hunger relief. Good luck and happy bidding!
To see more creative lunchboxes, read more
Back in the day, aluminum lunch pails or brown paper bags were the two main modes of lunch transportation for kiddos. Nowadays, the options are endless.
Some of the cooler lunch totes I have seen are those made by Built NY and designed by children's book illustrator Steven Savage. Dubbed BYO Munchlers, the pliable, insulated zoo creatures zip down to a placemat, which provides sanitary room for you tot's delectable delights. These critters are quite a deal at $10. Now you just have to decide between fierce tiger and smiley bunny.
Once a year the Lunchbox Auction has over 100 iconic celebrities from all realms (music, fashion, food, etc.) design their own lunchboxes. These personalized lunchboxes are auctioned off online and the proceeds go to both the Food Bank For New York City and the Lunchbox Fund of South Africa. Like the big personalities behind the designs, no two of the lunchboxes are identical. Each box is signed by the creator and the bidding for each begins at $100.
New lunchboxes are still being added, so be sure to check out the entire lunchbox collection to see what everyone's created. I've selected a few of my favorites and I want to know, can you figure out which celebrity made each one? Take this quiz and find out!Take the Quiz
In the perfect world, someone packs me a nutritious, well balanced lunch while I get myself ready for my day, and they don't need to use any plastic bags doing it. Well...the Laptop Lunches is bringing me closer to the perfect world. These lunchboxes are an American version of the Japenese style Bento box. Made of easy to wash plastic, the box perfectly holds five little reusable containers, so everything stays separate and in its place. The Laptop Lunchbox comes with an insulated bag, a plastic water bottle and a set of reusable silverware. This is brown bagging at its most sustainable. This lunch system is $34.99, and comes with a User's Guide to help you figure out what to pack in your fabulous new lunchbox.
So go ahead now, eat up.