Lunch box: 12 tips to be ready

Preparing a lunch, day after day, can become a bit of a chore when you don’t have the right tools. Here are 12 tips to be ready at all times!  

1. Buying the lunch box

Only buy your lunch box after you bought your reusable bottle and your food containers. This is the best way to avoid buying a lunch box that is too small for your needs.

2. Reusable bottle options

Stainless steel bottles perform best to keep your drinks warm or cold, followed by thermal glass bottles. Plastic containers should be used only for lukewarm drinks because they cannot hold the temperature.

3. Preparing the bottle

Heat or chill your bottle before use. To chill it, fill it with water and ice, close the lid for about ten minutes and empty it. You can also leave the bottle in the refrigerator for the night.  To heat it, you can fill it with boiling water, close the lid for about ten minutes and empty it. Make sure that the contents you put in your bottle are as cold or hot as possible.

4. Storage

After having washed your containers in hot, soapy water, dry them and store them without their lids so that they don’t keep the smell. If your bottle still keeps the smell, wash it with water and baking soda. Warning: Most of these bottles are not dishwasher safe unless otherwise stated on the label.

5. Plastic juice box

For your cold drinks, buy a little plastic box with a built-in straw. You will save money by never buying juice boxes again and it can become an ice pack if you put it in the freezer the night before. In that case, do not completely fill the box because the liquid will expand when frozen.

6. Ice packs

Store a few different sized ice packs to adjust to the contents of your lunch box. Depending on the space you have left, you can place an ice pack between two containers. It is best to place the packs on top of the lunch because the cold goes down (and the heat rises).

7. Utensils

Visit your favourite thrift store! A meal tastes much better with metal utensils. If you don’t spend too much on them, you won’t be too sorry if you loose them. Also add a thin and colourful tablemat. It is much better than a brown table! And you will be sure that your child is eating on a clean surface!

8. Hygiene

Put a wet washcloth in a plastic bag. The little sticky fingers will be happier. You can also use disposable wipes if your child doesn’t always brings things back.

9. Get lots of containers!

Thrift stores sell a lot of different sized containers. Buy a lot to have one for every need. Use tiny containers for dips and dressings, medium for snacks and salads and large for sandwiches and hot meals.

10. Staple foods

When you make your grocery list, think about lunches, not only suppers. If you have many ingredients on hand, the lunch preparation will be easier.

11. Extra portions

Allow extra servings for supper and heat them up for lunch. To avoid unpleasant duplications, stagger the meals. For example, Monday evening’s pot pie will be served on Wednesday afternoon, Tuesday evening’s macaroni will be served on Thursday, etc. The leftovers won’t be as boring for your children if they are not served two days in a row.

12. Raw vegetables

Prepare vegetables during the weekend or the day before. We can’t always peel carrots in the morning! Cherry tomatoes, carrots, cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower and peppers can easily be prepared in advance. Melons, citrus, field berries, grapes, kiwis are also easy to prepare and are a nice addition to your lunch.

Image de Sonia Cosentino

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