Friday, September 11, 2015

The Reusable Lunch

Ahh, back to school! Back to packing school lunches! We all knew it was coming! Haha

At 6am, when my children are eating breakfast, I'm busy packing their lunches. This year, I've tried my best to clean up our act and be more environmentally conscious of how we go about packing our lunches. Here's the run down of how we are doing things this year and where you can get the same awesome loot! 

The Reusable Lunch! 

Reusable napkinsEtsy is the best place to purchase these. Lots of shops and color options and you can feel good about supporting a mom and pop shop.  Anthony and Molly's napkins I got from https://www.etsy.com/shop/moocowmomma. They are super soft, wash well and hold up well also. I got a set of red for Anthony and a mix set of colors for Molly. They love them! 

Stainless steel silverware: The small sized silverware I happened upon in a shop while we were camping on Orcas Island. They are the perfect size for lunch boxes and now the kids don't need to take disposable, use their old reusable plastic set, or get up and get some from the cafeteria. Awesome! Regular size would fit just fine in their lunchboxes, being that they are big this year, but being able to find a smaller set makes everything more fun. :) 

Reusable snack bags: I love these! You can find them lots of places, but again, Etsy is by far the best place, in my opinion, to buy them. Soooo many shops to choose from and soooo many designs. Anthony's superhero ones I got from https://www.etsy.com/shop/WithjustalittlegraceMolly's girly snack bags I got from https://www.etsy.com/shop/ChicBasics. They are easy to fill, easy to open, and easy to wash. You can find ones that use velco and others that use zippers. I buy the velco kind. I use them almost daily with their lunches, eliminating the use of plastic bags entirely.

Stainless steel water bottle: Last year I did not have great luck finding a water bottle that fit in their lunch pails and didn't leak. It was basically a whole year of trial and error with various types of bottles. Ugh! Finally, I discovered Hydro Flask stainless steel water bottles on Amazon. I got their 12oz version for each of the kids and they have turned out to be wonderful! They really do keep their drinks cold. I fill them up with ice and water in the morning before school and when the kids get off the bus at 3:30, they still have ice in their water bottles. YES!!! I have not had an issue with leaking. I love that the bottles never sweat. Never! I also love that you can choose from different colors and I really like the loop lid. The kids keep them in their water bottle pouch on the side of their lunch pails, but if they want to carry them, one finger easily fits in the loop and makes it easy to carry. My only gripe is that if you screw the lid on too tight, Molly, who is 6, has a hard time getting it open. Anthony doesn't seem to have an issue though. So I just tell Molly if she can't get it open, to ask for help. 

I got a different kind for little Timothy, a Kleen Kanteen, that is ok...but it's not the best. It sweats and doesn't keep ice for very long. I also don't like the lid. It's easy for him to drink from, but I just don't like it. In time I will get him a Hydro Flask too, even though I know he won't be able to do the lid himself. 

Stainless steel bento boxes: Last year we used plastic sandwich boxes. I didn't like it. Over the summer I made the decision to switch to stainless steel. I couldn't find any in the stores where I live, so I took to the internet. I found Lunch Bots on Amazon and knew I had to have them. Spendy, yes, but totally worth it. I saved up and was able to purchase one each for Anthony and Molly. They have a few different kinds, but I chose the Bento Trio Large. 

They are THE BEST!! Easy to fill, easy to open, easy to clean. The large section is great for sandwiches, salads, wraps, etc. The little sections are great for snack items. I put their snacks in paper muffin liners for added fun and the kids just get a kick out of that. I have lots of different colored ones and they get excited over seeing which color I choose for that day. I will say to use caution with "wet" items such as fruit. I haven't had an issue because I put the fruit in muffin liners...but if you put, say, pineapple or melon in the small section, the juice will seep under and get to your sandwich making it soggy. I'm looking to get some silicone muffin liners to use instead of the paper kind. The lid fits nice and snug, but is easy for little hands to open. Overall I'm super stoked with this purchase and will buy more in the future. 

Their lunch boxes work very well, I chose the Igloo Messenger Lunch Bag. I bought them at Fred Meyers, but you can find them online also. They are a good size with lots of space and multiple pockets. I love that they have the side pouch for their water bottles, that was my deciding factor in purchasing this kind. Because they are large, they take up space in small backpacks. So far, we've managed, but I know they might have to wind up carrying their lunch boxes in hand. We might consider a different kind for next year, but for right now, these work. 


Stainless Steel Ice Packs
Stainless Steel Straws
Silicone Muffin Liners

Ok, so now I have all the right gear. Time to fill it with yummy, nutritious, homemade-when- I-can, foods!! What do you pack in your kiddo's lunches? What is their favorites? Our favorites are homemade applesauce, the classic pb&J with homemade jam and natural peanut butter, all kinds of fruit...especially melon, pineapple, and raspberries, pepperoni and extra sharp cheese, and yogurt with home made granola. I'd love to hear what you pack for school or work!! 

With love,
Mama Hauck

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