When you are about to pack lunch for the very first time, a lot of questions pop up and that’s when you need the support of trusted friends.
I’m Jessica, a mom of two kids, now 5yo and 8yo, and cofounder of the lunchbox community Teuko, a supportive and kind environment where to start your new daily sport in the kitchen: lunch packing! Here my few tricks and tips to help you get started and keep going, week after week… one lunchbox at a time!
How to pick your lunchbox container
Will a teacher/assistant help the children open their lunchbox?
Many of my friends with 3yo kids starting preschool liked the Yumbox or the PlanetBox lunch boxes because they display food at once, like on a big plate. Some kids still use these lunch boxes in Kindergarten and in early Elementary school.
Can the teacher/assistant reheat the lunches?
This will help you in defining your options between plastic, glass, stainless steel…
I like my kids having a hot meal. We have microwaves at my kids’ school, and the teachers and assistants help kids in preschool. That’s the reason why I personally made the choice of the Takeya Bento lunch: they come with separate containers inside the box, are leak proof and very easy to open for the kids. I also rely on glass containers which I find even healthier, and I add smaller containers (ie. Rubbermaid/Ikea) for appetizer or desserts.
If your school doesn’t provide solutions to reheat the meal but you still like the idea to provide something hot, an insulated jar, like the Thermos Jar, will be of good help. (Tip. Add boiled water in the thermos for few minutes in the morning before to put the hot food inside the thermos).
Another option you may want to look into if you are looking for one unique container: the Omiebox.
How to set your kid ready to enjoy lunchtime at school
The following tips will help you figure out how to start, what her/his favorite foods are, and how you can diversify, little by little, the school lunches.
Give your kid a chance to practice lunch box opening on his/her own.
If you go on a picnic, pack the lunchbox with your kid’s help, by simply asking what she/he’d like to eat for instance. Bring the lunchbox to the picnic and let your kid open it by her/himself to practice.
Have foodie conversations.
At the Farmers’ Market, during dinner time, take every opportunity to discuss your kid’s favorite foods and textures (sliced, grated, cut in sticks, mashed…). Some books and games can support your efforts in teaching your kids the importance of lunchtime and healthy eating habits.
Make dinnertime an opportunity to introduce new foods.
To introduce new foods, prefer dinner time at home rather than lunch at school. You will figure out better how well she/he eats without your help. It will also allow you to have a quality time with your child, to share, and to encourage him/her.
Make lunchtime even more fun!
Consider adding lunchbox notes from time to time. I was writing the menus with Winnie the Pooh characters for my daughter 🙂 The lunch you pack, indeed, is a bond between the school and home. An extra little note can help your kid’s transition at the beginning of the school year.
Additional resources to help you get started and keep the energy up all year round!
● 5 golden rules of school lunch, basics shared by a dietitian who used to validate French
● 5 reasons to track and share your lunchbox ideas
● How to win the lunchbox battle
● 3 questions for Juliette, first time lunchbox packer for a 3yo boy
● How to contribute to reducing plastic pollution, one lunchbox at a time
● The opportunity behind lunch packing.