Sign up for our Newsletter

48.7 F
Tampa
Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Stay Connected

Sign up for our Newsletter

School Lunch Box Ideas with Jenny P of @lunchboxmafia

Jenny P of @lunchboxmafia shares her favorite school lunch ideas for the yummiest school year ever!

While many of us are excited about getting kids back into schools, those packed lunches can still be a challenge. On my Instagram, you’ll find simple recipes as well as tutorials on how to pack hot and cold lunches, repurpose your leftovers and upgrade your kids’ favorites.

Here, I’m sharing simple food prep, packing gear and a weeknight recipe to ease you back into your routine.

lunchbox ideas with lunchboxmafia

A little prep goes a long way:

No one wants to spend hours prepping food every Sunday, but something as simple as peeling and cutting up some carrots will give you a good head start. Here are three tips for work-ahead prep.

1. Remove berries from store packaging and store them in the refrigerator in containers with lids. Don’t wash them until you’re ready to pack or eat them.
2. When you fire up the grill, make a big batch of chicken for the week. Use it in salads, sandwiches and pasta for a delicious boost of protein.
3. Prepare a bunch of hard-boiled eggs at once and store them in the refrigerator for up to seven days. Eat them for breakfast, make egg salad or top your salads or ramen with them. Sometimes, I just add an egg to the lunchbox with a pinch of salt and pepper or a dash of everything bagel seasoning. So good!

lunch box ideas with lunchboxmafia

Here are some of my go-to school lunches:

1. Lunchables. You grew up on these and see them in-store, and now you can make them yourself! All you need is protein, cheese, veggie or fruit. If you get bored with crackers, use pretzel crisps or pita instead. These are a great idea if your kiddo enjoys variety or loves snacking.
2. Pasta. It’s super versatile and can be eaten hot or cold. Use a dairy free dressing or be sure to use ice packs to keep it fresh. If your kids prefer their pasta hot, you’ll want to get a thermos. I always say, “Packing a hot lunch is like sending a warm hug!” Nothing better than a taste from home.
3. Pizza. Nothing says Friday like a pizza lunch. You can pizza-fy lunch in a variety of ways, from personal naan pizza, crescent rolls, muffins and even empanadas! Check out @lunchboxmafia for suggestions.

Get the right gear for school lunch:

Let the kids pick out their own lunchboxes and thermos or water bottle. Here are some other gear tips:

Practice makes perfect. Let the very youngest school-goers begin practicing opening and closing their lunchboxes and water bottles themselves before they are in school.

The perfect lunch bag is out there! We’ve tried a few over the years. My favorite is the sleeve from @planetbox for their “Rover” and “Launch” stainless steel lunchboxes, which fits easily into backpacks.

Another one we enjoy is the amazing freezable lunch bag from @packitcool for cold lunches (no ice pack necessary!) or, for cooler months, the @omielifeinc lunchbox with built-in thermos!

Add to the fun with handy accessories such as cute ice packs, food picks, cutlery, silicone cups to separate wet and dry foods and reusable dip containers.

Just like anything else, having the right tools helps you do things with ease and confidence. The link in my Instagram bio will take you to my Amazon store where you’ll find some of my favorite items and healthy snacks.

Because back to school is also back to crazy weeknights, we’re all on the lookout for easy dinners. Here’s an easy recipe to try:

Crockpot tacos (makes 12 tacos)

INGREDIENTS
2 chicken breasts
1 packet of taco seasoning
1 12-ounce jar of salsa
12 taco shells
Optional toppings:
Shredded cheese
Shredded lettuce
Diced tomatoes
Sliced black olives
Sour cream
Guacamole
Hot sauce 

DIRECTIONS

Add chicken breast, seasoning and salsa to your crockpot.

Set on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours. Once your meat is done, carefully remove it and set it on a cutting board or platter. Shred your chicken using two forks. Assemble your tacos as normal and enjoy.

TIP: Save the broth for a delicious chicken tortilla soup!

back to school lunch ideas with lunchboxmafia

*Originally published in the August 2021 issue of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine.


Related stories we think you’ll LOVE:

 

Laura Byrne
Laura Byrne is an award-winning former television news journalist who spent 15+ years in newsrooms across the state of Florida including Sarasota, Tallahassee, Fort Myers and right here in Tampa Bay where she still freelances on occasion. She covered the political beat, crime beat and every day breaking news during her time in Florida newsrooms, but is now focused on sharing positive news stories and events with families in Tampa Bay. She is a proud mommy of two little boys who keep her on her toes and laughing every day. Her goal is to inspire families just like yours to get out and play and experience all that Tampa Bay and our great state of Florida have to offer! She encourages you to share your stories and upcoming events so we can spread the good news.

Related Articles

TOP PICKS: Thanksgiving dinner to-go and dining in restaurants in Tampa Bay

It's safe to say that 2021 has been much busier than last year. While we might not be completely back to normal yet, many...

Festive Table: Make your kids table pop this Thanksgiving

If you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, Kid Collective Party Rentals offers tips on decorating your kid’s table so it not only looks beautiful, but also helps keep your kids entertained, ensuring a pleasant Thanksgiving meal for all.

How to Host Friendsgiving: Our favorite bloggers dish on tasty recipes

Tasty Friendsgiving Must-Haves with @CookPraySlay and @thefunfoodiemama November is a time to express our gratitude and thankfulness for all the special people and moments in our...