Happier Meals: Cool School Lunch Strategies

By , SparkPeople Blogger
As summer starts winding down and back-to-school shopping begins, lunch boxes and supplies might be on your list. What can you do to help ensure that your kids eat the healthy food you pack instead of trading it for chips and cookies--or even throwing it away? There are lots of cool accessories to make lunchtime more exciting. Looking for ideas to turn boring carrot sticks into a food they won’t want to turn down? Here are some of our picks to brighten up lunch and make healthy eating fun! 
Ice Pop Makers
My kids love when I freeze squeeze yogurts (yogurt in a tube) to eat as an afternoon snack.  These colorful ice pop makers from Norpro can be used for other things, too, like applesauce or smoothies.  Send them to school frozen and they will thaw by lunchtime.   

Cookie Cutters

Curious Chef’s cookie cutters are a good way to make lunchtime fun. Making turkey sandwiches shaped like butterflies or watermelon-shaped stars keeps the complaining to a minimum and gets kids excited about eating healthy food.      

Muffin Cups
Reusable muffin cups from Casabela are good for a variety of foods, add color to the lunchbox and are environmentally friendly, too! Pack homemade muffins as a healthy snack, or use them to hold nuts, crackers, grapes or other finger foods. 

Sandwich and Snack Bags
These reusable sandwich and snack bags from LunchSkins are dishwasher safe and a great way to cut down on the number of plastic baggies needed each day. They come in a variety of themed fabrics, including sea animals, fruit and sports. Have your kids join in the fun by choosing the fabric option they like best!

My daughter uses a Land’s End EZ Wipe Lunchbox, which comes in a variety of colors for girls and boys. I like that it has a hard shell so food doesn’t get squished in her backpack, and it’s also easy to wipe out if spills occur. She thinks it’s cool to have a lunchbox in her favorite colors and style.
This insulated lunchbox from Pottery Barn Kids offers a matching thermos as well as personalization so they always know which lunch is theirs. Whether they prefer Spiderman or butterflies, this lunchbox is available in a variety of styles and themes. 

Container Kit
This reusable lunch container kit from Fit & Fresh gives you brightly colored containers (with an ice pack in each) to pack a variety of healthy foods. Packaging can be a strong influence on kids--it’s hard to turn down broccoli when it’s in a cool container!     

Water Bottle
Looking for an easy way to get your kids to drink more water?  Try sending it to school in a Color Change Hydration Bottle from Thermos. Add ice water, and the bottle changes color! 


I’m pretty sure my kids would eat anything that had a fun ''pick'' in it. Check out these reusable food picks from Bento that come in a variety of themes.     

The more you get kids involved in preparing their lunches, the more likely they are to eat them. Why not let them decorate their lunchbox, baggies, thermos, etc.? These dishwasher-safe stickers from Goodbyn allow your kids to use their creativity in the preparation process.

What fun products have you found to make school lunches more appealing?  Share your ideas in the comments!