One lesson I learned last school year was that we needed more lunch gear. As we've been preparing to get my boys ready for Senior Kindergarten and Grade Two, buying more reusable containers went to the top of my list!
I imagine my list of lunch gear needs looks much different than the one my mom had; here I am rocking my Cabbage Patch Dolls plastic lunch pail in 1984. My mom would pack it up with PB & J (!!) in plastic wrap, juice boxes, cookies, and a piece of fruit. Times sure have changed.
Let's move forward to 2009, shall we? That's when I became a mom and learned all about late nights, diapers, and that BPA was banned in baby bottles. And soon after, that BPA was everywhere. I freaked out like moms all over Canada. This was the beginning of my long breakup with plastic.
I began building my collection of reusable items, focussed especially on ones to store and serve food. Although there were several options available, I couldn't find any that were versatile enough to fit my needs. The containers I wanted need to work for taking snacks on the go, storing homemade baby food or leftovers, and for my own school lunches. Eventually, I had to compromise by using ones with plastic tops (yuck) and ones well-suited for at home food storage but too heavy to carry or too small to pack lunches in for an adult.
Until I recently found the unicorn of stainless steel lunch containers.
DALCINI Stainless are perfect and here is why…there is no plastic touching the food. Nor are there plastic seams to lose or for germs to hide behind. The containers are seamless!
Also, these containers can go anywhere in the dishwasher. Let that sink it a moment.
No rules about handwashing or top rack only. No leaving notes for grandparents reminding them to not but the lids in the washer because they might warp. DALCINI'S stainless steel containers can go anywhere you like.
This school year, I'm dedicated to bringing a bit of home to my children's school day by serving slow packed lunches in nice looking reusable containers. I love that these plastic-free containers come in a variety of shapes and sizes to fit whichever meal we decide upon. DALCINI'S containers even have easy to open twist top lids that prevent juicy contents like watermelon or yogurt from spilling.
Four Healthy School Lunch Ideas
Now let's talk about what to put into these gorgeous containers because in a few weeks you're going to be looking for ideas. Watch the video to see four of my family's favourite slow food style school lunch ideas including the ingredients you'll need to make them.
1. Charcuterie Style Lunch
Charcuterie boards are also known as clean out the fridge nights at my house. They are kid-friendly meals which let nibblers have a bit of everything they like while building it themselves. Think slices of bread, local cheese and lunch meat, roasted root vegetables (sweet potatoes, carrots, potatoes), hard-boiled egg and local cheese. Serve with a side of fresh fruits (we're loving figs and peaches right now).
2. Fruit Skewers
Use popsicles sticks to skewer pieces of fruit rather than the pointy ones you'd use for adult BBQ's. Add chunks of cheddar cheese (on or off the skewer), whole grain or sprouted crackers and a spoonful of cream cheese (served on a piece of lettuce to keep it separated) for spreading on the crackers. Add a hard-boiled egg on the side.
3. Make Your Own Wraps
Pile sprouts, heirloom baby tomatoes cut in half, slices of feta cheese, and pepper strips in the bottom of a lunch container. Since the tomatoes are cut in half they will be extra juicy when bitten eliminating the need for dressing. Cut a large wrap in half and fold so it tucks inside the lunch container (and works better for little hands) and place on top of the wrap ingredients. Serve with a small bunch of grapes or another fruit.
4. Healthy Pasta Salads
Kids love pasta and it doesn't need to be served hot to be enjoyed. Use Chickapea pasta (made with lentils and chickpeas) for a fiber and protein boost. Make the pasta ahead (or keep some aside on pasta night) and store in your fridge to create a variety of sizes and flavours of cold pasta salads throughout the week. Mix them up using your favourite healthy oils or dressings, veggies or fruits, cheeses and seeds.
Once you've got the main and side covered, don't forget to add in a few extras like a something to drink, apple and a fun snack for recess time.
One of the best parts of my 1984 lunches? My mom would often slip in a note or a funny picture.
On DALCINI stainless steel containers, you can use a washable or a dry erase marker to leave fun little notes or pictures for your kids (also a great for writing the dates of leftovers in the fridge)! For my kindergartener, I plan on writing the numbers on his containers to help guide him towards which one to eat first during his snack and lunch times. I'm looking forward to lots of silly fun on these containers which will hopefully bring a smile to my boys' faces when they open their lunch bags!
What lunchbox do you remember using? What's your children's favourite school lunch meal?