Fourth Annual “It Takes a Village to Pack a Lunch!”

by Bettina Elias Siegel on September 12, 2013

Perhaps in your neck of the woods the leaves are just starting to turn and there’s a hint of crispness in the air.  Or, if you live here in Houston, the temperature has dipped from the high 90s to the mid 90s and the mosquito population has dropped from biblical-plague-level to a mere swarm. . . .  Ah, autumn!  :-)

Either way, the calendar tells us it’s mid-September and that means it’s time for The Lunch Tray’s fourth (OMG - fourth!) annual “It Takes a Village to Pack a Lunch” series!

If you’re new around here, this is the time of year when we help each other out with the sometimes-onerous task of daily school lunch packing.  And the highlights of this year’s series are two giveaways of brand new cookbooks devoted entirely to the lunch box:  Associated Press Food Editor J.M. Hirsch’s Beating the Lunch Box Blues and Katie Morford‘s Best Lunch Box Ever.  Both look terrific and I’ll be reviewing and giving away a free copy of each of these books in the next few days.

But covering other kid/food news is keeping me pretty busy at the moment, so I’m going to cheat a little this year by offering TLT readers a “Best Of” this series, with links for every concern.  Here goes . . .

I need inspiration and healthy new lunch ideas!  Where can I turn?

In addition to the two cookbooks mentioned above and many lunch packing sites on the Internet, here are a few resources I especially like:

100 Days of Real Food

Red, Round or Green

EasyLunchboxescompendium of lunch box blogs

Laptop Lunches

Back in 2010, we had a Lunch Box Reader Exchange and you can still check that out for ideas from other TLT readers.

And Kelly Lester of EasyLunchboxes last year edited a whole book of lunch box ideas for Trader Joe’s, collecting recipes and photos from other bloggers and including a foreword by yours truly.  You can read all about that book, and find a link to purchase it, here.

I want expert help – bring in the big guns!  

Here are some previous TLT guest posts on lunch packing that are worth revisiting.

A Lunch Box Strategy Session,” by Red, Round or Green.

Eight Great Tips from Meal Planning Magic” by Meal Planning Magic.

The Argument for Packing an Unhealthy School Lunch” by Dr. Dina Rose.

I know what to pack, but how should I pack it?

In the last three years I’ve done round-ups of cool lunch box gear (bento boxes, reusable sandwich bags, drink bottles and more).  Some of these can be found herehere and here.  (Note: any promo codes in these links are no longer valid).

My tried and true tips for using a Thermos are here.  This was a hugely popular post!

And while the Lunchblox system from Rubbermaid may have been around for a while, I just discovered it a few weeks ago and am loving it for my two older kids who find a bento-style box “too babyish.”

lunchblox rubbermaid

Happy packing, people, and stay tuned for those two book giveaways!

Do You Love The Lunch Tray? ♥♥♥ Then “like” The Lunch Tray! Join over 6,400 TLT fans by liking TLT’s Facebook page (and then adding it to your news feed or interest lists) to get your Lunch delivered fresh daily, along with bonus commentary, interesting kid-and-food links, and stimulating discussion with other readers. You can also follow TLT on Twitter, check out my virtual bulletin boards on Pinterest and find selected TLT posts on The Huffington Post. And be sure to check out my video for kids about processed food, “Mr. Zee’s Apple Factory!”

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Katie September 12, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Great bunch of resources here for those lunch boxes. Thanks for including my book!

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Jen @ Healthful Saver September 13, 2013 at 7:51 am

Thanks so much! I am going to be delving into these links all weekend!

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