“It Takes a Village to Pack a Lunch – 2011 Edition:” Win a Free Subscription to MOMables!

by Bettina Elias Siegel on August 30, 2011

The whole motivation behind TLT’s “It Takes a Village to Pack a Lunch” series is to provide a forum for readers to help each other with the daily grind of packing school lunches.  And what better help could there be than someone doing all the thinking for you?

That’s the premise behind MOMables, a lunch box menu service that provides subscribers with a weekly lunch plan each Friday (complete with photos), along with a shopping list.  According to the company:

Most of the recipes you’ll make ahead of time saving precious time in the morning. There are no special gadgets needed to make your kid’s lunch, no hard-to-find ingredients, no processed food and no lengthy recipes.  MOMables™ is all about uncomplicated yet good food for your kids.  In nearly all recipes, you’ll be able to swap ingredients to accommodate for food allergies and ultra-picky eaters.  Unlike store-bought lunches, MOMables™ recipes provide kid-sized portions you can adjust based on your child’s eating needs.

I’ve never used MOMables myself, but when I was contacted by its founder and TLT reader, Laura Feuntes, I couldn’t turn down her offer of a free three-month subscription for one lucky Lunch Tray reader.

copyright 2011 MOMables TM

All you have to do is leave a comment below and I’ll use a random number generator tomorrow (August 31, 2011) at 6pm CST to select a winner.  Just to keep it inspirational, how about leaving a comment that’s either about your goal for this year’s lunch packing (e.g., “I’m really going to try to cut down on lunch waste“) or your child’s favorite lunch box item, especially if it’s one that others might not have thought of.  That way, even those of us who don’t win the subscription can still get some fresh ideas.

Have fun and good luck!  :-)

 

 

 

Join Over 1,000 TLT Fans and Get Your Lunch Delivered!   Just “Like” TLT’s Facebook page or “Follow” on Twitter and you’ll never miss another Lunch Tray post.  You’ll also get bonus commentary, interesting kid-and-food links, discussion with other readers AND you’ll be showing TLT some love.  ♥♥♥ So what are you waiting for?

 

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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica August 30, 2011 at 8:32 am

I pack a frozen organic yogurt tube in my kids lunches – by the time lunch rolls around, the tube is ready to go and has helped keep the rest of the lunch cool.

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Mikalisa August 30, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Me 2 Jessica!!:)

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Jenny Martin August 30, 2011 at 8:57 am

It SO takes a village to pack a kid’s lunch! It takes me 30 minutes each night! I ordered these little solo cups with lids from acemart.com and use them for their dipping sauces, or for little treats like m&ms.

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Amy Dunfee August 30, 2011 at 9:05 am

I want to make a lunch that my kids love. I feel that I have achieved healthy and no waste packaging in the past, but this year I want them to be eager (and pleasantly surprised) to find out what is inside in the lunch room!

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Sandy August 30, 2011 at 9:09 am

The big hit this year are my kids’ new lunch boxes. We had been using a plastic bento-style system, which I loved, but the kids were just not fond of it. It was too big for them…I think they found just the size of the containers overwhelming (even if there was little packed in each.) Plus, my little one had a hard time opening some of them. Anyway, this year I switched to Planet Boxes for them…and WOW! They now LOVE the bento concept, the compartments seem more manageable to them, and I’m suddenly the coolest mom in the world, lol. And, of course, the magnets rock! For me, I love that it’s stainless so I can use the dishwasher with no unease. Pricey? Yep. But for us, so far, totally worth it. Plus, they don’t even want their one “treat” day of (disgusting) school lunch a week (so far) – so there’s five dollars saved a week right there! Btw..I don’t work for the company…just wanted to pass along how excited it really has made my kids. :-)

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Chris August 30, 2011 at 9:36 am

I pack healthy, mostly organic lunches daily. It is hard but so worth the effort. Lots of little snacking type foods, carrot sticks, cucumbers/zucchini and hummus, dips.

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Jennifer carroll August 30, 2011 at 9:49 am

I try to pack a healthy lunch that my kids love. I always pack some kind od fruit. But what helps is I let them make the choice of what they want with a few selections I offer.

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Chic Mummy August 30, 2011 at 10:38 am

I found the same thing with the large bento lunchbox. I switched to the pottery barn bento box and the easy lunchbox and it’s working much better. The kids love the variety and it’s totally waste free.

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Korey August 30, 2011 at 12:03 pm

My oldest just started kindergarten this year, so I am new to the daily lunch-packing routine. After about a week at his new school, he told me in a serious tone, “Mom, some of the kids buy lunch at school!” Oh no, I thought…here comes the pressure to buy school lunch. Then he said earnestly, “But I don’t think those lunches are healthy, so I think it’s a good idea if I just bring my own lunch every day.” Hallelujah! Off the hook (for now anyway), but the pressure is on to keep creating lunches that he likes more than the idea of school lunches. My goal is to fight the pressure of his increased exposure to processed foods and maintain his taste for fresh, healthy, and tasty food that doesn’t take hours to prepare or cost a fortune.

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Kat August 30, 2011 at 12:17 pm

I’m new to the whole packing lunch thing too; my oldest just started 1st grade. So far he still loves the novelty of eating at school, but I’m looking forward to finding ideas to keep him excited.

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Jessica August 30, 2011 at 12:40 pm

My goal is to try something new for the kids each week in their lunches. My husband and I make lunches every day for the kids, but as two full time working parents, we have easily gotten into a rut. We are committed to packing healthy, whole food lunches for our kids and refuse to include highly processed and pre-packaged foods. I am trying not to put too much pressure on ourselves, so the goal is one new thing a week…and I look forward to hearing (and stealing) ideas from other parents! :)

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Momma J. August 30, 2011 at 12:50 pm

This is the first year all three of my youngest will be in school all day. Their start time is 9:30!! So because they are all early risers, I’m going to start having them ‘help’ with packing their snacks and lunches. I started with the ‘bento’ ideas last year for lunches at home and it was just meh for the kids. But by the 3rd or 4th time, they were excited about what could be created. My teenager loved packing luches this way! We created some fun sandwhiches (and faces ;P). But I know I’m going to need some great ideas to get through an entire year….so let’s do this!

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Theresa August 30, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Jessica, I do the same with freezing the yogurt and sneak one once in a while for myself, too. I try to make most of the lunch the night before, no matter how hard because it is always a relief in the morning NOT to have to think about it. Something new to some of you might be mixing canned tuna or hard boiled egg with roasted red-pepper hummus–we all love it (okay, not the 23month old, but he’ll grow into it, we’re sure!). I put it in a little tupperwear and send pitas, or make it a wrap or sandwich, or with TLC crackers. . . .very versatile.

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Christian W August 30, 2011 at 3:29 pm

That is a great idea! My kids love hummus, so maybe the mix-ins will fly…

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Bettina Elias Siegel August 31, 2011 at 9:58 pm

That sounds really good, Theresa!

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Jennifer Hill August 30, 2011 at 2:34 pm

My daughter loves her lunches cut into fun shapes. We also use lots of reusable bags and bento style boxes to be waste free. I am always looking for new fun ideas.

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Mikalisa August 30, 2011 at 3:18 pm

Kids just started school! We’re using the Easyluchbox lunch system! Now…need 2 fill those containers w/ stimulating healthy food so the kids won’t get bored of eating the same things everyday.:) That’s my goal as a Mom..no waste & healthy foods for the school year!

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Christian W August 30, 2011 at 3:25 pm

I really am trying to cut down on waste, I pack everything in a bento style box that is returned to me. I also try to make sure the lunch is balanced with veggie, fruit, grain and protein. So far, so good!

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Tricia Marble August 30, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Discovering last year that at the age of 40 I had high blood pressure (genetic) was a wake up call. I looked at what I was eating and tried to make changes. I want to find good, healthy meal choices for my family (hubby, me, and 2 boys ages 9 and 11). I have to admit that I HATE packing school lunches. They are a chore for me and I can never think of good lunches for myself and the boys! We are all trying to be healthier so this would be awesome!

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Robin August 30, 2011 at 3:37 pm

Full days of school don’t start for my son for another two weeks, and this will be his first time in school. I want to start him off right with fun yet healthy waste-free lunches. I find that when foods are visually appealing, he is more interested in eating (think molded hard-boiled eggs, fun fork picks for eating cut up cubes of fruit, etc.).

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Timmi August 30, 2011 at 4:13 pm

This would be great I’m new to this lunch thing too and so our girl loves her thermos. We use an insulated lunch bag with reusable containers with pop in ice packs so cool and everything matches! I still need to get some lunchskins though.

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Sahnya August 30, 2011 at 5:32 pm

Lunchtime is such a brief time I try and make sure I am giving good foods that are nutrient dense. My kids have allergies making it a bit challenging at times to cut many corners. Some favorite additions – Larabars (or homemade versions), curry chicken and rice salad, dried fruit and nuts, soup, hamburger beef jerky, apple slices with cashew maple dip, and spring rolls with an almond butter sauce. My kids always have a water bottle at school, but in their lunch I tend to slip in a small glass jar of kefir (water or dairy), kombucha, smoothie, or organic raw milk … again it is about trying to fuel them for the brief spell they are sitting before heading to recess.

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Bettina Elias Siegel August 31, 2011 at 9:57 pm

Wow – these are creative ideas!

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Laura @MOMables September 1, 2011 at 8:29 am

Congratulations Sahnya! please email me at info at momables dot com for your free subscription instructions!

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Pilar August 30, 2011 at 9:20 pm

I want to put some protein in every lunch this year.

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Sarah August 30, 2011 at 10:26 pm

My goal this year is to add more variety to our lunch rotation. This site sounds like a good thing!

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Katy August 31, 2011 at 2:51 am

My 5-yr old won’t eat anything messy & won’t “dip” veggies or eat them raw, and my 3- yr old seems to be vegetarian, yet can’t have peanut butter or eggs in her classroom due to allergies! I need help!

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Bettina Elias Siegel August 31, 2011 at 9:56 pm

Katy – those are big challenges! If your son is not a veggie eater (and even my veggie eater doesn’t love plain, raw veggies, even with dips), can you concentrate on fruits for lunch and worry about veggies at other meals (and/or put them into the entree)? And for your little vegetarian, are other butters OK, like Sun Butter? Other non-meat-nut-egg protein ideas: cheese in all its forms, yogurts, bean-and-corn type salads, baked tortilla chips and a bean dip, edamame, etc. Hope these ideas are helpful.

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Rosemary Evergreen August 31, 2011 at 7:08 am

When I have a free block of time, often when dinner is cooking and there’s already a mess going in the kitchen, I get to work preparing vegetables for the coming days of lunches and dinners. I cut them into two sizes – salad-ready and kid-friendly sticks – and store the two sizes of each type in the same container. A half hour of chopping yields instant lunches and salads for several days.

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Bettina Elias Siegel August 31, 2011 at 9:53 pm

Excellent idea! I try to do stuff while cooking dinner, too, on the same theory – the kitchen’s already a mess, so why not!

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Lisa August 31, 2011 at 7:52 am

My kids (ranging in age from 8-17) pack their own lunches, but know that they need a protein, a carb or two, and a fruit/veggie or two. THEY could always use new ideas of what to pack, and me, the facilitator, I’m happy to be able to suggest new stuff too. I love the sharing of ideas. Thanks to all!

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Isabel Tsantes August 31, 2011 at 8:14 am

I love that MOMables provides parents with a written plan and I can shop for ingredients with a list. If feel that planning is half the battle. I’ve been using MOMables for 3 weeks and my kids haven’t had a repeat lunch once! gotta love that.

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Gina DiGregorio August 31, 2011 at 9:42 am

My twin girls are entering Kindergarten, so this is the girls year I will be packing them lunches. I plan to keep it healthy and include variety by using a bento box filled with whole grains, fruits and veggies.

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Viki August 31, 2011 at 9:57 am

So many great ideas and lovely lunchbox/bento ideas. I am scheduled to give my yearly open house speech to the MDO mom’s and Dad’s tomorrow morning. I’m pointing them to this post on your blog Bettina.

I have a much older child. She picks most of what goes into her lunch. Thankfully it is all good food. Our goal this year is less waste. Still haven’t sewn those cloth napkins, but I have pulled that shirt out of the charity bag to cut up for the napkins! It is a start.

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Bettina Elias Siegel August 31, 2011 at 9:52 pm

Viki – I’m honored! And I want to see your cloth napkins! ;-)

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Ann Craig August 31, 2011 at 10:34 am

I am trying to pack lunches that are quick and easy to eat. My 2nd grader complains that they do not have enough time in the lunch room once they finally all get seated. I need help getting some protein in her for lunch.

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Bettina Elias Siegel August 31, 2011 at 9:52 pm

Ann: I’m going to have a guest blog post in a few weeks from a dad who’s been working hard on that issue – lunches being so short that kids don’t have enough time to eat. Stay tuned!

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Julene August 31, 2011 at 4:40 pm

My goal for the year is to keep my daughter excited about bringing lunch from home. I’m looking for new ideas that will be key to that excitement!

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