I dread making lunches for my kids’ lunch boxes. Dinners I can do, but for some reason lunch is hard for me. If it is not a sandwich – I’m out. And what about all those veggies and fruit I would love for my kids to be eating? A lot of time I get overwhelmed and just give in to school lunch. But this year I want to change. I want to send my kids to school with healthy lunches that they will actually eat. I went on a quest to find ideas and products I would need to help me succeed and I want to share them with you – maybe you will find they will work for you too.

#1 What to pack?

I am in a sandwich rut. PB&J anyone? I needed some serious ideas on what to pack and I wanted them to be healthy. I found this book on Amazon that had awesome reviews so I ordered it – LOVE it!

best homemade recipes lunch

It has SO many great ideas and recipes for lunch boxes. The thing I really love is it doesn’t just have recipes, she also gives great ideas on how to expand her ideas to make even more possibilities. My mind is spinning with ideas after reading the book. Ideas are no longer a problem.

#2 What to pack it in?

I wanted to do my part and not use a ton of plastic bags every day so I bought lots of containers. After a while, I had lids and bottoms but none of my lids ever fit the bottoms. So frustrating. I was so excited to find these Easy Lunch Boxes. Where have they been all my life? One bottom. One lid. YES PLEASE. The thing I like most about these is it helps me visualize what my kids need to pack. A spot for fruit, a spot for veggies, and a spot for the main. You can also get little containers to use for dips if you want.

lunch cart 9They fit perfectly in these cooler/lunch packs. Throw your lunch in, an ice pack, some water and run to catch the bus!lunch cart 8

I love my Kleen Canteens for water (they keep ice water all day even in the hot sun, unbelievable.)

#3 Supplies taking over your kitchen?

Gather everything you need to use in packing every day and put them in one place. I found this cart at IKEA for around $50.00 and I am loving it. It is on wheels so I can slide it in and out of my pantry. But you could use anything – just corral it all in one spot so it will be easy to grab what you need when you need it.

lunch cart 6

A closer look…

On the bottom shelf I put the lunch bags and water containers.

lunch cart 4

On the middle shelf I put napkins, forks and spoons, the Easy Lunch Boxes and dip containers.

lunch cart 2

#4 Forget to use your fun lunch box notes?

On the top shelf I put a little container with pens and post-its for writing notes or reminders to slide in the kids’ lunch boxes and some washi tape for fun.

lunch cart 7Also, find a little spot for your printed out lunch box notes. Cut them all out so they are ready to throw in. You can get our collection of lunch box notes, here!

lunch cart 5

 #5 Mom can we have a treat?

Sure! Organize a collection of little treats so kids can easily pick one and throw it in with their lunch. Hopefully my new cookbook will help me eliminate these packaged foods I currently have, to more healthy homemade ones.

lunch cart 3

One more shot of what I am now calling the lunch box cart, this time with the treats on top. Can you tell I’m a bit excited about this?

lunch cart 1Now that you are all organized and prepared for lunch, I have one more recipe book I want to share with you. I just ordered it when I ordered the lunch box one and I am loving it as well! It is teaching me and reminding me about how important home cooked, nutritious meals can and should be. I rely too much on packaged food and am trying to use more fresh ingredients and less packaged products with ingredients I can’t pronounce. If you have the same desire, this book is a must have.

the family cooks

A few more lunch box ideas:

Lunch Box Heroes

Dr. Seuss Lunch

lunches collage

Happy Lunches Here We Come!

What do you do to simplify your lunch routine?

Missy siggy

    1. August 10th, 2014 at 7:44 am
      Unique of Sheffield says:
      Wow, what a wonderful inspiring article, I also like stylish and colorful kids lunch bags that children loves so much.
    2. August 10th, 2014 at 7:22 pm
      Bobbi says:
      Awesome post! Lots of useful tips and thanks for sharing the links to those books. I need to get my read on!
    3. August 11th, 2014 at 8:09 am
      Nicolette says:
      So cute! I love the station idea and I need those recipe books asap!
    4. August 11th, 2014 at 9:36 am
      Laura Fuentes says:
      thank you so much for including The Best Homemade Kids' Lunches on the Planet!! I am thrilled to be able to provide you with lots of lunch ideas for the new year!
    5. August 12th, 2014 at 8:40 am
      Shelley says:
      Oh my gosh Missy. That cart is too much. I'd like to buy it off you. Filled. As is. :) So cute. THanks for the inspiration.
    6. August 12th, 2014 at 1:09 pm
      kerri says:
      So stinkin' cute! I have that same cart from IKEA and now I have an idea what to fill it with. Thanks for all these helpful tips!!
    7. August 12th, 2014 at 6:30 pm
      Heather says:
      I've been using "easy lunch boxes" for a few years now and LOVE them. The only exception, mine are ziplock brand and can be found in any number of stores including grocery stores, Target and Walmart. I picked up several packs of three and throw them in the dishwasher every night. It reduces the amount of trash we use and like you, I can visualize portion size and food better. Just be sure to find a lunch bag they fit in (which wasn't hard for us). Thanks for all the great tips! Love the cart idea.
    8. August 12th, 2014 at 8:12 pm
      Emily says:
      This is super great stuff Missy! Almost makes me excited for school to start.......... almost.
    9. August 12th, 2014 at 9:46 pm
      Chris W says:
      Thanks Missy for some great ideas! That cart is one of my favorite things at IKEA and NOW I have a reason to purchase it!! My bag lunch tip is all refrigerated items are placed in one of the drawers......Laughing Cow wedges - use 1/2 a wedge on sandwich rounds, deli meat ( I know, but my hubby loves it), baby carrots, celery (wrapped in foil - keeps for 2 weeks!), spinach and string cheese. I am able to pull it all out quickly in the morning to make by hubby's lunch. Thanks for a great ideas!
    10. August 13th, 2014 at 7:21 pm
      Cori says:
      I love the Best Homemade lunches. I have subscribed to her Momables meal plans for a while. Very helpful Love the cart idea! I bought lunch boxes from planet box 3 years ago. Love them. They still look new and so easy to pack. I still keep a basic lunch bag for soups and smoothies.
    11. August 27th, 2014 at 7:10 am
      Leah says:
      Where on earth can I find the blue "snack caddy"? I love it.
      • August 27th, 2014 at 9:36 am
        Missy says:
        I found it at Ikea!
        • August 27th, 2014 at 11:54 am
          Leah says:
          Thank you.
    12. September 7th, 2014 at 12:11 pm
      Karen says:
      Where is the blue & orange "back pocket' style lunch notes holder from?! And is it sticky? It is just adorable!!!
      • September 8th, 2014 at 9:51 am
        Missy says:
        It has a magnet on the back and I found it on :)
    13. July 22nd, 2015 at 3:25 pm
      MamaBear says:
      Have you managed to reduce your reliance on pre-packaged processed foods? Between those and the disposable utensils, you've got a lot of waste happening. I use reusable containers (my oldest is going into grade four, many of my containers I bought when he started kindergarten) and bags (such as Lunchskins), and have some Lego-style cutlery (by Fred & Friends) for the kids to take to school. Reusable bottles for water, too, and thermos containers for hot food. I make and freeze items like muffins and little pancakes and even waffles; they are quick and easy to pop into a lunch.

      Very little waste, and saves money!

      And if you haven't already, check out Weelicious. The granola bars are a favourite here!
      • July 22nd, 2015 at 3:27 pm
        MamaBear says:
        PS: Beaba Babypotes are great for applesauce,yogurt, and pudding!
    14. July 26th, 2015 at 5:37 pm
      Heather says:
      Which size clean canteen do you use in lunch boxes? The link shows a lot and I couldn't find the one like in the picture.
    15. September 9th, 2015 at 4:43 am
      margarita Silva Camus says:
      Me encanta todo lo que esté relacionado con los niños. Gracias por permitirme llegar a usted y por la gentileza que tiene al enviarme sus mensajes.
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