Your goals are twofold: feed them something nutritious they’ll actually eat and expand their budding palates. Sure, there are countless recommendations out there for the best kids lunches, but we feel that real life is messier than a Pinterest board, and sometimes you need a dose of inspiration from real (not virtual) caregivers. So we asked around the office for brown bag lunch ideas and got tips for both the 10-and-under set and grownups alike. We’ve also included some favorite tools to make lunch prep even easier.
OXO Art Director Stacie makes bento-style lunches for her kids Mason (7) and Addie (3 1/2) because they like to graze on a bunch of little bites instead of a big meal. Eating at home? Use a Divided Plate for that bento-esque feel. Some of Stacie’s greatest hits include:
-Baby carrots or carrot sticks with dip like hummus or Ranch
-Ham and cheese roll-ups
-Dried cranberries mixed with dark chocolate chips for dessert
HR Manager Jess made hundreds of lunches during her two years as a nanny. She took care of a four-year-old so these lunches are equally good at home or on-the-go. Here’s a few of her faves:
-Peanut butter and jelly pinwheels in a wrap
-Mini Tacos: they fit nicely side by side in our LockTop Container
-Rice bowls with avocado slices (hello 3-in-1 Avocado Slicer!)
-Tomato soup and grilled cheese
-Mini pancakes with almond butter (pancake-making is even easier and less messy with this Batter Dispenser)
-Bean and cheese quesadillas
Engineer David’s little ones are also big fans of snack-style lunching. The whole family also helps out making their famous granola.
-Sliced apple (sliced with an Apple Divider), cheese, and crackers
-Smoothies: here are some favorite 3-ingredient recipes. Good tip: by taking out the removable valve in this Transitions Sippy Cup, David’s two-year-old Maggie can sip smoothies without fruit getting stuck in the straw – less frustration for Maggie means a happier family!
-Yogurt and homemade granola: David’s wife makes granola by baking rolled oats mixed with maple syrup in the oven. It’s delicious, nut-free and perfect for Kaylee’s school lunch, especially in our Snack Disk. Here’s a similar recipe from the blog Cookie and Kate that you can adapt accordingly.
Benat, Senior Product Manager, surprises and delights her seven-year-old Amelia with creative spins on her favorite snacks, much to the chagrin of other parents we imagine.
-Skewers (best for big kids!) with strawberries and grapes (de-stem a bunch of strawberries with this handy Strawberry Huller)
-Skewers with salami and mozzarella
-Apples or watermelon cut with cookie cutters
-Snacks like crackers, cheese, hummus and hard boiled eggs in Baby Blocks paired with little cocktail forks
-Fruit and yogurt mason jar parfait (this was the talk of the classroom!)
Got any tips for kid’s lunches? We’d love to hear ‘em!