It's back-to-school time, which means it's time to perfect your packing of school lunches. Here's some of my favorite gadgets and gear to help you pack the cutest lunchbox on the block without losing your mind or your time doing it.
1. Buy Cute Sandwich and Veggie Cutters and Stamps: If you're looking for tools that you can make use of almost every day, buy some cute sandwich and veggie cutters and stamps. You can use them to shape and stamp almost anything, and if you ever feel extra fancy, these tools can be the building blocks for fancy bento creations.
2. DIY a Chalkboard Lunchbox: If you've been leaving paper notes in your kid's lunchbox, consider upgrading with this easy DIY project that will turn the lid of any lunchbox into a fully functional chalkboard that you can personalize every day. It's adorable, plus it's environmentally friendly, no more wasted paper!
3. Add Adorable Miniature Salad Dressing Containers: These single-serving-sized containers for salad dressings, condiments and dips are so cute that they'll have your kids asking you to pack more salads in their lunchbox. In fact, your kids might even ask to pack their own lunchbox once they get a look at the adorable miniature funnel that's included to help pour the dressing into the containers.
4. Try Hard-Boiled Egg Molds: Did you know that hard-boiled eggs can be formed into the shape of sweet little animals using a plastic or silicone mold? Once boiled, peel it under water and pop into the mold for five minutes. An egg-shaped egg will never be good enough again.
5. Cool Miniature Ice Packs: If anything you're including in your child's lunch needs to stay cool, make sure you include enough ice packs to keep the food at a safe temperature until lunch time. These cheerful miniature ice packs squeeze in tight places to keep things cool and in place.
6. Guard Their Bananas: The Banana Guard does exactly that, it guards your banana from being bruised or smashed in a lunchbox. Opening your lunchbox and seeing the bright and cheery Banana Guard is much nicer than opening it and seeing a brown, bruised banana. However be warned that the Banana Guard is only slightly less phallic than the Banana Bunker, a similar product which got a lot of snarky online press recently from bloggers. So maybe don't send this one to school with your middle schooler.
7. Add Face Stickers: Some moms have the time and patience to make sweet smiling faces out of every single healthy food that gets packed into their child's lunchbox. For the rest of us, there's plastic wrap and happy face stickers. Because when you stick two eyes and a mouth on a smashed piece of banana bread it looks downright adorable.
8. Upcycle Silicone Baking Cups: Obviously these colorful baking cups can be used to bake muffins, but silicone cups (bear-shaped or not) are actually even more useful for non-baking uses like holding dried fruit or trail mix in a lunchbox.
9. Pick and Skewer Food: You'd be surprised how much use you'll get out of some brightly colored, blunt-ended small picks and skewers. They're useful for keeping loose little things in place or dressing up something that might be unappealing. Basically if your lunch looks boring just stick a pick in it!
10. Add Finger Sporks: OK, this last suggestion is less about making your child's lunch appear more attractive and all about making it fun to eat. These are sporks that fit on the end of a child's fingers. They're not exactly practical, but they are silly fun, which might be just what your child needs after an especially tough day at school. Stick these in a lunchbox on the first day of school or on the day of a dreaded math test.