Best plastic free lunch box gear for kids, including containers, snack size boxes, and water bottles. Read on to prepare your kids for back-to-school with a healthy lunchbox, even before the food gets packed. (links below are affiliate links in Amazon for you to see the various sizes available.)

plastic free lunch box for kids containers in stainless steel and glass

 

What are some first steps we can take to create a plastic free lunch box for kids?

  • Switch to glass and stainless steel whenever possible.
  • Purchase produce not wrapped in plastic, or remove once you purchase from the store.
  • Transfer food to glass storage containers as you meal prep.
  • Avoid putting any plastic you have in the dishwasher.

Why do we want a plastic free lunch box for kids?

In case you missed it, the Academy of Pediatrics released a new study showing the danger of plastics and the effects on children. They released a statement expressing concern about the scientific evidence that chemicals from plastics interfere with the body’s natural hormones and long-term development. The chemicals that are cause for concern in the latest statement include phthalates, which are needed to make plastic flexible. It also includes bisphenol (BPA) which is still used to line metal cans, and also perfluoroalkyl (PFCs) found in grease proof paper and packaging.

Infants and children are particularly vulnerable to exposure to hormone disruptors. This can increase their risk of obesity, diabetes, and fertility issues. Make the switch to glass and stainless steel, for your kitchen and for creating a plastic free lunch box for kids.

Best Plastic Free Lunch Box

Let’s start with the actual bag, or tote, for your kid’s lunch. There are so many options, but not all are created equal. Look for ones that are PVC, BPA & Phthalate-free, and CPSIA compliant. One of our favorites has been the Wildkin brand. (they also make really sturdy backpacks too!)

Plastic Free Lunch Box for Kids

PlanetBox

  • Plastic free lunch box bento style in stainless steel
  • Rover is great for most school aged kids.
  • Launch is great for older kids (and adults)
  • Comes with coordinating containers for “wet” food like yogurt, applesauce, and oatmeal.
plastic free lunch box for kids planetbox ideas

So many amazing lunch ideas for the Planetbox.

 

LunchBots

  • variety of simple, stainless steel containers
  • great for busy parents…keeps packing simple and you can toss them in the dishwasher at the end of the day.
  • I have multiple on hand so some are ready to prep, while others are getting washed overnight

plastic free lunch box lunchbots healthy lunch

 

Plastic free lunch box snack containers, great food storage containers for home and school

  • Kids Konserve– variety of sizes and easy to open silicone lids. I’ve used them for years, and finally ordered a second set last year. Love them.
  • Kid Basix Safe Snacker– sandwich size option, but also fits a salad for my 9-year-old. Added this to our lineup last year and it’s a great multi-use option. Also good for car trips.
    • opt for generic colors so the containers don’t “belong” to any particular child. It will make your packing lunch life easier.
  • Wean Green– we have had our first set of Wean Green containers since our youngest went to daycare at 9 months. We packed baby food in them, and now they hold her salad dressings! They now offer a variety of sizes and they are super durable. Dishwasher friendly and the square sizes pack really well in the lunch box. As you go up in size, they are also great for meal prep!

plastic free lunch box wean green kids

Plastic Free Lunch Box Bags and Accessories

  • Beeswax wraps- skip the bag and use a beeswax wrap. This is great for young kids as it’s easy to open, and doesn’t add extra weight to their backpack like glass does.
  • Lunchskins are our favorite fabric sandwich bags. Itzy Ritzy zippered fabric bags are my favorite for smaller snack size options. They have a ton of cute patterns too!
  • Bamboo utensils to pack for oatmeal, salads, or yogurt parfaits for lunch. Stainless steel kid utensils are great for the dishwasher, but adds more weight to the lunch bag.
  • Stainless steel thermos options are another great way to add more variety to your kid’s lunch. We like the Lunchbots Thermo Soup Jar. It works for when we send in oatmeal or a yogurt parfait. (Or a fried egg that stays hot and can be used for an egg sandwich!)

Plastic Free Water Bottle for Lunch Box

This has been a struggle for way longer than I would like to admit. Between straws that are hard to clean, leaky snap covers, and paint that chips off, we have seen it all. I can give you a few suggestions of what everyone has been happiest with lately.

  • Contigo Thermalock bottle– we bought this last September and it’s still in great shape for the school year ahead! No straw, easy to clean. I do think it’s better for older kids as it may be challenging to open it.
  • Eco Vessel Kids Scout bottle– this has also latest over a year for us. It does have a food-grade silicone straw, but it detaches easily and the spout cleans well too. My younger kids have this one and love it.
  • As our kids get older I see them asking for bigger water bottles. Certainly for sports they need more water. The Hydro Flask brand is a favorite in our house as they have a variety of lids, depending on what you need. The sport top is the easiest for the kids to “lock” so we don’t end up with wet backpacks!

Whew! That’s a lot of info about how to switch to a plastic free lunch box! Happy back to school everyone!

Resources

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Sharpie, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia  #StaplesBTS http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Back to School Organizing with Sharpies

It’s nearly back to school season! Don’t you just love the rush of getting the kids all ready for school and buying beautiful new notebooks, markers and lunch boxes? I’m a sucker for pretty notebooks and colorful markers. I still remember how excited I was to go back to school shopping for all the items on our supply list when I was younger, back in my Trapper Keeper days.  While my excitement for back to school now focuses on my kids, it’s also about getting our family back into a routine.

Yummy Sharpie Colors. I just can't get enough!

As I started looking at the back to school deals at Staples, the fashion assortment of Sharpies caught my eye. All those colors…all that color coding I can do. Yes, even I who loves all things digital, has paper calendars and check lists. I read an article last year that said we remember more of what we write down on paper than we do after keying it into a computer (or phone.) The brain registers these two actions differently, and it’s handwriting that has the staying power. After reading this, I felt better about sticking with paper and pen for my weekly agenda. It has made a difference keeping track of my schedule as I write out the week ahead, along with my menu plan, every Sunday.

Free Printable Weekly Calendar

September has always felt like a fresh start to me, even if it’s not really a “new year.” Today I wanted to share with you a fun, FREE, printable calendar that you can use each week to stay organized. There are three ways you could use this to help keep everyone on the same page in your home.

Cute weekly calendar printable

 

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE WEEKLY CALENDAR PRINTABLE

(this is a file in Google Drive, open the link then go to File–>Print)

1. Print out the calendar each week and write out your family’s schedule and color code with Sharpie markers. The Fine and Ultra Fine Sharpie packs are currently on sale at Staples through August 24th, while supplies last. I love all the colors in the fashion pack I bought. (I dug up my Nana’s old cranberry mold glass jar to hold them all for easy access. You can get the same effect with a wide mouth pint jar.) 

2. Print out the calendar once, color code your “master” schedule and then laminate it. You can then add in the weekly appointments that change using a dry erase marker. (Hint- I use the wet erase markers, which you can also find at Staples.)

3. Print out the calendar for each child and write out their weekly schedule with them. I know the young ones ask a hundred times a day when they are doing something and which day it is. Having their own calendar schedule is a great way to teach them the days of the week, and explain to them when their activities will be. Use the Sharpie colors to color code their schedule for non-readers. Red = school, blue = swimming and so on.

Sharpies from Staples for Back to School

What other ways can you use this calendar? Are you a back to school organizing junkie like me? Want to shopping at Staples together and see what deals we can find? 

 

Beat the Boredom. Tips for packing a healthy school lunch

As back to school season arrives, the discussion about school lunches is in full swing. How to get it done faster? What should we pack? Will they eat it? All of these questions can make it challenging to pack a healthy, kid-friendly lunch for your child. Today I want to share a couple of ideas to help make packing lunches a little easier, while inspiring your kids to make some healthy choices.

1. Tap into the Rainbow

Studies show that kids often eat more food if they are presented with more colors. Presentation really does matter when it comes to food. Do you need to get every color in? No, but try to get a mix of those blues, oranges, reds and white. Start with a goal of three colors and see if you can later add in one more.

2. Move Beyond the Paper Bag

The number of choices of reusable lunch bags is awesome. Once you narrow down your choice to one that is BPA and phthalate free, let your child pick the print. Including them in the process is the first step in getting them excited about sitting down for lunch.

3. Do the Little Finger Test

The big push towards bento boxes and small plastic storage containers allows for some beautiful lunch presentations. However, I have found some that are really hard for little fingers to open (even big fingers!) Let your kids test out new containers in the store or upon delivery to make sure they can easily manage at school. Independence is a key factor in creating a relaxed environment during your child’s lunch.

4. Introduce New Foods During “Non-Nag” Time

When our kids are away from their parents during lunch, most educators are not sitting with them telling the class what to eat. Kids are allowed the time and space to make their own choices. It can be a great time to introduce a new fruit or veggie, without pressuring the child to try it. Will it come home untouched? Yes, there is a very good chance that will happen. But try again and maybe they will surprise you. Or maybe they will eat it the first time and now you have a new lunch idea.

5. Add in a bit of Whimsy

Draw fun faces on oranges in the kids school lunch.

Another parent once said her daughter came home asking for a “kitty orange” after she saw Madison with one. The parent was so thankful as her daughter never ate oranges before!

I know some parents really dread making lunches, while others truly love it. If you are in the first camp, let those in the second inspire you. There are fun ways to add in a little surprise to your kids lunch, without losing your mind trying to pack it up while you are rushing in the morning. The bento box is a great first step in pulling off a fun presentation. It’s still the same lunch, but in a pretty container, you already check off on of your “colors” in the rainbow. My little guy loves pirates so I plan to include this pirate cake topper on occasion, which will surely delight him. You can find inexpensive accessories for your kids lunches online, or just include a silly joke on a paper for older kids who can read.

6. Don’t Get Stuck in a Rut

Use your cookie cutters to create fun sandwiches.

There are tons of inspiring ideas on Pinterest and Instagram when it comes to school lunch. I’ve learned a lot of fun lunch ideas from Weelicious Lunches, both the cookbook and by following #weelunches on Instagram. She doesn’t spend time on cutting up sandwiches into cute shapes, but does offer a ton of variety of foods. If you and your kids are tired of sandwiches, check out this recipe book full of non-sandwich lunch ideas.  This ebook is 35% off until 9/7 with code: NOSTRESSLUNCH.

 7. Include the Kids in Packing Lunch

My daughter wants to stay up “late.” We have talked about how we will use that time in the fall to pack her lunch the night before. I’m hopeful she will enjoy making some of the choices of what to include in her lunch the next day. It gives the child a little more control over a small piece of their day.

8. Don’t Forget about Snack Time

This year we have to pack two snacks for our kindergartener. We choose the dual Pottery Barn Kids lunch box so I could have a separate place to keep snacks ready to go. Another option one parent suggested is placing snacks in a front pocket of a backpack so they are easily accessible. I pulled together some of my favorite snack ideas in my “Snack Break” Pinterest board if you need some inspiration.

9. Milk or Water?

milk or water

This is a hot topic among friends and while we like the idea of milk in the lunch box, the reality is it often comes back unfinished or worse, all over the lunch tote. Pack what your kids will drink, and make sure you have a water bottle that fits easily in their tote or backpack.

10. What else helps you make packing lunches a little easier? Leave a comment to help other parents!

Thank you to Pottery Barn Kids for providing these lunch totes and accessories to demonstrate the tips in this story. You can find their full assortment of lunch boxes and food storage containers at Pottery Barn Kids.

Erba Vita Tips to keep kids healthy naturally

As the kids return to school, so comes the return of the running noses and germy hands. With a little baby at home, I am super aware of the imminent germs coming into our home. There are a few new things we are doing this year to keep us all healthy and the germs at bay. Here are some ways to keep your kids healthy naturally this season, plus a giveaway for natural remedies from Erba Vita. Erba Vita is a European company with high quality natural products that are effective, GMO-free, and pesticide-free.

  • Buy a fun soap canister for the kids so they enjoy hand washing. Help them from an early age learn how to wash their hands well. Get them to sing a favorite song so they learn how long they should wash their hands.
  • Offer kids a balanced diet with lots of variety in their fruits and veggies. Offer favorite fruits for snack, or make them a fun strawberry fruit roll-up.
  • Use a hand sanitizer when you are out and about. We tested out the Mother’s Therapy Organics kids sanitizer Erba Vita Immun Kids and love it so far. It’s not as drying as most alcohol based sanitizer as it includes aloe vera-based lotion. I keep a small one clipped on my diaper bag so I can use it after changing diapers on-the-go. The kids gave it a “no sting” vote.
  • Get the kids to bed early. (And mom and dad too!) A good night sleep helps the body defend against germs during the day.
  • Boost immunity with a supplement, like Erba Vita’s Immun Kids. For ages 4 and up, it contains active herbal ingredients to help support a healthy immune system.
  • Keep tissues handy so they are ready for sneezes. Teach kids how to sneeze into their elbow by encouraging them to “catch” their sneeze.
  • Keep extra toothbrushes on hand so you can replace them quickly if someone gets sick.
  • Everyone in the house should get a flu shot. I know people have strong opinions on this, I’m voting for flu shots for our family since our littlest one can’t get a shot and I want to keep him as healthy as possible in his first year of life.
  • Make sure the kids stay hydrated. Send a water bottle to school and limit the amount of sugary beverages they consume.

 

Erba Vita is offering one lucky reader a $150 worth of products of your choosing. You can check out their Kids’ Line, Women’s Health, Weight Loss, and more. Please enter via the Rafflecopter below. Giveaway is open to US residents only until Sept 30th. Winner will be notified via email.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received some of the Erba Vita products to review, including their Leg Light Gel that I used at the end of my pregnancy. It was great to use at the end of the day. I appreciate their commitment to using quality ingredients and following the safest standard of testing. You can get some of their product line in Whole Foods now or order online. All opinions shared here are my own. 

I also received the Mother’s Therapy Organic line of hand sanitizer and lotion. So far it’s one of the kids’ favorite as it’s not too sticky and doesn’t sting like most alcohol based sanitizers. 

Tiny Prints Back to School

When we think about back-to-school it’s usually about getting the kids ready. But really it’s mom’s time to get ready for back to school. Here’s some quick tips for getting Mom ready for afterschool sports, birthday parties, meal planning and more.

School Zone at Home

  • Pick a spot for backpacks. Have the kids leave them there when they get home and return them there after completing homework so they are ready for the morning.
  • Put together a craft supply basket with scissors, pencils, markers, etc. to be used in a homework zone. Now is the time to stock up with back to school sales.

Meal planning

  • Pick a Sunday afternoon to put together a few freezer meals for when life gets busy and you don’t have time to make dinner.
  • A new notebook and meal planning printables are a great way to stay organized. Make notes of what dinners are favorites and incorporate them into your week’s meal plan.
  • Pinterest is my go-to for meal planning. You can find my meal plan posts here and dinner recipes here. If you need some lunch box inspiration, head over to my Lunch Love board.

Play dates

  • Schedule one or two in advance so you can plan for some free time to check things off your list.
  • Mom contact cards make connecting easy on the playground or in passing at pickup time.

After school activities

  • Pack a bag in advance with sports gear, clean and ready to go. (Pack second small bag for siblings if they will be hanging out waiting)
  • Keep some snacks ready to go and prepackaged so getting out the door is a little easier.

Birthday Parties

  • Buy a few gifts at a time for a certain age group so you are always ready
  • Gift tags are handy to have on hand and personalize a store wrapped gift.

Tiny Prints Labels

 

To help get Moms (and Dads) ready for Back to School season, Tiny Prints is offering a great package of products to get you started! The giveaway is up to a $97 value!

  • 5 sets of 24 gift tag stickers
  • 1 – 5×8 lined notebook
  • 100 – mommy/play date/contact cards

Giveaway is open until August 22nd to US and Canada residents only. (Canada must pay for shipping~ sorry!) Please enter using the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Get another chance to win by entering Tiny Prints Back to School contest for another $200 in prizes! Contest is open until August 28th.

I will also be receiving my own customized Tiny Prints back to school package…I can’t wait to pick out some new labels for the kids and I will get new mommy cards with all THREE kids names on them! All opinions shared here are my own. 

Ready for a no-waste lunch! How cute are these lunch boxes for kids. They were not this cute when I was little.  Best part, they are all eco-friendly.  Which one is your favorite?
Eco Friendly Lunch Boxes for Kids