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School Lunch Plan-No More Baggies & A Free Weekly Lunch Plan Printable

Like I said in this post, I am on a mission this year to make school lunches something my kids look forward to.  I also want to feel good about the food I am serving them.  By the end of last year, if they had to eat one more peanut butter and jelly sandwich (which they had in their lunch every day) my girls would look at me like I was asking them to eat dirt.  Thankfully, over the summer their taste for pb & j has returned, and I want to keep it that way.
I also wanted to get rid of baggies.  I hated spending the money on zip baggies, not to mention the waste!  I started early on my search for the perfect lunch bag & containers, and after using them for almost a week, I can say I am super excited about how smoothly packing school lunches has been going.  
The lunch bags I found are Nike brand.  I found them at Shopko, but you can also order them here on Amazon.  These are perfect.  They have 2 pockets, and are deep enough to fit the water bottle inside with the lunch.  I love that I can fit the sandwich size container in the front pocket, which leaves the large back pocket open for water bottle & whatever else I want to fit in there.  The zippers are heavy duty and the bag is really well made.  I also found the BPA free water bottles at Shopko, my girls LOVE these. They are also Aladdin brand and they unscrew on the top like a regular water bottle, but they also unscrew further down to fit ice in if desired.

The blue containers are Aladdin brand and are AWESOME.  I found them at Target, but they can also be purchased here.  The sandwich size container is deep and comes with a removable ice pack…love that! The smaller blue container also has a removable ice pack.  The little green containers are from Rubbermaid also from Target.  They are perfect for a single cookie, nuts, dips, dried apricots, etc.  I bought each girl one large sandwich container, one side container, and two small green lid containers.  It has worked perfectly for lunches so far.
I was concerned about washing them out every night, but it really is not a big deal.  Usually we just wipe them out, but if the food is messy, we throw them in the dishwasher.  The girls empty their lunch bags as part of their afternoon routine, and they know that filling their water bottles and putting them in the refrigerator, putting their ice packs in the freezer, and emptying their containers are all part of their chart.  

Click Here To Download Free Printable
So how am I keeping this all organized and easy peasy?  With the help of our sponsor, Clean Mama.  She makes beautiful printables that keep ones home running smoothly, and she made free Weekly Lunch Plan for us!  I just love it!  It has definitely helped in keeping my mind less frazzled in trying to remember what to serve for lunch.  I especially like the area for ideas, it reminds me of food that might otherwise sit in the refrigerator and go to waste.  If you love the above printable, make sure you check out Clean Mama’s shop, which is full of more!

Here is what is on our idea list this week:
Turkey Sandwich
PB & J Sandwich
Cheese Tortellini
Bean Burrito
Frozen Berries (thawed perfectly by lunch)
Shredded carrots
Spinach Salad
Pepper strips
Protein & Dairy
I skip these because we don’t eat dairy in our home, or at least very little.  
My girls drink water every day.  I believe juice is just too expensive and full of sugar.  Even 100 percent juice has natural sugars in it that can spike blood sugar levels since the fiber is removed from it. I can’t tell you how much money we save by just being water drinkers in our home!
Whole grain bars
Chocolate bars
Dried cranberries
Dried apricots
Here is our lunch plan for this week:

No School
Turkey Sandwich
Cheese Tortellini
Bread Cubes
Italian Dressing for both
Whole Grain Bar
Dried Cranberries
Pb & Jelly Sandwich
Granola bar
Dried Apricots

Bean Tacos
Chips & Salsa
Granola Bar

I also bought them each a new thermos, same Alladin brand.  I will save that and my ideas for another post!

Need MORE School Lunch Food Ideas?  Click here.

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  • CeCe
    August 17, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Question: what are your whole grain bars? (Listed on Wednesday). I’m looking for a good recipe for homemade cereal bars. I like the Kashi brand bars, but still think I could probably cut the sugar if I could make something similar.

    • Amy Bowman
      August 23, 2012 at 2:33 pm

      I occasionally buy them from Trader Joes. We use them more like a treat, like instead of packaged cookies. The sugar content isn’t great, but once in a while is fine and better than oreos!

  • CeCe
    August 17, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    My kids each have a Funtainer thermos. I put milk in them, and make sure it’s next to the ice block in their lunch bag. I THINK the milk is still cold by lunch… I really should test that one Saturday—if it’s not staying cold, I’ll just start sending water all the time. My kids have ADHD so I definitely don’t send any juices and don’t trust them to buy their own milk at school (since they’d likely always pick chocolate or strawberry which is full of sugar). I just this week make a triple batch of fruit smoothies (bananas, organic strawberries and locally grown blueberries in low fat vanilla yogurt) and make what we call Frozen Smoothie Cups– got this idea from one of your posts, Amy. I froze 16 of them in the Glad 1/2 cup size plastic containers. Don’t feel so great about using the reusuable Glad containers, but that’s all I had. Kids think the Frozen Smoothie Cups are the best thing since sliced bread!

    • Amy Bowman
      August 23, 2012 at 2:32 pm

      ha love your “I don’t trust them to buy own milk” comment. Mine would for sure be picking the chocolate stuff! Love to hear about your fruit smoothies and how smart to make a huge batch at once. Sometimes using those type of containers is an ok tradeoff if it gets whole & healthy foods into your kids bellies! No mommy guilt here, I have to remind myself perfection is not the goal. Awesome job, your kids are blessed to call you mom!

  • Amanda
    August 16, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    Yeah!!! Thanks for an easy quick go to for ideas for lunch. I just bought my son (1st grade) a metal bento box with compartments and am loving it. Only downside is that I can’t put messy type foods in it, but I’ll be happy to work around it if it means fresher lunches and no plastic bags! 🙂

    We also only drink water at our house and our kids don’t really know the difference. It saves on cost and health, I truly believe. Glad to see someone else who sees the sanity in that choice. Great post!

    • Amy Bowman
      August 23, 2012 at 2:30 pm

      Love those bento boxes! I have found paper cupcake liners are a great way to corral the more messy foods, or at least keeps foods separated in the same space.

      Water rules! I’m so glad I got my kids used to water only when they were young. Fun to have that belief in common with you.