Packed Lunch Ideas for the Rest of Us

Thanks to Fruitshoot for sponsoring this post.

We have passed 100 days of school, and we’ve gotten to the point where I’m now encouraging the children to buy lunch whenever they can. We’ve highlighted all of the possible entrees on the rotating menu, but most days, I’m packing at least one lunch.

It’s getting tricky- the girl has definite things I cannot pack because they are babyish. The boy has certain things I cannot pack, because quite frankly, more lands on his shirt  and all over his lunchbox instead of in his mouth.

When I do pack a “fun” lunch, with just the right amount of third grade maturity, I get big points. I also get big points when I find a drink they like to bring. Enter: Robinson’s Fruitshoot (we stick with the no sugar added varieties). Fruitshoot is a 10% juice drink that my kids love. With the 10.5 oz bottle, it’s a much better shot of hydration (why are schools such deserts?), and there’s no embarrassing preschool cartoon character on the package. Total bonus? There’s currently an Angry Birds download code on every bottle! You can learn more about Fruit Shoot and the Angry Birds promotion on Facebook.

Here’s a Kahuna Kids lunch with just a smidgen of pizzazz.

For the girl, cut outs of cheese are always a big hit, since cheese is her favorite food. Silicone baking cups in fun colors and shapes are an easy way to add a touch of fun, even when they don’t contain chocolate chips.


The boy is much simpler. Mostly, he just wants food, and if he can get a chuckle, so be it. For him, I like to make his initial out of pretzels or strips of cheese or dried fruit. It makes him very happy, and it’s oh-so-easy. The other thing that scores points with him are stickers- any old stickers will do. I try to keep a sheet near the lunch supplies so that I can jazz up packaged food every now and then. lunchnottitle

Again, adding a cool big-kid Fruitshoot makes him very happy! To learn more about Fruitshoot, visit their Facebook page. Available in select markets, it’s a great way to help kids stay hydrated.

Disclosure: Thanks to Fruitshoot for sponsoring this post. All adventures in healthy lunch packing, and opinions are my own.

America’s Secret Ingredient Recipe Contest

Maybe it’s because I’m a teacher, but I’ve always liked apples. As a kid I drank apple juice and ate applesauce on a daily basis. I remember learning early on that applesauce can be substituted for the oil in a lot of recipes, which takes some of the guilt out of many desserts. I add apple juice to marinades, and have a great no-bake cookie recipe that features apple juice. All of my recipes were invented by someone else, but if you are a bit more creative, this contest may be of interest to you:

To celebrate their 50th Anniversary, Tree Top, a co-op owned by over 1,000 apple and pear groweres has launched a special recipe contest to showcase what the humble apple can do.

Visit for official entry rules, and to enter your favorite recipe featuring apples. Entries may be submitted until July 26, 2010.

The grand prize is a trip for to the Big Apple (get it?) to the Food Network’s New York City Wine and Food Festival (how cool would that be?) this October.

“I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Tree Top and received Tree Top samples to facilitate my review. Mom Central also sent me gift certificate to thank me for taking the time to participate.”