Eco-Friendly Lunchbox Inspiration

It’s no secret I consider cooking one of my favorite hobbies.

No news flash that I own way too many cookbooks (according to some people in my house who will remain unnamed.)

No one is surprised when I spend the good part of a day in the kitchen on semi-gourmet experiments.

And yet, lately, the contents of my kids’ lunch boxes are getting a little boring (yawn.)

Every lunch is pretty much some variation of this one…some leftovers if we have them, protein and cheese, crunchy carbs and fruit. Neither boy will really touch a vegetable at the moment, so I save those “battles” for the dinner table…and make sure they are taking their vitamins so I don’t have nightmares featuring neglected broccoli and forgotten green beans. But that’s another post.

When it came to needing some inspiration in the food department I turned to cyber space, of course. And holy cow…some people get seriously crazy with kids’ lunches! I was nearly unaware of the bento-lunch-box movement. Don’t worry – that’s not where I’m going with this.

I prefer a little inspiration in the SIMPLIFY department. Check these out:

Those are individual lunch boxes with lids and one of those insulated carrying cases. There’s actually four of the boxes…the fourth one was full of food when I took that photo.

As you can see the menu hasn’t changed that much…meat and cheese, fruit, pasta in pesto, egg whites and some crunchy veggie sticks to keep the nutrition nightmares away. However, packing this lunch felt easier. Maybe it’s simply losing all the little individual containers and lids (which I imagine the preschool teachers hate anyway – how do they keep track of all the stuff I forget to write my children’s names on?) Maybe it’s having nice, neat little compartments all next to each other so I can see what I’m doing while I’m doing it. Instead of having to check and recheck the bag to see if I already put the strawberries in…that’s hypothetical, of course…I’m sure I’ve never sent a lunch to school with two sets of the same kind of cracker and no sandwich. Never.

Strawberries and graham crackers, pasta, meatballs and cheese. Still not thrilling…but simple and easy to throw together on those mornings when I look at the clock and realize we should already be walking out the door and no one has finished breakfast or put on any shoes. Also hypothetical. Of course that never happens either.

I’m already thinking about how many boxes of Ziploc baggies I won’t be buying anymore. Or how many tiny plastic lids I won’t care about losing anymore.  These are easy to use and they support the waste-free movement. Really, what more could you ask for? Except maybe this: FDA approved. No BPA, phthalates, lead, vinyl or PVC. Safe for dishwasher, microwave and freezer.

Don’t believe me? See for yourself.

Another thing I love about this lunch box set has to do with picnics. My boys are home with me two days a week and when the weather is nice we try to picnic outside as often as we can. At the park. At the zoo. Sometimes just in the front yard. Not hypothetical. Totally true.

Anyway, the insulated bag can hold three of the lunch boxes stacked on top of each other. One for each of us. Or it can hold two and some of those ice pack thingys. Or one and a whole banana on top with a sippy cup. Or two with a small bag of chips and a bottle of water. You get the idea. It’s flexible. And sturdy. Sturdier than they look in the photos, actually. These are not the same plastic you get in those Glad and Ziploc reusable containers – they are much more durable than those.

Sometimes lunchtime inspiration doesn’t have to be about the food. It can just be about making the whole process easier. And practical. And brightly colored.  You can check out other colors and get info at their website and also see a ridiculous amount of lunch time creativity in their lunch ideas photo gallery. Really, set aside some time to get familiar with the bento lunch box artists found all over the web. Amazing.

Oh, I almost forgot!

Want one of these sets for yourself??

Yes, a give away!! Yippeee!! Free stuff!!

Here’s how it works:

Go to the EasyLunchBoxes website and browse around. Then leave me a comment here with some tidbit you learned or your favorite lunch idea.

That’s an entry to win.

Subscribe to this blog and comment to let me know you did. (Current subscribers, just comment that you already subscribe.) That’s another entry to win.

Follow EasyLunchBoxes on Facebook and/or Twitter…then let me know. Another comment, another entry to win.

I’ll choose a random winner on Sunday at noon, central time. No entries after noon on the 13th will be counted. I’ll email you with details on how to claim your prize…choose your color…make your lunching life simpler and eco-friendly…lose 12 pounds…OK, maybe not the last thing.

Also, I am required to tell you: This giveaway is offered to US and Canadian residents only. All you other super cool international readers will have to go order your own. And please do not enter if you have won anything or received any free product from in the past 3 months.

OK – scoot off now and check out their site – I can’t wait to hear about your favorite lunch photos! Good luck!

10 thoughts on “Eco-Friendly Lunchbox Inspiration

  1. Jennifer Rieck

    That’s fantastic!

    And, how your lucky your kids are to have such a wonderful mother who tries to pack healthy lunches and snacks for them…

    1. gatheraroundthetable

      Totally not surprised to hear this, of course. 🙂 Thanks for the links…I just love looking at what other creative moms are doing out there…even if I have no intention whatsoever of making lunch box race cars out of cheese and nori paper! Stay warm!

    1. gatheraroundthetable

      Hi Elizabeth – it’s just regular pesto, nothing fancy.
      About 4 cups fresh basil (I also substitute spinach and arugula here, too – although the arugula is a little spicy for the boys)
      1/2 cup each of toasted pine nuts and grated Parmesan
      several garlic cloves
      1/4 olive oil
      generous dash of salt
      Puree everything in a blender until smooth. If it seems a little dry, you can add another TB or so of oil. And it freezes pretty well in ice cube trays if you want to store it for awhile.

      Another good kid variation is to leave out the nuts and put in equal parts white beans/basil (like a cup of each) plus all the other stuff and puree. It’s like a pesto bean dip/sauce…sneaking in greens and protein at the same time! 🙂

      And when I don’t have fresh pesto around, I use that prepared stuff from the deli – it’s pretty good.

  2. Erica

    Ok so it may not be the healthiest idea but I love the Octopus hot dogs- maybe if I used tofu dogs!!! Lunches here have become very very dull. I love the website- I think I will let the boys surf it and pick out what looks good to them! Thanks for the idea.

    1. gatheraroundthetable

      I use those turkey dogs occasionally which at least aren’t as bad as the regular hot dogs. Whitman would eat his weight in them if I let him. If you do a fun lunch…take a pic and send it! 🙂

  3. J Taylor

    I think the EasyLunchBox set is great! As you say, everything all together in a single container (or two or three, LOL) and contained in a great bag.
    To be honest, I’ve been at ELB’s Facebook page and web site before, so have done quite a bit of touring. 🙂
    Responding to your specific request for the giveaway … today I was touring the photo gallery (which is amazing), and it was *your* lunchbox (“Strawberries and graham crackers, pasta, meatballs and cheese”) that caught my attention ’cause it looked both colourful and very inviting!! You may say that it is “still not thrilling…” but it truly did have me thinking – I sure would like to be having lunch made by this lady. 🙂
    I would have left a comment here anyway, but thank you for the opportunity to also enter the giveaway (and that it’s open to Canada as well as U.S.). Good luck to us all!
    Cheers from J

  4. J Taylor

    Ha, Ha, Ha! You an tell that I didn’t notice the *date* of this post … February! … and I’m responding to it in July. Yep, the giveaway is definitely over, LOL.
    Reason I finally noticed it is because I’ve been spending very enjoyable time going thru your posts – and just came to the original entry.
    So – feel free to leave or delete my earlier e’mail — if nothing else, it (or this one) will be a heads up to anyone else who might do the same thing. 🙂 🙂
    Cheers from J (again)

    1. gatheraroundthetable

      Well, I’m glad I’m not the only one who does things like that! 🙂 (Sorry you missed the giveaway, though.)
      Thanks so much for all the nice comments – I love new readers!!

      Have a great weekend…see you around the table! 🙂

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