The tips, ideas and best products for back-to-school have been flowing in from every direction all month long. But soon we’ll be back in the swing of things and the back-to-school chatter will die down, but there’s one thing you can’t do at the beginning of the school season and have it over with: School lunch.
This is one back-to-school topic that isn’t just for back-to-school time, which is why we’ve rounded up 5 awesome, helpful resources that will help keep you–and your school lunches–inspired all year long.
I can’t talk about school lunch resources that will serve you the entire school year without mentioning the fact that I post daily school lunch inspiration on the One Hungry Mama Facebook page. Shameless plug? Perhaps–but not in vain. My posts are meant to inspire you, or, you know, give you a cheat sheet. This year’s posts will start on September 9th. In the meantime, check out my school lunch picture gallery from last year.
Two awesome school lunch cookbooks have just been released and both are full of great, easy ideas that are–lo and behold!–totally different from each other. The first is Best Lunch Box Ever (above) by Katie Sullivan Morford, a food writer, registered dietician, and the voice behind the blog Mom’s Kitchen Handbook. This book offers 75 recipes and, other than the ones in the Leftovers Made Easy chapter, they can actually be made the morning of school, or the night before. You won’t find her encouraging you to cook up some hot feast for lunch unless it also works for dinner the night before. Phew.
Weelicious Lunches is by Catherine McCord, the blogger behind popular site Weliicous and the Weeliicous Cookbook. Now she takes on school lunch with the same combination of playfulness, enthusiasm for health, and mom practicality that also defines Catherine’s family dinner style. Along with 160 recipes, the book offers strategies for picky eaters and dealing with allergies at the lunch table. There is also a chapter dedicated just to PB&J which, if you ask me, makes this book worth it all on its own.
Rather just have someone tell you what to make? Momables is a school lunch menu subscription service that emails you a weekly school lunch plan every Friday, along with a shopping list. A Momables subscription is affordable: a 3-month plan is only $18 and a yearly plan offers big saving at just $60. Just know that for now, Momables only offers one plan that is not gluten-free or vegetarian friendly. It is easily adapted for nut-free lunches, though.
For wild inspiration, check out the Lunchbox Awesome Tumblr which we also featured in our 2012 back to school shopping guide as one of the best lunch resources. It’s packed with more pinnable photos than you know what to do with. Of course a lot of it is stuff you probably won’t attempt unless you spend your entire day planning school lunches–or have a professional chef to do it for you. But maybe you can steal an idea or two to make opening that bento box more fun.
If your kid is old enough to make his own lunch, gift him a subscription to ChopChop magazine, a quarterly publication for kids published in both Spanish and English that’s full of easy, healthy recipes that give kids their own lunch-making inspiration, along with games and interesting tidbits about food. Subscribe now and your first issue will be all about school lunch so that you can get kiddo to work. Sounds good for both of you, right?
For more school, lunch inspiration see our posts on