Life is busy, especially lately since we’re still (yes!) getting used to the idea of being back in school – on this fifth week of school! So I look for ways to make it easier everywhere I can. Like school lunches.
Since my son went to kindergarten and had to bring his own lunch for school, we’ve incorporated leftovers into our meal plan so that I know they’re eating a healthy school lunch to get them through the day. And, it’s crazy easy!
Thankfully, my kids love taking hot food for school lunch. And I’d like to believe that they appreciate when I ask them at dinner if they want leftovers tomorrow for school.
In fact, the only way I know that they sincerely like a dish is when they ask to have it for lunch. They don’t like to hurt my feelings and will often tell me that they like something, even if they really don’t. That’s so sweet, right? Until I make things again that they really didn’t like. We’re working on this.
One of our Feed Our Families readers recently sent me an email asking how we send hot food to school, and whether it really stays warm. I had one of those forehead slapping moments as I read her note because it struck me that I’ve raved about our kid’s school lunch gear (especially our Thermos food jars!) and taking leftovers, but I’ve never shared the “how we do it” part! And that is what this site is all about!
If you know my husband, you’re already aware that he can track down pretty much anything on the internet. Anything. Four years ago when we first started our school lunch adventures, we tested the temperature of food sent in the food jars ourselves. Food certainly stays warm, but he knew there had to be a better way to keep food at the optimal temperature until lunch, so off he went to track down answers.
Tips and tricks abound but here’s what his research and our experiments have found to work best for our children. Keep in mind, we’re making lunches around 7:45 and they’re eating them between 11:15 and 11:45.
The Secret to Hot School Lunch Success in 5 Easy Steps:
- About 10 minutes before you want to put hot food in the food jar, pour boiling water into the jar and seal the lid.
- If you’re packing up something that you want to stay cold, like yogurt, add ice plus cold water instead.
- After 10 minutes (more is ok), heat up your food to a temperature hotter than you might normally eat it at. Just don’t scorch your leftovers!
- Empty the water and promptly serve your food into the food jar.
- Seal the lid.
That’s it! Pack up lunch and head out the door. It’s really that easy.
I wouldn’t recommend packing up your food jar next to an ice pack that keeps water or milk cold. We separate their stainless steel water bottles from the food jar by either placing it outside the lunch box (my son’s has a pocket outside), or by putting the napkin plus a snack like a Luna bar in between the two for my daughter.
If you have a lunch trick to share, let us know! Send me an email at ginarau(at)feedourfamilies(dot)com or tell us in the comments below. We all need new tips and tricks, right?