Project Lunchbox

School’s been in session for a few months now (seriously, where does the time go? We’re halfway through the school year!) and if your kids are anything like mine, they’re already bored with lunch. And sure, we’ve all hit those beautiful Pinterest boards looking for a little lunchbox inspiration — aka intricately designed sandwiches and “fast and easy!” but oh-so-complicated recipes — but we (ahem, I) then get smacked with a healthy dose of morning rush reality, aaand we’re back to the basics. Add in a nut and egg allergy (yep, we’re that household) and now we’re really in the boring lunch business. Yawn.

I’ve been packing meals and school lunches for more than five years now, and the task is definitely up there in my list of mom challenges. So it’s become kind of this ongoing project-borderline-obsession of mine to create new lunch options that I can easily make and that my kids will actually eat. And for two good reasons: one, I myself can’t eat the same lunch five days a week, so I know my kids wouldn’t want to either. Two, I actually like creating a list of safe, healthy items that I can swap in and out throughout the school week (key word here is “swap,” because to be completely honest, some days my kids love bananas, and other days they announce that bananas are the worst thing since crusted bread and anchovies.) I may not have all the secrets, but I will say that switching things up on a regular basis is how I currently survive packing those lunches. Along with this cheat sheet I’m calling “Project Lunchbox,” prepared by yours truly.

1. Create a list of healthy items your kids currently love. Fruits, veggies, cheese, yogurt, whatever. Make sure these are all items that can stay fresh in a lunchbox for a few hours (with the help of an ice pack).

2. Group the items you think would go well together. For example: My kids love strawberries, cucumbers and Lacinato kale. I make a quick salad using all 3 ingredients and add an orange poppy seed dressing. (Psst: not all kale is created equal. I’ll explain later on why we use this specific kind of kale.)

3. Do a weekend taste test. Let your kids snack on the items you grouped together over the weekend and find out which ones they love the most. You’d be surprised to see they might love a vegetable they didn’t before or one they’ve never tried before. Make some weekly lunch menus with these items and rotate them.

4. Buy fresh produce and cut them up the night before (or save a step and buy pre-cut veggies and fruit) whenever possible. A little evening prep saves a ton of time during those hectic mornings when all you have time for is grab-n-go.

5. Make lunch visually appealing and fun. I’m not a Pinterest lunch mom, but packing it all up (in a pinch!) in an adorable lunchbox and bento box accessories is my hack. We’re loving our YUMBOX lunchboxes. They’re perfect for kids and parents because they cover everything on our checklist:

● Child-friendly, easy-open latch

● Fits into standard-size thermal lunch totes

● Trays are removable for easy cleaning

● Made with all food-safe materials, BPA-free and phthalates-free

● Molded silicone lid holds wet food like yogurt and dips

● Cute, pre-portioned illustrated educational trays that help guide you to pack a

healthier hassle-free lunch

Here are five of my favorite healthy lunch box ideas. They’re easy to make and even easier to pack!

Butterfly lunch

Lacinato Kale

Strawberries

Cucumber

1 Cutie

2 slices organic bread (gluten-free or bread of preference)

1 slice hormone-free rotisserie chicken breast

1 organic cheese stick

Pre-cut the kale, strawberries and cucumber. Mix together with an orange poppy seed dressing and place into YUMBOX compartment. You can leave in refrigerator overnight as Lacinato kale is thicker in texture and will not get soggy as other kale varieties. Place chicken in between slices of bread and use a butterfly cookie cutter to create shape. Add a cutie with reusable eyes and sliced cheese stick.

Out of this world

Jicama

Lemon wedge

Cherry tomatoes

Carrots

Hummus

Multi-grain gluten-free crackers

Hormone-free rotisserie chicken breast

Place pre-cut jicama sticks with wedge into a compartment. If your kiddos like a bit of spicy and tangy flavor, add Tajin as well. Add tomatoes and pre-cut carrots or any veggie of preference that goes well with hummus. We also added gluten-free crackers and cut out some chicken using fun star shapes. Add hummus into dip compartment.

Fruit Kabobs

Strawberries

Jicama

Lacinato Kale

Raspberries

Celery

Bamboo sticks

This is simply another way to use the same ingredients and create a completely different presentation. Slice jicama and kale and remove strawberry stems. Place onto bamboo stick. Add orange poppy seed dressing into dip compartment. Slice or use pre-cut celery, and place along with raspberries into YUMBOX.

Roarsome Lunch

Pita bread

Dino cookie cutter

1 slice organic Mozarella cheese

Organic kettle corn popcorn

Raspberries

Sliced cucumber

Humus

Using dino cookie cutter, slice pita bread to create 2 dinos. Do the same with the mozzarella cheese. Add an eye the cheese slice. Add hummus, cucumber slices, and raspberries into different compartments. Place popcorn with pita dinos. Make sure they’re away from the cheese slice so that they don’t get soggy.

Toddler Snack

Organic Sweet Potato Crackers

Hummus

Pre-cut carrots

Pre-cut organic mozzarella cheese

Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies (replace with cheddar bunny tails for gluten-free)

 

Add all items into different YUMBOX compartments and voila! Easy peasy. The key here is having all the items pre-cut before hand.

All right, moms – I think we can all banish school lunch boredom and conquer Project Lunchbox together.

 

Abrazos (Hugs),

Gladys

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  • 🎈Feliz Cumple mi amor preciosa! 🎈To my Mia Rae of sunshine: May you continue to be kindhearted, outgoing and super smart. Even if you always find ways to prove to me and papi why you should no longer be grounded. 😆May you continue to love reading books and inspire us all to read more too. And may you never ever give up on your dreams and goals. We love you 3000 mi amor preciosa!! Happy 8th birthday to our 1st born. #birthdaygirl #MiaTurns8 #babygirl #felizcumpleaños
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  • #ad I must confess, I’ve always wondered if Mia actually eats her hummus and veggies at school. Every time I ask her if she eats it all she always replies with a quick “yes mom.” And today I have evidence that she actually does love eating her @sabra hummus at school - I suspect the hummus helps get her to finish those veggies! 😉Swipe to see the cute drawings Mia made of her favorite animal and her favorite school snack. Side note, I just realized she’s pretty good at drawing too! Find these convenient Snack to School singles @target in the deli section. #lunchboxconfessions #SabraSingles #SabraPartner
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For 6 years, I’ve worked behind a computer and on my phone. My small home office plastered with motivational quotes, vision boards and goals that felt so unattainable. 6  years of hard work, pouring endless hours, late nights, tears and tons of love into my little blog. Followed by rounds of No’s and doors closing in on me. The thoughts of just throwing in the towel and giving up always crept in. But I’m here to tell you even with all of that, I pushed through. Heck I’m still pushing through. But yesterday, two moms that follow me (you know who are☺️) sent me the sweetest messages (I kid you not around the same time) thanking me for all the advice I gave them over the past year and that they are going to be working with their DREAM brand!!! I was so humbled to think I could actually make a huge impact like this on another mom! My heart is so full! ❤️ And then, guess what happened? That dream brand that was plastered on MY vision boards for 6 yrs sent me an email to work with them!! Never in my wildest dreams would I think they would pay me to create content for them but it’s happening! Moral of the story, (promise this isn’t in any way me trying to toot my own horn) just a reminder to NEVER ever give up on that goal even if it seems too far fetched or unattainable! You got this! I’m cheering for you mama! 👏Thank YOU for reading and sending love. And to my village that has always had my back, wouldn’t be here without you. Ok, off to celebrate in my pjs. 😆 Now tell me, if you could work with ANY brand in the entire world who would that be? Or if you’re wanting your own brand what would that be? #KindnessAlwaysWins #WomenEmpoweringWomen #ItTakesAVillage #staymotivated #momblogger
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  • 🏰 What's your favorite childhood memory? 🎡 ¿Cuál es tu recuerdo favorito de tu niñez?
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For me, it was going to @Disneyland once a year with my family. I remember my parents saving up for our one-day trip for an entire year. I remember getting to the park right before they opened the doors and staying until midnight. Yet, somehow I don't recall being tired at all. I just remember all the fun times we had. This is exactly how I hope my little ones remember their childhood. ☺️🏰
P.S. Flashing back to exactly one year ago because my first born will be turning 8 next week! Cue in all the ugly crying. Followed by feeling grateful our babies are healthy and overly excited at the fact that we have something magical ✨ up our sleeves! Stay tuned! (Español en comentarios) 😘 #Disneylandhotel #Disneyland @disneyland #happiestplace 
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