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Kids are already heading back to school, so moms from every corner of the country are turning their thoughts to school lunches. The most economical way to handle lunch during the school year is generally to send a meal from home, but these must-haves will get kids so much more excited about lunch than “brown bagging” it!

Fabulous Finds for Kids’ Lunch Boxes

Bento-Style Lunch Box

I love this lunch box by Boon with an optional segmented insert and reusable ice pack. It’s perfect for the snack lover who’d forgo a PB&J in favor of a feast of finger foods. The stretchy silicone exterior also allows you to secure silverware, a napkin, or even a fun note.

Ice Pop Molds (for Smoothies!)

Nopro makes silicone ice pop molds that are perfect for smoothies. I recommend making a batch, freezing them, and pulling one out of the freezer the morning of; they’re thawed perfectly by lunch time and still plenty cold.

Major bonus: these are dishwasher safe and BPA-free.

Smoothies are a surefire way to sneak veggies into your kid’s diet, too. Fresh spinach incorporates nicely, particularly with strawberries or pineapple, and if not for the color, you’d never guess it’s there.

Sandwich and Veggie Cutters

Everything is cuter in miniature, and cutting fruits, veggies, and sandwiches into whimsical shapes – from bunnies and dinosaurs to trains and stars – will make any lunch a bit more fun. Go Fresh offers this 20-piece set that’ll get your creative juices flowing.

Additional reading: More School Lunch Recipes!

Hot/Cold Thermos

Multipurpose items tend to give you the best bang for your buck, which makes a thermos a must-have item for school lunches from home. This version, FOOGO by THERMOS, is great for foods and drinks. Designed with food safety in mind, it keeps warm items warm for five hours and cold ones cold for seven.

From spaghetti to macaroni and cheese, soups/stews, chicken nuggets, mini corn dogs, Frito chili pie (my oldest daughter’s favorite), quesadillas, pasta salad, yogurt with granola… the sky’s the limit.

Silicone Cupcake Liners

Reusable cupcake liners are another great way to up your school lunch game. I put these in a plastic, square food storage container (like Ziploc’s) to create a customizable segmented container. The liners reach to the top of the lid, so they’re ideal for holding things like almonds, grape tomatoes, cubes of cheese, and chopped veggies. Sauces and dips are a no-go with this setup, but otherwise, the possibilities are endless.

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