Back to School Lunch Box, Meal Ideas: Try Them Tomorrow!

Sandra Bullock and son Louis on January 5, 2012
Sandra Bullock and her son, Louis, stepped out after preschool in Santa Monica. FameFlynet Pictures

Let’s face it: Whether you’re a celebrity mom or just the woman next door trying to wrangle your little ones out the door to school, timing is of the essence in the morning. One thing most moms would trade “me time” for? Packing their kids’ PB&J sandwiches day after day. Here, Us Weekly suggests three fun — and functional! — lunch boxes so your kid will rock the lunchroom like an A-lister — and easy ways to make their kid-friendly meal staples much healthier.

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Pack your kids’ healthy lunches in these chic — and functional — boxes from Dr. Sears, Itzy Ritzy and PackIt.

Dr. Sears Snack Container, $7.99,
Why We Love It: This BPA-free container is perfect to keep snack cravings at bay — for you and your kids! Featuring three detachable containers with lids, the Dr. Sears container is perfect for those kiddos who don’t want their foods to mix with their siblings’.

Itzy Ritzy Lunch Happens Bento Lunch Box, $9.99,
Why We Love It: Available with fun designs including a monkey, owl and guitar motif, Itzy Ritzy’s box takes the guesswork out of keeping lunch organized — without having to use plastic bags or multiple containers. Use the top portion for a sandwich, keeping the lower, pre-measured 1 cup and 1/2 cup compartments for other goodies.

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PackIt Personal Cooler, $19.99,
Why We Love It: Be the cool kid at school! No ice pack is needed here, as PackIt’s cooler has a built-in eco-gel lining that keeps food cold for up to 10 hours, as long as it’s kept in the freezer until kids head out the door. A bonus: No condensation or soggy food by lunchtime!


Dish Kids Love: Mac and Cheese
Trim the Fat: Instead of stocking your kids’ plate with white pasta, try whole wheat instead. “You’ll get more fiber than you would from white pastas, so it’s much better nutritionally,” Keri Glassman, a registered dietician and author of The New You and Improved Diet, tells Us. Glassman’s finishing touch, after adding low-fat milk and mozzarella cheese? Parsley. “Parsley is a great thing to add in because you’re flavoring it without adding salt,” she explains. “Most of us over-consume salt– kids especially when they eat a lot of packaged products — and it increases high blood pressure. Kids definitely shouldn’t be having a lot of it.”

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Dish Kids Love: Fried Fish Sticks
Trim the Fat: Bake the fish instead to reduce fat and calories. Starting with a fish like cod or snapper, Glassman recommends dredging the fish in a combination of whole-wheat bread crumbs mixed with ground flax seed (for Omega 3s) and wheat germ (for vitamin E). To give kids a real fish & chips-style dish, add a baked sweet potato as a side.

Dish Kids Love: Corn Dogs
Trim the Fat: When shopping, look for hot dogs that are nitrate free, advises Glassman, since nitrates are a preservative linked to cancer. A better option than beef: Turkey hot dogs, which are lower in fat. To coat the dogs, try using cornmeal, whole wheat flour and an omega-fortified egg.

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