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8 smart lunchtime solutions

Here we are, just a couple of weeks into the new school year, and already your kids are complaining about having the same old stuff in their lunch boxes. So before you pack that PB&J, check out these fun – and smart! – solutions to make lunch your kid’s favorite subject again.

Go green, not brown

Back away from the brown bags! Lunch is a little more eco-friendly, thanks to great products that are fun and reusable. We like Goodbyn’s Insulated Lunch Sleeves, which hold a Hero or Bynto box, plus a water bottle. And their lunch kits come with fun patterns or crazy stickers to give a more personal touch. Plus, Goodbyn is based in Naperville, so you’ll be showing a local company some love.

No more plastic baggies

Itzy Ritzy, another Chicago-based company, has been around for a while now, but that doesn’t make their products any less revolutionary (or genius). Their reusable, BPA-free “Snack and Everything” bags take the place of those landfill-bound plastic baggies, and they’re super-cute, too. Just try not to fall in love with the smiley jellyfish in the “Under the Sea” pattern. Yeah, not possible.

Personalize this

Your son’s lunchbox is identical to three other kids’? We feel your pain. Make things a little more personal with the Personal Creations Bitty Bites Good Lunch Boxes, which come in three darling designs. These stackable, compartmentalized boxes keep foods separate – and prevent the dreaded smushed sammie problem. Plus, you can personalize up to 15 characters, just in case he’s one of four Aidens.

Tricky treats

You can admit it: your kids don’t eat enough vegetables. We’re all about these sneaky ways of upping their veggie intake that still taste like foods they love. Bitsy’s Brainfoods crams a half-serving of organic vegetables into their Smart Crackers, which come in yummy flavors like Cheddar Chia Veggie, Maple Carrot Crisp and Sweet Potato Cinna-Graham. Or if the kiddos like those handy yogurt pouches, Stonyfield Organic’s Whole Milk Yogurt Pouches combine healthy veggies like spinach and beet with other flavors kids will crave.

Tooty fruity

File this under: “Things we never knew we needed.” Fruit isn’t always an easy sell for little palates, but maybe they’ll be convinced when they discover Lil Snappers, fruit sized especially for them. These 3-pound bags of kid-size fruit come in apples, citrus and pears, or you can mix it up and literally compare apples and oranges. Best of all, they’re available at Jewel stores across Chicagoland!

Drink it up

We’re always on the lookout for healthy juices that aren’t full of fake flavors. We’re digging Robinson’s Fruit Shoot, a British mainstay for the past 100+ years that recently made the trip across the pond. They’re all made with real fruit juice from concentrate (and no high-fructose corn syrup). Parents will appreciate the no-sugar-added option, while kids will like the re-sealable sports cap that are perfect for when they’re on-the-go (honestly, when are they not?).

No junk allowed

Everyone knows the perfect lunch includes at least one sweet treat – including Otis Spunkmeyer. The trusted snackmaker has a new “No Funky Stuff” promise, which means their cookies, mini-muffins and snack cakes don’t contain artificial colors or flavors, not to mention partially hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup. That causes them to have a shorter shelf life – but don’t worry, your kids will gobble them up so quickly, it won’t even be a problem.

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