With all the conflicting health news, new research, marketing, and propaganda, it’s sometimes difficult to know what the right things to feed your kids are. That’s why I love the simple message of the US dietary guidelines. The Choose MyPlate icon was designed to reflect these guidelines for healthy eating and make them easy to follow. They are listed below:
The food philosophy in our house is similar. The dietary guidelines we live by are:
- Eat from every food group, each day- before you eat any treats.
- Only drink water and homemade juices.
- Pack your own lunch- but it must include an item from each food group.
- Make it homemade! We love our treats, but we don’t purchase them made in a factory. Homemade cookies, homemade candies, and especially homemade meals.
- Always make half your meals fruits and veggies. For example, If you want a second helping of a roll, you must first eat two servings of vegetables.
So, with the dietary guidelines in mind, and the charge to make half our meal fruits and vegetables, eat whole grains, and control portions, we know exactly what to do to pack a lunch. The new lunch boxes these days make it so easy to follow these guidelines. Without them, my kids would literally throw a sandwich in a brown bag and leave for school. Using the containers though help them to see they not only need a little more food, but they need the right food! And as long as you actually use the compartments to make sure your kids are taking their fruits and vegetables (rather than throwing in an extra dinner roll along with their sandwich), then you can be sure they are eating a balanced lunch!
So, these are the boxes we currently own:
This is the lunch box we use the most often! I love it because it’s inexpensive enough that I don’t freak out when my kids lose it. I love that there are only three compartments. With some of the other boxes, we just don’t send enough to school to fill every compartment. I love how the lid fits to contain the compartments, especially if we send something like a dip. Best price of the boxes: Set of 4 for $13.95
Ziploc also sells a container with the same dividers. Sometimes they are hard to find (probably easier in September). They are about the same price as the Easy Lunch Boxes, you get two for $5.14, but they are a bit flimsier.
We love this one because it fits so perfectly in the cupboard. The entire “box” collapses so you can store them without having it take up too much space. My kids like it because after lunch (if they’ve eaten all their food), it can collapse and fit easily into their backpacks. Again, like the Easy Lunch Box, I like that it only has three compartments. It also comes with a fork inside the lid so you can eat pasta salad and other foods that require a fork.
Great price too: $14.99
The little containers inside a Laptop Lunch Box come with their own lids! Love this for runny things like canned pineapple. I love the two bigger compartments and the two smaller ones, plus the little side part for silverware. Price on this one: $23.95. Not too bad if you can be sure your kids will bring it home!
These are the boxes that we love the concept, but don’t own any of them:
This is the only one I don’t own, but if I did, I’m sure I’d love it! I see people posting these all over the web, and each time I have a twinge of jealousy. I just haven’t justified forking out the money, when we own the other lunch boxes. This looks like a great eco-friendly option. But maybe I don’t have one because of the cost- YIKES!! $59.95!
I’m so in love with this one! (Don’t own this one either). But it has compartments for each food group! Clearly, I need this one! And, it’s only $12.49!!
And for a smaller meal, closer to what the Japanese would actually pack in their lunch, they use little bento boxes. I love the way this one has the compartments as well though. I’m also pretty sure my daughter would like this for the pink flowers! (List price $16.49)
So there you go- make sure your kids include fruits and vegetables every time they pack a lunch and you can be fairly confident it will be a balanced meal.