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25 Totally Clever Lunch-Packing Tips & Tricks

Packing school lunches can be a breeze or a total nightmare. While it’s not a difficult task, it’s usually the last thing on my mind in the middle of the morning rush. Start by making a lunch station in the fridge, so half the lunch is already made a week in advance. Cut costs by using a frozen sponge in a baggie to keep lunch cool- it will absorb the excess water and works for lunch clean up. Packing lunches can really be a cinch if you know these 25 Totally Clever Lunch-Packing Tips & Tricks…

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  • Help From the Kids 1 of 25
    Help From the Kids
    Make a magnetic lunch chart to involve the kids in choosing what they want to eat for lunch.
    Check it out at Martha Stewart.
  • Milk Jug Lunch Box 2 of 25
    Milk Jug Lunch Box
    Turn an empty milk jug into a reusable lunch box.
    Check it out at Life Hacker.
  • Pre-Pack Cold Lunches 3 of 25
    Pre-Pack Cold Lunches
    Before the next school week starts, spend some time pre-packing the refrigerated part of their lunches for the week.
    Check it out at Delightful Order.
  • Cookie Cutter Lunches 4 of 25
    Cookie Cutter Lunches
    Make lunch more fun by making shapes out of sandwiches and fruit with cookie cutters.
    Buy this set for $14.93 at Amazon.
  • Pencil Box Lunch Box 5 of 25
    Pencil Box Lunch Box
    Instead of running out to get a lunch box, reuse a pencil box. They can be the perfect size.
    Find out more at Merry B Events.
  • Sew a Snack Bag 6 of 25
    Sew a Snack Bag
    This saves money on buying plastic baggies all the time and is easy to clean.
    Get the tutorial at Prudent Baby.
  • Toothbrush Holder For… 7 of 25
    Toothbrush Holder For...
    Utensil carrying case, or you can by this utensil case.
    Buy utensils and case for $9.50 at PB Teen.
  • Keeping it Contained 8 of 25
    Keeping it Contained
    No kid wants to carry around a bunch of containers and you don't want to waste money on plastic bags, so get a container with dividers.
    Buy it for $12.50 at Pottery Barn.
  • Keep Lunch Foods Separated 9 of 25
    Keep Lunch Foods Separated
    It will be easier to buy and gauge if you're running out of lunch foods when they are separated from everything else in the fridge.
    Find out more ati Heart Organizing.
  • Picking Themes 10 of 25
    Picking Themes
    Keep lunch exciting by having kids come up with themes to base their lunch off of each day or week.
    Photo via Lisa Storms.
  • Napkin Notes 11 of 25
    Napkin Notes
    Use napkins as your surface for writing cute messages to the kids.
    Find out more at Happy Clippings.
  • Snack Station 12 of 25
    Snack Station
    Create a snack station with pre-bagged snacks for the kids to grab from and for you to easily use when prepping lunch.
    Check it out at Apartment Therapy.
  • Printable Lunch Planners 13 of 25
    Printable Lunch Planners
    In order to make grocery shopping a packing lunches a heck of a lot easier, sit with the kids and write up a lunch box plan.
    Check it out at A Little Delightful.
  • Cupcake Liner Dividers 14 of 25
    Cupcake Liner Dividers
    Use cupcake liners to keep their food divided in their lunchbox.
    Check it out at Honey N Fizz.
  • Give Perfect Portions 15 of 25
    Give Perfect Portions
    It's much easier to gauge how much your kid has been eating when you can measure it by these perfect portion containers.
    Buy the kit for $24 at Land of Nod.
  • Clip It 16 of 25
    Clip It
    This lunch box easily clips right to their backpacks so you don't have to worry about them losing it.
    Buy it for $14 at Land of Nod.
  • Add a Joke or Two 17 of 25
    Add a Joke or Two
    Change up the "I love you" lunch notes to the kids by throwing in some unexpected jokes and puzzles.
    Get the free printable at All for the Boys.
  • Ice Pack Alternative 18 of 25
    Ice Pack Alternative
    Use a sponge as an ice pack alternative. Place a frozen sponge in a plastic bag and as it thaws it will absorb the water. It's a great way for them to clean up the messy table they leave behind.
    Find out more at Lifehacker.
  • Save Space 19 of 25
    Save Space
    Fill a thermos with food to give you an extra food compartment in their lunchbox.
    Find out more at Hjem.
  • Travel Size Hand Sanitizer 20 of 25
    Travel Size Hand Sanitizer
    Fit a small package of sanitizing wipes or all natural sanitizing spray to remind your kids to keep their hands clean.
    Buy it for $7.99 at Clean Well Today.
  • Butterfly Snacks 21 of 25
    Butterfly Snacks
    Decorate clothespins to look like butterflies and clip the middle of the snack bag.
    Check it out at Edible Crafts.
  • Staying Healthy With Tempered Glass 22 of 25
    Staying Healthy With Tempered Glass
    Serve your kids food in safe and environmentally friendly containers.
    Buy them for $17.99 at Wean Green.
  • Save With Cloth Napkins 23 of 25
    Save With Cloth Napkins
    Sew some cloth napkins to use in their lunches and cut costs.
    Get the tutorial at Prudent Baby.
  • Keeping Cool 24 of 25
    Keeping Cool
    Instead of using an ice pack, place a juice box in the freezer the night before and it will keep the lunch cool while thawing by lunch time.
    Photo via Extremely Beautiful.
  • Reusable Chalkboard Clips 25 of 25
    Reusable Chalkboard Clips
    Make a set of reusable chalkboard clips to use in your kid's lunch.
    Check it out at Happy Clippings.

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Jaime Morrison Curtis is author of the bestselling book Prudent Advice: Lessons for My Baby Daughter (A Life List for Every Woman) and founding co-editor at Prudent Baby, the premier DIY destination for crafty moms seeking ways to make their lives even more stylish and beautiful.

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