Thursday, August 8, 2013

Packing Lunch :: Simple, Nutritious & Cost Effective {And a KROGER Gift Card Giveaway CLOSED}

Each year I put together some sort of lunch packing post at the start of the school year to share my ideas about  lunch-packing.  You can check out my favorite posts here and here.  This year my back to school lunch packing post is sponsored by Kroger.  Even though it's a sponsored post I'd like to point out that all of the thoughts & opinions are my own.  I am excited to be partnering with Kroger for their Back to School Lunch Campaign, and they are also hosting a Pinterest contest in which I'm taking part where they are looking for the most Trade-Worthy School Lunch.  I'd love it if you'd re-pin my post!  I'm up for a chance to win $250!  That's a lot of school lunch supplies and food right there!  I hope this post helps give you some ideas for lunch packing! 

First, a few comments about the way I pack lunches.  My kids tend to eat more of their lunch when I present it as finger foods.  I like to spruce up their lunches just a bit with cupcake toppers, food picks, cloth napkins, plastic cupcake liners, and the like.  I don't go all out for their lunches (ahem, I'm packing four lunches at a time!), but I do like to try to make them fun & cute.  The kids really get excited about that, and I hope that when they are excited about it that they are more apt to eat a good lunch!  I should also point out that my kids are picky.  I work around it and do my best to get them to try new foods, but the fact of the matter is they are PICKY!  Also, as you'll notice in these pictures, I tend to use the same fruits and veggies several days in a row to make sure we use them all up before they go bad.  A bag of carrots or a box of strawberries can go a long way when chopped up for little fingers and added to a school lunch!  I focused this post on school lunches, since school starts next week...but I'd like to point out that packing lunch isn't just for kids!  My husband often takes a packed lunch to work, and when I was working I loved to pack as well, so even though I designed these lunches for my picky little ones, you might like what you see and want to pack yourself a snacky sort of lunch!

Here's what I purchased at Kroger for the Back to School Lunch Campaign post:



Crackers $1.39 ~ Peanut Butter $2.79 ~ Sliced Cheese $1.88 ~ Cream Cheese $2.39 ~ Garbanzo Beans (for Hummus) $1.00 ~ String Cheese $4.69 ~ Salami $2.99 ~ Simple Truth Sweet & Salty Mix $3.99 ~ Blueberries $1.67 ~ Strawberries $2.99 ~ Grapes $3.31 ~ Basil $1.99 ~ Carrots $.69 ~ Pita $.99 ~ Wheat Bread $2.99 ~ Pretzels $1.64 ~ Go Go Squeez $2.49 
GRAND TOTAL :: $39.88  

$40 might seem like a lot for lunches for three days, but keep in mind, the Back to School Lunch Campaign entails me coming up with three lunches to share with you guys, but as you know, I'm packing for four kids.  I'd also like to point out that I had plenty of leftovers from these groceries to add to a few more days of lunches!  There was plenty of string cheese, berries, grapes, carrots, hummus & pita, peanut butter and crackers to go into other lunches, so I feel like this was a great deal!  And had I been a better coupon clipper, and bought a few more Kroger brand items I would have saved even more!  I am better at concentrating on finding deals when I'm not shopping with four kids, so hopefully once school starts I'll be better at hunting down the deals!  Thankfully they have all of their coupons online at this site, so that's helpful!  I get so much bang for my buck at Kroger!

Here are my lunches:
  Hummus with Pretzels, Carrots & Pita for dipping, mini Fruit Kabobs, Sweet & Salty Trail Mix, Cheese Stick and water to drink.  

Peanut Butter "Star" Sandwich, Pretzel Twists (Sam LOVES the Kroger Honey Pretzel Twists!), Trail Mix, Carrot Sticks, Cheese Stick and Berry/Grape Mix with water to drink (always water).

Salami Rolls with Cream Cheese, Colby Cheese stars, Crackers, GoGo Squeez, Fruit Medley and Carrot Sticks with water to drink.



Lunch packing supplies ::  I use Easy Lunchboxes for all lunch-packing, including my husband's.  They are GREAT.  And I always pack a cloth napkin in the lunches.  You can find my EASY cloth napkin tutorial here.  I have a million water bottles around here, but we've found that the Thermos bottles work best for the boys, Ella likes the metal bottles. Another lunch packing tip is to get the kids involved.  Have them make sandwiches, wash fruit, fill water bottles and other jobs to make your task of lunch-packing easier!


*** GIVEAWAY ***
This giveaway is now CLOSED :: Congrats to
Anonymous Veronica Cain, who said...
I am the lunch packer in our house. The little one doesn't do lunches yet but Brendan and I do! I love using the divided easy lunchboxes! They are awesome. I am not very creative with packing lunches but I really like the idea of the cupcake liners for little snacks! I also love hummus on our sandwiches in place of other unhealthy condiments.
Veronica, you won the Kroger gift card!  Be sure to email me within 24 hours to claim your prize or another name will be drawn!  Katie(at)Cards-by-Katie.com
To get you even more excited about shopping at Kroger for all of your lunch-packing needs, they are giving a $25 Kroger Gift Card to one lucky reader!



One winner will be drawn on Friday, August 16 at 2pm using Random.org.  The winner will be announced here on the blog and on The Little Things facebook page.  If you leave an email address I will attempt to contact you.  The winner has 24 hours to respond or another name will be drawn.  Winner must be at least 18 years of age and live in the United States.  Best of luck!  You only need to complete the Mandatory Entry to be entered into the contest, but feel free to enter a few more times using the bonus entries.  LEAVE A SEPARATE COMMENT FOR EACH ENTRY!

  

MANDATORY ENTRY ::


1.  Leave a comment below telling me about lunch-packing at your house...share a recipe, tell me who packs in your family,


BONUS ENTRIES ::


3.  Share this contest and then leave a comment telling me how you spread the word.  If you share via Twitter, please be sure to use @LittleThingsMom.  And if you share via Facebook please tag the little things blog.



4.  Check out "the little things blog" on Facebook, and if you are already a fan of that page, check out my other page to support my arts...the Cards by Katie facebook page.  If you like what you see on these pages feel free to spread the word about them by sharing with your friends. Leave a comment below telling me you did so.  
5.  Follow me on Pinterest and leave a comment below telling me you did so.


Disclaimer :: In exchange for hosting this giveaway I was given a $100 gift card to Kroger, which I can't wait to use to stock up for school lunches!  All opinions above are my own.


91 comments:

Heidi S said...

Lunches are a bit difficult around here. Lunch meat is a big no go. His favorite though is peanut butter and honey sandwiches. I'm the lunch packer in our family

Heidi S said...

Already follow you on Pinterest =)

Heidi S said...

I repinned this on Pinterest

Heidi S said...

Shared this on Facebook

Heidi S said...

I already 'LIKE' both your pages on Facebook =)

phyllis said...

the kids are starting to pack their lunches at my house and it is a great help

phyllis said...

re-pinned trade-worthy

phyllis said...

fan on fb

phyllis said...

following you on pintrest

phyllis said...

shared via fb, twitter, pintrest bc I love it and you!

Melissa said...

Lunches are a must at our house to pack this year. I have two kids in school and one is Diabetic so I need healthy filling lunches so these ideas are great. Their favorite item is the yogurt sticks frozen in the morning (They keep things cold in the bag) I am the lunch packer here.

Melissa Q said...

I like both pages already on Facebook!

Melissa Q said...

Following u on pintrest

Melissa Q said...

Shared on Facebook

Melissa Q said...

Repinned on pintrest

Amy said...

I'm the lunch packer in my house. I use divided ziploc containers and mine look pretty similar to yours. My favorite lunch packing strategy is to also make a little extra pizza on pizza night. My kiddos adore cold pizza in the lunch the next day.

Amy said...

repinned!

Amy said...

I follow you on Pinterest.

Anonymous said...

My boys are grown, but I love the ideas for my grandchildren. They like finger foods too.

Jill Mays
jillcarol@aol.com

Anonymous said...

I repinned on Pinterest.

Jill Mays
jillcarol@aol.com

Anonymous said...

I am a fan on Facebook.

Jill Mays
jillcarol@aol.com

Veronica Cain said...

I am the lunch packer in our house. The little one doesn't do lunches yet but Brendan and I do! I love using the divided easy lunchboxes! They are awesome. I am not very creative with packing lunches but I really like the idea of the cupcake liners for little snacks! I also love hummus on our sandwiches in place of other unhealthy condiments.

Veronica Cain said...

i am a fan of both your pages on facebook!

Veronica Cain said...

I follow you on pinterest!

Veronica Cain said...

Shared on facebook!

Elena said...

I pack lunches for my son. I always add fresh fruits and veggies to his lunch

elena150980@yahoo.com

Elena said...

pinned:

http://pinterest.com/pin/113715959314567863/

elena150980@yahoo.com

Elena said...

Follow you on Pinterest

pinterest.com/elena8

elena150980@yahoo.com

Elena said...

shared:

https://www.facebook.com/elena.istomina.12/posts/491073477650438

elena150980@yahoo.com

JC said...

I pack lunches for kids, usually tuna sandwich, fresh fruit salad and Greek yogurt.

JC said...

http://pinterest.com/pin/177329304051091109/

JC said...

-https://www.facebook.com/tcarolinep/posts/10200536719036598

JC said...

Fan of The little things blog and shared cards by Katie on FB. https://www.facebook.com/tcarolinep/posts/10200536725716765

JC said...

follow you on Pinterest

EasyLunchboxes (Kelly Lester) said...

Thank you for the wonderful shout out for my ELBs Katie!!!

Maureen Gregory said...

I pinned this on Pinterest.
Maureen Gregory

Samantha w said...

I always do the lunch packing, sometimes I do lnchables and sometimes I make it myself
begesw@yahoo.com

samantha w said...

I repinned
http://pinterest.com/pin/560487116095837391/

begesw@yahoo.com

samantha w said...

I follow Little Things on facebook
begesw@yahoo.com

samantha w said...

I follow on pinterest
begesw@yahoo.com

Julia Pile said...

Both of my kids pack lunch each day. My daughter loves to have soup or Spaghetti's or really any kind of warm leftover. My son, the picky one, is more into cheese sandwiches. They both get a vegetable and fruit each day too. Thermos work great keeping milk cold.

Julia Pile said...

Just pinned.

Kristen F. said...

We don't do school lunch packing yet. But when we go to the park or zoo we pack our lunches and I love to try to make it fun! Chips, sandwich, snack and a drink!

Kristen F. said...

I follow you on Pinterest!

Michelle said...

Shared on fb!

Michelle said...

Pinned!

Michelle said...

I used to be really great at creative lunches...in preschool. Now I have a fourth grader who is too cool for cute things and says he only has time to eat two things. SO, I pack a pb sandwich and two sides...a fruit and pretzels. This year he also wants a drink so he doesn't have to wait in line. I LOVE your lunches. I'm going to try harder with the younger two this year and maybe convert the fourth grader ;)

Julia Pile said...

Just tweeted @juliepile

Kellie said...

My husband packs the kids' lunches, which are typically sandwiches and fruit. We could definitely use variety though.

Julia Pile said...

Just shared on FB

Julia Pile said...

Already follow on Pinterest

Kellie said...

I follow "The Little Things" and "Cards by Katie."

Kellie said...

I follow you on Pinterest.

andy said...

We very often use leftovers to make lunches ... but too often I find myself scrambling in the morning, having forgotten to do it the night before. :(

Weeyah Essie said...

I make lunch for my preschooler. He's a big eater, but kind of picky at times. I usually stick with a sandwich of some sort and then vary the sides from day to day.

andy said...

Also pinned on pinterest.

rzg123 said...

Thank you for the ideas, kindergarten will be starting in less than 2 weeks so I'm frantically searching for lunch ideas!

rzg123 said...

I'm following via FB

rzg123 said...

I'm following on pinterest

rzg123 said...

I have repinned via pinterest

Patricia Carpenter said...

I am the lunch packer at our house. I always make "cute" lunches. I cut out the sandwiches and fruit with cookie cutters. My kids favorite recipe is plain popcorn with butter & cinnamon sugar.

Brandylsquared said...

My husband and I sharing the packing duties. We do salami rolls, fresh fruit, and crackers. Leftovers are great, since my sone is in daycare and they can heat them up.

Jennifer O. said...

I pack lunches and snack every day for three kids, grades 5 through 1. It is a challenge as the year progress to keep the lunches new and exciting. Leftover grilled or roasted chicken gives us a lot of different options. thanks.

Michelle Meiners said...

Lunches are just now starting to be packed here with one in Kindergarten and one in preschool. :)

Michelle Meiners said...

Re-pin it! :)

Michelle Meiners said...

Shared via email with friends :)

Michelle Meiners said...

Already liked both your FB pages! Have gotten some of your beautiful cards before. :)

Michelle Meiners said...

Following you on Pinterest now.

Sara Jackson said...

THIS. IS. AWESOME! I am so inspired after reading this post. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Anonymous said...

shared on FB. Cold lunches are fine, but I prefer cooked meals that can be eaten cold (i.e., potato omelette; chicken croquettes, tuna empanadas, chicken or veggie quesadillas....) He is not a sandwich or finger food child. This means I have to prepare them the day before or use left-over from previous dinner.

LAMusing said...

No lunch packing at our house, but I loved when I was a kid and my mom packed m a chicken leg instead of a soggy sandwich. And she always put in fresh fruit which I loved.
adrianecoros(at)gmail(dot)com

LAMusing said...

I follow you on Pinterest as LAMusing
adrianecoros(at)gmail(dot)com

LAMusing said...

tweeted! https://twitter.com/LAMusing/status/367566278069727232
adrianecoros(at)gmail(dot)com

Jenn Clinton said...

make lunches still for my high school boys, so cute won't fly but seeing other non sandwich ideas is awesome!

Fairlight said...

I pack my four year old's lunch that gets sent with him the babysitter everyday. He's a picky eater and also loves finger food. He LOVES Lunchables but since we try to eat mostly natural and organic, I make my own version with Hormel no-nitrate lunch meat, organic cheese, and organic wheat crackers. That also allows me to sub out the cookie/candy for fresh fruit!

Fairlight said...

I like the blog page on FB.

Fairlight said...

I follow you on Pinterest.

kolpin said...

we share the packing duties...it goes much faster this way!

kolpin4680 at gmail dot com

kolpin said...

i repinned
http://pinterest.com/pin/390898442627807100/

kolpin said...

i shared on twitter
https://twitter.com/kolpin4680/status/368006502528720897

kolpin said...

i like both FB pages as daniel budsy

Carlyn Parker said...

I pack lunch for my kindergartener and snack for my preschooler. I try to make cute sandwiches, fruit, and homemade granola bars. I love the ideas you share!

CarlynParker said...

Re-pined!
Carlynb@hotmail.com

Alex H said...

I pack the lunches and PBJ is a favorite!!

Alex H said...

I like the little things blog on FB!

Christy said...

My darling husband packs the kids lunches in the morning. My daughter eats turkey, my son prefers ham sandwiches. We try to include either Babybel cheese or cheese sticks and Sunny D to wash it down!

Christy said...

I now follow you on Pinterest!

Christy said...

I pinned the link to your contest and blog on Pinterest.

Jennifer Pugh said...

We really don't pack lunches I make them eat school lunches for the variety of different foods!!!

Lisa middendorf said...

My son started packing his lunch this year! I love it! I pack my daughters, and it's usually a sandwich with fruit and veggie.

Lisa Middendorf said...

Repinned your post