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Lunch To Go

I’ve had a few people write in and
ask what solutions I found for providing a preschooler with a meal
she can unpack herself. Because I’m a bit of an eco-conscious
mom, I was looking for an alternative to baggies, while still
finding something my four-year-old can handle on her own.

Here’s what I found.

Maddie’s sandwich solution is the
wrap n
that we’ve been using for a year now.
They’re both a sandwich wrap and a placemat to eat off of.
The wrap is plastic-lined so jelly won’t soak through, and
the plastic is BPA-, phthalate- and lead-free. I heart them in a
big way. Maddie knows how to open up the Velcro closures, and she
can simply bundle it back into the bag when she’s done. We
did try Tupperware-type sandwich holders, but she can’t quite
get a handle on how to open it.

The “other” food in Maddie’s lunch was the real
trick; how do you avoid baggies, keep the food from getting
crushed, and also provide easy-open containers? You know I
can’t live without my Gladware plastic snack rounds, but the
lids are a tight fit and Maddie can’t quite open them without
spilling the contents everywhere.

Fortunately, I found a solution at the Container Store. Of course.
They’re called Klip-It food storage containers, and two sizes
in particular are great. The href="http://www.containerstore.com/browse/Product.jhtml?CATID=74063&PRODID=10021671"
target="_blank">200 ml size
is perfect for small snacks
like goldfish crackers or pretzels or Cheerios, and the href="http://www.containerstore.com/browse/Product.jhtml?CATID=74063&PRODID=10021677"
target="_blank">snack boxes
are excellent for larger items
like fruit or cut-up cheese and ham cubes or whatnot. Maddie can
snap the locks off easily and impresses herself with her skill
every time. And finally, the href="http://www.containerstore.com/browse/Product.jhtml?CATID=74063&PRODID=10021675"
target="_blank">divided Klip-Its
work for a half-sandwich
and, say, some chips or fruit, or some pasta and carrot sticks.
This is one of the best divided pieces I've seen, since most
divided containers have an adjustable partition, which would allow
pickle juice to leak into the strawberry side and guarantee that
niether would get eaten. This collection is also BPA-free, which I
know is a concern to a lot of people.

For drinks, I do love my metal water bottles, but the lid can be a
little tricky for Maddie; she doesn’t always remember to
twist it back closed. And her regular straw water bottle is just a
little too big for her bag. So I found a slightly smaller straw
water bottle in a fun bear shape at Container Store, which alas I
cannot find on their website to link to – sorry! It’s
got a great freezable inset to keep things cold, too. But another
good solution for lunch bags is href="http://www.containerstore.com/browse/Product.jhtml?searchId=22104048&itemIndex=1&CATID=74067&PRODID=10016331"
target="_blank">Rubbermaid's Litterless Juice Box

it’s a good small square size for school lunches, is
BPA-free, and easy to use.

Keep in mind I haven’t had a lot of road testing done on
these things – I may get a week into it and curse how
Maddie’s sandwich crusts get tossed messily around the bag
because she can’t fold the wrap n’ mat back together.
But we’ve used them a fair amount at the pool, and I know
they’re at least possible to be used by a preschooler.
Especially one who has food mixing issues, and thus needs
everything in a separate container.

And hey, it’s a great excuse to head to the Container


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