Back-to-School Tips for Making Bag Lunches More Fun

By Justin Chapple Posted July 26, 2016

From star-shaped sandwiches to DIY ice packs, here are 4 brilliant ideas for making school lunches a little more exciting.

Just in time for back-to-school, I stopped by NBC's Today Show to teach Tamron Hall and Al Roker some brilliant ideas for making school lunches a little more exciting. From star-shaped sandwiches to DIY ice packs, I've got you covered with these smart tips.

1. Shape up those sandwiches.
You can transform ordinary sandwiches—think ham and cheese, almond butter and jelly, or cheese alone—into fun shapes, like stars and hearts. Just prepare the sandwiches as usual and then cut them into shapes using large cookie cutters.

2. Think outside the (lunch)box.
Just because it's a school lunch doesn't mean it has to be boring. Think outside the (lunch)box and use lightweight plastic jars to serve fun new foods.

Here are some ideas:

Yogurt parfaits: Spoon yogurt into small plastic jars and top with granola and blueberries, then freeze overnight. The yogurt will stay cold throughout the morning and thaw just in time for lunch.

Salads: Layer your child's favorite veggies along with lettuce in a plastic jar that has a built-in dressing container. Fill the leak-proof dressing cup with their favorite salad dressing, that way they can drizzle it on top during lunch.

Veggie dippers: Add hummus to the bottom of a plastic jar and top with carrot sticks, grape tomatoes, cucumber spears and celery sticks.

3. Send along a secret message.
Take those inspirational lunchtime notes to the next level. Using the tip of a push pin, score a message into a yellow banana. By lunchtime, the carving will oxidize, revealing the secret message.

4. Make a DIY ice pack.
Submerge a clean kitchen sponge in water and then transfer to a resealable sandwich bag. Press out the excess air and seal the bag, then freeze the sponge overnight. Pack the frozen sponge in the lunchbox on hot days to keep the temperature down; plus, it can be used to clean up dirty hands or any unintended messes on the table.

Related: School Lunch, Reinvented
Back-to-School Granola Bars
Mad Genius Tips

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