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How To Pack The Best Lunch Ever

Anatomy of A Safe School Lunch

When it comes to packed lunches, there’s a lot that can go wrong. Soggy sandwiches, crushed chips, and warm cheeses can quickly ruin a lunchtime experience. And aside from just being a bummer, a packed lunch fiasco can even be unsafe! If refrigerated foods aren’t kept cold enough in your lunch bag, they can move into a temperature range that promotes bacterial growth. Yuck!

But packing a lunch that is both safe and delicious is a breeze if you follow a few simple steps!

Anatomy of A Safe School Lunch

My first rule of thumb for a packed lunch is to freeze what you can. A homemade smoothie, a juice box, fruit cocktail, or yogurt can all be frozen to help keep your lunch cold, and should thaw out just in time for lunch!

Read More: Lunch Box Smoothies, Homemade Frozen Fruit Cocktail Cups, Homemade Breakfast Pops

That leads us to the first step of packing your lunchbox…

Anatomy of A Safe School Lunch

Layer 1 – Frozen Item

A frozen juice pouch or box works great, but you could use an ice pack instead if you prefer.

Anatomy of A Safe School Lunch

Layer 2 – Refrigerated Entree and Sides

Next, place your sandwich or entree on top of your frozen item of choice. Place your sides (like a fruit cup, veggies, string cheese, etc.) next to the entree.

Anatomy of A Safe School Lunch

Layer 3 – Another Frozen Item

Place an ice pack or other frozen item on top of the second layer. Your refrigerated items are now “sandwiched” in between a layer of frozen items to help keep them cool until lunch time!

Anatomy of A Safe School Lunch

Layer 4 – Non-Refrigerated Items

Finally, stack your items that don’t need to be kept cool on top. This could include crackers, fruit snacks, chips, or whatever.

Here’s a cross-section view of the layers, just for added clarity…

Anatomy of A Safe School Lunch

Now that you know the method to use for packing up your lunch box, all that’s left to do is decide exactly what you’re going to pack!

Here are a few links to tasty lunchbox-friendly recipes to help get you inspired (and maybe a bit hungry!)

Lunchbox Recipes and Ideas

Anatomy of A Safe School Lunch

Mini Corndog Muffins

from One Good Thing by Jillee

Anatomy of A Safe School Lunch

Bunny-Shaped Quesadilla Wrap

from Good Housekeeping

Anatomy of A Safe School Lunch

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burritos

from Hungry Happens

Anatomy of A Safe School Lunch

Rainbow Vegetable Spring Rolls

from The Kitchn

Anatomy of A Safe School Lunch

Lunchbox Pizza Quesadilla

from Food.com

Anatomy of A Safe School Lunch

Ladybug Pasta Lunch

from Momables

Anatomy of A Safe School Lunch

Spinach & Bacon Mini Quiches

from Laura Fuentes

Anatomy of A Safe School Lunch

Peanut Butter Banana Wraps

from So How’s It Taste

Anatomy of A Safe School Lunch

Healthy Buffalo Chicken Wrap

from The Creative Bite

Anatomy of A Safe School Lunch

Teriyaki Chicken Lunch Bowls

from Momables

Anatomy of A Safe School Lunch

Homemade “Hot Pockets”

from Happy Money Saver

Anatomy of A Safe School Lunch

Pizza Buns

from Simple as That

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Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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  • I just love all your ideas an crafts, keep it up…….us crafter’s are always looking for easy things to do for Holidays!! Thanks, for sharing…!!! Thanks! VGGENT******

  • Great ideas. These ideas are also great for folks like me who when I’m working pack my lunch. I could buy stuff from our deli at work, but it’s kind of expensive to buy stuff. I needed some more lunch ideas.

  • I am a teacher and know that frozen juice boxes don’t thaw out by lunch time, making it necessary to cut the top off and give the child a plastic spoon to eat the frozen juice. A freezer pack is the best option.

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