School is out for us next week, but for some odd reason, I'm choosing today to share our school lunch containers. It's so you can be ultra-prepared for next fall, right? Right. I'm just excited because I've finally figured out a good solution for us, because I've been searching for a very long time.
We used to use plastic reusable containers. I felt good that they were reusable, but I'd cringe every time I pulled that cloudy plastic from the dishwasher. I wanted something stainless steel or glass—but thick glass, for safety—and something that would fit in our recently purchased lunch bags with our old-but-still-perfectly-usable water bottles. Oh, and something that would hold half a sandwich and fruit/veggies separately, with a lid easy for kids to open and close. That was a tall order to fill.
The idea for using canning jars came to me almost a year ago. The wide mouth half pint jars were almost exactly the same size as the plastic containers we were using. But the two piece metal lids were both a pain to store and clean and unsafe for little fingers. So when I discovered these one-piece plastic screw on lids, I had what I needed to make the canning jars work.
I bought a few and we tested them out. They were the right size for us, and fit all my criteria. They also had a bonus point—they'd work in the classroom microwaves so I could send leftovers for variety. (The kids have been instructed that the lids do not go in the microwave!)
I wasn't too worried about them breaking, because the glass is sturdy and thick. But two in the same lunch bag would clink together on the walk to school, and I worried that the repeated agitation would be rough on the glass. So I looked through the entire kitchen for ideas. I measured the containers and found they were the same size as the wells in my jumbo muffin tin. Off to Amazon I went in search of jumbo silicone muffin cups. I found them right away, and as soon as they arrived, I tested them out. They worked just as I had hoped.
They protect the glass from bumping, make a non-slip gripper for the kids, and protect the containers in case of falls.
The perfect solution.
This system should work for as long as the kids need just half a sandwich and some fruit for lunch. Should be a few more years—but by then, they'll have outgrown the lunch bags and the water bottles, so we'll need a new system anyway. And I can reuse the jars for home food storage, or—gasp—canning.
What kind of lunch system do you use?
What do you love about it?