OK. So it's nearly summertime - but how do you keep food cool while it's sitting in a school bag all day? No-one wants warm ham or yoghurt for lunch (yikes!), so here's a whole heap of simple things I do with the kids' lunches. I'd love to hear your ideas too! Please add them in the comments below.
- Pop home-baking like muffins & scones in the lunchbox straight from the freezer. They thaw by morning tea time in the summer. (I always make big batches of muffins and store them in the freezer, same with bliss balls). The baking itself doesn't need to be kept cool for any food safety reasons but they act as great little edible 'ice packs'!
- Freeze yoghurt in cute shaped silicone moulds
overnight, then pop them in a leakproof container in the lunchbox. Or you could just freeze the whole yoghurt in its pot! If you have a leakproof box, pour the yoghurt (or fruit puree) into one of the compartments and pop some frozen berries on the top to keep it cool.
- Fill reusable Kai Carrier food pouches or iceblock pouches
with yoghurt, smoothie mix, stewed apple etc and store them in the freezer. Pack them next to the lunchbox to keep it nice and cool while they thaw. If you use store-bought pouches like The Collective's yoghurt Suckies, store them in the freezer too.
- Freeze a filled water bottle overnight and pack that next to the lunchbox. Remember not to fill it right to the top as water expands when it freezes! Or, if you have a wide-necked water bottle, throw in a handful of ice cubes just before you pack the drink.
- If I'm making a plain sandwich (rather than a fancy one with a shaped cutter), I actually make it in the morning with frozen bread! (We always keep our bread in the freezer). I wouldn't recommend making filled sandwiches the night before and freezing them though. They'll just end up as one big soggy mess by lunchtime. Bleugh!
- Don't forget that insulated food jars are not just for winter! Our Thermos and Montii food jars
are great for keeping yoghurt & salads cool and fresh too.
- Use an insulated lunch bag
to keep everything cool. We have a huge varierty of lunch bags to suit all sizes of lunchbox, with extra ice packs and cooler pads available too.
If you have any more great ideas, let us know!