September 27, 2016

5 Tips for Packing Fruit in Lunchboxes

My kids are fruit fanatics. They love having fruit in their lunch boxes and for snack time. Of course I am happy to oblige but I do run into snafus now and then. Sometimes the fruit they want is out of season. Other times I have to pack fruit creatively so it doesn’t bruise or wither. It isn’t always easy to keep fruit safely contained in a lunchbox! Here are five of my favorite tips for packing fruit for school this season. Please share yours!

Packing Fruit in Lunchboxes | The Naptime Chef

1) Mix it up! – There is nothing worse than finding uneaten fruit that has made the return trip to your kitchen. My daughter used to do this when she said I packed “too many” of the same berry. My solution – making a berry “salad” and using a few of each variety to mix it up. Since I often use frozen fruit for this I am never worried about buying too many or too few of one thing. I also like to add coconut chips, toasted oats, and even whole grain cereals. It is a nice way to eat fruit and keep it healthy.

Packing Fruit in Lunchboxes | The Naptime Chef

2) Contain it Well – The trickiest part about packing fruit, I think, is the container. Plastic bags are terrible for the environment. Plus, they get super slimey and are no fun to eat out of once they’ve contained fruit. I invest in a few snap lid containers and a slender ice pack for our fruits. Even a solid apple! Packing fruit in these means it won’t come into contact with anything else in the lunchbox. It is also easy to clean at home.

Yogurt & Fruit Sundaes | The Naptime Chef

3) Use Frozen Fruit – When fruit is out of season turn to the frozen variety and everyone wins. For example, we love Cascadian Farm organic frozen strawberries and peach slices. They taste like they were just freshly picked on the farm and are far better than anything I can scrounge up in the store mid-winter. Since frozen fruit can get soggy when it is thawed I usually pack it in a yogurt sundae or on a bed of granola to absorb the moisture. It tastes amazing this way!

Packing Fruit in Lunchboxes | The Naptime Chef

4) Skewer It – A friend of mine once made fruit “wands” for a birthday party and my daughter was enchanted. She couldn’t get over the neat pattern of fruit and begged me to make them. Now we make them all the time and I even get her in on the assembly. A simple skewer can give a whole new life to fruit chunks in the eyes of children. If you are worried about the sharp tip simply snip it off before sending to school.

Packing Fruit in Lunchboxes | The Naptime Chef

5) Make a Smoothie – When in doubt about whether a fruit, or group of fruits, is going to survive bouncing around in a lunchbag make a smooth. A quick whiz in the blender and you are all set. Fruit smoothies are super tasty and are much more resilient than solid fruit, especially if you have a stainless steel thermos!

(Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Cascadian Farm as part of our ongoing partnership. The photographs and opinions are wholly my own. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that support The Naptime Chef.)