Sending Hot Lunch to School with Your Child
It occurred to me today that perhaps not everyone has used an insulated container designed to keep food hot (or cold) for several hours. These containers are genius. They allow my children to open up an entire new world of food that can be packaged and carried to school in their lunch boxes.
If you read my earlier post on 5 Quick School Lunch Ideas, you may have noticed that one of my five lunch ideas is in fact leftovers. I love to reheat leftovers and send them along with my kids to eat for lunch. Sending hot food with your child is easy.
First, it saves money. It's always easier to make an extra serving or two of a meal than it is to plan to make a second, completely different meal. Plus, you don't have to spend the cash each and every day on hot lunch, which can add up quick with multiple kids.
Second, I know my kids will like and eat it, and it's good for them. I try to make sure the meals I'm sending to school are ones that my kids will happily eat and enjoy, fueling them for hours of learning after lunch. I judge this based on how well they eat the food at home and also give them a choice in the matter. Just last week my kindergartener requested that I wait a day before I send the evening's meal to school so that he didn't have to eat it two days in a row. I complied, and he happily gobbled it up the next day.
How to Send Hot Lunch in an Insulated Container
1. Start with an insulated container designed to hold food. I love my Thermos brand jars for their wide mouth that makes it easy to fill and eat from, as well as their solid construction. Plus, my kids have had fun picking out their favorite characters at the store, and I've been able to get fantastic deals on them as they clear out last year's characters.
I also own a Klean Kanteen jar, and there are many others to choose from like Reduce and Kids Konserve. A search for "food jars" on Google should help give you an idea of what you're looking for.
2. Once you have a clean container waiting and ready, heat some water. You can go all the way to boiling if you like, but I tend to just aim for anything over 140 or 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Fill the jar with hot water and put the lid in place. Lock the hot water in and let it heat up the metal vessel. Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes as you get the other parts of the lunch together and heat up the food that is going to go in the jar.
4. Dump out the water and fill the jar. When your food is nice and hot, dump the water out of the jar. Place the hot food inside the preheated jar and screw the lid on tight. Be sure not to open it up once it is sealed.
5. Pack in lunch box along with the rest of the food items. The food in the jar will stay warm for hours. Check your specific brand and type of container for more information on how long, and be sure to check out how different containers perform when put to the test.
And you're done! That's all there is to packing a hot lunch for your child to take to school with him. They're perfect for chilly fall days, and they'll be lifesavers during the winter months. Plus, what kid wouldn't want to see mom's homemade macaroni and cheese or a pile of pesto tortellini over the mystery meat they're serving at school?