5 Tips to Simplify your Lunch Box Routine and Printable

Last year I created a fun printable to give you ideas of what to pack in your (or your kids) lunch box. You can find it along with 10 Tips to De-Stress your Lunch Box. It is a great list but it’s a big list. If you found yourself overwhelmed at all of the choices I’ve got a great solution for you.


This year my mission is to simplify. I’ve created a NEW printable that gives fewer choices but makes lunch packing even easier.

I was inspired by the EasyLunchboxes I’ve been using. Rest assured, even if you aren’t using bento-style containers you can still benefit by simplifying your lunch packing routine. Get your Free Printable of the 2014 Lunch Box Guide!

The Plant-Based Lunch Box Guide for 2014

5 Tips to Simplify your Lunch Box Routine

1. Pack your Lunch the Night Before.

Why spend 15 minutes in the morning packing a lunch when you can pack it the night before. Even better, pack several days worth of lunches on Sunday night.

2. Make a Lunch Menu for the week.

Do your kids debate about what they are taking in the lunch. Sit down on Friday night and talk about what they want to eat the next week in their lunch boxes. You will have plenty of time on Saturday to buy any necessary ingredients. Use the New Lunch Box Guide to help with options.

3. Pick your Battles.

Let your child make some of the choices but it’s best if you give them guidelines. For example, tell them they can take a cookie in their lunch but only for two days, the other days they have to choose something else like pretzels or dried fruit.

4. Keep it Cool.

Consider when your child will be eating. Most schools begin lunch near 11:00 with kindergartners. Lunch progresses until the oldest kids get to have lunch. This has been as late at 12:30 for some of my kids. Make sure you pack foods that will taste good at room temperature or slightly cool if you are using an ice pack.

5. Label Everything.

My son has already lost his lunch box(es) multiple times this year. We have his main lunch box and two back ups. He is getting better now that we are a few weeks into school but having his first and last name on his lunch box is really important. Also, remember to label any water bottles or other items that may be separated during lunch time. I’m very familiar with our schools “Lost and Found” cabinet.

Don’t forget to print of the 2014 Lunch Box Guide! We like to hang it on the inside of our cupboard but you could also put it on the refrigerator or in your pantry. If you need more options check out last years guide.

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Plant-Based Tostadas

Raise your hands if you love a good Tostada!

Plant-Based Tostadas are a fun and easy meal idea. Kids love tostadas and they are healthy too.


Plant-Based Tostadas

I rediscovered the Tostada when we learned my son had a wheat/gluten allergy. Tostadas are made with corn tortillas (but always read your labels) so they were safe for him.

Tostadas are:

  • Easy to make
  • Customizable
  • Allergy-friendly
  • Inexpensive
  • Delicious
  • Kid’s love them

pinterest tostada



  • Soft Corn Tortillas (or buy the crispy tostada tortillas)
  • Unfried Pinto or Unfried Black Beans (store-bought refried beans can be used but read the label)
  • Shredded Lettuce
  • Dice Tomato
  • Salsa (optional)


  1. If using soft corn tortillas, preheat oven to 350° and place tortillas on cookie sheet (I use parchment paper on my cookie sheet).
  2. Bake tortillas for 15 minutes then remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes until you can handle them. They may not feel crisp but they will get crispier as they cool. Leftover tortillas can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
  3. Spread beans onto tortillas. I prefer the Unfried Black Beans. Top with lettuce, tomato and any other toppings you prefer.


These are great as an afternoon snack but also good for lunch or dinner. If serving as a meal I highly recommend making Mexican Rice. Tostadas are so simple that many kids could assemble them without much help and would be a fun party food.

How do you top your tostadas?

10 Tips to De-Stress Your Lunchbox (plus a printer-friendly guide)

Do you struggle with packing your child’s lunch every day? I’ve eliminated the guess-work and created this handy-dandy guide for you. You (or your child) can pick an item from each column. You may want to mix and match your favorite combinations.

You are welcome!


I also have a FREE Printer-Friendly PDF version available for you HERE!

10 Tips to De-Stress Your Lunchbox

  1. Pack everything they need like napkins or utensils so they do not waste time waiting for assistance.
  2. Cut up fruit and veggies to make them easier to eat.
  3. Invest in quality lunch containers.
  4. Don’t pack too much food.
  5. Let your child help pack the lunch by giving choices, “pick one item from each column”
  6. Freeze items that need to be kept cold; they will defrost throughout the day. Use ice packs as needed.
  7. Prepackage things like sliced veggies or popcorn so they can easily be added to the lunchbox.
  8. Make sure the meal isn’t too messy. No Build Your Own Pizza on picture day.
  9. Peanut Butter (or Sunflower seed butter) and jelly is always a good standby.
  10. Buy rolls or mini loaves of bread to make sub style sandwiches with veggies.

The PDF has a few recommendations as to how to use the Lunchbox Guide as well. I have mine hanging inside my kitchen cupboard door. It’s easy to reference but not visible unless you open the cabinet (that tip is just a freebie).

It’s your turn! What is your best tip to de-stress the lunch time chaos?


Faux Cheezy Black Bean Quesadillas (Gluten-Free)

backtoschool1 copyGraphics by Melodee Fiske

Looking for something for your kiddos lunch box? Look no further!

quesadillas Forget the boring sandwich and give these babies a try!

Faux Cheezy Black Bean Quesadillas



  1. Spread beans on half of tortilla then add cheese sauce on top of beans.
  2. Fold in half then heat on griddle or in a skillet until brown.
  3. Cut into easy to hold triangles


We Loved these quesadillas! I served them with Mexican spiced quinoa, salsa, guacamole, and coconut milk plain yogurt. They are the perfect size for a lunch box and can be eaten quickly.

lunchbox copyGraphics by Melodee Fiske

What’s in your kid’s lunch box?