Does this surprise you? I use mason jars for everything at my house … from storing craft items to pantry staples and, yes, to sending school lunches.
The large jars work for mama-sized lunches, such as salads, but mostly we use the smaller jam-sized and pint sized jars for the girls. There are two different cover options for mason jars, the white plastic covers, which are easy for them to use, but DO NOT WORK WELL FOR LIQUIDS, and the typical sealing lid/jar tops that do hold liquid in just fine. This is how I would send a smoothie: make it in the morning, pour into a small jar, screw it tight and send it off. At school, they give it a shake (after removing the ice pack next to it), open, and drink. The pint-sized jar is what I use for sending yogurt, berries, and honey. It’s my own version of fruit-on-the bottom yogurt. Remember that gross stuff? Bleh. Put frozen berries on the bottom, whole milk plain yogurt in the middle, and ground nuts/granola and a drizzle of honey on the top. Or, you can put the granola in a separate container and stir in when ready.
The smaller jam-sized jars are more of a single serve option for dips, small chunks of food, or a mini snack of yogurt. You know the magic of dip, right? Dip makes the world go ’round and keeps a smile on the lunch carryin’ kid’s face. Hummus, ranch dressing, sour cream, yogurt, nut butter, mayo, tahini — doesn’t matter what it is — if they have something to dip and something to dip it into, it gets eaten!
We also use nylon bags for dry items or fruit/veggie slices, and other glass Pyrex containers.
With the exception of the BPA-free plastic containers that came with the lunch bags we purchased at the start of this school year, we no longer have any plastic storage for food. AND, you might be curious to know that in the five years of packing lunches, we’ve only seen one glass jar break in the lunch bag, which needed a rush replacement brought up to school.
I send along a cloth napkin, an ice pack, a water bottle, and a spoon or fork, if necessary depending upon the day’s menu.
When it comes to things like packing produce, I have found things are more likely to get eaten if they are peeled and sliced versus the whole apple or unpeeled orange. These little critters get so little time to actually eat their lunches, it helps to have everything ready to go so they can dive in and fill their bellies.