First up was the containers to put the food items into. I didn't want a million little containers getting lost in my van or at a picnic site....or my cabinets. So I was very excited when I found these lunch cubes at our local BX. They have three sections all divided from one another but self contained, and no lids to lose!
For this day's field trip I packed ham and cheese pinwheels, strawberries, fruit dip, and granola bars for lunch. Drinks are also so important especially if you are going to be at an outdoor activity. We chose these reusable water bottles that fit perfectly in their insulated lunch bags.
We fill the water bottles 3/4 full and then freeze them overnight. This has a double benefit, you get an ice pack to keep your food cold inside the bag and a cold bottle of water at lunch. I also add a second frozen water bottle to the bag if it is a really hot day. You can never have too many cold water bottles! In the morning I pull the lunch cube from the fridge and the water bottles from the freezer and get them all packed up in our lunch bags.
You can find the insulated bags we use here......
Of course we also pack snacks, that is a must with small children. On this day we packed apples and peanut butter to go cups. I don't want to deal with a million small ziplock bags or containers so I just bring my knife with me and cut the apples when needed. I should be very clear here I *do not* take the knife into any of the locations we visit. This is our after we are done and back in the van snack.
Please tell me I am not the only mom who packs emergency "the kids are screaming and driving me nuts" cookies?! Some days I bake them but on this day we had oreos. I packed 6 packs of 6 but only ended up needing 2 packs (one was for my crabby husband who was sick of sitting in traffic jams).
Here are the lunch cubes in action. They are the perfect size for even our 3yr old to hold on his lap and eat without spilling!
Now for the numbers cause you know I love the numbers! The total cost of the lunch cubes for 8 people, the water bottles for 5 people, and 4 insulated lunch bags (we already had 3 bags) was $129.
That seems like a lot doesn't it? It however costs an average of $60 for each fast food stop we make as a family. So these items pay for themselves on their 3rd use.
What about the lunch and snacks themselves? That comes in at $24 for 8 people and I still have a ton of bottled water and tortillas leftover for the next trip.
It takes more work to pack everything and get it ready before leaving on a trip that is a given. I set up an assembly line the night before and get everything processed and in the cubes before I go to bed. That takes a lot of the chaos out of the next morning for sure. I also make sure to get dinner sorted the night before as well. I load everything up in the crockpot and store it in the fridge till the morning. On this day we had slow cooker french dip subs.I can't tell you know nice it is to walk in from a chaotic day and have our dinner all ready cooked and waiting for you. I am not sure how we would survive without our crockpot!
I hope this was helpful and that you have an amazing field trip or just a nice family outing to the local park!