Do lunches stay fresh when packed days ahead?

by on January 14, 2016 · 0 comments                       

Packed ahead lunches. Do they stay fresh?

Packing a few lunches ahead of time is a simple way to alleviate stress in the morning. They’re ready to grab and go so you’ve got one less thing to worry about. Maybe you can even linger over that cup-a-joe for a few extra moments :)

But do these lunches stay fresh when they’re left in the fridge for a few days?

Leave it to Lisa Marsh, mom of 4, to do a little experiment with the lunches she packed ahead for her two sets of twins. This busy mom shares ALL the meals she packs in EasyLunchboxes on her blog and social media sites, and is constantly getting questions about them. She asked her own readers to answer one of the most common questions she gets….

Do your packed lunches stay fresh for days in the fridge?

What Lisa Cooks - Lisa Marsh

One of the pictures was taken Sunday, the other was taken this morning (Wednesday).

Can you tell which one shows freshly made lunches and which one shows lunches that have been in the fridge for 3 days? Give me your best guess!

CLICK the image  TO BLOW UP.  Which set of 4 looks fresher? Top or bottom?:

Packed ahead lunches in EasyLunchboxes. Can you tell which one is fresher?

…If you can’t tell the difference, then I rest my case.

They look nearly identical, don’t they? I actually had to check the dates on the pics a couple of times to even tell which was which. Even the crackers are still crunchy!

By packing smartly, you can definitely pack lunches in advance. Little silicone dividers to keep things separate, thinking through what you are packing to ensure that it is all foods that would be already keeping in the fridge for that long anyway, and a good quality container with a good fitting lid to keep it all fresh.

And the freshest lunches are ….

And the winner is ...

Ok you guys, I added up all the votes I got on this question from both Facebook and Instagram, and I have to tell you: most of you were wrong! Sorry.

The top photo is the one from Sunday. The bottom photo is from today.

A few of you noticed that a tomato was missing from the bottom one – I guess somebody must have helped themselves to a snack when I wasn’t looking (I hadn’t even noticed!).

I can see a very slight difference in the green leaves of the strawberries, but honestly there is no difference between the two beyond that.

So I think I’ve proven my point. If you’re thoughtful about the choices you make, and you pack carefully, you can absolutely pack a lunch 3 days ahead of time and have it still be just as good as the day you packed it.

These are packed in EasyLunchboxes. I think some people think that just because the lids aren’t designed to be leak proof, that this means that they also aren’t air tight enough to keep food fresh, but that is simply not the case. http://amzn.to/1mVR0LM

I use the silicone dividers to keep foods from touching each other, which makes a big difference when packing ahead of time.
These are the square ones: http://amzn.to/1mVR9ik
And these are the heart ones: http://amzn.to/1Q5ABAl    (Lisa’s affiliate links)

[VIDEO] You can even HEAR the freshness!

Ok, when I tell you I’ve packed lunches ahead I get tons of questions about whether stuff stays fresh, do things get soggy, do thinks stay crunchy, etc. So I thought I’d show you this. I packed this lunch on Sunday, today is Tuesday. Turn your volume all the way up, and you can hear how crunchy the chips still are. Just the same as when I packed them – after two days in an EasyLunchboxes container in the fridge.

These are the lunchboxes we use: http://amzn.to/1PpBijd
These are the containers that the dip is in: http://amzn.to/1mT108H  (Lisa’s affiliate links)

Ok, when I tell you I’ve packed lunches ahead I get tons of questions about whether stuff stays fresh, do things get soggy, do thinks stay crunchy, etc. So I thought I’d show you this. I packed this lunch on Sunday, today is Tuesday. Turn your volume all the way up, and you can hear how crunchy the chips still are. Just the same as when I packed them – after two days in an EasyLunchboxes container in the fridge.

These are the lunchboxes we use: http://amzn.to/1PpBijd
These are the containers that the dip is in: http://amzn.to/1mT108H  (Lisa’s affiliate links)

Posted by What Lisa Cooks on Tuesday, January 12, 2016

CLICK the below image to read Lisa’s TOP TIPS for packing ahead:

Top tips for packing lunches ahead in EasyLunchboxes

 

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Cute Bento Lunches – Why Somebody has Time for That

by on October 29, 2015 · 3 comments                       

Cute Lunches - Why Somebody has Time for That

Granted,  I spend a LOT of time online looking at packed lunches. And I probably see more cute bento creations than your average Pinterest/Facebook/Instagram addict user. So this may be why I see a LOT of comments like,

“Bento – Ain’t Nobody Got time for that!”

 
Or maybe, there’s just a LOT of judging going on and there actually ARE a lot of these types of comments. Thus, the inspiration to share some responses to these shortsighted put-downs because, frankly, they’re wrong. And often, they’re hurtful.

A LOT of people don’t necessarily “have” the time, but they choose to make the time.

WHY? And mostly, you’re probably wondering, HOW?! Here’s what some of my “cute lunch packer” friends would like you to know:

Who has time to bento?

From Glory’s Mischief - “So who has the time?  Lots of people.  We all have the time.  We spend our time doing the things we love. “Ain’t nobody got time for that” is a funny meme… it’s funny right up until someone uses it in reference to something you put your heart in. Something you enjoyed doing and took pride in the result. Bento is my hobby. You don’t have to understand it. You don’t have to like it. But please, don’t try to hurt me for doing something I love. You belittle my hobby, you belittle me.”

From Kendra of Biting the Hand That Feeds You: “We make the time for what is most important to us. For some, it’s baking our own bread and treats. For others, it’s being involved with a sports team (either watching the pro games or in a little league.) Some homeschool. Some want to spend every second they have together with their child. And some use up reading, TV, or self-beautifying time to make lunches a little cuter. Which, by the way, DOES help motivate a child to make healthier choices. My daughter won’t touch a carrot coin. But cut into a flower, she gobbles them all down (I cut Vs down along the stick, then cut into coins. Way easier than cutting each coin!) Not interested in tomatoes – stick cute picks into some cherry tomatoes and she’s having a blast eating them. My nieces are super picky, but they not only eat more, they eat healthier when I’m there. They don’t even NOTICE I swapped their white bread out for wheat, they’re so excited it’s in a fun shape! And they eat their whole bowl of fruit instead of their normal few nibbles, since I give them fun skewers to eat them with. No nagging at them to eat their rice when I use a baggie to mold them into little rice balls. Extra time? Sure. But that’s time I’m NOT spending nagging and cajoling her to eat her food!”

Eats Amazing cute cut veggiesFrom Grace of Eats Amazing“…We had an interesting discussion recently in a bento group that I belong to – why do we make bento, why do we blog about it? We all had our different reasons, we all had our points of view, but one thing is for sure, not a single one of us ever set out to make other people feel bad, nor put anyone down, nor judge anybody else’s choices. We all live our own lives doing what we love, for the joy of it, for the joy it brings our children, and when it comes down to it, that’s all it is about, our children, not anyone else’s. A key element that I have found common to all bento makers is love. Love for food, love for creativity, and love for our partners, children or whoever we make our bento meals for.”

From Astrid of Lunches Fit for a Kid - “I am able to pack lunches for both of my kids in less than 10-15 minutes. I do love to cook and bake, so I do that also, but it really doesn’t take as much time as you might assume to pack healthy and fun lunches. It may take an extra few seconds to cut a sandwich with a cookie cutter or use a cookie cutter on a cucumber, but it certainly doesn’t take hours…. (And FYI, I work both a full time and a part time job…)”

2 packed lunches in under 10 minutes

From Sarah of More Than Your Average Mom“What I want to stress here is that lunch making doesn’t have to be a chore. It doesn’t have to take a pile of time, and with a little planning, organization, and lunchbox friendly foods … lunch can be quick and easy, and cute too!”
Pack school lunches in 10 minutes or less

From Lise of Veggie-Bento  – “Yes, some days I am an obsessive whack-job and spend an hour making an intricate lunch (rather than watching tv, reading, playing games, etc), but most often, I spend 5 extra minutes smashing a cookie cutter around. My highly distractible preschooler eats so much more of her healthy lunch when it’s cute. It makes those 5 minutes well worth it.”

From Karen of What’s in our Lunch Bags?  – “It takes seconds to slam a cookie cutter into a sandwich and sometimes just that little added touch can make all the difference in taking a lunch from “eh” to “WOW!”

From Erin of Feelin’ a Little Lunchy“Call me easy…I don’t care. But please don’t say “Ain’t nobody got time for that” to me or my other bento moms…and never question what someone packs for lunch. You don’t know their entire meal plan. Please try and recognize that there’s real moms and real people behind these blogs and lunches…they’re not just some random pictures. Their kids DO eat this food. Don’t comment on their Facebook posts that there’s too many carbs or not enough whatever. It’s the Internet, yo…and quite frankly, the internet can’t accomodate for what you do in your own home. Your kids might not typically eat it, but you’d be surprised if that’s what you packed and they were hungry. My wild child won’t touch a vegetable at the dinner table, but she scarfs down a whole EasyLunchboxes full of salad at school during lunch. “

EasyLunchboxes for easy moms

TONGUE IN CHEEK response From Beau of Lunchbox Dad – “I’m thick headed sometimes but I finally get it. It’s clear as day. All of the faceless internet trolls, who have never met my family, are making sense now. They have been trying to speak wisdom into my life for the last two years and I haven’t been willing to listen. I have now decided to quit making fun bento lunches for my kids forever… ” READ MORE 
Why Lunchbox Dad quit making fun lunches

Can we please just stop with all the judging?

And for those of you who are quick to judge or comment on the food itself (regardless of the shape it may be cut into), or if you’ve ever been on the receiving end of being shamed for the foods you make, in spite of your efforts, THIS post is for you. From Laura Fuentes, the creator of MOMables and a contributor to the TODAY parenting team.

Stop Judging my Food

And no, we don’t lack a sense of humor.

Click the image below:

No More Mama Bashing Please

Not that I’m judging but …

Hmmmm … after everything I’ve posted above, I’m not sure how to get out of judging THIS alternative to bento lunch packing. Seems to me that the creative energy Kim puts into these alternative “school lunches” takes just as long (if not longer) than making cute shapes with food. For the record, these are pretty cute. But I’m not a fan of the fact that she so snarkily posts them with clearly evident bento-maker disdain. But that’s just me…

Cute Bento Lunches - why somebody has time for that

 

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