Dairy Dairies: De-Junking the Lunchbox

Reimagining school lunches with creativity and higher-quality ingredients

Back-to-school season is a huge deal for kids. It’s a chance for them to show off those stylish new shoes and fresh haircuts, to swap stories of summer adventures, to get to know that peculiar teacher, and to reacquaint with old buddies. It’s all exciting and terrifying at the same time.

A thoughtful, well-packed lunchbox is a great way to comfort our children and remind them, “Hey, we love you.” Most parents seek out super convenient and kid-friendly foods — but that doesn’t have to mean settling for fake cheese, low-quality meat, or countless artificial ingredients. If you wouldn’t eat that for lunch, why should they?

Every kid is different with their own eating habits. With a little creativity and care, you can make them feel special and get them eating better. Laney Schwartz of Life is but a Dish understands how frustrating feeding time can be for a parent, and recommends keeping things interesting. It starts with your choice of lunchbox, and Schwartz adores the stainless steel versions from Planetbox. “You think it takes longer to pack than a regular sack lunch? Wrong,” she says. “It’s actually much faster, eliminates all those pesky containers, and in my opinion is much more appealing.”

Dairy Diaries

Inside the lunchbox, Schwartz makes fruits and vegetables more tempting by using different shapes, colors, and textures. “Slice a cucumber in rounds sometimes, and other times in sticks. Changes the whole outlook,” she says. For a big lunch, she recommends melting tasty Tillamook Medium Cheddar on a whole grain tortilla and rolling it up like a burrito. Throw in some veggies and dip, fruit, crackers, a few yogurt covered raisins for “dessert” and you have a helluva lunch. “My three-year-old daughter, believe it or not, will polish this off,” she says.


Catherine McCord at Weelicious can also rock a school lunch with incredible visual appeal and without artificial food dyes. She recommends a simple balance of fruits, vegetables, proteins, and carbohydrates—using different shapes and colors—to give kids all the right nutrition. Like this neat creation: Waffle Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Tillamook Cheddar, melon balls, raspberries, sugar snap peas, pistachios, and Tillamook yogurt with blueberries. What’s more appetizing than that!

Dairy Diaries

Whether your kid is a picky eater, allergic to nuts, or a sweets lover, skip the processed, preservative-filled food. Try Tillamook’s back-to-school creations like “The Growth Spurt Lunchbox,” a high-protein meal for the kid who’s trying to grow featuring Tillamook Swiss Cheese rolled together with ham and cucumber, a handful of green grapes, and one hardboiled egg. Or there’s “The Breakfast for Lunchbox,” a second breakfast featuring an egg and Tillamook Cheddar Cheese on an open-faced bagel sandwich, creamy Tillamook Old-Fashioned Vanilla Farmstyle Greek Yogurt, granola, and fresh raspberries and blueberries.

Don’t dread making your kids’ lunches. Like the start of any new school year, the possibilities are plentiful.

For more back-to-school lunchbox inspiration and real food coupons, click here