school lunches

The first day of school is in just a few days, which means earlier mornings, the school bus and packing lunches.

I don’t know what it is, but by week two, I run out of creative ideas for the lunchbox. #1 ate pb&j, baby carrots, apple slices and a fruit leather pretty much every single day last year and I refuse to do that to him again.

I did a little searching for some good alternatives to the default lunch and I hit the jackpot.



Laptop Lunches is a company that sells bento boxes {I should probably order a few for my kids}, but the best part is the menu tab with 365 lunch ideas. Here are just a few:imageimageimageimageimageimage

Don’t those look yummy? And pretty easy to make too. You can see all of the ideas here. I should just print these pictures and tape them to my pantry door.

One thing I do like about packing lunches is being able to slip in a note to my little darlings.


I created an assortment of lunch box note cards a few years ago which work great for a quick lunch box note.

cupcake lunch box note card

lunch box note card


In honor of back to school, I am offering these note cards as a free download.

Log in (or join for free!) our library of our best printables, fonts, templates and more to download and print the lunch box note card set.



58 Responses to school lunches

  1. Rachel August 10, 2014 at 8:29 pm #

    Link isn’t working for me to download these. Any chance these will be made available again? So cute!

    • emily September 8, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

      The files are now available in The Archive!

  2. Bernadette September 16, 2012 at 8:17 pm #

    Thank you very much!

  3. Lila October 11, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

    Love these- they’re so thoughtful!! Love it.

  4. Emily September 12, 2011 at 11:11 am #

    You are so very creative! I love the cute note cards, but I wasn’t able to download them. Do you think you could send me email me the file? Thanks!

  5. Kindrel September 7, 2011 at 11:55 am #

    This is so wonderful. I am so excited to have a family and to add special little touches to everyday things and this is one that I will be filing away for sure!
    Thank you Emily for your thoughtfulness, you are a blessing to many!

  6. Pamela Prussel September 7, 2011 at 12:27 am #

    Thank you so much for the free printables! I am sure you have gone over this before but what round labels do you use and how do you format them for Illustrator? It seems all the Avery label templates only work in Word. Just wondering…

  7. Denise September 6, 2011 at 12:37 pm #

    this is fantastic!!! I loved the little preview of lunch ideas. I am sitting here with my 10yr old figuring out some yummy choices for the grocery list. Only one problem….this site seems to be down or unaccessible right now. :( I’ll try again later, and hopefully we have a few ideas to hold us over for when it’s viewable again.
    The notecards are adorable. thank you!

  8. Heather September 5, 2011 at 8:26 pm #

    Thank you so much for the note cards! My first little guy is off to kindergarten in the morning and I just printed off your note cards to put one in his lunch box for his first day (I can’t believe it).
    By the way, for another idea for the lunchbox, I recently discovered plain greek yogurt mixed with a little bit of nutella is a great dip for pretzels or fruit. My kids have been gobbling it up! :)

  9. Sully Meek September 5, 2011 at 9:33 am #

    Do you make those stickers on the lunch bags?? Thank you for the free download!! LOVE the cards… can’t wait to use them tomorrow.

    Sully Meek

  10. SJ September 4, 2011 at 7:58 pm #

    Love the notes! And big thanks for the lunch tips. My little girl just started preschool and it’s a pb-free zone so I have to be a little more creative with her lunch on those days. Even though it’s only 2 days a week, it’s nice to have some options!

  11. Kate September 4, 2011 at 5:35 pm #

    Thank you so much for the note card download!
    Check out http://weelicious.com/
    This mom posts a picture of her child’s lunchbox everyday; it is very inspiring!
    (and she does the bento-style lunchbox as well).

  12. Diane @ Longaberger Lifestyle September 4, 2011 at 11:40 am #

    <3 it!! I'll be sharing on FB!!!

  13. Melanie S September 3, 2011 at 7:06 pm #

    I don’t know if it’s my computer, but the download isn’t working. Is it just me?

  14. Melanie S September 3, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

    Thank you for the note cards! My daughter started kindergarten. She’s had three days and I’ve had notes in her lunch each day so far. Can’t wait to print yourr out and use them.
    *freeze those organic yogart tubes and they are good by lunch time.

  15. Cynthia September 3, 2011 at 4:57 pm #

    Thanks so much for the download. My little one isn’t in school yet, but my hubby LOVES it when I put a note in his lunch! So I think he’s going to be getting some of your sweet cards. Thanks!

  16. Tami W September 3, 2011 at 4:14 pm #

    You are a wonderful mother and an inspiration! I’m glad I found you!

  17. julie h. September 3, 2011 at 1:43 pm #

    thanks so much for the free download notes! LOVE them!!!!

  18. Logan September 3, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

    Love those fun lunchbox ideas! I typically don’t post a link in a comment, but these were really fun lunch things I made with my kids the other day and then blogged about. They LOVED them! http://lifefordessert.com/2011/09/02/jello-aquariums-and-hot-dog-noodlers/#comment-2090

  19. ~Kristen~ September 3, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    The note cards are awesome! Thank you so much for sharing! What a good mom to pack a healthy lunch every day for your kids :)

  20. Dolisa Winkelman September 3, 2011 at 10:09 am #

    Thank you! The cards are printing right now. You have just made my packing 5 lunches a day much easier! xo

  21. Kay September 3, 2011 at 9:06 am #

    Another fun way to write a note – using a very sharp point, very slightly pierce the peel of a banana to say I Love You or other small message. The damage to the peel will turn brown and it will be very easy to read by lunch. It’s something that your child can do for Dad too.

  22. Amanda September 3, 2011 at 8:37 am #

    Thanks for these printables – so cute and I know my kids would LOVE them!!

  23. Kristin September 3, 2011 at 8:36 am #

    I have been looking at the lunch box notecards ever since I started looking at your website & I love them. Thanks so much for the free download! I have 3 girlies & they will love to have these fun notes from mom. Hope your back-to-school mornings go well. Thanks for the lunch ideas – always a struggle for me too!

  24. Katie September 3, 2011 at 6:48 am #

    you are so stinkin’ cute! love this. Love those lunches and labels….. my babies don’t eat solids yet… but storing this idea for future!!

  25. Amoreena September 2, 2011 at 11:00 pm #

    Thanks for the adorable note cards, Emily! You are always so generous. :)

  26. Amanda V September 2, 2011 at 8:48 pm #

    My girls LOVE their LapTop lunches. The only problem is that I need another set for each of them so I don’t have to wash all the little containers before I use them every night. It would be nice to have a clean set on hand while the dirty ones are in the dishwasher.

  27. Elena @ La Petite Vie September 2, 2011 at 8:26 pm #

    These are too cute! Thanks for sharing, just love them!

  28. Randi September 2, 2011 at 6:57 pm #

    So adorable … thanks for sharing them!

  29. Marissa September 2, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

    LOVE them. You’re the best…as usual! Thank you for making my weekend! Marissa

  30. christy September 2, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

    so cute – love these notecards! Thanks so much for sharing. I love the bento boxes too, but do you have a hard time getting your kiddos to eat some of this? I have the pickiest eater and she wouldn’t touch a cucumber with a 10 foot pole! Well, maybe if I rolled it in peanut butter and dipped it in chocolate chips – lol.

    btw, what paper do you use to print off your things? It looks like it has somewhat of a linen texture? I am on the hunt for a decent paper. thanks again!

    christy :)

  31. Elise September 2, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

    i LOOOOOVE these cards AND the laptop lunches idea! thanks so much for sharing!

  32. Lisa September 2, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

    Hi Emily, Don’t laugh, but I may just sneak some of these notes in my high school son’s book and my college-aged daughter’s laptop!! They know how mushy I am so they will probably just shake their heads and smile :)

  33. Melissa Kaiserman September 2, 2011 at 12:03 pm #

    I just bought a set of EasyLunchboxes (4 for $14, I think). They look like the Ziploc ones, but they actually don’t compare in their sturdiness. The company is run by a mom, and she has great customer service. (One of my containers arrived from Amazon cracked, and she is sending me a new one so I don’t have to get a refund and reorder.) I homeschool, but my oldest will be doing an extension program once a week, and I want to send him with something special. Plus, I feel like I get in a rut with lunches even at home! They’ll also be great for going to the park, etc.

  34. Jill September 2, 2011 at 11:09 am #

    Awesome! Thank you SOOO much. I love these!

  35. Amanda M. September 2, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    You are SO kind, Emily! These are so beautiful. I cannot wait to put them in my littlest’s lunch bag. :)

  36. -Kyrie September 2, 2011 at 10:27 am #

    Thanks for the sweet notecards!! What a wonderful idea – my Mom still slips a note into my lunch sometimes, even though I’m in college and make my own! She always saved the fronts of greeting cards and wrote on the back side – my sister and I love getting them :) !



  37. Jen September 2, 2011 at 10:12 am #

    What a fun idea! Our mom used to write us notes and stick them in our lunch when we were kids…I always loved that so much! We shared a link to this post on our blog…hope that’s ok!

  38. stephany September 2, 2011 at 9:15 am #

    thanks for the download! i also love all of the lunch ideas. i struggled with new ideas and only had my little guy in school 2 days a week last year.
    he can;t read yet, but I may stick the note in occasionally in hopes that his teacher will read them to him!
    thanks again!!

  39. Pietzi September 2, 2011 at 9:12 am #

    Wow, this is just great :D I pack my own lunch so as not to get tempted with buying fast-food during my lunch break and I absolutely love the variety of recipes on that website.
    Am even thinking of getting one of those cute colourful boxes :)

    Thank you so much for sharing <3

  40. Kerstin @ The Real Housewives of Idaho September 2, 2011 at 8:54 am #

    Thank you for the darling note cards! My daughter started kindergarten this year and is half day but I am saving them for next year. Have you seen this blog: http://thislunchrox.com/ ? She has the most amazing, creative, healthy lunches ever!

  41. Carrie Edwards September 2, 2011 at 8:51 am #

    i absolutely love the bento box and note cards ~ do you think my middle school and high school boys would like them too? probably not, but i will certainly use some of the food ideas for lunch packing. we’re finishing up our 2nd full week of school and i’ve already run out of ideas for both breakfast and lunches! this was just in time ;)

  42. Tammie Longiotti September 2, 2011 at 8:33 am #

    Awesome! Thanks for the inspiration. As you know well, we moms can always use it. :-)

  43. Aly September 2, 2011 at 8:20 am #

    Emily you rock! Thanks for inspiring me once again! Lunch notes are adorable too! Thanks a bunch!

  44. jennifer September 2, 2011 at 7:58 am #

    what a great website. my son isn’t old enough for lunches, but i pack my husbands lunch every day and i am always struggling to come up with lunches that don’t need to be heated! This is fantastic!!!!

  45. jessica September 2, 2011 at 7:38 am #

    VERY cute! I will use these to avoid the repeated & boring, “have a great day, i love you” notes. Thank you!

  46. Abbey Lewis September 2, 2011 at 7:37 am #

    It is so funny you posted this today… I have been trying to find a new, fresher way to pack lunches too!!! I saw these lunch boxes on Pinterest and some other bento versions. I searched high and low around town (should have just ordered off web, but was lazy) and I found neat, more compact ones at Bed Bath and Beyond!!!
    Thanks for sharing the notecards!!!

    Always – Abbey

  47. cailan September 2, 2011 at 7:36 am #

    What a great idea – these would be fun to use even at home!

  48. Courtney September 2, 2011 at 7:19 am #

    Thanks Emily,

    These are really sweet. You are so thoughtful. I remember my Mom writing on napkins! lol
    Thanks again.

  49. Julie @ jam-n-jilly September 2, 2011 at 7:18 am #

    I understand the lunchbox delimma! I purchased some cute bento boxes at old navy and have used this same website! They love anything on a stick! I did a post on some cute lunchbox notes recently! I even made a couple! Yea! I would love for you to stop by and check it out!

  50. rachel September 2, 2011 at 6:42 am #

    Very cute! I don’t have any little ones in school (yet) but those cute note cards almost make me wish I did:)

  51. merrilee September 2, 2011 at 6:35 am #

    I went with laptop lunches this year because I could never stand all the wasteful packaging. We are really happy so far and my son has gone from hardly eating any of his lunch to devouring it all everyday! I love the little lunchbox cards, thanks so much for sharing. I think i will laminate mine so I can re=use it with a dry erase marker.

  52. Amy K September 2, 2011 at 6:27 am #

    Thanks so much for the download! These are great! :)

  53. Alli - Life on LeRoy September 2, 2011 at 6:09 am #

    WOW! Thank you so much for the free download! I don’t have any kids in school (yet) but I’m going to save these for when I do. Have a great Labor Day weekend!

  54. kristy September 2, 2011 at 5:29 am #

    they are just too cute! thank you so much for sharing! :) happy labor day weekend!

  55. Colleen September 2, 2011 at 5:21 am #

    Thank you! Yep, the first week of lunches are cool … after that, MUNDANE! This post was so helpful {because YOU did all the work!}. Thank you for the adorable note cards as well. You are such a lovely person! I do wish we could meet in real life! :-)

  56. Kelly in georgia September 2, 2011 at 4:26 am #

    Girl, you are just too wonderfully creative and generous! Love these! And I might have to steal some of those lunchbox ideas for myself.
    I cannot believe you all have not even started school yet. Wow. We started Aug. 1st, and I just sent out mid term progress reports yesterday…goodness. I am jealous that you actually HAVE a summer.

  57. denise September 2, 2011 at 3:52 am #

    these note cards area adorable! My kids will love them. So nice of you to share them. Good luck with the lunches – I feel your pain!
    d e n i s e

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