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Creative alternatives to the napkin note

Sarah's love of food led her down what she calls "the culinary rabbit hole," leaving her management job to first apprentice on an organic vegetable farm and then to write about and photograph food professionally. Her agricultural backgro...

Lunch box love

Maybe you're looking for a way to convey a special message or maybe you just want to change up you're routine. Either way, here are some fun lunch box note ideas beyond the ubiquitous napkin.

Lunch box love

During a long day of school when we're away from our kids, the lunch box note is a wonderful way to let them know we're thinking of them. It's a means to communicate love, encouragement and sometimes humor even when we can't be there to say the words out loud.

The habit of sharing those words in the same way can have the effect of losing meaning. You can liven up your messages — either because you have a special reason for really wanting them to be heard, or just to inject a little fun in the day — by changing your means of communication. From time to time, ditch the napkin note and say it a little differently.

Here are some creative ways to send some lunch box love:

Write it on the package: Whether it's a Ziploc bag or a prepackaged lunch, use a permanent marker to boldly make your statement.

Make the food talk:  Use an edible marker or the food itself (think: ketchup, pretzel sticks).

Take a break from words: Simply send something your child would enjoy — no special meaning behind it! Maybe include a Sudoku puzzle or a cutout of her favorite comic strip.

Include a photo. A picture really can be worth a thousand words — send a wordless photo or use it as the vehicle for a meaningful message.

Lunch box love

Send a small gift: While not a realistic daily act, the occasional inexpensive, but meaningful, gift can be especially sweet received unexpectedly in the middle of the day.

Send a text: For older kids, a midday text is a sure-fire way to know they'll get the message. Plus, it's a nice reason to take a moment from your busy day to think about your family.

Gift wrap it: This one is attention-grabbing and a great option for birthdays and other gift-giving holidays. Card optional!

Lunch box love

More lunch box ideas

Break the school lunch rut
Pack an inspired lunch box
Sweet surprises: Lunch box treats to brighten the day

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