For busy moms, packing school lunches in the morning can be a huge hassle. You obviously want to make your kids a delicious, healthy, and well-packed lunch – but when you’re trying to get everyone out the door on time while also doing your makeup and feeding the dog? Forget it. Remember when your first kid went to kindergarten and packing their lunch was fun? You’d draw little doodles and leave little notes? Well, with these 12 brilliant lunch packing hacks, we’re going to make lunch packing fun again for you AND your kids!

These lunch packing hacks are going to keep your kids lunches fresh, and most importantly, fun. All 12 fantastic tips are brought to us by mommy blogger, Awestruck.

1. Keep Chips Intact

Protect chips with padded bag.Awestruck
The danger with packing chips is that they can get easily crushed to smithereens under pounds of books and school supplies. And crushed chips…are not so yummy. Keep your kids chips safe by including a little air in the Ziploc bag, this will act as safety padding; we’d even suggest using a straw to blow up the bag slightly before quickly closing.

2. Apples and Peanut Butter Hack

Hacks to make packing school lunches easier.Awestruck
This trick is just straight up brilliant. Core an apple and fill the empty center with peanut butter. Then, slice the apple as per usual and wrap the whole thing in plastic wrap to keep the fruit fresh. Your kids can pull the apple apart and enjoy plenty of PB on every slice.

Peanut allergy? Almond butter or sunflower butter is just as good.

3. Reusable Ice Pack

Freeze soaked sponges in zip-top plastic bags to make DIY ice packsThe Kitchn via Buzzfeed
Need an ice pack in a flash? Wet a sponge, put it in a Ziploc bag, and freeze it overnight. You can then reuse this DIY ice pack and keep school lunches cold for weeks to come.

4. Edible Ice Pack

Grapesainudil via Flickr
Another creative way to keep lunch cool is with this edible ice pack idea – we’re sure you’ve guessed, but this is not a reusable hack, just a yummy one! Frozen grapes, frozen in a Ziploc bag, make for a great way to keep food cool and then act as a refreshing bonus snack for later.

5. Cookie Cutter Sandwiches

Shape sandwiches with cookie cutters.Awestruck
If your sandwich game is a little played out, spice it up with some fun shapes! Use cookie cutters to cut sandwich bread into fun shapes for this lunchtime staple. They can be seasonal, your kids’ favorite cartoon characters, or anything your heart desires! Your kids are going to eat it up – literally.

6. Meat-and-Cheese-Kebabs

Sandwich meat and cheese kebab.Awestruck
Or you can skip the bread in your sandwich all together! Make an entirely edible kebab using sliced lunch meat and cheese, held together with pretzel sticks. This is a fun, carb-free way to reinvent this classic school lunch.

7. Sandwich Sliders

Fun little sandwich sliders for lunch.Awestruck
Instead of a big ol’ sandwich, get a little creative with some sliders! Honestly, who doesn’t love sliders, no matter what they have inside? In this case, we’re thinking ham and cheese. Cut up a hot dog bun or buy little rolls to make these sliders a reality.

8. On-the-Go Hot Dog

Kids can make their own hot dog lunch.Awestruck
This is a great one for older kids! Cut a hot dog and place it in a thermos filled with hot water. Make sure to include their favorite toppings and a bun, and your kids can feel super fancy when making their very own lunch!

9. Use a Bento Box

Fancy, sectioned lunchbox.Awestruck
Ever heard of a Bento box? This fancy, sectioned lunchbox is great for packing lots of little things for your kids. Our idea? Recreate the Lunchables of yore by including ingredients for ham and cheese sandwiches, tacos, or pizza! Only, we dare say your Lunchables will be much healthier and cheaper.

10. Goodie Grab Bags

Box of junk food for kids.Awestruck
If your kids are getting a little sick of all the healthy food you pack them everyday, stand your ground! To compromise, make a “goodie grab bag,” or a bag filled with goodies, one of which your kids can select for their lunch that day. This will appease them but still keep their overall lunch healthy. Sneaky parent, you.

11. Bananagrams

Write notes to the kids on banana.Awestruck
Little lunch messages may be a bit old fashioned, but we know you still want to send your kids off with a love note! Re-imagine the lunchtime note by writing your note on your kids’ banana! It’ll be a secret note, just for them, and then they can peel it right off and enjoy the healthy treat inside.

12. Silly Sandwich Bags

Make funny designs and faces on lunch bags.Awestruck
The most important thing to remember is that lunch should be fun! Make some silly sandwich bags using stickers, markers, and googly eyes to entertain both you and your kids. Trust us, they’ll be a hit in the cafeteria.

Do you make lunch packing fun in a cool way? Share your hacks in the comments section below.