Foodie Tuesday: LaLa Lunchbox

Do your kids complain about their packed lunches and bring home stinky, uneaten tuna sandwiches every day? Are you tired of fighting and temper tantrums as you hurriedly throw together lunch and get the kids off to school? What if packing lunches could be fun — like a game? What if you had a tool to help you quickly and easily plan ahead for packed lunches and grocery shop on the go?

LaLa Lunchbox is here to solve all your lunchtime woes and make meal-planning fun by getting the kids involved in the process. This unique app encourages your kids to plan a healthy, balanced meal based on ingredient parameters you set based on ingredients in your fridge. Kids customize their own monster avatar and plan meals by feeding the ingredients to the monster. It’s fun and innovative, while still being practical and useful.

Looking for a way to make packed lunches fun? Keep reading to learn more.

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Getting Started

Launch the app and land on the Home Screen, the place where all your children’s lunchboxes will be kept. Here you can create, edit, delete and view the lunchboxes. Notice on the bottom of the screen you can toggle between lunchboxes and your grocery list. Tap the guide button in the top left of the screen for a quick tutorial of how to use the app.

Lala Lunchbox sets the tone immediately for a fun approach to meal planning, left. The Home Screen is blank, ready for you to add lunchboxes for each of your kids, right.

Lala Lunchbox sets the tone immediately for a fun approach to meal planning, left. The Home Screen is blank, ready for you to add lunchboxes for each of your kids, right.

Select the cogwheel in the top right corner to access app settings, including managing food items your kids have to choose from. You can also sync the app across multiple iOS devices by either creating an account or using Facebook or Twitter to log in. The creators of LaLa Lunchbox have given users an app that’s easy to navigate and customize.

Meal Planning is All Fun and Games

The app encourages parents to let kids set up the lunchboxes so they take part in the meal planning process. Have your child tap the Add Lunchbox button and enter his/her own name. Then show your child how to browse the monster avatars and select a favorite to represent the lunchbox. LaLa Lunchbox makes meal planning into a game and the avatars are super cute. The app does a great job of engaging kids on their level.

Have your child set up their own lunchbox by entering in their name and choosing a monster avatar, left. All the kids’ lunchboxes can be viewed and managed on the home screen, right.

Have your child set up their own lunchbox by entering in their name and choosing a monster avatar, left. All the kids’ lunchboxes can be viewed and managed on the home screen, right.

Before the kids get started packing their virtual lunchbox, go into settings and select “Manage Items” to edit the choices available based on what you’ve got in the fridge and cupboards. The lunchbox is broken into four categories: Fruit, Vegetable, Protein and Snack. The categories contain a wide variety of options, each with an attractive, vibrant photograph. This app is a good example of solid design that’s not fussy or over the top, but functional and fun.

Manage the items your kids have to choose from when packing their lunch by tapping to cross out choices that aren’t available, so they won’t appear. The app offers a wide variety of choices, which helps keep lunches interesting.

Manage the items your kids have to choose from when packing their lunch by tapping to cross out choices that aren’t available, so they won’t appear. The app offers a wide variety of choices, which helps keep lunches interesting.

The options may inspire you to break out of making the same old lunch for your kids (no wonder they aren’t eating that tuna sandwich!). Selection like hummus, meatballs and sushi might broaden your mind as to what to put in their lunchbox. You can even add foods to each category and upload your own photos, personalizing the app. The creators of this app have made every action so simple a child could do it, and it’s nice to see the features aren’t overly designed or complicated.

Packing Lunch

The fun really begins when your child gets the chance to pack his or her own virtual lunch for each day. Show them how to select their own avatar and tap on each category to make their selections. The options appear at the bottom of the screen and the monster opens its mouth. Your child will quickly get the hang of things, dragging and dropping food items into the monster’s mouth. It’s fun and whimsical, yet practical and efficient.

Your kid can pack his or her own lunch by selecting the avatar and dragging items into the monster’s open mouth — so fun!

Your kid can pack his or her own lunch by selecting the avatar and dragging items into the monster’s open mouth — so fun!

The app also has options for using the same lunch as yesterday, adding meals to favorites for quick access, or sharing meals with others. Swipe left and right to create meals for every day of the week with the app’s smart calendar. Use the buttons in the top right corner to toggle between a list view detailing the items in the lunchbox and the monster screen, or plan ahead by working through weeks in the future of the calendar.

Grocery Shopping Made Easy

The Groceries section makes shopping easier by arranging lunchbox items into the four app categories and grouping them in servings. You can also check of each lunch component as you toss it into your cart. Grocery lists are organized by week, and you can browse through the weeks by tapping the calendar button in the top right corner.

Use the grocery list to shop on the go, checking off items as you drop them in your cart, left. You can also view the grocery list for any week that’s been planned out, right.

Use the grocery list to shop on the go, checking off items as you drop them in your cart, left. You can also view the grocery list for any week that’s been planned out, right.

The only shortcoming is that knowing your kid is going to have “sushi” in his lunch doesn’t help you remember every component you need to buy at the grocery store. It would be nice to see the ability to create a truly itemized grocery list.

Conclusion

LaLa Lunchbox is a fun app that solves a common problem in many households: how to pack lunches your kids will eat without a fuss. Gillian Fein, the mother who created this app, has used her own personal experience as a healthcare worker and passion for nutrition to create an app that teaches kids and parents how to pack healthy, balanced lunches. By giving your kid a role in the task of selecting what’s for lunch, you’re increasing the likelihood they will eat their lunch without a fight. Download LaLa Lunchbox and you’ll find this app makes a tiresome task enjoyable and keeps life better organized.


Summary

LaLa Lunchbox is a fun app that makes planning packed lunches a game, engaging kids in the process and helping parents stay organized.

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