It’s true that School Lunch Programs can require kids to take milk, and your child’s school may not have to offer a dairy-free option. However, you can easily pack dairy-free milk beverage in your kid’s lunch (or your own!) with any of these tips.
4 Simple Solutions to Pack Dairy-Free Milk Beverage for Lunch
Though it doesn’t usually pose the level of risk that dairy milk does, you still don’t want your dairy-free milk beverage to spoil by midday. The following ideas will help to safely stow your favorite creamy drink until snack time, lunch break, and in some cases after school or work.
By far the easiest option is to purchase dairy-free milk beverage that’s contained in single-serve, shelf-stable sippers. There are a few options available from Silk, but I simply adore So Delicious “Monkey Milk” as we lovingly call it. Kids don’t have to feel left out when their friends are enjoying chocolate milk. This chocolate milk beverage is not only dairy-free, it’s also vegan and made without top allergens. Not to mention, it’s far lower in sugar and calories than regular dairy-based chocolate milk. Monkey milk contains just 9 grams of sugars and 90 calories per cup, while chocolate cow’s milk clocks in at 24 grams of sugars and 209 calories per cup!
Since many of us still like our chocolate milk beverage cold, I recommend storing the shelf-stable packages in your refrigerator. And you may want to use the “Put it on Ice” tip below.
Buy the Right Bottle
There are a few innovative beverage holders that many people swear by for keeping milk beverage cold for several hours or even all day. Although they can be a little pricier than your standard thermos, it’s a very minor investment for the long haul.
The Thermos Funtainer comes in themed designs for children and more mature solids for older kids and adults. It has a vacuum insulation technology that is specifically designed to keep cold liquids for 12 hours. Many have reported that it works fantastic for milk beverages.
Some models come with a freeze stick, like MyColdCup. The pre-frozen stick acts like a big ice cube and is BPA-free and free of other “harmful substances”. While you can buy plastic ice cubes, I prefer this type of vessel instead. I’ve had trouble finding BPA-free cubes, they can be tedious to wash, and they reportedly don’t stay cold for very long.
Put it on Ice
You can keep all food and beverage contents cool with an icy add-in. I like slim lunch ice packs, which slide neatly into bags and boxes. Alternatively, you can freeze a juice box or bottle of water for an ice pack that doubles as extra hydration.
Just be sure to pack everything in an insulated lunch box or bag. An ordinary bag or old-school box can leak, and won’t hold in the cold as well. For children, Zoo Lunchie Bags are simply adorable. For older kids and adults, the stylish options are endless.
Create Cool Cubes
Freezing isn’t the best option for most types of milk, non-dairy or not, as it can cause separation. But chilling just a bit into cubes can keep dairy-free milk beverage cold for longer, without notably affecting the overall consistency.
To execute, pour some milk beverage into your favorite ice cube tray, and freeze for a few hours, or until solid. Keep a baggie of them stored in your freezer for convenience. Store your clean, empty thermos in the refrigerator or freezer for an extra cool blast. When ready to go, add some of the milky ice cubes to your chilled thermos and pour in your desired amount of refrigerated milk beverage. Make sure it’s well sealed! This method works very well with smoothies, too.