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.
These are absolutely fantastic ideas and super cute. I just love them! I love that owl one, so cute!
Isn’t it adorable?! I don’t know who thinks up those wonderful designs.
I seriously love this! All I remember is lots of warm milk when I was a kid ?
What a great idea to freeze milk into ice cubes. I’ve never had to pack his soy milk, but will be saving these ideas!
Great tips! We LOVE the Monkey Milk Boxes in our house 🙂
Great ideas and I love those thermoses. Yay for BPA-free and keeping kids healthy!
Seriously! I was beyond surprised by how many colors and cute designs they had, too!
such a great idea, I admit as a non-parent it didn’t even dawn on me that of course dairy free kids need something for lunch because they just serve milk!
Yes! And even though it isn’t always a “must” it helps kids from feeling left out, and some kids are just more likely to get hydration if they have some tasty milk beverage (I personally hated water as a kid!).
Every year they come out with cuter and cuter lunch box solutions. Makes me want to pack my lunch for the day—even if I work from home.
I’m the same way 🙂
Great information here! Love the step by step ideas you give for those that need them. And such cute lunch bags!
Aren’t they cute? I just love this kind of stuff!
What great ideas for the kiddos. Those thermoses seem well worth the investment if you are packing lunches all the time.
Definitely. So low cost and they last quite a while.
This is perfect for back to school. I don’t have to be dairy free but I’ll take those chocolate coconutmilks or chocolate milk any day! One of my favorite snacks!
Haha, yes, they are SO good! And I was shocked by the much lower sugars and calories.
I would have cried if I got milk in my lunch, haha, but fantastic ideas!
Indeed! Sounds like you didn’t have to deal with the School Lunch Program which is lucky for you Rebecca!
Loved the tips, Alisa! I usually skip milk for my son at school bc we tend to only find the small almond based ‘tetra pack’ milks and it’s a nut free school. I’m gonna look into the coconut milk you suggested – hoping they carry it here!
I hope you find them Laila! They have a store finder by product on their website, which I’ve found super helpful – http://sodeliciousdairyfree.com/store-finder
My girls LOVE Monkey Milk (and that’s what they’ve called it since they first had it years ago)! If they are taking another dairy free milk since they stopped making some of the other non chocolate ones we use to buy, we use Swell Bottles. They work great for keeping milk and smoothie cold, and soup hot.
Too cute! I know, they can never change that packaging – the monkey makes it special! Do they really? I have a couple Swell bottles and didn’t realize they were good at insulating. We only used them short term.
This is a great post for all these mommas sending their babies back to school! I need to keep this in my for long flights with my toddler!
That’s such a good idea – definitely helpful for travel, too!
This is so perfect for my dairy free toddler who will be going to school one day! I haven’t seen the Monkey Milk before, which is adorable, but the Silk packaged milk like that has been a real life saver in the diaper bag!
Glad I can help Emily! Yes, the Monkey Milk is such a great treat and so surprisingly low in sugars.
Great tips! I only send water with my son to school, but we do have insulated lunchbags for those things we need to keep cold.
Thanks Jenn! Hydration is definitely key. I wish I had been better about it as a kid. Good that you are getting him in good habits now 🙂
This is so handy! Darrol has just started asking us for milk to drink. We mostly only let him have water, but soy milk on the go would be a good, easy way to fill his belly.
Definitely! I think kids often want to feel “normal” and other kids would probably be very surprised to find out his “milk” tastes better, too 🙂
I love all these ideas for keeping things cool until lunch time and that penguin bag is adorable. I want one!
Isn’t it cute?! I discovered Zoo Lunchies a couple of years ago when searching for products for the magazine I work for. I wanted to run out and buy the whole zoo!
Thanks for the great tips and suggestions! Those Zoo Lunchie Bags are so cute and I definitely need to buy some slim lunch ice packs!
Wait until you see all the other Zoo Lunchies animals Sonali – adorable and each with cute names! I love those slim ice packs, too, and didn’t know they existed prior.
The frozen ice cube idea is a good one! It sounds like a good compromise between letting your drink get cold and running the risk of watering it down with actual ice.
It really is. And if there are any consistency concerns at all, I’ve found a little stir or shake resolves them. But with the milk beverage only in a few cubes, it’s pretty seamless.