For the dairy lovers in your life, this dairy foods list will help make packing lunch boxes easier. Remember to include an ice pack too.

Whenever I pack lunches, I try to ensure that the contents span the major food groups — with plenty of veggies and fruit, a protein, a grain and some dairy. The dairy part can be a little challenging though — between worrying about spoilage and dealing with preferences.

Dairy is a great source of calcium — which is among the important nutrients for building strong bones, healthy teeth and more. If your kids enjoy dairy, then this dairy foods list will help ease your lunch packing.

Here are five packable ideas for lunch boxes:

  1. Shelf-Stable Milk – Did you know that your child’s favorite chocolate, strawberry, vanilla and plain milk is available in a shelf-stable form? Check your juice aisle for boxes of milk that can be chilled, packed and served without worrying about spoilage (hint: chill them and pack with a good ice pack to keep them cold for lunch and snack time).
  2. String Cheese – String cheese is just as cool to your kids as it was when you were a kid. Pack a string cheese with some whole-grain crackers for a fun snack. Even if string cheese isn’t a favorite, a variety of other cheeses are coming in single-serve packaging these days too including Swiss, cheddar and asiago.
  3. Yogurt Tubes – When my kids were younger, I frequently packed a chilled or frozen yogurt tube in their lunch boxes. They were a favorite snack of theirs. But more than that, I loved that it helped ensure they consumed enough calcium every day at school.
  4. Dip, Dip, Dip – My kids love dipping things, so packing a delicious yogurt-based dip with veggies is a favorite snack or lunch item for them. Make sure you include a good ice pack too so that it stays nice and chilled until they get to eat it.
  5. DIY Lunchables – Lunches that come with fun shapes and options are always a hit. Using mini cookie cutters, I cut cheese, meats and veggies into fun shapes and pack them with whole-grain baguette pieces or crackers. My favorite cheeses for this are cheddar and fresh mozzarella, both of which cut really easily with the little cookie cutters.