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Back-to-school ideas: lunch bags, labels and more

From the best way to label school clothes to sandwiches with a twist, here are some back-to-school ideas to make the start of term a little easier. Including one very specific to the times – the best way to administer a rapid antigen test to a child.

Some suggestions are from members of the Inner West Mums (IWM) Facebook group or page, and others are from the IWM team. We’re hope they’re of use!

1. Best no leak container to keep food hot

IWM members recommend the Thermos brand of insulated food containers for keeping meals hot. One Group member suggests filling the thermos with hot water for two to three minutes first to heat it up. Then drain the water and add in the hot food.

2. Best way to label school uniforms

Using a permanent marker to write on a child’s name onto school clothes seems to be a popular approach with IWM members. Some recommend the Sharpie Rub-A-Dub Laundry Marker, which has been specifically designed to stay on even after washing.  But one group member said even a pen will suffice!

A clothing stamp was also suggested. And some members also like labels such as Hippo Blue, Bright Star Kids and Stuck on You.

3. Best insulated lunch bags with ice-brick

The MontiiCo insulated lunch bags and cold pack come highly recommended by the IWM team as well as Group members. The cold pack regularly comes home still partly frozen. Another brand recently recommended by members is Fridge to Go.

4. Spruce up those sandwiches

Sushi sandwiches from One Handed Cook  Lunchbox accessories from Daiso Marrickville Metro

The IWM team first learned about ‘sushi sandwiches’ last year, and although we haven’t tried it (yet!), we love the idea. Essentially you cut off the crusts of your child’s bread of choice, use a rolling pin to flatten the bread, then add your toppings, roll and slice. The One Handed Cooks website has a great recipe here. One of their tips is to leave a 1cm gap at the end of the bread, and to use additional spread if it won’t seal. On a recent IWM Facebook post, one member suggested the sushi sandwich combination of cream cheese and salmon. Sounds delicious!

Sandwich cutters are another way to help your kids get out of a sandwich rut. Smaller, bite-sized shapes may encourage them to try new ingredients and flavour combinations too. A member of the IWM team picked up some from Daiso in Marrickville Metro last year (as well as some other cool lunchbox accessories – see photo). But there’s an abundance of companies selling them online in all different shapes and sizes.

6. A nut-free alternative for the peanut butter lover in your life

The allergy risk rules out peanut butter as a lunchbox sandwich spread. If no other fillings will fly, the soybean based Wow Butter is an alternative. The jar even includes little stickers for the lunchbox, so there’s no confusion about its nut-free credentials.

7. Best backpack for high school 

A Group member put a call-out for some guidance on backpack choice for high school, seeking something big enough for a laptop plus all the other necessary items. Brands recommended by other Group members included: Crumpler, Caribee, Patagonia and Harlequin Kids. Others suggested a visit to for a range of suitable brands.

8. How to administer a rapid antigen test to a child

The NSW Government’s return to school plan includes a requirement for parents to administer two rapid antigen tests per week to their school aged children for the first four weeks of term.  Melbourne ear, nose and throat surgeon Dr Eric Levi posted a helpful video to his Twitter feed earlier in January on how to administer the test to a child. “Go low, go slow” is his advice. Check it out on Twitter here.

9. Weetbix slice recipe







This recipe was created by Inner West Mum’s founder Anita Vitanova when her kids declared one morning they no longer liked Weetbix, and she had only just bought a box.

“So, I looked up different ideas to use up the leftovers, combined a few different recipes and came up with the one below,” she said.

“I used a 22cm x 18cm rectangle baking tray, so had some granola-looking leftovers from the mix ( can you spot the trend with food in our household?) and we had that with some Greek yoghurt, fresh berries and banana for breakfast. Ha, only if the kids knew they WERE still eating the Weetbix for breakfast!”

Weetbix Slice


4 Weetbix
2/3 cup dessicated coconut
1/2 cup chopped up walnuts
6-8 Medjool dates
2 tbsp raw cacao powder
2 tbsp honey
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp coconut oil
100 chocolate melts









Grease and line a rectangular baking tray.  Put all the ingredients, except for the chocolate, into a food processor and pulse until fine crumbs are formed. Transfer the mixture to the baking tray and flatten with the back of a spoon. Put it in the fridge while melting the chocolate. Pour the melted chocolate over the Weetbix slice and let it set. You can choose to sprinkle some more desiccated coconut on top or finely chopped walnuts (if not for school).  We had some leftovers M&Ms, so put those to good use.


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