With School Starting, a Nutritious Solution for Lunchboxes

Image: Freeli

School’s open. Those words, which anxious parents have been waiting an eternity to hear, can finally be uttered.

With that reality comes another: what to pack in kids’ lunchboxes. There is safety in the old standbys — PB and J or tuna fish — but this fall why not send along a meal that is not only nutritious but hot?

The one-word answer to that question is Freeli, a line of complete self-contained meals in easily reheatable pouches. Each meal is packed with protein and made with whole bite-sized ingredients. Prep time is all of 45 seconds, which is the length of time the pouch needs in the microwave. Just transfer the contents to a thermos, and school lunch is ready. (At home, the top of the pouch can be snipped, and your child or you — Freeli is also great for adults on the go — are ready to eat.)

Freeli also makes great care packages for college students craving a midnight snack.

Putting the Product to the Test

Freeli offers five different meal choices: mac & cheese, pasta & meat sauce, chicken noodle, chicken teriyaki, and burrito bowl. Our tasting panel was impressed with both the simplicity of presentation and ease of serving. If you eat the meals straight from the pouch using disposable cutlery, there’s no clean-up, as an added bonus.

So how did meals taste? For the most part we enjoyed them and felt they exhibited a home-cooked quality, as advertised.

Far and away our favorite was the burrito bowl, composed of black beans, brown rice, and Monterey Jack cheese. The dish earned thumbs up from all our tasters. The chicken noodle, which contained enough chunks of chicken, peas, carrots, and short lengths of egg noodle to make it thicker than a soup, was also good.

Two of the meals — the mac & cheese and pasta & meat sauce — struck two of our tasters as having a curious aftertaste that they had difficulty isolating. Like the other meals, they nevertheless made for a satisfying lunch.

Freeli, its name notwithstanding, does not come cheaply. A 20-meal box will set you back $89.88, which averages $4.50 per meal, and a 10-meal box runs $54.99, which works out to $5.50 a meal. Shipping is free, and you can save on your order by subscribing, which provides a 10% discount.