how to use a thermos
Kids, Tips / How-Tos, Toddlers

How to Use a Thermos the Right Way

Getting your children to eat healthy, well-balanced meals outside of the home is much easier when you aren’t limited to refrigerated items alone. But keeping your kids’ thermos meals warm hours after you’ve packed them can also be trickier than it seems!

To make sure your little one’s lunch stays warm, check out our one-minute video on how to use a thermos more effectively. Following the quick video and instructions, we also share just a few of our favorite hot lunch ideas for kids.

Step by Step: How to Keep Food Hot in a Thermos

Placing a hot meal directly into a room-temperature thermos will cause much of the food’s heat to be lost, leaving your little one with an unappealing, lukewarm lunch. Fortunately, it takes just six quick steps to make sure your kids’ hot lunches stay that way!

Step 1: Fill With Hot Water.

Boil water and fill the thermos to maximum capacity.

Step 2: Let Sit.

Place the lid back on the thermos and let it sit for several minutes. 

Step 3: Heat Food.

While you’re waiting for the thermos to warm up, heat your child’s meal in the microwave.

Step 4: Pour Out Water.

Once your kid’s food is warm, carefully pour out the hot water from the thermos.

Step 5: Fill With Hot Food.

Add the warm food to the thermos as quickly as possible.

Step 6: Pack and Go.

Tightly close the thermos lid and pack it into your kid’s favorite lunch box.

Our Favorite Nurture Life Thermos Meals

Now that you know how to keep food hot in a thermos, it’s time to fill that thermos with nutritious and delicious meals that your kids will love showing off at the lunch table. We asked the Nurture Life team to share some of their favorite thermos lunches for kids, and here’s what they said!

Cheesy Zucchini Pomodoro

Cheesy Zucchini Pomodoro

Our Cheesy Zucchini Pomodoro takes two kid favorites—pasta and cheese—and gives it a nutritious spin, perfect for packing in a thermos! We toss our housemade pomodoro and three-cheese blend with whole wheat shells and roasted zucchini to give your kid the flavors they love with ingredients you’ll love. 

Mac & Cheese with Cauliflower

mac & cheese nurture life

You can bid farewell to boxed macaroni and cheese and say hello to a kid-approved version that’s not just quicker but more wholesome, too. Our Mac & Cheese has smoothly pureed cauliflower folded into the creamy cheese sauce for a hidden pop of fiber and nutrients. The familiar recipe also makes this thermos meal a picky eater favorite!

Thai Coconut Chicken

Thai coconut chicken

Perfect for adventurous eaters, our Thai Coconut Chicken has exciting flavors of coconut milk, ginger and garlic in every bite. Squash, kale and red peppers dish out extra vitamins and minerals, while antibiotic-free chicken and fiber-filled brown rice will keep your kid feeling full long after lunch is over. To stick to the Thai-inspired theme, send your kid’s thermos with freshly cut tropical fruit on the side! Pro tip: We love buying pre-cut frozen fruit like mango and pineapple and packing it for lunch! By the time lunch comes around, the fruit will be perfectly defrosted and ready-to-enjoy. 

Veggie Pasta with Fresh Mozzarella

veggie pasta with fresh mozzarella

Our kid-friendly trick? Top pasta with bits of fresh mozzarella, and suddenly lunch or dinner is something to be excited about! While your kids focuses on the cheese, you can focus on the eight finely chopped veggies packed in this pasta—red bell peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, eggplant, yellow squash and carrots tossed in a tasty red sauce with whole wheat noodles.

Chili Quinoa Bowl

chili quinoa bowl

Not just for meatless Mondays or cold winter days, our three-bean chili is one of our favorite hot lunch ideas for kids all year long. We add just the right seasoning for that classically rich and roasted chili flavor and then serve it over a bed of superfood quinoa. You can make this wholesome thermos meal even better by sending along creative chili toppings like cheese, sliced avocado or Greek yogurt!

Want even more easy thermos meals? Then check out these 10 thermos-friendly hot lunch ideas for kids. If you have any questions about how to pack a thermos with your child’s favorite Nurture Life meals, reach out to us at

Imaide Square Crop

Imaide Steverango

As a Research and Development Chef at Nurture Life, Imaide is in charge of developing nutritionally dense, culturally diverse meals for babies, toddlers and kids. Her goal is to create delicious meals that balance protein, veggies and complex carbs in dishes that celebrate flavors and ingredients that might not otherwise be introduced into the home. She loves the challenge of making veggies more kid-friendly, especially when she finds a way to showcase them at the forefront of a meal. With a Bachelor's degree in culinary nutrition and a concentration in clinical dietetics, Imaide brings a balance of culinary expertise and nutrition knowledge. In her previous position as Executive Chef and Food Service Director at a childcare center, she was in charge of feeding children from 6 months to 6 years old. This allowed her to gain a strong understanding of what flavors, textures and ingredients kids love. Imaide's passion for food is rooted in its power to bring people together—food lets children learn about diversity and how what we eat can help us accept each other's differences.