As the school year begins, last year’s PB&J lunchbox rut looms large. Packing fun, balanced foods that children will actually eat is a tall order. Turns out, there’s an app for that. LaLa Lunchbox (free until Oct. 15) solves the midday meal conundrum by empowering children to choose their lunch while giving parents the organizational tools to make packing them easier. The kids fill personalized electronic lunchboxes with icons of preferred food items in fruit, vegetable, protein, and snack categories. The engaging app generates a shopping list using kids’ choices and a meal-planning calendar. Kid-friendly features include adorable monsters, fun sounds, and the option to customize choices with mom’s specialties. Synch devices and share fave digital lunchboxes via Twitter, Facebook, and e-mail. “When we involve our kids in food conversations we are teaching them independence and we are building trust around their decision making and empowering the next generation of healthy eaters,” says founder and CEO Gillian Fein. She was on a mission to involve her then 6-year-old daughter in the lunch process when she released the app in 2012. For kids, opening a lunchbox full of foods they picked themselves is fun. For parents, opening an empty lunchbox at the end of the day is priceless. Available at iTunes.com for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.