School Lunch Ideas

Lounge By saffronica Updated 21 Aug 2010 , 2:50am by Texas_Rose

saffronica Posted 12 Aug 2010 , 11:27pm
post #1 of 23

My oldest daughter starts school soon, and I'm trying to come up with some creative ideas for lunches. I imagine I'll send up sending a lot of sandwiches, but I'd like to mix it up sometimes, too. Any suggestions?


22 replies
LisaMarie86 Posted 13 Aug 2010 , 7:07pm
post #2 of 23

Bento boxes are fun and can be cute for the kid. Also wraps are an alternative to a sandwich.

saffronica Posted 13 Aug 2010 , 8:03pm
post #3 of 23

Thanks for the idea. How do you do a bento box?

cakesbycathy Posted 14 Aug 2010 , 1:25am
post #4 of 23

buy a thermos- lots of possibilities - soup, mac n cheese, hot dog (cook hot dog in morning, put boiling water into thermos, add hot dog, by lunchtime water has cooled down and hot dog perfect temp for eating)

peanut butter on crackers
mini box of cereal with plastic bowl and spoon - kid buys milk from cafeteria
Lunchables are good for when you're in a pinch
string cheese and yogurt

My mom (and now I do it with my kids) always used to put a note in my lunch for the 1st day of school icon_smile.gif

cakesbycathy Posted 14 Aug 2010 , 1:27am
post #5 of 23

here's a good article:

Texas_Rose Posted 14 Aug 2010 , 4:30am
post #6 of 23

My youngest is starting kindergarten this month too icon_biggrin.gif

This is what I learned from my oldest when she went. Make sure she can open all the packages herself, even if you have to practice a few. Try not to send a ton of food, because sometimes the cafeteria attendants will make them try to finish all of it. If she has a plastic lunchbox, make sure she can open the latch too.

Sometimes kindergarten eats really early...Val had lunch at 10:30 and she usually wasn't very hungry by then.

KS421 Posted 14 Aug 2010 , 12:28pm
post #7 of 23

What I learned when I sent my oldest to Kindergarten is that it didn't matter what I sent with her, she was too busy talking to eat it. Made me crazy. She came home with most of her food everyday until she got smart and started throwing it away.

Now she tells me she doesn't like sandwiches so I don't know what to send her either. Usually some meat and crackers but that is just so boring.

SuzyNoQ Posted 14 Aug 2010 , 3:52pm
post #8 of 23

I will definatly be watching this thread, my oldest is starting kindergarden this year, I am sooo nervous, patially becouse of her health issues and partly becouse she is such a picky and slow eater.

SuzyNoQ Posted 14 Aug 2010 , 3:53pm
post #9 of 23

I will definatly be watching this thread, my oldest is starting kindergarden this year, I am sooo nervous, patially becouse of her health issues and partly becouse she is such a picky and slow eater.

cakesbycathy Posted 14 Aug 2010 , 5:21pm
post #10 of 23

One of my twin boys is also extremely picky. I sent string cheese, a ziplock bag full of cheerios or other healthy cereal and applesauce almost every single day because that's what he would eat. Both boys bought milk at school.

My other son is less picky and he really liked to buy the school lunch sometimes but the rule was he needed to like at least 3 things on the menu and eat them. I wasn't spending $2.75 for him to eat just the hot dog, kwim?

I also made the mistake of packing too much in their lunches for the first few weeks. I figured that by the time they got to lunch they would be starving. At least half of what I packed never got eaten. They do spend a lot of time socializing and it really was just too much for them to eat even if they hadn't been talking. I also told my kids the only thing they were allowed to throw away was their trash. I wanted to see what got eaten and what didn't to help me figure out the best things to pack. At my kids' school they are NOT allowed to trade.

As far as being a slow eater, I know this is going to sound mean, but she is going to learn pretty quick that she needs to pick up the pace or she's going to be hungry 'cause she took too long and didn't eat enough.

Honestly, the only thing you can do is just pack the best lunch you can and hope for the best. It's really out of your control when they eat at school thumbs_up.gif

saffronica Posted 14 Aug 2010 , 7:02pm
post #11 of 23

I appreciate all the suggestions. It seems like everything I thought of either needed to be refrigerated/heated or was too messy for a five-year-old. Her school is a charter school, and there is no lunch program, so buying lunch (or even milk) is not an option.

A couple of people have suggested string cheese. Doesn't that get too warm before lunch?

cakesbycathy Posted 14 Aug 2010 , 8:04pm
post #12 of 23

You can freeze a juice box and wrap it in foil. It will keep the string cheese cold and will thaw in time for lunch

kansaslaura Posted 15 Aug 2010 , 3:06pm
post #13 of 23

Yogurt freezes well, especially the new whips--they could be your 'ice' for the rest of the lunch too. My son loved PB n J and would eat that everyday. There are a lot of healthy options out there, enjoy your kiddos.. my baby just graduated HS and starts college next week.. and he STILL loves his PB n J!

4Gifts4Lisa Posted 17 Aug 2010 , 3:15pm
post #14 of 23

I make PBandJ sandwiches on Sunday and freeze them. Also this year I discovered the joys of using portion cups (I think they are one or two ounces) for stuff like peanut butter (they can dip their celery sticks or whatever), ranch (carrots and other raw veggies), cream cheese (mini bagels, etc). Little popsicle sticks can be used as a "knife". All that stuff can be premeasured and ready to go. I also freeze capri suns. As an added bonus, when the capri suns live in the freezer, the kids are much less likely to drink them all up when it is not school time! Grapes are good. Chicken nuggets can be warmed and put in a thermos, although they are good cold, too.

My youngest started kindergarten yesterday, and my oldest started senior year. I AM FOUR FOR FOUR, BABY...THEY ARE ALL IN SCHOOL!!!! icon_biggrin.gif

mallorymaid Posted 17 Aug 2010 , 10:31pm
post #15 of 23

My son was very difficult to pack a lunch for, would never eat a sandwich. For my kids I would send, chicken fingers, tuna salad with crackers, spinach dip with pumpernickle and veggies, leftover pizza, bagel and cream cheese with cucumbers on the side (he would put them on and eat it open faced to him it wasn't a sandwich) pigs in a blanket , boiled eggs, fruit with a little chocolate dip (he really liked chocolate fondue), meat cheese and crackers. cereal and milk

JRAE33 Posted 18 Aug 2010 , 4:28am
post #16 of 23

We are lucky that our school provides HOMEADE lunches every day, so I rarely have to pack lunches.

My kids love lunchables, we get the smart choice ones, and then I pack fruit and veggies to go with it.

Pasta salad. We make ours with pepperoni, cheese chunks, and veggies.

Garden salad topped with a chicken strip, dressing in a seperate container.

When I do pack sandwiches, I cut them with a cookie cutter...and I still keep the outside pieces and cut them so it's like one big puzzle (am I making sense?).

Wraps. Send chicken chunks, cheese, veggies, dressing, etc and let them put the wrap together themselves.

Left over pizza. Left over chicken nuggets/tenders.

Mac n cheese in a thermos, but check your thermos that we had didn't keep it warm enough by lunch. I think you need to spend more to get a good thermos.

As a kid I loved a thermos full of soup (noodle soup in star shapes was my favorite) and chocolate pudding (when it came in a can).

I do substitute teaching and every day I pack myself a peanut butter sandwich. My kids have peanut allergies, so I don't get it at home. It's funny, I pack myself pb and my kids are taking salads, etc...

michellenj Posted 18 Aug 2010 , 5:54am
post #17 of 23

My dd loves soup in a thermos, and any veggie with ranch dressing. Sometimes I will make her a wrap, or a pb and banana sandwich and salad. She's a big eater and always hungry, so I am always looking for good lunch ideas. Great thread.

CookieD-oh Posted 18 Aug 2010 , 6:42pm
post #18 of 23

Here's another article on school lunches.

saffronica Posted 20 Aug 2010 , 5:10pm
post #19 of 23

I love all these suggestions -- some of these will work well for us, some won't, but at the very least they've helped me get my brain unstuck!

Another question: Do you find it practical to send reusable containers, or should I stick to everything disposable? I'd prefer reusable, but I'm a little afraid I'll never see them again.

DefyGravity Posted 20 Aug 2010 , 5:35pm
post #20 of 23
Originally Posted by saffronica

I love all these suggestions -- some of these will work well for us, some won't, but at the very least they've helped me get my brain unstuck!

Another question: Do you find it practical to send reusable containers, or should I stick to everything disposable? I'd prefer reusable, but I'm a little afraid I'll never see them again.

I send my 5 year old to kindergarten with reusable stuff. I send plastic spoons and whatnot, and he'll even bring those home to be washed. I just can't justify creating all that garbage every day.

We reuse the Glad-style containers that lunch meat comes in. It might be good to start off with something like that just to get them in the habit of bringing it home, but if they make a mistake, it's not THAt big of a deal.

In the Disney Family Fun magazine, they once showed a picture of using a mini-bagel instead of bread, and used Wilton food color markers to write notes on the bagel.

JRAE33 Posted 20 Aug 2010 , 6:53pm
post #21 of 23

That link was in my email today icon_smile.gif

As for containers, I send re-usable and they always come back to me...along with their uneaten lunch (which I wish they'd leave behind). I just pick up small dishes at the dollar store, and I also send plastic silverware.

margaretb Posted 21 Aug 2010 , 2:40am
post #22 of 23

Thermos has metal food jars that are DISHWASHER SAFE!!! Woo hoo. I have a couple of those, so if I have leftovers, I send things like chile or soup. I just heat it in the microwave at home then pour it in the jar. It's easy to pop them in the dishwasher later, even if they were forgotten in the lunchkit over the weekend (or longer).

I tend to send a lot of food because my kid has an hour bus ride both ways, and some days he doesn't really want to eat much breakfast. So usually it's a sandwhich or something in the thermos (and in a rush, I've been known to send a can of Chef Boyardee with the pull tab lid and a fork), a juice box (can be frozen as people have said to act as an ice pack, but I usually don't bother), a fruit cup, a granola bar, some kind of fruity snack treat thing, a cheese and cracker thing, and then whatever ever extra I think of -- muffin, fruit, cucumbers -- whatever. I pretty much pack that lunch kit full. Sometimes the same granola bar sits in the bag for two weeks before it gets eaten, and that's fine by me, because I want him to have enough for those days when he is STARVING. This year, I'm hoping to do a little less of the prepackaged snacks, though, so not sure how it will work out.

Texas_Rose Posted 21 Aug 2010 , 2:50am
post #23 of 23

I forgot to mention before, for those who let their kids eat school lunch, expect a sudden increase in your child's appreciation of your cooking. Val never knew my cooking was anything to get excited about, but once she started eating cafeteria food, she would compliment my cooking outrageously.

Quote by @%username% on %date%