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How much and what do you pack in your preschooler's lunch box? - Page 2

post #21 of 31

Color me jealous! DS is such a picky eater, and I WISH I could get him to eat so many things on your list! He won't even touch fresh fruit, despite our best intentions (exposing him to many foods early, and we also don't do any processed food). He's just a fiend for carbs! Thank goodness he likes quinoa with coconut oil most days.

Originally Posted by NatureMom2Two View Post

On the lunchbox front, we use bento boxes or Laptop Lunchboxes (http://www.laptoplunches.com/ ). We pack with a zero-waste philosophy in mind, meaning no single serve items or unnecessary packaging, and we use only cloth napkins, real cutlery and a reusable water bottle.


Our schools will not heat foods, and refrigeration is not supplied (though an ice pack takes care of that more often than not), so that can limit choice. We are also vegan and will not consume any processed food products. A typical lunch for my three and five year old looks a bit like this:


Green salad with strawberries, blueberries and raw cashews and a citrus dressing (packed on the side to keep soggy greens at bay)

A cup of fresh, seasonal fruit or piece of whole fruit

A cup of plain cultured soy milk

Homemade date and oat bar




Gazpacho (in a stay-cold thermos)

Pita wrap with homemade hummus, cucumbers, shredded zucchini and summer squash and carrots

Sugar snap peas

raw nuts and seeds mixed with some raisins



Cut carrots, celery, cucumbers

Homemade whole grain pretzels

An almond and miso dipping sauce

A cup of cut fruit or a piece of whole fruit

A lentil and corn salad


We also do rice balls, veggie sushi rolls, hot soups in the winter with a chunk of bread, different grain salads and pasta dishes. I don't see anything wrong with giving kids small portions of assorted foods. While we don't promote waste, I also don't like it when my kids come home with an empty lunchbox, meaning that they did not get sufficient food for that day! And you know, appetites vary with weather, activity level and snacks.


post #22 of 31

I think food preferences with regards to variety, portions, eating speed, etc. are highly individual. For example, I love a big tapas-like variety while my husband hates it - he really wants no more than 2-3 foods per meal and always declines when someone asks him if he wants to try a bite of theirs; I hate eating the same thing day after day while DH enjoys having the same lunch every day; and so on. It sounds to me like the teachers may be judging from a "most kids" perspective - which often has some wisdom to it, but you know your child best. Because of my own preferences, it took me a little while to notice that my own kiddo gets overwhelmed with lots of choices. So I do limit variety, especially because he is a light and s-l-o-w eater. (He'd eat about about a quarter of what you describe and it could take him 45 minutes to eat it! But I do pack slightly more than I think he'll eat because I'd rather him not be hungry in any way.) It really sounds like your child thrives on the variety - maybe he's just a slow eater by nature? I think you're doing a great job with the lunches. You might want to try doing what others have suggested and packing bigger portions with less variety and see what the teachers report about that. Otherwise, I'd do the smile and nod thing. Even if the teacher is a nutritionist - the nutritionist at DS's preschool is of the low-fat school of thought but apparently has no problem with sugary, additive-filled low-fat yogurt - yech! (I really should make a fuss about that even though I send his lunches, but I don't know how to do it and not come off the wrong way...)

post #23 of 31
Originally Posted by Pumpkin_Pie View Post

Originally Posted by wife&mommy View Post
I know! I want it but can't justify the cost at the moment.
A co-worker of mine bought one of those and brought it in to show me, and I wasn't as impressed with it in person. The little clippie things on the sides look like they will eventually break off, and there is no way to replace them, so once those go, the whole thing is no good. Plus, the outside case was not as vibrant and colorful as the website shows. It looks like the fabric bled all over the place when they put whatever the waterproof coating was on it. Pretty blah IMO, plus it is really pricey. Great idea though.

I think I am going to limit the number of small things in his lunch box, but still offer him at least one choice from each food group, plus a treat of some kind. I tried to make his portions larger today, and he still came back with about the same amount of food. I am thinking I just need to ignore the teacher's grumblings and go with what is working for him for now. He is actually moving to a new classroom in two weeks, so I can re-evaluate then.

have you tried bento boxes. google it. there are many brands that make them (in a wide variety of price ranges). plus, no waste and that makes everybody happy.

post #24 of 31
Originally Posted by gozal View Post

 Otherwise, I'd do the smile and nod thing.

i second that.

post #25 of 31

We're pretty middle of the road with lunches.  Today I packed DD:


1/2 of a sun butter and jam sandwich on ww bread (no peanut butter allowed)

1 orange

1 cheese stick

1 container of carrots

1 apple sauce


Other days she eats things like:

1 half of a ww tortilla rolled w/ spinach and turkey

1 yogurt

1 container of snap peas

1 container of halved grapes or blueberries or mellon


I just try to pack at least 1 fruit and 1 veggie, a grain and a protein.  She's not picky, but she doesn't eat much.  Her school also has rules against certain foods like pretzels and raisins because of choking concerns, so I rarely pack those things.

post #26 of 31

I think it's great to give him so many choices.


They may not be thrilled that it's taking him a long time to eat because it interferes with "nap time".  The preschool I used to work at had rules about the kids being all on their nap mats by a certain time because of state laws with class size.  We had our lunches while the kids napped and they had to be lying down on their mats in order for there to only be one teacher in the room, otherwise it messed with the state regulated ratios.  So that could have something to do with it.

That being said, I've never understood the teachers that complain about the kids that have too much food or too many varieties.  If there's extra it goes home and at least your son has plenty to choose from!

post #27 of 31

sounds fine to me.  I noticed when I'd send DS lunch, some would come home, I think he talks a lot....

I also sent less variety and containers.  A typical kindergarten lunch would've been  a turkey sandwich with tomato and cucumber thin sliced.  This would often get finished in the car on the way home.

ONE treat item---EITHER a chip-type or a cookie usually.  His choice.  Not both.

A piece of fruit or bowl of mixed frozen--that would thaw--the stuff I have around for smoothies.

*sometimes* carrots or bell pepper and a little container of dip.


I would let him choose what went in, no point sending something he would throw,not eat.  Veggies depended on what I had and availability of a little container for dip.  He will consistently eat the veggies in a sandwich but goes in spurts with salads and raw with dip.

Sadly enough, comments about not eating veggies started last year already.  And lots of the kids I saw had lunches with Go-gurts, individually packed junk snacks, things like that rather than just food.


I need to get a little more creative, and I would like to start sending a little more often.  Fortunately (in my mind) the days he insists on packing a lunch are the eggs--which have to be fake in the quantities they are making! and the fake mashed potatoes and gravy.  He only likes MY mashed potatoes  :D

post #28 of 31

My kids have planet boxes which they love. My four year old usually has yogurt in the main container, grain free cereal in the small one, 3/4 cup of fruit in one section and 3/4 cup veggies in the other. That is his favorite lunch. He almost always eats it all.

 I would continue to send the lunch your child is enjoying and eating! If it really is causing a problem then no doubt the teacher will raise it again and you can ask what the issue actually is!


post #29 of 31

Rainbow2911, off topic but thank you, thank you for the link to planetbox! I've been searching for exactly this for ages.

post #30 of 31

I love mine! So convenient and the kids love to put their magnets on them before school. I do recomend getting the bags with the larger bottle holders (some colours have a smaller one) and getting spare sealing rings....

post #31 of 31

About the 'not eating sandwiches' comments - we have the same issue here, so we just put in rolled uncured lunchmeat slices with sharp cheddar (or other) cheese cubes. Besides that, we give DC fruit, veggies, a few crackers, a yogurt tube, org. milk/water/low sugar juice.

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