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Lunch Box Ideas that fit in

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I figured since Sept. is coming I'd see if I could get some help for a picky school lunch eater.
My dd is 7 and used to be fine with the healthy lunches I'd pack.
What ever I gave her she'd eat until 1/2 way through first grade. Her friends started making comments like "Iw, whats that? Thats gross" and others.
I would look in her lunch box when she got home and it would be full. She finally told me she is too embarrassed and wont open her lunch box in front of her friends.
So, she has to eat but its hard to come up with things that look like "normal kids lunches"
Any ideas? I figured this would be a good thread for all moms who pack lunch.
post #2 of 20
What does she like?

My son loves sandwiches. We do use different breads, different fillings, etc to give him some variety, but he asked for a pb&j on an english muffin every day last year for 2 weeks.

It's mostly sandwiches, fruit and/or veggies, and crackers. I've done homemade lunchables, with crackers, cheese and ham. He isn't a huge fan of hot food in a thermos so we mostly stick with the sandwiches. Not very exciting, but that's what he asks for.
post #3 of 20
It is frustrating, isn't it? My youngest sister ate vegetable soup for lunch at school until second grade when she got teased for it. She never ate veg soup at school again.

I, too, was going to suggest homemade lunchables. Other ideas: yogurt, cheese stick, wraps, edamame, fruit, veggies, sandwich meat (ham, turkey, cheese) on mini-bagels, homemade "uncrustables", sandwiches cut with cookie-cutters.

Lunch can be simple and healthy. I am aiming for a protein, carb, and fruit/veg with milk. And don't be afraid to be repetitive. I ate pbj every day for lunch, at my request. As much as we moms want to provide variety, sometimes kids just want the same thing.
post #4 of 20
I say this respectfully, but perhaps the solution is that there is some dialogue between you and your dd about peer pressure. Seriously, if your dd is not eating because of what friends say, this is a recipe for disaster (pun intended). Pack what you feel is best and give her the tools to tell her friends that it's none of their business what she eats.
post #5 of 20
Quote:
I say this respectfully, but perhaps the solution is that there is some dialogue between you and your dd about peer pressure. Seriously, if your dd is not eating because of what friends say, this is a recipe for disaster (pun intended). Pack what you feel is best and give her the tools to tell her friends that it's none of their business what she eats.
I don't think this comment is very helpful. I work with teens and I can talk about peer pressure until I'm blue in the face but it doesn't change how that child FEELS when made fun of about something, especially about the food that they are trying to enjoy at lunchtime.

I know that my mom talked to my sister (who is the youngest of six) about it but it didn't change that my sister no longer wanted to eat veg soup.

The OP's DD is seven. A conversation is a starting point but it is not likely to change the actual outcome, which is the child is uncomfortable with being different. I think wanting to be like your friends (clothes, food, etc) is completely normal developmentally for a child of that age. Elementary children tend to want to be like their peers, not different.
post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
I say this respectfully, but perhaps the solution is that there is some dialogue between you and your dd about peer pressure. Seriously, if your dd is not eating because of what friends say, this is a recipe for disaster (pun intended). Pack what you feel is best and give her the tools to tell her friends that it's none of their business what she eats.
I did have several conversations with her. She completely understands, but still came home with her lunch uneaten.
Fitting in and peer pressure are very different.
She isnt pressured by other kids to engage in bad behavior or dangerous activities.
She just really cares about her lunch looking different.
If more kids had lunches like hers, it wouldnt be a problem.
No one likes to be the ONLY kid who is totally different especially when they are really self conscious.
UNfortunatley most of the kids buy lunch and the foods are just really low quality, so thats not an option.
She has stomach and sensory problems and I have to pick my battles with her.
I told her as long as she eats her fruits before school and veggies with dinner that I'll do my best to make her lunches differently.
Im just looking for lunch ideas here. If it were that easy to say "eat what you get and dont worry about what everyone says" it would be great.

The mini bagels sound like something "normal" that she might like. Ill try that.
post #7 of 20
I totally understand as I face the same challenges with my kids.
Some things I pack that are more on the "normal" side, but still don't make my skin crawl include: bagels with cream cheese, tortilla chips with salsa, chocolate chip muffins or cookies that I've made, berries, cheese sandwiches made with real cheese slices, pretzels, commercial root vegetable chips, commercial snack mixes, cucumbers and hummus. They've asked for Lunchables, Fruit Gushers, Froot by the Foot, Coke and other "food" by name based on what the other kids have for lunch.
post #8 of 20
I'd stick w/ sandwhiches, cheese sticks, crackers, pepperoni, deli meets, bagels & cream cheese, varius fruits, etc... What is it that you packed that she didn't want to eat infront of them?
post #9 of 20
It would be helpful to know what you have been packing up to this point.
post #10 of 20
Ds is only in preschool now, and therefore highly supervised at lunch. We have a rule at school that you may not talk about other people's food as being "gross" or "yucky" etc because that is something *they* are going to eat and it is incredibly rude. This was also the rule at another school I worked at, although it was mostly for the adults not to say that to the kids (many of the students had feeding issues and needed to eat purreed foods even though they were tweens/teens etc)

I realize that is not particularly helpful, I'm just sharing one way that we have tried to deal with it at a school I worked and a school my kid goes to. I don't know what supervision looks like at your school or what other kinds of issues the school is dealing with and whehter or not this is something they would/could address. I know in some schools it comes up during "anti-bullying" stuff, teasing people because of what they are eating or how they dress is often a way that a lot of kids are able to indentify with the anti-bullying discussions.
post #11 of 20
Now for more practical ideas!
would a bento box/lunchable work for her? Like little compartments with all different things? Check out this Flickr with bento boxes! What about something that seemed awe inspiring to the other kids, homemade pizza, or cookie cutter sandwiches, or make your own taco kit?

I actually have no idea what 7yos think it acceptable/cool because most of the 7yo's I know come from rather crunchy households and are often veg.

I agree that knowing what the "embarrassing" foods were would help come up with other ideas.
post #12 of 20
I totally understand. Where I live,probably 2 kids in the class pack a lunch the rest buy the school food. Makes a spotlight on the kid who brings a lunch. Every tray eating kid wants to know whats inside lunch bringing kids bag........so they can have some hopefully. So normally kids are packing fruit gushers, fruit by the foots, small bags of chips or cookies, and p b and js. I have never seen a healthy packed lunch in the school so far. I would do what you are doing, just tell her as long as she promises to eat her healthy foods at home, make her lunches whatever she wants. Eating something is better than her not eating it at all and coming home with a headache or something. This is one issue where i wouldnt let a lunch be my battle.Kids at school have it hard enough.
post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 
These were some of her lunches she was perfectly happy with:

seaweed rice crackers with hummus
brown rice w/ ricemilk, flax, raisins
almond butter in a small container with carrots to dip
salsa, beans and cornchips with cheese sticks
sunbutter and jelly sandwiches
applegate salami slices with grapes
homemade zucchini muffins with walnuts

I had many others, but these were her favorite.
I hope this atleast gives some of you a few more ideas for your kids who are eating next to other healthy eating kids.

This town is so far behind when it comes to health. It seems like the people here cant be bothered. The "healthy" moms here go to the gym and live on packaged protein bars and shakes.
Just breastfeeding makes me an oddball. Thats how it is here.
I would be considered a real nut. Everyone is very nice here though, so I just dont really discuss our lifestyle with many people.
It doesnt leave much conversation, when being a sahm is my life right now.
Thats why this forum is SO awesome.
post #14 of 20
Are there any dietary restrictions to consider? (IE no gluten, no tree nuts or peanuts, no dairy, no egg--either your daughter or the school bans it?). What do the other kids bring? Can you make her meals look similar? I send my gluten-sensitive kids with things like a homemade lunchables with almond crackers, deli meat and cheese or gf pizza crust, pizza sauce, cheese and pepperoni, or mini tacos or corn chips, taco meat, cheese, lettuce. Also, sandwiches are a good choice. Ask your daughter what she wants and try to give it to her in a way that is health(ier).
post #15 of 20
I would have a friendly discussion with your DD's teacher. He/she may be willing to have a talk with the kids about being polite about other's food. Maybe whoever monitors the kids during lunch could keep an ear out and help guide the discussion a bit too.

I would be careful to approach it in a "I know this is normal at this age, but it's causing a problem for my DD and I'd really appreciate anything you could do to help." I think that you're more likely to get help than if you go in accusing the kids of being mean etc.
post #16 of 20
I remember being teased about lunch. It wasn't so much what was packed, but just general the general compulsion to tease at that age. It did make an effect, though. I never brought or bought my lunch through high school! The most I accomplished was the occasional frozen Snickers bar.

I don't know how much time you have as far as prep goes, how much money you want to spend on lunches or how much effort you want to put into "cool" lunches (sometimes I'm sooo tired at the end of the night that I get a sandwich made & that's done!) but here's some ideas that give an impression of loveliness:

Makings for a yogurt parfait in compartments: granola, greek yogurt, coconut (NO messy berries! Or messy anything! Must look fabulous!)
Bread or cracker & cheese plate with fruit salad(my daughter LOVES baguettes)
Fruit muffins (disguising flaxmeal and protein powder) and fruit
Belgian waffle sticks with chocolate syrup on the side and fruit

After experimenting you could slowly add non-messy green vegetables such as a small mixed green salad with cranberries, croutons and a side of raspberry vinegrette or edamame in pods. I advise against the use of a thermos for ultimate "coolness."

You could also try including one "cool" thing in her lunch to promote friendliness and take attention away from a regular ol' sandwich that might encite 1st grade insanity:

Trail mix with chocolate - if the school is nut free (like our preschool) you can make "trail mix" with sunflower & pumpkin seeds & dried fruit
SunRidge Farms gummies
Pirates Booty or Tings
"Yogurt" covered pretzels
A juice based soda

I hate to say this, and I'm elated mom2happy's daughter loves those nutritious foods, but seaweed crackers and hummus etc are probably not the best way to look "cool" in the eyes of a pack of 1st grade girls.
post #17 of 20

school lunch ideas - switch the peer pressure

have you thought about making a little extra of her favorite "different" foods so that she could share with the friends she's sitting with? i know your budget won't want to feed the other kids forever, but she could provide a little positive peer pressure of her own to get them to try (and probably like) the food she eats. then, she's no longer the oddball, but the cool kid who introduces/leads friends into positive behaviors? along with giving her some key quotes/info to share about the food and why it's so good/fun to eat could make her a trendsetter!


Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2happy View Post
I did have several conversations with her. She completely understands, but still came home with her lunch uneaten.
Fitting in and peer pressure are very different.
She isnt pressured by other kids to engage in bad behavior or dangerous activities.
She just really cares about her lunch looking different.
If more kids had lunches like hers, it wouldnt be a problem.
No one likes to be the ONLY kid who is totally different especially when they are really self conscious.
UNfortunatley most of the kids buy lunch and the foods are just really low quality, so thats not an option.
She has stomach and sensory problems and I have to pick my battles with her.
I told her as long as she eats her fruits before school and veggies with dinner that I'll do my best to make her lunches differently.
Im just looking for lunch ideas here. If it were that easy to say "eat what you get and dont worry about what everyone says" it would be great.

The mini bagels sound like something "normal" that she might like. Ill try that.
post #18 of 20

lunch like the "normal kids"

I can totally understand, my daughter is now 3.5 and in preschool, and she asks me "can't we be like normal families?" I ask her what normal families do, because I'm pretty sure we're normal. Anyhow, I've gotten to packing 5-7 items daily in hopes that she'll eat some portion of them. Today, she got grilled pork steak, bbq sauce, carrot sticks, cherry & pear tomatoes, homemade refrigerator pickles, 1/3 of a homemade banana-blueberry muffin, and a small cup of yogurt. I bought the little silicon cupcake wraps in assorted pastel colors. They are just the right height for her Tupperware container. She seems to be proud of her colorful snackable lunches.
The strangest request I've gotten from her is to put her sandwiches in plastic zip baggies. I told her it's not environmentally friendly. I guess that's what makes us abnormal - my adherence to reusable lunch packaging materials.
post #19 of 20
These are great lunch ideas for me! I have a 4th grader and 2nd grader and I can tell you I hear the same thing, "Why do we have to eat things organic?" "Why do we always have to eat whole wheat?" But then I also hear from a mom down the street (who serves only a standard American diet) that her daughter complains they don't eat like we do. Go figure!

So I think it's 2 things:
1) It's human to want what others have, at least some times.

2) Kids need to hear the reasons why their family does "x" so they know how to word discussions with their friends. What you say will give them the script.

I know this from my college niece who gave her mom (my sister) a very hard time with arguing growing up and can now tell us she would argue to know how to explain a situation to her friends (ie: "Why can't I go to a boy/girl sleepover?") Hope that I was able to write that in a way that makes sense. I loved hearing this from my niece--now I'm extra careful how I explain things and try not to sound too judgmental. Great discussion!
post #20 of 20
check out this website: http://weelicious.com
a friend just emailed it to me and it has tons of yummy, healthy recipes. i clicked "big kids recipes" and there are 43 pages! on the first page alone i copied down like 4 recipes. she has an "easy school lunch recipes" tag, too.
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