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lunch box meal planning

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I need help with healthy meals to pack for my son's lunch box. I only have a few ideas, and I dont' want him to have to eat the same thing all year as well as so much processed food if possible. I miss cooking him lunch. thanks!
Lisa
post #2 of 19
We use the Laptop Lunchbox for our school lunches.

There are a lot of great ideas here.

They also have a monthly newsletter you can see here.

There's a flickr group dedicated to this type of lunchbox, as well.

Even if you choose a different container for his lunches, these will give you a lot of new ideas. There was a thread about this last year with more great ideas.

One of my kids' favorite lunches is a "homemade lunchable".
1 toasted whole wheat English muffin
1 container of shredded mozz cheese
pepperoni slices
1 container of spaghetti/marina sauce
apple slices tossed with orange juice (to sweeten and prevent browning)
lightly steamed and chilled snow peas

They eat the "pizza" cold, but they get to assemble it while their lunch neighbors are assembling their Lunchable.

My kids aren't back to school yet and I brought a lunch to work in one of their lunchboxes. It includes:

1 chicken tender baked in Frank's Red Hot - chilled and chopped
chopped celery
as much shredded lettuce as I could stuff in
blue cheese dressing
sliced chunk cheddar (leftover from another night)
sliced apple and peach (leftover from another night)
brownie

I'll put the lettuce, chicken, celery and dressing together at lunch. Fruit and cheese will probably be snack this morning.
post #3 of 19
When school's in session, I always set aside time on Sunday afternoon or evening to prepare the fridge. I wash and cut celery, cucumber and make sure we've got baby carrots or carrot "chips" to last us the week. I might also steam some peas and store them in the fridge.

If your child likes peanut butter and there isn't a ban at your school, there's a trick for using that natural peanut butter that seperates. When you bring it home, store it upside down and turn it from time to time until you need it. This makes the initial stir less messy.

I buy applesauce cups. They fit perfectly in the box we use and they freeze beautifully. Pop a frozen applesauce cup into the lunch to keep everything cool til lunchtime.

I also like to make chicken salad on Sunday when I have more time. We can wrap it in tortillas, spread it on crackers, stuff it in pitas.

Boil eggs on Sunday for a quick breakfast or for putting in the lunchbox sliced or whole.
post #4 of 19
I love these ideas!
post #5 of 19
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post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 
thank you!! this is a lot of great information! I've slowly been working my way through it all and putting bits and pieces into place. thank you so much!!

Lisa
post #7 of 19

P-butter storage

Quote:
Originally Posted by chellemarie
there's a trick for using that natural peanut butter that seperates.
Here's another one:

Dump the jar of p-butter into a large square or rectangle storage container. (I like the "disposable" ones.) You can stir it much more easily and really get it good and mixed. Then it barely separates in the fridge. Plus, when the whole jarfull comes sliding out (in that oh-so-satisfying "shlock!" sound), the jar itself is much easier to clean for reuse or recycle.

Gotta love my mom for that one!
post #8 of 19

Laptop Lunches

Chellemarie - do you have problems with leaks?

A friend has these and I like them, but I notice that they leak a lot. Of course, she has bruiser kids and they aren't a family to worry so much about the condition of material posessions, so it's hard to tell if it's them or the product!

Do have a soft-sided, reusable cooler lunch box, plus a stainless steel thermos w/ straw, but DS is just about to start K, so I'm not sure how well it will hold up.
post #9 of 19
I use the Ziploc containers with the twist on lids. They work pretty well. Just wish they made a smaller size than small.
I buy frozen mixed fruit from Sam's and put it in the containers and store in the freezer. You can also use it for Jello, Pudding, Salsa etc.... My DD1 is 14 and loves them. The vegi idea is great. Just put them in baggies and grab one when you make the lunch. Also wedged oranges are a great hit too and perfect for the cold season. I have also found that when buying prepackaged items like crackers or chips you pay a ton and they aren't always healthy. DD1 loves pretzels and goldfish so I buy the big containers and separate them into snack size baggies with only 1 serving.
For sandwiches I used to used big cookie cutters and made the sandwiches into different shapes.
DD1 has even asked me to start doing it again. Her friends are jealous of the lunches that I make for her. They tell her that I obviously love her because I take the time to do these special things for her. I also include little note of encouragement too.
I am going to try the mini pizza idea for her.
post #10 of 19
This lady has a fantastic blog: Vegan Lunchbox

If you scroll down her page, to the left, you have the archives. Check the months of September 2005 through May 2006. She took a picture of her son's lunch every school day.

Even for a non-vegan (we eat meat), that's one inspirational blog.
post #11 of 19
Here's a bunch of miscelanious ideas & tips:
http://parents.berkeley.edu/advice/e...ches.html#todd
post #12 of 19
I am soooo glad I found this site and this thread! We have been changing our lifestyle slowly, but we are pretty much alone in this (in 'real' life). I'm getting so excited about all these new ideas....the kids will think its great!!!!

(They are really sick of peanut butter and jelly)
post #13 of 19

Thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benji'sMom
Here's a bunch of miscelanious ideas & tips:
http://parents.berkeley.edu/advice/e...ches.html#todd
Wow! This is a GREAT link! I'm discovering that just getting my new kindergartener to EAT is more of an issue than what's in the lunch. I've already talked to the teacher about helping to monitor his intake. The kids don't eat in a lunchroom and can basically stop and play whenever they're ready (or think they are).

Anyone here using a food thermos (not just a drink thermos)? I'm trying to decide if it's worth it.
post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmgarda View Post

Anyone here using a food thermos (not just a drink thermos)? I'm trying to decide if it's worth it.
I just got one for myself (b/c it's small enough to fit in my lunch bag) but haven't used it yet. I don't necessarily think it's worth it b/c a regular thermos can keep food warm not just drinks. But I needed something smaller than a drink thermos.
post #15 of 19

Benji's Mom

Benji's Mom - Tell me what you think when you start using your thermos, please! DS's drink thermos (with Superman logos and his NAME on it!!) has already been lost and it's only the 3rd week of school. Grrrrr. All our little food containers have come home, but I don't want to go buy a thermos and have it lost again. The darn drink one cost like $12! But I like to have hot food for lunch and generally serve hot food at home, so thought he might like that occassionally.

If anyone is having difficulties getting their child to just EAT, as I am, here's a suggestion from a friend that's working well for us. I put a list in the lunch box with pictures and words for each item packed. Then DS is supposed to eat the items in the order they are listed. I do one section for snack time and one section for lunch time. Then we look at it together and talk about it. The first day I did it, the lunch box came home totally empty!
post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmgarda View Post
Benji's Mom - Tell me what you think when you start using your thermos, please! DS's drink thermos (with Superman logos and his NAME on it!!) has already been lost and it's only the 3rd week of school. Grrrrr. All our little food containers have come home, but I don't want to go buy a thermos and have it lost again. The darn drink one cost like $12! But I like to have hot food for lunch and generally serve hot food at home, so thought he might like that occassionally.

If anyone is having difficulties getting their child to just EAT, as I am, here's a suggestion from a friend that's working well for us. I put a list in the lunch box with pictures and words for each item packed. Then DS is supposed to eat the items in the order they are listed. I do one section for snack time and one section for lunch time. Then we look at it together and talk about it. The first day I did it, the lunch box came home totally empty!
Okay, I used it yesterday and it worked great. It's a 10 oz size.
post #17 of 19
You could try packing breakfast or dinner for lunch!

My kids get a hoot out of occasionlly bringing cereal to school for lunch. A small container of cereal (my homemade granola is a favorite, thankyouverymuch ) and a small container of milk. Either the bought ones or in a reusable. Pack with some fruit and there ya go! Easy peasy.

Salads are great and easy too. With some leftover chicken/meat on top. And a bun or two.
post #18 of 19
I haven't done orange wedges yet this year. Mmm. Now I want an orange. When clementines are in season, I buy crates of them. They are perfect for lunchboxes and they're easy to peel. If I don't have time, my kids can do it themselves.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mmgarda View Post
Chellemarie - do you have problems with leaks?

A friend has these and I like them, but I notice that they leak a lot. Of course, she has bruiser kids and they aren't a family to worry so much about the condition of material posessions, so it's hard to tell if it's them or the product!
Ours don't leak. It might be what she's packing - or how the kids are re-packing their boxes after eating. One roll of Press n' Seal has gone a long way and is useful for juicy fruits in a container that doesn't have a lid. I use Press n' Seal or a baggie for half a banana or an egg that would make the rest of the box smelly.

I do like the laptop lunchboxes, but I am disappointed with the quality of the lids. I think they're working on that. The dip container lids cracked early on, and the larger container lids only stood up to one school year. But! Whenever I've written them to ask for replacement lids, I've gotten them without a fuss.

Sunday night I packed lunches for two days. I made chicken salad, cut celery and cleaned strawberries. I packed Monday's lunch into their boxes and put Tuesday's lunch containers in a long Tupperware container so I could slide the whole thing out without fumbling for containers. I also packed my lunch in Tupperware containers that I carry to work in a reusable lunch sack.

Monday's lunchbox:
1 Whole wheat pita (toasting in toaster makes it open easier) stuffed with chicken salad, wrapped in a small sandwich bag and placed in the big compartment without a container.
Vanilla yogurt in large, lidded container
Canned pineapple chunks
celery sticks and carrot chips

Tuesday's lunchbox:
1/2 whole wheat bagel, toasted, with Nutella and sliced banana
fresh strawberries and canned pineapple chunks in lidded container
sugar snap peas (frozen, zapped in micro with a bit of water then rinsed cold)
unsweeted applesauce cup
post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by chellemarie View Post
Monday's lunchbox:
1 Whole wheat pita (toasting in toaster makes it open easier) stuffed with chicken salad, wrapped in a small sandwich bag and placed in the big compartment without a container.
Vanilla yogurt in large, lidded container
Canned pineapple chunks
celery sticks and carrot chips
Your Monday lunch looks almost exactly like my Tuesday lunch, except my sandwich was on a bagel!
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