My DD will be entering kindergarten, but I've been packing lunches for camp for her this summer and I'm finding it way too time-consuming. I recently heard someone comment about kids liking the consistency of lunch being totally predictable and wondered if that's my key to making the prep process go faster. Then I could probably also do more of it in advance, maybe 5 at a time. If we had space in our fridge...
SAHM to 6
My dd will go through stages of liking something a whole lot (4 of 5 lunches the same all week) to getting bored of all the same things where she no longer eats most of lunch and i have to figure out something new to send with her. She mostly doesn't like sandwiches or salads most of the time, so we have to find creative ideas anyway ( cottage cheese or yogurt, bagel, mini amounts of nibbling food with some fruit/veg).
Mom "D" to DD1 "Z" (15) and DD2 "I" (12) DH "M"
I tend to pack the left overs sometimes done up in a new way for lunches. Unless it was a big flop then he takes a box of mac and cheese or something like that and makes it at school. Have you all seen the incredible bento boxes people do? Or the cartoons on paper lunch bags? Some of that art work is beautiful.
I prize making things easy. So my kids' packed lunches are almost always the previous night's supper. We usually make supper with that in mind. If my kids don't eat their lunch, I sometimes ask why & then ask for their suggestions.
Things are easier now they are in high school. They have pocket $, some of which can go to school lunches - but they like to save that $$$ and eat the lunches I make, even if they are not the "tastiest" - they are free. :)
I try to have consistent variety in a week, but repeat the same lunches throughout the month. I use Yumbox for my 6 year old and it really makes it so much easier to create fun lunches that she enjoys eating. So often a whole sandwich would come back minus a bite or two. Now I know that she eats much better. I also like to send some seasonal things. Like this month we are eating lots of fresh corn and melons.