Healthy School Lunches - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 07-31-2002, 01:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We just received information from my son's school for Kindergarten next year . He will be attending Extended Day Kindergarten and will be eating lunch there. I know I'm asking this WAYYYYY to early, but I'm such a planner and like to be organized

I need some ideas for healthy lunches for my ds. I want to try to eliminate all the prepackaged stuff too. What do you do? He luvs yogart and sandiwichs, but need other ideas.

Thanks~

Lisa

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#2 of 12 Old 07-31-2002, 02:33 PM
 
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My mom used to send me with crackers and a nifty little tupperware container of a healthy cheese spread, along with a popsicle stick to spread the cheese on the crackers. I remember clearly the day she forgot to pack the popsicle stick, I was in tears with the stress and trauma of it... Okay, so that was roughly 24 years ago or so...

But cheese (if he eats cheese) and crackers are great, string cheese is pretty easy and has a "just like the other kids" quality to it (my partner has horrible memories of being the kid with raisins and carrot sticks while everyone else had cheetos, lol).

We've been buying tuna fish in those little cans that come in 3 packs, and taking a can with some crackers on hikes with us, you can scoop the tuna out with the crackers (something fairly hearty and firm like a multigrain wheat thin) then put the empty can in the empty cracker container to bring it home to recycle. I've almost nicked myself on the lids, but could put the tuna in a little container that's safer and easier for little fingers to open.

Does he like falafel? you can make up a whole package and cook the little falafel balls, and store in the fridge, and pack some up with something for dipping (believe it or not, ranch salad dressing is sooo good for this!)

I remember the BEST days were when my mom packed me some kind of warm treat like a little container of soup or mac & cheese...

okay, it's almost lunch and now I'm hungry!
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#3 of 12 Old 07-31-2002, 06:54 PM
 
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For my lunch at work I like "lunchbox nachos": In a container w/tight-fitting lid, put beans, shredded cheese, and salsa. In a separate container, put chips. At lunchtime, dip the chips! You can make all kinds of variations on this theme. If Doritos-type chips aren't healthy enough for you, cut tortillas into dippable size and toast on a cookie sheet in oven until crisp.

Hummus w/pita and carrot sticks to dip.

Pizza bagel: Cut bagel in half and dig out some of the soft middle and eat it. Fill the space w/pizza sauce and cheese and/or other toppings like olives. Toast to melt the cheese. (This will only work if he doesn't mind eating it after it's cooled.)

You might avert demands for the pre-packaged stuff by getting some really cool-looking reusable containers to pack his food in.

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#4 of 12 Old 07-31-2002, 08:58 PM
 
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I stressed about this last year when DD started Kindergarten, now that she will be a big ol First Grader, I feel like a seasoned lunch packer. DD likes variety so, I always have a fruit, vegetable, sandwich and sweet. Water is what she gets for her drink or I make green tea iced tea or milk. The school keeps a tab that you pay in advance, so she can pick it up at lunch without having to carry any money around. Here are some combo's.

Sandwich - PBJ
carrot sticks
chopped melon or melon balls
yogurt
milk, water or tea

Sandwich - Tofu Bologne and cheese
cherry tomatoes
chopped apple
applesauce - homemade
milk, water or tea

Pita w/lettuce, cucumbers, tomato and cheese.
grapes
no veggie, enough from pita
graham crackers with tofu chocolate pudding
milk, water or tea

cheese & crackers
sliced cucumber with lemon juice
fruit salad
lemon wafer cookies (only about 3)
milk, water or tea

I prepare a lot of the fruits and veggies on Sunday. I either make a fruit salad that we can easily scoop in to individual containers or chop up fruits and veggies separetly.

It's definately not to early to start thinking about this....it does take planning. If you don't you may face the horror of having him have hot lunch a day or two in the month . At first DD wanted hot lunch because that's what all her friends were having. I let her only once or twice a week. She only did that for about a month before she could finally admit that it was awful and wouldn't ask for it anymore.

Hope that helps....sorry, kinda long.
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#5 of 12 Old 08-01-2002, 12:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Not long at all~you two are great! Thanks for the responses and help. Trying to come up w/something original every day overwhelms me a bit. I'm going to print this out and keep it on my fridge!

Thanks~

Lisa

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#6 of 12 Old 08-01-2002, 09:30 PM
 
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How exciting to be getting ready for kindergarten! I thought about it all summer (last year) too! One problem I had with providing variety in my kindergarteners' lunch is that he would not eat the same things at school as he would at home. He would leave his soup or hummus and pita chips untouched, even though he likes them. He seemed to do well with simple, no-mess foods - usually a water bottle, a whole grain, protein, and fruit or veggie. Sometimes a juice or vanilla soy milk drink box. Typical combos: PBJ/carrot sticks/pretzels, triscuits/cheese/apple, homemade nutty muffin/banana/yogurt. Ocassionally I gave him leftover pasta and broccoli or a turkey sandwich. I always use a slim ice pack, even if the lunch does not contain perishables. Oh - and a paper towel instead of a flimsy napkin! Have fun

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#7 of 12 Old 08-03-2002, 12:46 AM
 
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I had to do "school" lunches for the first time this summer when my stepdaughter went to daycamp. She is an incredibly picky eater. But we were able to satisfy her with (here are some examples):

Cream cheese and olive sandwich
Little bags of baby carrots and cherry tomatoes or cucumbers
Celery and peanut butter
Fruit leathers
Watermelon
Container of brown rice and tofu
Hard boiled eggs
Burrito (wheat tortilla stuffed with refried beans and shredded cheese - she didn't mind that it was cold)
Trail mix or tamari almonds
Vanilla yogurt (I buy one big container and one serving size container - the small one can be reused over and over, refilled with yogurt from the big one)

Have fun,
Lori
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#8 of 12 Old 08-03-2002, 02:22 AM
 
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MMM, great thread! I'm all excited now to make good lunches for *me* to take to work! Thanks!
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#9 of 12 Old 08-03-2002, 04:31 AM
 
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I haven't had to make lunches yet, but when I was a kid some of my favorites from my "health freak" mom were:

Celery sticks with peanut butter spread inside
Carrot and celery sticks with a side of salad dressing to dip in
Falafel and pita
Avocado sandwich (messy - better for older kids)
If you give an orange, cut it up. If you give an apple, leave it whole.
PBJ, of course
Apple juice
Pretzels
Homemade cookie

And something I plan on doing for ds is a little note from me tucked into his lunch each day!
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#10 of 12 Old 08-05-2002, 06:53 PM
 
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They have vegetarian Lunchables now (The Good Lunch by Yves) and PB&J "Snackers" at the supermarket. (Crackers with peanut butter and either strawberry or grape jelly...not super healthy, but more mainstream for concerned kids.

I LOOOOVE making sticky rice balls. I usually use short grained brown rice (from the bulk section) and after it is cooked and cooled, I form it into bite-sized balls. We roll them in sesame seeds for added nutritional value, and voila...sticky rice. The girls LOOOVE these.
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#11 of 12 Old 08-07-2002, 05:38 PM
 
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It's good that there are vegetarian overpackaged convenience lunches (so that maybe kids eating those things will at least be eating less meat) but I think Lisamarie is right to want to avoid prepackaged stuff. It's terrible for the environment, it sends the kid the message that such foods are appropriate choices, and it's very expensive!! (I've just been rereading the first Tightwad Gazette book, which has an example of how a brought-from-home lunch can actually cost more than a cafeteria lunch when it consists of individually packaged stuff.)

Rice balls are a great idea! My mom used to make them, but I hadn't thought of them for school lunch. You can put something (like a chunk of vegetable or tempeh or pickle) in the middle of each one and make a variety so biting into each is a surprise. If your son doesn't like sesame seeds or wants variety, you could pack a little container of peanut sauce for dipping and still add some protein.

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#12 of 12 Old 08-29-2002, 03:58 AM
 
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i'm happy to have found this thread in a search. my daughter is starting preschool next week and so i'm trying to figure out some original lunch ideas. i love the sticky rice idea. one problem i've encountered in the past is that my dd doesn't like to eat cold what she usually eats hot (therefore mac & cheese doesn't fly). something i did last year on valentine's day was use a cookie cutter to make hearts out of her pbj. so that's an idea that can be used anytime with any kind of cookie cutter (and any kind of sandwich), though a lot of the sandwich doesn't make it into the cookie cutter and therefore is wasted. . . another dish my dd usually likes is plain pasta w/ some olive oil and parmesan sprinkled on it. she doesn't mind that one cold. i'd love to hear more ideas.

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