Ideas for healthy school lunches - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 10 Old 02-23-2004, 04:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Two weeks of preschool and I am out of ideas for healthy school lunches. I am limited because they don't refrigerate the lunchboxes so I have to pack things in an insulated bag. Thanks for any ideas!
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#2 of 10 Old 02-23-2004, 11:49 AM
 
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I took the Pennywhistle Book of School Lunches,(titiel is something like that) out of the library last summer to give me some inspiration. I also got some of those little cold packs that I slip into the bottom of her lunch box; they keep things cold enough for safety (they're still pretty cold when she gets home). I also bought a wide mouth thermos and small plastic containers that hold maybe 3-4 ounces of food.

Anyway, what I got out of the book is that I try to give her small helpings of a variety of things--some protein, some grains, some fruit and veggies. So, for example, today she went with blueberries, whole grain tortilla chips, a thermos with Annie's All-Stars (spaghetti), a Vruit Juice box, and a buttercotch krimpet tastykake (I'm not THAT much of a whole foods purist, tho' i try).

In the beginning, I actually used menus from the books, but I soon learned what got eaten and what didn't. Some other ideas:

crackers and cheese
small sandwiches--I use cookie cutters sometimes to make them fun--hearts for Valentine's day, moons and stars (her favs) other times.
she's a vegetarian, so i go for cheese and pickles, cucumber sandwiches, pb and j.
carrot and celery sticks (sometimes with dressing to dip)
ants on a log (celery sticks w/ pb and raisins)
I've tried different breads which I know works for other people, but we are less successful with that--you know, like pita, or tortillas or bagels
soups--unchicken noodle, minestrone, lentil are her favs
applesauce
small fruits, whether apples or oranges already sliced, or berries or grapes
yogurt, or drinkable yogurt
sometimes I'll wrap some leftover tofu nuggets in aluminum foil and slip them in the already warmed thermos, give her her dipping sauce in a little container; same thing with hand held quesadillas. We make them in the microwave--wrap a whole wheat tortilla around the cheese and then cut it in half and stuff it into her thermos. Add a little salsa in a container.

Hope these ideas give you some inspiration.
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#3 of 10 Old 02-23-2004, 12:40 PM
 
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I second the idea of including little portions of several things. For example, today DD went to preschool with whole wheat pasta with a little bit of tomato sauce, grapes, a piece of string cheese, and orange juice with calcium in a reuseable rubbermaid straw cup.

Other similar things that I include are whole wheat bagels, hardboiled eggs, cheese and crackers, pbj sandwiches, pasta salad, grape tomatos, baby carrots, home-made savory mini-muffins (like corn bread with cheese and corn.) We eat cold pizza around here, so if we had some leftover one morning, I would probably include a piece of that, along with juice, grapes, and carrots.

DD only eats lunch at school two days a week, so it generally takes us a long time to cycle through this short list.
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#4 of 10 Old 02-23-2004, 09:17 PM
 
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Frozen juice boxes are great for keeping food cool. In the tropics where we live, DD's insulated lunchbag needs two, one box & one frozen plastic water bottle.

Today's lunch was very boring, I'm afraid. It has a yogurt cup, an apple, & a vegemite & cheese corn thin sandwich (cuz we're out of bread!). Other things I pack include: salami sticks, cheese sticks, PB & celery, bread sandwiches, rice biscuits, very processed cracker snacks (yuk!), little packs of raisins, nuts or other dried fruit, banana, apple, little fruit cups, carrot sticks, leftover raviolis, sausages, pasta or noodles from dinner.......that's about all I can think of. I think we're too dependent on processed foods, but on days I work it's a struggle to get out the door in the morning.

Aussiemumhippie.gif (40), DH caffix.gif (39), DD reading.gif (13), & DS 2whistle.gif(11).

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#5 of 10 Old 02-25-2004, 01:14 AM
 
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thanks for the tips. i just posted a question about lunches to another board. duh... I hadn't ever thought about packing non-liquids in thermoses. do they actually keep things warm?
keep up the ideas!
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#6 of 10 Old 02-25-2004, 04:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the good ideas, I can add some variety now!
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#7 of 10 Old 02-25-2004, 01:07 PM
 
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shalom: about the thermos thing...sometimes it works, sometimes not. Believe me, I get feedback!! What seems to work best is pouring boiling water into the thermos and heating it up for 10 minutes before I put the food in. It also is more likely to stay warm if I put the food in as hot as possible...no sitting out on the counter while I do something else, KWIM?
I was desperate to have warm vegetarian options for her that were not her beloved minestrone...
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#8 of 10 Old 02-25-2004, 01:21 PM
 
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Its funny, the kids don't seem to mind the same thing everyday, but I get so bored with packing it!
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#9 of 10 Old 02-25-2004, 03:09 PM
 
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Me too!!
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#10 of 10 Old 02-25-2004, 08:55 PM
 
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I wish I could use some of these ideas! My son gets bummed if he doesn't get pb&j in his lunch:LOL
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