packing lunch, need ideas - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 07-29-2012, 09:12 PM - Thread Starter
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what quick, healthy lunches do you send to school with your kids? Ds wants to pack his lunch and  I am drawing a blank other than cold cut sandwiches, veggies and fruit. Please spell it out for me, I am new to this!

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#2 of 8 Old 07-29-2012, 10:07 PM
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When I had to pack my dd lunch I did peanut butter and honey tortillas, cheese and meat rolled together and crackers on the side, boiled eggs, trail mix and a muffin, cold chicken strips, and cold pasta salads. I would switch up the bread and do traditional sandwich toppings on mini pitas, mini bagels, rolls, hotdog buns, etc... I always sent fruit and veggies of some sort to and typically sent milk. Cookie cutters liven up sandwiches a lot and there are some beautiful cutters that work on fruit and vegetables that might also work. I suggest that you save these things for when lunch starts seeming boring though.
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#3 of 8 Old 07-29-2012, 10:10 PM
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That is the traditional sack lunch, what do you eat for lunch? What will your kid eat? You can also do veggie sticks and dip with cheese and crackers, bagels and cream cheese, thermos soups, boiled eggs, pasta salad, anything that you can eat cold.  Salads will work too.  But yes, sandwiches are the go to thing.


It doesn't have to be cold cuts, could be pb&j, hummus and apple, peanut butter and apple, cream cheese and olive, cream cheese and raisins. (For the record, these are things I grab for my lunch now, based on what I scrounged for myself on the weekends and as needed as a kid. Make sure your kid has a say about what they eat (within reason, for example grape over strawberry jelly, but not a say that overpowers good nutrition like a nutella and fluff sandwich.)


Warning: Spoiler! Trigger: abuse/neglect (Click to show)

My dad used to pack me margarine and peanut butter sandwiches (ick) because "you don't like jelly."  So I argued with him about how I could make my own lunch right after dinner, and mom stepped in and vetoed that idea, but yelled at him about the margarine. After that, he used to use moldy bread for my sandwiches, until the school stepped in.  Sorry for going sideways with this, I don't have a normal frame of reference for this type of thing, and since I also got the same type of food for weeks on end, I'm not sure if that's a bad thing? 


The general rule for food safety for cheeses and meats and dips are pack an re-freezable ice pack or frozen water bottle or juice box to make sure that cold things stay cold. If you eat processed food, gogurt tubes freeze nicely, and frozen yogurt is a nice treat, and isn't any less healthy for having been frozen.

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#4 of 8 Old 07-30-2012, 07:20 AM
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My kids like to eat the same basic foods over and over. It makes them happy. We do little thing to liven them up, like homemade granola bars, and we have small reusable dishes for thing like apple sauce and canned fruit. One of my dd's like hummus with pita for lunch, and more other dd like cold (whole grain) pasta and sauce for lunch. Sometimes they take something like cold, boneless chicken. But our go to's are sandwhiches - turkey and cheese for dd#1, pb&j for dd2.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#5 of 8 Old 07-30-2012, 07:32 AM
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How old is he? Can he manage containers and thermos lids etc.? 


My kids liked taking left-overs from dinner. Re-heated pasta, stew, and that sort of thing. The kid has to be able to manage the containers independently though. 


They also liked wraps rather than regular sandwiches on bread. Buns or bagel sandwiches were also preferred. 


Muffins also make a nice change. A couple of muffins, some fruit and cheese is a good lunch. If they are slow eaters and don't finish lunch, I find they are more likely to eat the second muffin at afternoon recess than a half-eaten sandwich. 

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#6 of 8 Old 07-30-2012, 10:21 AM
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A foogo or other small thermos is a game-changer. As long as you follow the instructions, it really will keep food safely and a good temperature. The kids love "real food" i.e leftovers plus any assortment of thick bean soups with some ham and little whole wheat pasta, or quinoa etc. 1,000 options.


They get leftovers or we make big batches of favorites and store them in small freezer containers so that we can whip them out morning off.


If found the sandwich construction was important too, that a very thin bread worked best.

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#7 of 8 Old 08-02-2012, 04:15 PM - Thread Starter
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I think I will just choose 5 or so main dishes and different sides and just serve the same things each week. It will make my menu planning easier.


Thanks for the ideas. I am uncertain if peanut butter is banned at his school but will look into it.


So here is my menu:


cold cut sandwich veggie and fruit with milk and water

pb and j veggie and fruit and milk and water

cheese and crackers with veggie and fruit, yogurt and milk and water

turkey wrap with veggie and yogurt and fruit water and juice

bread sticks with pizza dipping sauce with salad and fruit  and milk and water


may through in some other items on occasion, but i know kids like predictability


Simple and sweet. something like that..

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#8 of 8 Old 08-04-2012, 08:14 PM
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Our lunch break through came when I realized I was putting too many different things in DC's lunch. Frustrated that she wasn't finishing her lunch, I realized that she had too many choices for a relatively short time to eat. Now we do three things - one "main dish" (which is a sandwich, pasta, sometimes chips with salsa) one fruit (mostly) or vegetable and a snack (goldfish, nuts, pretzels). We just do water to drink, though last year DC started buying milk. 


If you use plastic containers in the home I recommend the shape that is a rectangle about 4" long x 2.5" wide and about 2.5" deep. They make the perfect container for a serving of fruit or snack and they fit a cut sandwich perfectly. They're all we use so we don't have to sift through various container sizes. They also fit in the lunchbox nicely. 

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