I am curious what is your success rate comes to the lunch food that you prepare for your child.
I noticed that the more fanciful and elaborate lunches and the more options are in the box
the more comes back and less is acutally eaten. I noticed that one simple dish with
one simple side snack does the trick. Now the problem is that I am running of ideas
for one simple dish :) What is your success rate with the lunch boxes. Please let me know
what DOES not come back with your child in the lunchbox I would like to see what
is the most common denominator of foods that are not coming back but are itten
at large out there by our little ones.
Here is my list, please add anyting that on more then two occassion were eaten completly or most of it and di dnot come back intact:
- peanut butter and jelly sandwich
- mac and cheese
- grilled chease sandwich
My kids always packed their own and almost always ate everything. From K to 3rd, they weren't adventurous at all. Main courses were a rotation of Peanut butter, peanut butter and jelly, peanut butter and honey, yogurt, boiled egg, or bagel and cream cheese. The always took a fruit or two (grapes, tangerines, bananas, cut melon that I prepared and bagged on Sunday night) and a snack like a bag of crackers or granola bars. Then, finished off with a juice box. Totally boring but satisfying to them.
My kids would LOVE to have more snacky things in their lunchboxes but if I put too much in there I find that the sandwich never gets eaten.
We do peanut butter and jelly everyday because that's the only "main dish" they like for lunch that translates well to a lunchbox.
Then one to two sides depending on how hungry they seem to be that week:
Sometimes on Fridays we'll put a treat in there-- like two small cookies, a pudding, etc.
Jean, feminist mama raising three boys: W (7), E (5) and L (2.15.13)
Ds has days when he eats everything and days when he eats little. It depends a lot on what and how much he eats for breakfast, if it's something he likes, if it's a cold or a hot day...
We can't send anything with nuts at school, he's also not allowed cookies or chips.
He usually gets dinner leftovers, soup or stew in a thermos, pasta, wraps or sandwiches for lunch.
For snacks: always some kind of fruit (grapes, oranges, slices apples or pears, bananas, berries etc.), vegetables and dip, crackers, cheese strings, granola bars.
i kinda always overpack for dd coz she is CRAZY hungry after school so she'd eat her leftovers.
for her she'd eat more IF there were more choices than not.
she does not eat regular kids food. she did better with soups and salads than sandwiches and bready type of things.
its because she can just swallow them fast. she is a slow eater. i send her with 3 things. a fruit, soup and a salad. somedays its left overs too. like a frittata or quiche or her favourite veggie sushi or noodle soup.
My ds is in K and does not get to eat a snack at morning recess, so he eats breakfast at 7:30 (cheerios or cream of wheat, scrambled egg or sausage, fruit) and does not eat again until 11:30. I find the key is to not overpack and send foods that are high in calories and have protein but easy to eat. Very little food comes back and he has about 15 min to eat in a 40 min lunch time.
1. Water bottle
*One large piece of whole grain bread cut in half to make a small sandwich: pb&j/honey, turkey and cheese, grilled cheese, ham and cream cheese
*1/2 sprouted wheat bagel with cream cheese and turkey/ham
*Cheddar quesadilla made with 2 corn tortillas
*2 slices of leftover homemade meat and veggie pizza
*Triscuits, turkey/ham, cheese
*Leftovers in the thermos: chicken with mac n cheese, noodles with parm cheese, or rice pilaf, gnocchi and sauce, raviolis
3. Fruit: sliced apples, grapes, hulled strawberries, clementines
4. Snacky food: tortilla chips, pirates booty, honey wheat pretzels, granola bar, homemade muffin, sometimes a small full fat yogurt
I used to also send a frozen yogurt tube, but it came home every day uneaten. He's fine without it.
Turkey sandwich or pepperoni and crackers
If no crackers, something crunchy like pretzels or Pirate Booty
Something sweet like a few chocolate chips, some mini marshmallows, or something we baked at home (mini muffin, small cookie)
If we have a dinner she particularly likes, I'll send that with fruit and something sweet.
Sometimes I send sushi with fruit and something sweet.
I don't send large portions and if she's not hungry, I don't care if it gets dumped.
For snack, she gets water and a banana OR something like Cheddar Bunnies. She hasn't eaten her snack at school this year, but she eats it in the car on the way home.
Her school is peanut free or she'd want pb&j every day.
I try to send things she'll like but I haven't found I need to be super whiz bang creative every day. If she's hungry, she'll eat. If she doesn't eat because it's not flashy or exciting enough, she'll be hungry and tomorrow she'll remember that and eat. It's lunch. I put a note in to make it special or draw a silly picture or include a joke. I try to find seasonal fun things to put in a few days a week, but I'm not killing myself carving melons into flowers and making rice pandas, although I do enjoy the pictures from people who do ;)
Like several PPs, our magic number is 3. One "main", one fruit and one snack. Otherwise, I think there are too many choices, too many bins to open, too many things to trade or talk about with friends.
Things that get eaten:
Chips & Salsa
Meat and Cheese with crackers
Tortilla wraps (make your own)
All fruit tends to get eaten or shared (I tell DC to not come home with fresh fruit in her lunch so she shares or trades what she doesn't want to finish)
-these often come back half-eaten but we just send them the next day
My kindergartner is a slow eater and easily distractible, so I've found that he eats things that don't take too much chewing. I give him turkey wraps with wheat tortillas instead of a sandwich with thick whole wheat bread for example. Other things that always get eaten:
half a banana
I pack his lunch in a planetbox lunch box. It's like a tray with a lid that has sections for a main course, fruit, veggies, crackers etc., and a little dessert cup. I found out pretty quickly that if I filled up the whole tray it was way too much food. I'll usually do a small wrap, three or four grapes, half a banana, and maybe three or four crackers. It works out pretty well
My 5 year old is in Kindergarden and isn't much of an eater..She eats breakfast at 7:30 ish and doesn't eat lunch until 11:00am..But her K teacher gives each of the kids a 1/2 graham cracker in the morning sometime to help..Lily is glutenfree so I supply a box of gluten free graham crackers for her.Like I said though she just doesn't eat much so I send in 4 things..Plus a bottle of water in her Britta Bottle...\
Main-can be a sandwich or gf crackers with pepperoni or lunchmeat or even a hm lunchable(pizza or meat and crackers)..
She likes baby carrots or celery with hummus(they have prepaks at the stores for lunches that are gluten free.
Grape tomatos and cucumber slices
Any kind of fresh fruit except for apples(she is allergic)..or even a fruit cup if I have them..
For her afternoon snack I send in(1) snack baggie of gf animal crackers,Pretzels ect...On Fridays I send in a fun snack...like fruit snacks or marshmellows or even sweet tarts...
Like others I found that the more I send the more that came home..Lots of waste....
DD is in kindergarten and we also use a Planetbox (I'm finding she eats much more this way than when I had stuff in bags last year at pre-k). She'll take a half sandwich (PB+J, turkey and cheese), or cheese and crackers or or yogurt or veggie rolls in her main compartment and then I fill one small spot with veggies (cut carrots, cukes, peppers, grape tomatoes--basically whatever I have), one with slices of fruit (usual about 1/2 an apple or pear or orange), one with something crunchy (peanuts, small crackers, pretzels, seaweed snacks), and then a tiny treat in the little treat compartment (3 chocolate chips, a few yogurt covered raisins, a few chocolate covered sunflower seeds). Other special things that make it into the lunch once in a while: slice of banana bread or a 1/2 muffin, edamame, a little container or hummos or peanut butter for dipping. DD won't eat foods cold that she usually eats warm (pizza, grilled cheese, leftover chicken), so I don't bother sending those since they always came back uneaten. Yogurt is hit or miss. Sometimes she'll eat the whole thing, sometimes just a bite or two, so I don't send it too often. Today she had whole wheat crackers, a little container of cream cheese, sliced cucumbers (she likes to make cracker, cream cheese and cuke "sandwiches"--fine with me), a clementine, some peanuts and a few chocolate covered sunflower seeds. It's all in small-ish portions so she'll usually eat her whole lunch. If she has anything left, she often polishes it off on the playground after school before walking home.
carrots, cucumbers, apple, pear, plum, banana, raisins, date bar, sausage / pepperoni / paté on whole grain, cubed cheese snack (I call it plastic cheese)
yellow/orange/red bell pepper, walnuts, peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, ham on whole grain
green bell pepper, peanut butter, celery
used to be eaten but no longer:
cheese on whole grain
mine are nearly 6 and just turned 8
DS1 (5.5 - in K) usually gets half a pb & j sandwich - sometimes that gets switched up to leftover mac & cheese or 'tortilla pizza' (tortilla w/ cheeze then pepperoni then cheeze then the other half folded ontop, grilled so its all melted together) or something. Sides are usually 2 or 3 of the following: a muffin, pudding, peaches, grapes, an apple, granola bar, yogurt, cheese stick. And then an insulated water bottle with either choc milk, orange juice, apple cider or water. :shrug: Most of it is usually eaten.
I always pack the same formula and it all gets eaten. I only have problems when I deviate from the formula.
Main + fruit + very small snacky thing + water bottle
Main is almost always something packed into a thermos. Kids only tolerate very, very specific sorts of sandwhiches if they appear very infrequently.
whole wheat pasta with meat sauce; strawberries; cheese
orzo with chicken and spinach; strawberries; cheddar bunnies
fried brown rice; + +
empenada + +
Mine take hot in their thermoses. What goes (depending on the kid of course)...
soup (all of them finish this, I make different types lentil, tomato, chicken, veggie, split pea, I'm sure there are others I am forgetting...)
mac & cheese
hot dogs & rice & beans
chicken cutlet and Israeli couscous
stir fry & rice
meatballs & rice or pasta / spaghetti & meat sauce.
They take a fruit or veggie (if they want). Sometimes pretzels, but other "snacky" food they eat at home.
Three big girls (10) + (almost 9!);
One little boy (6) and a full on toddler (8/12) born with TAPVR (repaired at 6 days old).
Our standard K lunch:
Water in a thermos
Small thermos of soup (potato bean or veg)
pack of seaweed with the side cut open for her
two kinds of fruits/veg, like peeled clementines, apples, grapes, mango, carrots, kale, cauliflower, broccoli, but all prepared/chopped and ready to eat in little bites.
Sometimes when there's no soup ready I send a container of tuna and a baggie of pickles (that's a huge hit)
Sometimes a bit of plain yogurt (when we're doing that crazy growing thing, to add something to the box...but it mostly comes home for the dog)
Napkin, spoon, fork, and a drawing on scrap paper. If I forget the freaking drawing I hear about it all night. lol!
She's crazy for canned pineapple (even more than the real thing), so once in a blue moon I send that. Every so often I might send some dried fruit, like banana or watermelon. It's a lot like candy around here, though, so this is rare.
I tried some fun bento style things....and they all came home, even though they were her favorite foods. Sheesh! She said they were too pretty to eat.
We avoid breads, most grains and noodles in the daytime, since they make both of us really tired mid-day.
My 1st grader is a picky eater, but he will eat
*pasta with olive oil salt and pepper
*pasta with bruschetta
*deli meat (roast beef, turkey, chicken) with cheese and pecan crackers
* Asian chicken dumplings
* orange chicken
* stir fry w/ steak or chicken
*sliced hot dogs
In addition to the entree I always pack at least one fruit, a dessert, yogurt, lentil chips/veggie chips/something similar, maybe a Larabar and a bottle of water.
I over pack, as DS is always hungry and eats the leftovers on the way home.
DS is 4, nearly 5 (UK system they start a year earlier than USA).
Fussy lite eater, lunch is
250ml apple juice carton (often doesn't quite finish)
half of a ham sandwich (latest thing is crusts must be cut off. grrr)
indiv. pack of processed cheese string or BabyBel (I approve because it's something new)
Will not touch fresh fruit (only school provided snack) so no other food between breakfast and 3pm when he sometimes has a bag of potato chips.
~ Yank Transplant to Britain and Zookeeper of 4 DC age 15 and under. ~
When my kids were going to school, they would get, every day, and ate 90+% of it, 90+% of the time:
- 1/2 a sandwich, or a lettuce wrap, or a rollup of lunchmeat/pepperoni + just a few crackers
- 1/2 an apple, or a few strawberries or cherries or grapes
- a pile of bell pepper strips, carrots, cherry tomatoes, and cukes
- a very small serving of crunchy - chips, pretzels, graham bunnies, etc. ( fit into a 1/2 cup size container)
- water bottle (occasional container of chocolate almond or coconut milk for DS)
Every few lunches I'd send a piece of chocolate as a treat.
Sometimes they'd ask for a whole sandwich and I'd start sending a whole, but within a week half of it would start to come back with them so I'd go back to a half sandwich again.
I've packed a lunch of pasta salad (with lots of veggies and cubes of cheese), hummus and veggies (carrots and sliced tomatoes) and a few chips... This has been eaten 100% every time she takes it.
pasta salad especially is a favorite. I use it as a main meal, (so no sandwich) and have lots of cheese & veg in there. My kid was getting tired of sandwich after sandwich
My almost 5yr old is not in school yet but we pack lunches when we are going to be in town for the day, shopping, etc.
His favourates are: ham and cheese in a sandwich or in a soft tortilla shell
peanut butter and honey sandwich
herb focaccia bread cut in strips or a baguette with a marinara sauce or bruchetta as a "dip"
egg salad sandwich
any cold pasta salad
pea soup or beef broth in a thermos (he likes to have a side of sugar snap peas and ranch dressing with the broth)
caesar or garden salad (I put the dressing in a small dip container and he loves to put it on himself)
cheese, crackers, meat and sliced cucumber
Fruit: loves fruit salad but I don't make that very often this time of year so he usually gets an apple or orange right now or
banana (we bought him a banana container when we saw it on Dragons Den and he LOVES it, usually pics banana as his fruit choice if give choice LOL)
snacks: cookies, macaroons or a muffin, any kind, he is not picky
yogurt (doesn't like plain anymore so sweetened with apple sauce or fruit puree) topped with granola, raisons and sliced almonds if on hand at home
I do have a question though, for those that mentioned they send mac and cheese, super left overs, etc to school, that sounds great but do the kids eat it cold or are they able to warm it up at school?
We have a couple of insulated small thermoses, so if we have lunch on the go, sometimes I'll heat it up beforehand and stick the soup, etc., in there. It stays warm for a couple of hours.
Ds eats it cold. In fact at ds school right now lunches have to be refrigerated so it is *very* cold.
Small block of cheese
Small homemade cookie
Bottle of water
Fruit or veg (sometimes both, but small amounts)
Yogurt or cheese
Bottle of water
Hers is rarely empty, but she does eat a little of each item everyday.
I warm it and put it into an insulated container (a Thermos Funtainer). DS says it stays warmish until lunchtime that way.
Our typical lunch is sandwich, fruit, crackers, water. We also send a morning snack, which never got eaten last year because snack time is supposed to be the first 5 minutes of morning recess, and like most kids, DS would rather play than stand around eating. This year, his teacher has them eat their morning snack just before morning recess, while she reads aloud to them (I love his teacher!!!). We almost always send cheese and fruit (something like string cheese and grapes), and he always eats his morning snack now!
Kid sized thermos filled with pasta variations or quinoa/meat/veg mixes or fried rice or rice and beans
Sandwiches have to be fairly special to work like mortadella on buttered brioche
Small container fresh fruit
Other - seaweed or a few crackers etc
We've never gone anywhere that would even allow something like fruit leather
my first grader eats:
a chicken and avocado sandwich
thermos of leftover pasta and sauce
green salad with chicken, oil and vinegar on the side, and bread
two slices of pizza
a thermos of soup and bread
then a fruit (usually cut up), and a veggie (carrots, cherry tomato, cukes, red bell pepper etc.) and a starchy snacky thing (pretzels, crackers) and sometimes a cookie.
thats about it, i wish he would eat cheese of peanut butter
My kids are not super adventurous at lunch. They don't want something their friends might think is weird. I usually have in their lunch a main course, a snacky packaged thing, a fruit/veggie. Most common is peanut butter and banana or jam. I usually throw in some cheese its or those toasted corn things from Whole Foods (they taste like fritos and are so addictive!) or graham crackers and cream cheese or something along those lines. Then I slice up apple, or stick in a banana or an orange or cucumbers, grape tomatoes, celery sticks, etc. They get to eat a snack during the day so I'll throw in something else for that- cereal bar or nuts or cheese or something. Some days their lunches are healthier than others. Today they took greek yogurt (a hugely popular choice with all of them), Little Debbie Easter cakes and peanut butter crackers and dried berries. I'm sure their teachers appreciated all that sugar I gave them. :P
I make my own lunchables with Ritz, cheese and lunch meat and those are very popular with all my kids. Mac n Cheese leftover from the night before or red beans and rice or really any hot leftover than can go in a thermos.
The only main course thing they haven't eaten is sandwiches made with lunch meat. Go figure. Which is why I started on the homemade lunchables thing. Oh, and they wont eat salad, which drives me crazy but they'll eat all the veggies IN salad as long as I pack them seperately without the lettuce.
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