Let's make packing school lunch FUN - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: Your kids most favorite take-with school lunch item
the sandwich 4 33.33%
some crackers or chips 0 0%
a sweet or treat 7 58.33%
the fruit or veggie 1 8.33%
Voters: 12. You may not vote on this poll

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#1 of 17 Old 12-31-2002, 06:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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School is out, and I am really enjoying the break from packing lunches!!!

But, next week, back to the grind. I could really use some jazz-em-up tips for lunches.

My childs eclectic Montessori allows NO:
juice boxes
yogurts
lunchable type stuff
sweets
jelly
sugar products

So, with those limitations in mind, plus the fact we are ethical vegetarians, can I get some help for my 1st grade girl?

Also, anything to make it fun. I usually pack a pretty cloth napkin and a little love note, just to make it fun.

Sandwich suggestions? No perishable fun foods or combos?: : :
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#2 of 17 Old 01-01-2003, 01:02 AM
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how about assorted sticks and dips ...

Pretzels with peanut butter and honey

veggies with ranch

cheese with honey mustard or spaghetti sauce



Just curious, Why can't the kids take yogurt to school?
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#3 of 17 Old 01-01-2003, 11:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by sha_lyn
how about assorted sticks and dips ...

Just curious, Why can't the kids take yogurt to school?
too much sugar and food coloring ( we are allowed Browncow brand I think, but the color free kinds are hard to find)

Thanks for the sticks and dips thought, I will experiment with that
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#4 of 17 Old 01-01-2003, 12:15 PM
 
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I was shocked by the no yogurt as well. We buy Stoneyfield Farms. These are wonderful organic yogurts much like the Brown Cow yogurts. If I couldn't pack yogurt in Sam's lunch, he would starve. He eats yogurt for all meals.

Sam likes pretzels or chips (for some reason he really likes the Kettle Chips NY Cheddar and Herbs) and small boxes of raisins or other dried fruits. Sam doesn't eat this, but as a child, I loved it when my mom would make celery with peanut butter and raisins or carrots with peanut butter. I also liked it when she cut up cheese and put in some crackers. How about sliced apples that have been tossed in a little lemon juice to keep the brown away and some honey or peanut butter to dip them in?

I don't know how old your child is, but a thermos of soup was always a great treat. You could do a little fresh fruit salad that includes all your child's favorites if you think they wouldn't object to the fruit being all mixed up. What about mini muffins wtih fruit? They are just right for kids. Instead of sugar, you could sweeten them with brown rice syrup or just let the fruit be the sweetener.

For sandwiches, try cutting them into different shapes using cookie cutters. There are some pretty big ones out there, so you can get one that is pretty close to bread size or you could use two cutters for the sanwich and give them two shapes. You could also try substituting a roll for the sandwich bread.

We eat a ton of peanut butter here because it is one of Sam's ultimate favorite things. So I am sorry for all the ideas including it.

Another way to make things interesting,even if it is the same old lunch food, is to wrap it in colorful plastic wrap or paper. You could do theme lunches where everything is round or square or everything is something you might find at a picnic. For a picnic theme, you could wrap the sandwich in a colorful napkin and make little ant logs with celery, peanut butter and raisins and even put a small flower in the lunch.

Have fun!
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#5 of 17 Old 01-01-2003, 01:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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mirlee, thanks,
those are all great suggestions, and peanut butter is a staple around here too.

T I am boycotting Stoneyfield farms, ( affiliation with Enfamil Formulas and Dr Greene) but otherwise I do think that their yogurt might be allowed.

The no- yogurts stemmed from all the neon green and blue 'yogurts' with candy sprinkles etc. I have started buying Horizon yogurts too with some luck.

Our school is a 'no sugar or dye' zone, which is actually one of the reasons I picked it, so it does not bother me.

Again, thanks for the suggestions, especially the themes! Sometimes just jazzing it up a bit hides the fact that it is the same ol stuff.
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#6 of 17 Old 01-01-2003, 01:14 PM
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since it sounds like you can send plain yogurt would they allow plain with a little of the allfruit spreads stirred in? Add a little low fat granola, rasins or chopped dried fruit to sprinkle on top.

You could do it parfait style with a layer of plain yogurt, a little fruit spread more yogurt then the grnola or fruit on top.

another dip idea

Apple (pear etc) slices and peanut butter (unsweetened mixed with a little honey, or maple syrup) .... Off topic ... a vegitarian, friends who is trying to elimate processed foods, refined sugars etc told me that maple syrup is the healthiest sweetener. It doesn't affact sugar/insulin levels to the degree that refined sugar, corn syrup or honey can.
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#7 of 17 Old 01-01-2003, 06:13 PM
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Sunflower seeds
Rice cakes
Veggies w/dip
Anything hot in a thermos
Wraps, in the summer time
Slices of cheese
Boiled eggs (she likes to peel them)
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#8 of 17 Old 01-02-2003, 12:11 AM
 
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I have this struggle to but we have no restrictions. I actually have only heard of schools with restrictions via these borads. DD eats only Yofarm Crucnh Oreo yogurt, which although it had the equivalent of 1/2 or 1 oreo cookie crushed into a VERY mild vanilla yogurt, must have much less sugar than most. We are so broke we pretty muc heat what me moogh off my Mom now. So, umm, brad and margerine, junk-very unhealthy. DS loves fruit and I went to the store day and couldn't even afford it (and we are talkin' not organic). It sucks. Due to several issues i have no time to cook many meals so we skip alot, I feel bad. I get WIC so I was so excited they can AT LEAST eat cereal now... SO DD will probably get a bag of cheerios, a juice box (From Grandma, the teacher banned my cups of juice due to leakage, can't afford new ones...), and cheese, don't ask...lol
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#9 of 17 Old 01-02-2003, 10:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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bebesho2, sorry about your struggles, but it sounds like you are trying to be mindful in everything you can do right now!

And I have been mentioning the ideas here to my girl, who is
7 Years Old Today!!!!!!!!!!!

she loved the cereal in a baggie idea, thanks
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#10 of 17 Old 01-03-2003, 12:48 AM
 
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Please be careful about the peanut butter and granola... if a child in your daughter's class is allergic to peanuts or nuts, you could be setting up a disaster. It is very important to be careful about other children's food allergies.

Aside from that, how about homemade bread, muffins, and fruit sauces. An apple cut in slices and then sent with something to dip it in is fun. I'd suggest yogurt, but fine applesauce would be good, too.
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#11 of 17 Old 01-03-2003, 12:53 AM
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bestjob


thanks for the reminder. Personally I am very much for peanut free classrooms or schools instead of trying to isolate the allergic child. Since I didn't see peanut products on the list I assumed there wasn't an issue with allergies.
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#12 of 17 Old 01-03-2003, 05:49 AM
 
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My son goes to public school and doesn't like to stand out too much so making healthy (to my standards)lunches is a big struggle for us. Last year he loved his home made yogurts with frozen blueberries or strawberries put in. The frozen element makes it a bit like ice cream if it is not too melted.

Other favorite snacks we have at home that would work well if everyone did not stare at him at school are chick peas, snap peas, or his new favorite - steamed edemame beans. I buy them frozen by Cascadian Farms (I think) and he loves to de-pod (is that a word) them.

I give raw almond butter insted of peanut butter (high in free radicals and fungus), and the kids love hoummus sandwiches in half a pita. Sprouts fit in there well, as well as cucumbers, avacodos, tomatoes...

good luck and a great topic.
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#13 of 17 Old 01-03-2003, 10:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks for all the great suggestions. My girl love hummus, so I am thinking about using it as a dip with some raw veggies/ tortilla chips. Also chick peas, yum. She loves those.

Thanks again, I am determined to help her look forward to opening that lunch bag!

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#14 of 17 Old 01-04-2003, 01:32 AM
 
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As I was shovelling snow today I thought of that wonderful layered dip that is made with beans and guacamole and salsa and a bit of sour cream and topped with shredded cheese. Well, it is wonderful if it is made right, anyway. That would be a fun thing to find in a lunch, I think, along with some nice crunchy things to dip into it.

Bagels are big at our house, too, because they are sturdy and they survive the trip to school. That is something that the layered dip may not do as well....

Is your daughter as bothered about variety as you are? I remember having the same lunch every single school day for about five years and the only time I was unhappy was when my mother varied it. Children often seem to find repetition comforting.
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#15 of 17 Old 01-11-2003, 09:47 AM
 
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If there was a child in the class with a peanut allergy, the teacher would certainly know about it, so you could just double check with her.

Dinner leftovers are the only suggestion I can make that hasn't already been listed. I only use leftovers from dinners that my kids really liked: homemade pizza or spaghetti are the favorites. They taste fine at room temp.

In a cataglog, I saw a great reusable alternative to sandwich bags: a peice of fabric lined with clear plastic and velcro tabs, so you can just wrap the sandwich in that and wipe it down and re-use it. You could probably make them at home; any fabric would work and fabric stores sell clear vinyl. You could just cut a big square and use a tight zig-zag stitch all the way around to join the two.
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#16 of 17 Old 01-11-2003, 12:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by daylily
In a cataglog, I saw a great reusable alternative to sandwich bags: a peice of fabric lined with clear plastic and velcro tabs, so you can just wrap the sandwich in that and wipe it down and re-use it. You could probably make them at home; any fabric would work and fabric stores sell clear vinyl. You could just cut a big square and use a tight zig-zag stitch all the way around to join the two.
I just saw one at Wild Oats the other day and bought if for DD. It is a bright blue with turtle print, and it is just like you described. She just loved it!
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#17 of 17 Old 01-11-2003, 08:58 PM
 
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Another alternative to PB is cream cheese. WE use it on
sandwiches with or without a fruit spread or whole fruit.
We also use it on small bagels or large bagel halves. Pita
bread is a nice alternative to sliced bread. We also send whole
hard boiled eggs. Noodles are nice warm or cold too.
Terra
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