Thursday, September 18, 2008

Let's Do Lunch!

I've really been getting into preparing lunches for my kids this year. (Well, for Jackson anyway. The other kids have been mostly buying lunch at school.) What motivated me was meeting Biggie from Lunch in a Box at the BlogHer conference this summer. She's got a great site about all things bento. She has terrific pictures and instructions and ideas of healthy lunches packed in environmentally friendly containers. (Speaking of environmentally friendly containers, the lunch boxes from Lands' End are awesome for just this purpose! And I have one lunch container to give away to one lucky reader courtesy of Lands' End! Details at the bottom of this post.)

Well, I wasn't about to go to all the trouble Biggie does. I mean, I'd hate to lose my status as a total slacker. But I did want to make the kids' lunches a little more interesting than your basic pb&j sandwich and chips.

Here are a couple of my very simple ideas.


I made a quadruple batch of pumpkin muffins and froze a few dozen of them. Now I can just pull out a muffin and put it in a container in my child's lunchbox. It keeps their lunch nice and cold and thaws so it's ready to eat by lunchtime. Plus, it's a sweet, yet healthy snack. They're also great for kiddos (a-hem, Savannah) who don't like to eat a big breakfast. Just pop one in the microwave for a few seconds on defrost and you're good to go!

I send snacks to school in reusable containers like this one I found at The Container Store. These are organic Snikiddy Snacks in mac-n-cheese flavor.

Instead of a plain ole sandwich, I sometimes put fillings (in this case, it's ham, cheese and Romaine lettuce) in a tortilla, roll it up, and then slice it into bite-sized pieces.

I sometimes send yogurt with granola or other cereal than can be sprinkled on it. It's fun, tasty and nutritious. In my container is Kashi Go Lean Crunch.

I usually buy large containers of Stonyfield Farms organic vanilla yogurt and scoop out a portion into a Tupperware snack cup. I send fresh fruit along with it and the kids can mix it in.

Here's another cool container I found at The Container Store. I fill it with fresh veggies and Marie's ranch dressing or fruit and yogurt mixed with cinnamon and sugar for dipping. The kids love these!


I got tired of the kids accidentally tossing or losing my silverware so I started sending them with plastic spoons and forks a couple years ago. This year, trying to be green, I got each of them a set of these stackable utensils for school lunches only. I've drilled in their heads that they are to bring them home under penalty of death. But if aliens swoop down and steal their utensils, at least it won't be breaking up my set of silverware at home. I have a few of these cute ice thingys in different shapes, to keep their lunches chilled too.

Instead of a sandwich, try giving your child some tuna, chicken or egg salad with crackers to spread it on.

I found these Crayons in the organic aisle at my grocery store. Jackson loves these and unlike most juices, these are pear based instead of apple based. For those who are sensitive to the salicylates in apples, these are an awesome find!

I found these cute little Rubbermaid juice boxes at The Container Store too. I can buy large containers of juice and just pour some into this container for lunchtime. It's much cheaper and more environmentally friendly.

Another way to make your sandwiches fun is by using a cookie cutter to make different shapes. You could even put a face on them with ketchup (too bad we're out of it thanks to Brooklyn), mustard, cream cheese, yogurt, olives, or other veggies. Cut out pumpkin shapes or leaves in the fall, snowmen or Christmas trees in the winter, hearts, shamrocks, or Easter bunnies for other holidays.

Here's an absolute favorite lunch of both Jackson & Lexi - Annie's Homegrown mac & cheese . I just cook it up in the morning and spoon it into these thermal containers from Lands' End. The kids tell me that the mac-n-cheese stays warm until lunchtime. This is a great way to send soup, pasta, or leftovers with your child for a delicious, hot alternative to sandwiches.

And one of my readers will get a Lands' End lunchbox of their choice for FREE! Choose from half a dozen styles in a whole rainbow of colors! <---- check them out here. And, of course, like everything else from Lands' End, they're well-made and durable as well as stylish and functional. You can't go wrong.
So, leave me a comment here with your favorite school lunch idea and I'll choose a random winner on Wednesday, September 23.

508 comments:

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Anonymous said...

We homeschool, but go to "Co-op" every Wed, where we take a lunch, Mom included.

My girls love a PB& Banana sandwich. And the tuna w/ the crackers is great too.

Love your blog-- Tina

Mandi R said...

My 2 yr old loves the mini mandarin oranges and muffins for breakfast instead of the regular cereal. Another favorite that I found is cup o veggies, my daughter likes to eat them both cold & warm.
PS I love your tortilla sandwich idea, i will borrow that. Some times I feel that the lunched get boring, I can wait to get some new ideas! Thanks!

sakina said...

my favorite lunch idea is definitely the thermos one... but more for me than my kid! I think he would be happy with raisins and cheesestrings all year!

Let's hope you can send lunch boxes across the border!

Veggiemomof2 said...

My husband & daughter like leftover dinner in their lunches, but my son is a diehard PB&J fan.

Last week I made a big batch of tuna salad for dinner with plenty leftover for daughter's lunches. Plus she got leftover cake from son's birthday.

My kids don't use the trashcan at school, so I don't have a problem getting my dishes back.

Anonymous said...

I think all the neat containers are the best ideas for the different applications. I would eat much more veggies with that one you showed with the little dipper reservoir in the middle. The mac and cheese in the thermos is an awesome idea too.

KAL071203 said...

Great ideas for easy lunches, thanks!
K. Landis

Michelle said...

One of my kids favorite sandwiches is cream cheese & jelly. I started making these when my older son was in preschool & the classroom was nut free. He was sad he couldn't have PB&J so I made it with cream cheese instead ~~ strawberry is their favorite!

Anonymous said...

I noticed that someone commented that they wouldn't use the rubbermaid reusable juice boxes because they would lose the straws. FYI, the straws stay inside the cup, so as long as the kids return the cups, the straws will come with. That said, they can get lost at home and are the part hardest to clean so go on the rubbermaid website and order replacement straws for $3! I did this a couple of years ago and got a set of more straws than I will ever use!

Laura ~Peach~ said...

miss pickey will eat smoked turkey rolled in colby jack cheese, with grapes or pineapple cut into chunks... she also will partake of cheese sandwiches and loves the cookie cutter shapes. and she must have apple juice daily or she swears she will just DIE ~

Anonymous said...

OK, so the lunch would be for me or my husband because we don't have children yet. But I would love to have the Hot Stuff Lunch box in charcoal. I would love to be able to pack turkey wraps with fruit and yogurt along with my favorite soup of the day. And it's almost time for soup weather here in Texas.

-Rebecca
sam@texastaps.com

Meredith said...

My son has friends with PB allergy in his class, so we have had to get creative for lunch. So far the favorite is "continental breakfast" for lunch. I pack a muffin, cheese, fruit, yogurt, maybe some cereal to put in the yogurt... he loves it! I also have to agree with how great those Lands End lunchboxes are! My older two boys have been using them for a couple of years and now the youngest needs one. Thanks for a great contest...

cbhoff said...

Those are awesome ideas. I definitely agree with the healthier route. As a kid my mom put at least 2 sugary treats in my lunch (didn't complain then of coarse). Changing it up is a must so I like doing PB&J, lunch meat, cheese and crackers, sometime a little leftover from dinner (pizza or small portion enchilada.)

Those containers are much better than I'm used to!

Karen said...

What a great entry. i love all the great lunch ideas. I've been very guilty of just phoning it in lately. My daughter only has to take her lunch one day a week and I've been sending a lunchable. THe shame. THanks for all the good ideas...hopefully they have inspired me for next week!

Jazzy said...

For lunch I like to cut up fresh fruit like apples or stick a banana in there, I make sandwiches with cream cheese and jelly, and put a granola bar in there. I used containers for juice, not juice boxes.

Nicolette E said...

We are kinda plain but my guys like whatever sandwich in a tortilla instead of bread. Even pb&j. We would LOVE the lunch box.

Alice W said...

You have such awesome ideas!! I will definitely be using some of them, and a new lunch bag would be great to go with it!

Kelly S said...

my son can't have on so we make cream cheese and jelly sandwiches. He also loves cheese quesedillas.

Ang said...

My 15 yr old step-daughter is too cool to eat lunch at school, so I bought some hot pockets and she takes those for lunch. I myseld would love to have a lunch box. I am not too cool for lunch boxes!

Jennifer said...

We just do the basic lunch items like sandwiches and chips. One thing the like is Suddenly Salad. When we have any left over I send it in their lunch the next day. We also do home made lunchables.

Jenn B from Poconos, Pa said...

My kids will eat anything if I stick a toothpick in it! Grapes, cherries, kiwi, cheddar cheese, black olives..

"mini shish kabobs!"

We use the Laptop lunchbox and it has eco friendly containers- even a small one with a lid to put carmel dip in for cut up apples.

ps- thanks for making all us moms laugh. I have 2 kids and somedays it feels like I have 6!

Jessi said...

I'm doing most of your ideas already, but I love the idea of using a cookie cutter!! I've started letting my daughter 'supervise' so she chooses what fruit/veggie she gets and such. something I like to do in fall/winter is send warm coco in a container. My daughter LOVES warming up with coco while the other kids have cold drinks.

Katina said...

We make "pizza" with Ritz crackers, a little bit of sauce (I put in a snack cup), and a ziploc bag of shredded cheese. If I have pepperoni in the house, I sometimes pack that too. My kids much prefer this over sandwiches.

Kelly said...

Can't go wrong with salami, cheese and crackers instead of a sandwich. My son is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts so pb&j's are out for us!

Anonymous said...

Wow! I bookmark you and Biggie and had just finished checking her page when I clicked to yours. Thought I had mis-clicked for a minute! Good post :).

Marti said...

We home school so we made a list of everyone's top 5 lunch choices. Everyone had to pick something different than the other sibling. Now we can look at the list and we have over 30 lunch ideas to choose from. It's also fun to make enough extra dinner that we have leftovers to eat too.

Katie J. said...

Veggies and dip are always a favorite!

AJ said...

My kids are very picky, and very boring. My oldest takes a PB&J everyday, with either a fruit cup(mandrin oranges sweetened with splenda)or a banana, cheese nips, juice box, and pringles honey sticks. Those things are delicious.

Tina in Ohio said...

My kids pack their own lunches the night before because Mommy is a crazy person before her coffee and can't handle the lunch packing task before 7:00 AM.
The downside of this is that several days can go by before I see the condition of the interior of the lunchboxes (i.e.- what has spilled/crusted/grown into a new species.)
Wish I had some clever ideas to share, but Dawn already covered most of what we do. Many others mentioned packing leftovers; my kids like to do this too. Especially when we have weird stuff like clam pizza or anchovy pasta.
We'd love to win the Land's End lunchbox! It would give the crew something new to fight over.
Tina

Robyn said...

Hi Dawn-

First- congrats on the great work you're doing and your healthy lunch ideas-- Bravo! As a Child Development and Parenting Expert, I get asked questions about packing lunch a lot. You are doing a wonderful job.

Here are some other ideas:
http://drrobyn.wordpress.com/2008/05/23/raising-healthy-kids-7-ways-to-get-children-to-eat-their-lunch/

Many parents are concerned about the amount of sugar in their child's food and drinks-- I can also provide more information on that-- and ways to cope, if you're interested. Happy to help.

Love your blog-- you're bookmarked-- been reading you for a while. You're always great for a good laugh...thank you for that.

Best regards,
Dr. Robyn

Dr. Robyn Silverman
http://www.DrRobynsBlog.com

Betsy said...

My daughter doesn't like sandwiches so I just put slices of turkey or ham in a bag. I also do the frozen yogurt to help keep the lunch stuff cold.

RefreshMom said...

Your ideas top any I could offer. (I wonder if my boys would care if I made their lunches look cute?) The big one, we'll call him Lionel, loves trains, so I have sent bread and butter sandwiches (at his request) in the shape of train cars. I also like to use waxed paper to wrap them. I stick it closed with stickers (bought at the dollar store).

I also like to give them the shelf-stable milk boxes. I don't know how much of their food they'll eat, but I can be pretty sure they'll drink the chocolate milk, so at least that's a little protein in them. (Costco sells it by the case, and they have the soy version for the lactose intolerant one.)

Anonymous said...

Love your lunch ideas! Would love a new lunchbox too!

Corinna in LA

Ross Momma said...

Ooh Ooh! I've been getting ready for lunch packing though my oldest is just in K. i got a cool set of mini containers from Tupperware, but those thermos things look awesome. lands End has a huge variety of lunch bags, you can customize them too. You ROCK Dawn!!!

Kathy said...

I may need to steal your idea on the wraps. My son will eat sandwiches but not the crusts...so I could just eliminate the crusts to trick him!

Instead of sandwiches every day I do rolls of bologna and cheese for my son. I usually include a fruit and yogurt drink too. Since the winter is coming and fruit prices go through the roof I use the little cans of fruit and drain the juice and put it in a little container.

Nikki said...

I've been hoarding a variety of plastic containers over the years for when my son started kindergarten. That was smart. Not smart was getting a lunchbox that clips to the outside of his backpack. Not only does it come dangerously close to pulling him over, it doesn't hold enough. I've found that I HAVE to send his food in containers because they have exactly 30 minutes for lunch. My son has never been a fast eater so every day I'm pulling out leftovers. The child even tried to save a drink pouch. We had a nice and short discussion on that one! I snagged him a small sports bottle and he actually prefers to have water sent in. Yay for me, water is mostly free! I've been fixing the usual sandwich fare for him but as far as fruit, I've been using the canned stuff. I can't always find it in juice as opposed to syrup so I'm in the habit of rinsing it first no matter what. I scoop some out into a cup sized bowl, screw on the lid and he's good to go. I throw in some other side items and he's a happy kid. I like trying to mimic some of the school lunches. Our lunch is almost 2 bucks and ridiculously high in calories. I have a small thermos that's perfect for hotdogs, mac and cheese with veggies in it, chili and whatever else he enjoys. I'm sure that'll go over well in the winter time. Quesadillas are another favorite. I love being able to get some other ideas as to what to fix. Even a 5 year old can only handle so much pb&j or bologna and cheese!

Chris A. Jackson, MI said...

My tip- freeze Go-Gurt (or the store brand yogurt in a tube)!

Questions for you Dawn.... I have been looking into getting more organic food into our diet and I am quiet frankly scared by the cost of doing such a thing. I was in Whole Foods and wanted to pass out from the prices! How do you decide what is worth buying organic and where do you buy said items without breaking the bank??

I feel its our next step in going green... but I would like to save a little green doing it!!

aceiatx said...

I am big into using leftovers to make lunches, but I try to wait at least one day after the meal, so it does not feel like eating the same thing twice in a row.

As a side dish, I like to fill a small container with frozen fruit or berries (my husband loves it when I do this with blueberries) and then sprinkle a little sugar on top. It will help keep other things cool in the lunch and by lunchtime the fruit is usually defrosted and the sugar has turned into a yummy sauce. This could also then be mixed into plain or vanilla yoghurt.

Also, for your veggies as a dip or as a spread for your wraps, don't forget the Hummus!

Simple Country Girl said...

This is an awesome post! It shows what a good mom you are to your kids and want to make sure they eat healthy lunches. I agree with the idea of using containers instead of bags because they can be used over and over. It also saves money even if it's just pennies a day, every little bit helps! Thanks for the awesome blog and you have inspired me to start my own blog too.

Firelizards said...

My preschooler likes to take chips and hummus to school instead of a sandwich. He seems to get a kick out of it when the teachers tell the class to "eat your sandwiches first" when he doesn't have one. It's some strange 4yo humor, I guess!

Karlyn said...

My kidlets are VERY PICKY eaters. One could live on Chili, the other on Steak. They don't like PB&J or things that 'normal' children like, so I have to be creative, especially when they go to a school with VERY strict lunch rules.

Today I sent my daughter with; 1/2 a tuna sandwich (she hasn't been eating her 'whole' sandwich, therefore...no dessert!) on cracked whole wheat bread (no white bread allowed), a mini Babybel semisoft cheese, some dried apples and for dessert a jell-o pudding.

After reading this post, I am definitely going to try out your ideas. I have done the cookie cutter thing.....great success.

Carrie said...

My kids love Lunchables but the tend to be on the expensive side so I make my own at home. I use mini cookie cutters to make fun shapes out of the ham and cheese. I also write a note on the kids napkins telling them I love them. My 7th grade finds in dreadfully embarassing....I love it.

Jennifer said...

My son is the pickiest eater I've ever met. last year he had a PB&J sandwich pretty much every day. i started making him PB and honey sandwhiches for a switch and he LOVES them. Plus we get the local organic honey which is supposed to help build up an immunity to local allergies, which he really needs help with. Something about the bees use the pollen from the area to make the honey, so you get small doses of it in the honey like a vaccine. We'll see how it works come cedar season this year.

twiseowl said...

My daughter likes turkey wraps with lettuce and tomato, an apple and milk. I'm a fan of good old PB & J, myself, but that can get old.

I like several of the suggestions here, though, gonna have to try them!

Lu Robinson said...

Yogurt, string cheese, applesauce and crackers are favorites. Love all the ideas you posted and many left by others.

Thanks

Kool Aid said...

I'm not anything super fancy or glorious or even somewhat cool. My daughter gets a choice of ham/cheese, turkey/cheese, or pb&j - sometimes done on sandwich bread, sometimes rolled up in a tortilla. If it's a sandwich, then I'll cut it either in triangles or use cookie cutters to make neat shapes.

I only add one more thing for lunch - usually fresh fruit or a fruit cup and then a snack for in the morning. I got crazy one week and bought some organic fruit rope which she thought was really cool - that and the cliff bars for kids.

I hope that's good enough to get me in the contest for the lunchbox. I haven't won anything yet, so maybe it's my turn now??? Here's hoping...

PokeyAnn said...

I love all these lunch ideas. I have to make lunch for hubs to help save enough money for gas to get him to work;). I make our own frozen burritos, wrap them individually in Saran Wrap and freeze. They defrost enough during the day that 2 minutes in the microwave and tada...lunch. And they are better for you and stuff because I made them without all the "extra" stuff that goes into pre-packaged foods. And true to being the big kid that he is, he also gets a little happy when I cut his sandwich into shapes along with our two year olds. Anyway, loving all the lunch ideas!

Denise said...

I have the circle sandwich maker, so I can make a cheaper/healthier version of the uncrustable!

Table for Seven said...

I didn't read all the comments so I don't know if this has been said, but if you're sending a PB&J, put PB on both pieces so the bread doesn't get soggy from the J. Oh, BTW, Costco sells the best organic PB and J. At a great price too!

Anna said...

We homeschool, so I basically just whip up something like quesadillas or pita pizzas.

They grab a yogurt or a cheese stick from the fridge and I plop a container of ready to eat fruit on the table and all is good. :)

We do use lunch boxes for our frequent field trips and honestly those we keep very simple and slacker like. PB and J and apples and cheese sticks. Then maybe a bag of pretzels or something like that. Very basic cause I am apt to make homemade chicken noodles soup on any other day. We do field trips about once a week and I just toss them in a paper bag. This would be very handy!

Trish said...

I finally got my son one of those plastic container shaped like a sandwich. No more baggies. And, I still have 4 kiddos at home, so I bought about 12 plastic plates to use in place of paper plates. I can "usually" keep enough of them clean that we can use them every day.

Anonymous said...

Dawn, You are so amazingly creative. These lunches are so much more interesting than the usual PB&J and bologna sandwiches that are the norm. Great ideas!
Sue
http://booksaroundtheclock.wordpress.com/

Melissa said...

I like to have hummus and pita as a snack in lunch boxes. Thanks for the giveaways. I would love to have these for my husband's lunch.
~Melissa

my3boys said...

We call these "inside out sandwiches":
I bake a can of refrigerator breadsticks. Then I take a slice of turkey and wrap it around the breadstick, add a slice of ham on top of that, and secure with a toothpick.

Sjogren's Mom said...

I found some 1/2 cup containers (Rubbermaid makes them) a few years back and stocked up as they are the perfect size to freeze a serving of homemade applesauce...and similar to the pumpkin muffin, it will keep lunches cool and thaw by the time you're ready to eat. I just stew up a bunch of apples and process them through my foodmill when they're in season (and sometimes when they're not!) and then can and freeze various size portions.

Jo-mom of 3 said...

MY SON the ice cream thief........

My two rugrats are daily packers. So that makes me a daily non-slacker (according to my sister in law who is a teacher). ha! They eat one veggie, carrots usually. They eat one fruit. Applesauce, sliced apples, grapes. They eat a sandwhich or bagel with cream cheese (mini bagels). On Fridays, we have "fun Friday" they get one junk food item, usually a brownie or that puffed popcorn. My son lost his chance to buy ice cream at school on Fridays because he bought an ice cream, ate it, and then walked up the freezer and took another. Without paying. Hmm. Interesting! The principal caught him and he said that I PACKED IT IN HIS LUNCH!!! Really? She said. Wow, it's amazing that it didn't melt. Needless to say he ate the rest of his lunch in her office keeping her company while his ice cream melted. He had to take $ out of his piggy bank to pay for it and I took away his card. We laugh about it now, but I was not a happy non-slacker when I got that call from the head honcho. I can't believe he took it first of all, then tried to make up a story like I packed it in his lunch. Why do our kids embarrass us so? :) Anyway, so we don't PACK ice cream, but those squeexable yogurts are PERFECT. I also write little jokes for their boxes and they seem to enjoy that. Until I embarrass them. I'm sure that day is quickly approaching. Love the thermos idea, I need to get one of those!

Robert said...

How about fruit skewers made on straws? Delicious!

Leandra W.

Anjie said...

I love the idea of sending the sandwich wraps in bite size pieces. And I know my kids would love the sandwiches cut into different shapes. Great ideas Dawn!

our2angels said...

Oh great giveaway!! I like to send apple slices or cut them into shapes too and sprinkle with lemon so they dont' turn brown and send in a reusable little container by rubber maid, peanut or cashew butter. Yummy!
Thanks for the chance to win!
sue
marklovessue@numail.org

Jennifer said...

My kids love the classic pb&j. You can never go wronf with that one.
Jennifer B.

Anna said...

My favorite school lunch idea is to let the kids make their own lunch as soon as they're old enough to do it. I don't have to do it, and they're more likely to eat it if they're the ones that pack it.

I do love peanut butter and honey spread on a tortilla and wrapped around a banana.

Amy H said...

I love, love, love the Hot Stuff Lunch Box! Keep the ideas coming, I'm always looking for new ideas for my kids' lunch!

Katie @ 3 Blondes and a Redhead said...

One of these days I will be randomly selected...can't wait! :)

Heather said...

Love this post! I like the idea of freezing homemade muffins. I'm going to have to try that.

I'm always trying to come up with healthy packed lunch ideas. My daughter's favorite is a tortilla wrap with and cream cheese spread and ham, cheese and romaine lettuce and a container of salsa on the side to dip it in.

Higgins Family said...

I'm saving this post of yours for when my kids are in school! Since I'm not packing lunches yet I'm going to steal one of your ideas as my favorite packed lunch idea - I love the pasta in a thermos! Never would have thought of it. And those little ones from Land's End ... I'm adding those to my Christmas wish list! Thanks for the great post, Dawn.

Brandi S said...

Always a favorite....leftover pizza! Mmm! But for a more healthy option: hummus and various dippers (carrots, pretzel crisps, etc) or ham roll-ups with cream cheese in the middle

Amanda said...

I was a spoiled brat (who am I kidding...I still am) and my mom packed my lunch for me all the way through to high school graduation. Plus, I'm the youngest of 6 kids and all my brothers just bought lunch. I was just a super picky eater. Anyway, my mom would buy a bag of fresh bakery rolls for my sandwiches. She made the sandwiches on the frozen bread and wrapped it in foil. By lunchtime, the bread had defrosted but the sandwich was nice and cold (room temperature lunch meat really grosses me out). Added bonus, she didn't have to worry about the bread getting moldy and would stock up when there were sales. I still make sandwiches on frozen rolls now that I am a teacher because I can never get through a loaf of bread before it gets moldy.

Allykat said...

I'm not sure how portable it is, but I love rolling up deli meat (all natural, no preservatives of course) into little tubes. That way it's easy for DD to pick up and eat. Serve with carrot sticks and whole grain crackers or plain pasta and she's a very happy camper.

Stampin_Melissa said...

Holly Cow! There are 257 comments as of right now!

My son is in kindergarten and is lactose intolerant so I send in these individual Silk soy milk drinks. Problem is that he also gets snack so between the two meals he's getting two of these drinks and they cost about $1 apiece and I have to drive into St. Louis to buy them, so I'm liking the idea of reusable drink containers. Especially since I want him to drink less soy milk and more Almond Breeze. :)

I so can't believe you call yourself a slacker!!

Christy said...

When luchables came out the were all the rage but I just couldn't see spending the money (or giving in to that many grams of sodium) so I made lunchables. I would cut the ham or turkey and cheese and put them in a plastic container with crackers. It worked. They got there lunchable and I got to save a few pennies.

The Davis Family said...

I most like to leave a short note for my children in their lunch. I can just imagine their surprize when they open their box and find a love note from mom (or dad) if he is so inclined. It is my hope they will know they are being thought of and well cared for not only nutrionally but emotionally as well. Thanks for the great ideas in your blog!

Sandra said...

Cool. I have mini thermus (the spelling does not look right?) in pink for both my girls. Great for Mac & Cheese or Chicken & Rice soup. Although too much they leak so you really have to be careful. I cut my girls sandwiches in the shape of hearts, small apples, pretzels, baby carrots or crispy green beans, and soy chocolate milk. If I'm in a good mood they get a dessert but not always.

Aislinn K said...

I don't pack lunch for any kids yet, but I pack my lunch every day for work (with kids). I like to make homemade lunchables, with Ritz, pepperoni, and cheese. I also like trail mix, with healthy cereal, dried fruit (cherries!) and a few chocolate chips. And everything goes into a reusable container (the Gladware/Ziploc ones are great because they last for a while, but if you throw one away, it's no big loss). I really need a new lunch bag, so I hope my number comes up!

TheCynicalOptimist said...

I am SO not worthy! Wow, great ideas! I'm going to have to work on this whole "meal" thing. Sometimes I am guilty of the microwaved chicken nuggets... gulp.

Don't stone me, I swear I'll be better!

GinaGross said...

We like string cheese and buy it a lot but it's pretty boring by itself. I make what I call Italian Roll-ups, or at least pack the fixings for it. I use pita bread or thin sliced Italian bread. (it must be soft though) Then I layer a few slices of salami, some roasted red pepper strips, a little diced tomato, and sprinkle a little italian dressing on it and then put the string cheese in the middle and roll it up! yum!

Heather's Haven said...

I use the pampered chef sandwich crimper for PB&J for my dear son ( who is uber crabby today! ). Then there is no crust and everything stays inside. ;) Less mess.
He loves yogurt too, and usually a few chips and then a bottle of water and some sort of juice. He is a peanut butter and jelly-aholic!

Lisa Perry24 said...

My oldest won't be in school until next year, but we've packed taco salad for picnics (just put lettuce, meat and dressing in separate containers).

Love the giveaway!

Anonymous said...

My husband packs his lunch every day - in an old black, boring lunch pail. Poor guy. Every morning he wakes up at 4:45am so he has time to get ready and pack his lunch. He always has a PB&J, carrots & celery sticks, an apple, a lunchmeat sandwich with Miracle Whip, a soda, and a goodie (depends on what I recently baked).
I can't think of anyone who deserves a new lunch box more - just a small way to show how much he is appreciated for all his hard work.
Thanks,
Jennifer H.

Karen Siddiqi said...

Great ideas! Its easier than we think to become conscious of health and our environment at the same time! Here's hoping I get to take home the prize :)

Alice H. said...

I don't have to make lunch for my kiddos yet, but I will in a couple years! Currently, I just make them for myself, and those are great ideas!! I like the carrots and peanut butter cup for a snack too.
-Alice

Donna T said...

Wow, great ideas! Mine only takes a snack this year, but I usually include Horizon milk, pudding or crackers, and fruit snacks.
I plan on using some ideas from this post.

Sudee in Florida said...

Holy cow! What great lunch ideas. I have to pack my own lunches and I am bored to death with myself. That pumpkin muffin sure made me hungry. I guess the only thing I make myself that I really like alot is tuna salad in pita bread with fresh cucumber slices. Really refreshing. When I want something heated up I just wrap the container in foil and put it in my car window..here in Florida it is almost too hot to eat by lunch time. Of course, that only works in the summer, so that little thermos would be great in the winter time. Thanks for all the good ideas.
And you are not a slacker. If you were, you wouldn't have had 6 children....talk about a workaholic.

Katie said...

I use a flour (you could use wheat), sprinkle with shredded cheese and nuke for 30 secs. I slice it into triangles and voila you have a cheese quesadilla to go! I side it with apple slices.

Mrs. Paradox said...

I don't have an original idea for lunch but I do have a stolen idea to keep it warm. Put boiling water into the soup container while you heat the entree in the morning. It warms up the container and ensures your warm food stays warm until lunch time. It worked great when I sent my kid to school with leftover chicken curry. He loved it!

Kristi said...

My daughter likes a yogurt/bagel lunch. I pack a healthy yogurt, bagel with cream cheese, a cheese stick, fruit or vegetable and sometimes a small sweet for a treat. I love your ideas and will be trying some of them out very soon!

Amy Kay said...

Something that I like to make since I have a home daycare, that can run with me while I chase kids, is a bagel with fresh blackberries and peanut butter on it. I toast the bagel just a bit, crunchy and chewy, then add peanut butter, and on top the fresh blackberries from my neighbors garden. And if I run out of fresh berries, I use blackberry jam. mmmm good, might have to go make some right now. The protein in the peanut butter gives me a boost to finish the day and the berries help my sweet tooth.

Hugs from Amy in Georgia,

Holly said...

You have great ideas! One of the things my kids love is when I pack celery and carrot sticks, crackers and a few Tbsp of peanut butter instead of a sandwich. Also, if you have a corer/wedger thing, you can put a nut butter inside an apple (where the core usually is) and it's a fantastic way to keep the apple from browning.

Our new thing last year was the thermos and tomato soup or hot cocoa are always a hit on chilly days.

Whitney said...

My husband and I work together so we also get to eat lunch together. We usually eat leftovers, sandwiches, or tuna & crackers. I've been looking for new ideas, so I'm loving this post. My favorite lunch box is the HotStuff in Garnet.

Carmen said...

Wow! I wish I could say the lunches I pack are as nice as this. I do like the thermos idea especially when the winter comes. I do make sure that each lunch has a yogurt, string cheese and a fruit of some variety. TFS your ideas!

Laura said...

Spread pb and jelly on one slice of bread, then roll it up and lightly squeeze it. Cut it into slices like sushi!

SUchipmunk said...

I love to do leftovers from the night before. Spaghetti and meatballs always is great and easy to do. Or if we've done something with chicken breasts, I can chop them up with a salad and you have lunch.

Denise said...

I am a teacher, and I would actually like to try some of these ideas for my lunches! I am trying to pack more lunches this year.

Linda said...

The mini bagels are great! My daughter takes one almost every day, spread with soft cream cheese. I buy the whole grain variety. They're just the right size for lunchtime.

shawna said...

if aliens do come and take their really cool utensils just pick up a couple sets from a second hand shop for cheap.

Anonymous said...

I like to make lunchables for my kids using lunchmeat and the "pampered chef creative cutters" https://www.pamperedchef.com/ordering/prod_details.tpc?prodId=6974&words=creative%20cutters

they have cute shapes that I can cut cheese and crackers with and then I stick in a few crackers and voila! I ahve a lunchable for about 1/4 of the cost!!

Angela

Lacy said...

My kids will eat anything in a whole wheat pita pocket like tuna, ham and cheese, or pb&j. It makes it a whole new experence.

Vicki said...

I just found out that Ian's has little PB cups. They are so cool and healthy. Just toss it in with some baby carrots and maybe a few crackers and OH yea a few celery sticks! There ya have it!

Anonymous said...

My kids like cheese, sausage, and crackers as an alternative to sandwiches. The also like peanut butter and jelly on crackers instead of bread.

Lynn
lynnhaffner@kc.rr.com

Candace said...

Most of my kids aren't big on the sandwich idea so I tend to pack a little differently. One staple is a mini bagel, sliced. Some of my kids like me to put cream cheese on it, others don't. Then I include pepperonis, cheese, and/or something else to top it (or more likely they eat it all separately). Sometimes I send crackers with sliced cheese and pepperonis/slice meat. Then the standard PBJ is all my one daughter wants.

canbew123@aol.com

Melanie said...

Yet another homeschool mom here! My kids who are known picky eaters anyway, have gone on some kind of crazy lunch strike. They are not pleased with, well, anything that I make for them. They just don't eat, hoping that the next meal will be more suiting to their discriminating palates! And I'm not up to the drama. I figure they'll eventually eat or pass out from hunger - and then at least there will be a little peace and quiet in my house! LOL!

Disclaimer: My tip is untried, so take it with a grain of salt. And it only really applies to those whose kids are normally home all day (pertinent comment for this post, I know... sorry). I've been thinking of packing "school" lunches even though my kids don't leave home for school. Hopefully, the novelty factor of cute little portions in tiny containers will encourage them to eat a little something during the day. And in addition, I don't have to stop what I'm doing and dirty the kitchen in the middle of the day to prepare a meal that probably won't be eaten anyway!
Melanie

Jen said...

I use the cookie cutter idea...and also making lunch kabobs using fruit and deli meat.

Kim said...

My kids love canned mandarin oranges, pears and peaches. I buy a large can and pack them in small re-usable containers. Then each day I pop one in each lunch box. Much cheaper than buying the pre-packaged ones.

They also love apples & peanut butter. I cut up apples with a little lemon juice and throw in a bit of peanut butter in a container.

My kids also love deli meats rolled up on toothpicks in bite-sized pieces. They often eat those for their morning school snack.

Erika said...

I like peanut butter and jelly or cream cheese and jelly on saltines. Also I make up apple sauce, pudding and jello in reusable snack cups rather than buying single servings.

Muffy from the NW 'burbs said...

I LOVE Lands' End!! My lunch tip -I use frozen capri sun's as an ice pack - they keep the food cold and also provide an icy cold drink. My 7 yr old doesn't like bread, so I often send salami & cheese roll-ups too. Sometimes I throw in a note or sneak in a caramel or mint as a little treat. The kids love it. My personal favorite -- the days they both have hot lunch so I don't have to make it!

Cindy said...

Chicken salad made with plain yogurt, with a side of sliced baby cucumbers.

JJbryan222 said...

We like to make our own lunchables with Whole Wheat Ritz, deli meat and cheese, especially mini-babybel! Then the kids get some fruit, a Horizon boxed milk, and a snack, usually yogurt, pudding or goldfish! A new lunchbox would be quite the incentive for 'make your own lunch so mom doesn't have to!'

Mama said...

Ok so I'm posting in hopes of winning a new lunch box. The one I carry I got free from the old place I worked with their logo on it. They happen to be a competitor of the current place I work, I know, bad taste. So I could really use a new one. My kiddies aren't quite in school yet so I'm not packing lunches for them, but a favorite for me is heated up leftovers from the night before. My husband & I always cook enough the night before for dinner so we each have enough leftovers the next day for lunch.
Tina I. in MI

Sherry said...

Wow, I think my favorite lunch ideas are the ones you listed. I am not quite that creative. I really like the yogurt ones. Also, the mac-n-cheese in the thermal container... splendid idea! Thanks for sharing. One thing though, Sept. 23 is Tuesday, not Wednesday (I only know because that will be my birthday). :)

Paulo & Marce said...

I was amazed at your creativity to pack lunches. I am usually so pressed in time, that the only thing that I can focus on, is to try to put something that she will like, along with something healthy. I loved the ideas and I will probably buy a pair of those containers, in case I don't win them ;)

I laugh a lot at your stories. Thanks

Beachcomber said...

I've been wanting to bento box lunches for my son and hubby this year. I made some baked chicken legs for my son, cheese, cheese sandwich, Annie's Natural tomato pasta, homemade soup and some kind of fruit or vegi.

Renee - said...

I love your ideas here! I only wish I could get my kids to eat most of the items you mention. Between their pickiness and their forgetfulness to bring home containers/lunchboxes/ice packs/you name it...I am VERY limited on creative lunches. I'm going to try to sneak in a few of your ideas over the next few weeks. Wish me luck!!!

Tammy said...

Both my kids (toddlers) are good eaters, for the most part. I always make at least one extra serving for suppers and divide that serving the next day for lunch. I know if all else fails, they will always eat parmesan pasta with brocolli!

Bonnie said...

I like to get corn tortillas and spread some organic refried beans and sprinkle with organic cheddar cheese. Then I roll them up and hold closed with a toothpick while I brown them up on each side with a little olive oil (very little). I then take the pics out and send to school. We call them nacho sticks, but of course they are just a spin off of taquitos. If it were me, I would even take a side of salsa but my kids prefer them plain and dry!

Jackie said...

A thermos is our friend! Our favorite is scrambled eggs with a bit of cheese mixed in! The kids love getting "breakfast" for lunch. I also pack them up some oranges and some toast (wrapped in foil) to make it all like breakfast.

Thanks!
Jackie F.

The Bear and The Bug said...

Wow! Those are great ideas. My son is SO picky that maybe some of them will work for him. We just started pre-K this year and I've tried so many things. So far, the best luck is our recipe for strawberry yogurt pops, put in a small container and frozen. I just take it out the night before and put it in the frig. in his lunchbox. They eat lunch really early (before 11 a.m.) so it is usually just the right temp at lunchtime and it keeps his other food cool enough.

Ruthie B.

Anonymous said...

What a great lunch bag. My daughter's favorite item for her lunch (this week) is pita bread with hummus. It is quick and there are many flavors of hummus to choose from. Thanks for the great ideas.

Jenny Ferrari

Tammy B said...

well, you've already covered a lot of my favorites: roll ups, yogurt & granola, fun shaped sandwiches, good reusable containers (including a laptop lunchbox) but a couple things not didn't mentioned: humus or bean dip w/torilla chips (you know how kids love to dip) and sandwiches they make themselves - send the components separately and let them mix & match. heres to a new thermal container!

Bonggamom said...

Use tortillas instead of bread to shake the routine up a bit. My kids love them with melted cheese, PBJ or Nutella!

Marly said...

Does it really have to be creative to win? So far its just been peanut butter & honey, carrots, and pears (I did bottle those myself!)

Wendy said...

Thanks for the great ideas. My two little ones love to take pieces of bologna and cheese cut into shapes from cookie cutters.

Nancy said...

My kids enjoy having a cheese stick in a hotdog bun. They also like cold leftover pizza.

Becki said...

This would be much better then the non-green brown paper bags I send every day.

Miniviolet said...

I had never even heard of Bento before! So much more stuff to read now...thanks a lot, ha!

I am very non-creative with lunches. My daughter's favorite is a "Mommy lunchable" when I'm too cheap to buy her any at the store. Just some crackers, sliced cheese, and a ham roll up.

Carol V.

LDRN said...

I have to pack a lunch for my 9 month-old for Mother's Day Out & they don't want to have to microwave anything. Unfortunately, this only leaves me with jarred foods to send (which I hate as I usually cook his other meals at home). This lunch box would be perfect!!
Also, my husband travels all day in his truck---his truck is his office. Lately, he's having a harder & harder time coming home to eat lunches. I know he doesn't always pack a lunch because he gets tired of sandwiches, so it woulds be really nice to send him other things (he loves leftovers!)...

Adri said...

I like to have crackers, cheese slices, and sandwich meat for lunch. My own ghetto lunchable. :-)

JennM said...

I love all your fun ideas - I found a few new ones to try! My kids really enjoy when I mix it up and send in "Breakfast" for lunch. It can be anything as a long as it's a familiar breakfast item.

Brenda said...

I had the opposite problem because mine would bring home the schools spoons! I found sandwich containers with a spoon that stuck to the lid. I like to cut the sandwiches in half diagonally and then cut a zig zag down the side and call it "Monster teeth".

Penny S. said...

I love all of your great ideas, and I'd love to win the drawing!
My kids often put together their own lunches. They have to pack a sandwich, a drink, a fruit and a they get to choose a treat. (They like Tiger Milk Bars.) Sometimes my daughter likes to take cooked noodles.

Penny S.

Tracy Fiebranz said...

My kids actually have a few favorites when it comes to snacks and foods in their lunches for school. I make my own 'caramel' with splenda for caramel corn at home, and what I did is make 'enough' to put in containers for the kids for caramel apple 'treats' at school. Another fave is making ham roll ups. The Louis Rich packages of ham (Farmland has it too) in rectangles is PERFECT. Just take a slice of ham, some garden veggie cream cheese, put a pickle in the middle and roll up and slice! I sometimes fasten them together with colored toothpicks for variety. Reusable containers are awesome, aren't they?

dudette77 said...

Ah, here is a subject mom's can really sink their teeth into! lol Now that all three of my girls are in school, I've taken the lunch planning more serious to streamline the morning routine! Cheese and crackers are a fav sandwich alternative, and my girls especially like the new Bistro cornbread flavor crackers!
Our other favorite...frozen Gogurt tubes, which double as a cold pack to keep the rest of the lunch cool.

The Barfield's said...

we LOVE lands end lunch boxes. i tried another mail order box one year and it was ridiculous. I have about 4 of them from previous years in my cabinet. One thing my dd loves to pack in her lunch is spinach in a reusable bowl, cheese in another container, and italian dressing in another. she loves her salad! and just btw, my 12 year old LOVES your blog as much as i do! maybe more b/c she is always asking me if i read about what brooklyn did or some other random factiod from your most recent post. i love it!

Anonymous said...

I sometimes pack a lunch for my grandchildren. Their favorites are peanut butter and honey that I have trimmed the crust off by using a heart cookie cutter. They like apples wedges in peanut butter too and they always want my homemade snickerdoodles because "Nana's are the best!" I really could use a new lunchbox ours are getting pretty old! Thanks

Diane H

Smiller said...

My kids are too young for school lunches but I pack hubby's lunch many days. He usually gets leftovers but his favorite treat is peanut butter-filled pretzels with grape juice to drink. He says it is just like a PB&J. I'll take his word for it...

Jen said...

I love the containers you showed us - too awesome. My kids are currently buying lunch but will soon be going back to bringing. But since it's been a while since I packed a lunch for them I'm going to the opposite end of the spectrum - what we lunch ladies despise cleaning off the tables/floors. Yes, I am a lunch lady - not a food server but the kind who cleans and makes the kids behave at recess. What are those little yogurt blob things? They get stuck on everything once they have been stepped on.

But my biggest pet peeve would have to be the kids whose mom lovingly packs the lunch and then they throw it all away without eating anything but the snacks. We can't catch them all but we try.

Anonymous said...

These are awesome ideas ... but
I use high quality plastic spoons or forks and run them through the dishwasher until they break or the kids forget

Also the Glad or Ziploc "disposable" plasticware from the grocery store--cheaper than Container Store, and easier to replace (we seem to be short some lids right now ...)

Peanut butter is banned at our school, so I'm always on the look-out for alternatives that don't require refrigeration or microwaving--both of which don't exist for the kids

Jenny H. said...

I like to roll up a few slices of salami and poke them with a plastic toothpick...I kinda squish them in a small round tupperware...perfect fit.

Round Belly said...

My kids favorite lunch is a baked good (usually chocolate) like wholewheat chocolate cake with a serving of fruit and cheese stick. With water in a nice little thermos.

Round Belly

Linda said...

Great ideas Dawn! The containers you show are wonderful and seem to make lunches much more interesting! I have a little one who doesn't like sandwiches...I usually dice up the lunch meat and send it in zip locks for her with crackers to go with it. I am going to try your wrap idea and see if that would interest her. Thanks!

Amanda said...

Getting lunches packed for 5 kids is no easy feat, but they all pitch in (except the youngest) and help make their own. I keep grilled chicken breasts for oldest daughter to take along with romaine lettuce, croutons and homemade salad dressing all packed in separate containers to toss together for her favorite chicken caesar salad. That along with some milk in a thermos and fresh fruit is a great lunch!

Roni said...

This would be perfect for me. Thanks for all the wonderful ideas. Now I hope I win lol.

Kira said...

I just bought a bento lunch box for my 1st grader. He loves it!!! I have to say, I really do pack him healthier lunches with a wider variety of foods when I use it. He gets a lot more fruits and veggies. Plus, we are being green! The down side...it does take a lot longer to pack his lunch that way. There is a lot more prep work involved. I peel veggies, cut things up, portion out snacks, etc. Overall though, worth it!!
His favorite thing to take....I cut up bell pepper and then fill his little dip container (comes with the bento lunch box) with hummus. He loves dipping veggies in hummus!

Anonymous said...

Another neat idea is fruit kabobs. I use a straw to hold the fruit.

Dawn W.

Idyllic Dreams said...

What great lunch ideas! I'm going to have to nab them for me and my husband :P

Stacey in Texas said...

Thank you for this post. I'm always looking for new lunch ideas for my boys. Last year, I purchased a plastic container with dividers in it so I could quit using platic bags. You've inspired me today to go out and find other useable containers to pack them lunch in as well. I especially love the ideas of crackers with spread and the tortilla rollups.

Thanks! (and I hope to win your contest .. LOL)

Amy said...

Thanks for the tip on the thermal containers. I pack my kids lunch frequently and have been avoiding anything warm. Peanut butter sandwiches, yogurt and granola are our favorites.

ruralnebr said...

Wonderful lunch ideas, Dawn!!
Made me hungry! Don't have a clue what Bento style lunches are though. I LOVE Lands End stuff, such good quality. So....draw my name!!

Anonymous said...

With all of the nut and peanut allergies out there (my son is one of them)we've started packing Sunbutter sandwiches. High in vitamin E and very few children have seed allergies. My kids think it tastes just like peanut butter. I've even made Sunbutter cookies with it!
Mindy A

Marie in Ontario said...

I love those Lands End thermal containers...

I have tried the rubbermaid juice boxes, but found that they leak after not too long. After many years of frustration and WASHING, not wiping, the lunch containers every night, I am reduced to sending tetra paks. At least they are recyclable here, although I hate, hate, hate the fact that they are not reusable...

Anonymous said...

It is a battle to get kids to eat veggies. You need to make the dip yummy too. Trying mixing ketchup and mayo together. Goes especially well with carrot sticks.

Candice T

South Carolina Mom said...

I do the cookie cutter shapes for my son's sandwiches and I put them in a hard plastic container that was made to hold the Smucker's Uncrustables (we got the containers for free at a sporting event that was passing out samples of the Uncrustables). He loves it because it's always a surprise as to which shape I'll use- I use odd shaped cookie cutters such as dog bones, stars, hearts, etc. Thanks for sharing your tips!

Jessica said...

I'm going to be honest. I don't have any great lunch ideas but, I'm afraid that my daughter is going to be diagnosed with add/adhd when I take her to the doctor on Thurs. and instead of medicating her I'm going to try and change her eating habits (like I've read so much about) and see how that works and this would be great to have to introduce her new eating and for her to take to school. It would be great to be able to give her a new lunchbox.

Anonymous said...

One more reason I absolutely love this blog!! Thanks for the ideas...I have a super picky son--ugh! The only thing he eats is bagels with bacon! Thanks Dawn!

Becky said...

I make my kids PB and Nutella sandwiches. It can't have much more sugar than jelly, right? We also do a lot of Babybel/cheese cubes, turkey sausage and crackers. I haven't gotten much more creative than that, yet!

I use that Rubbermaid container for juice, too, and fill it half full of ice, so the juice is nice and watered down by lunchtime. Keeps the rest of her lunch cold, too.

The Cochran Zoo said...

Thanks for the run down on ideas for lunches from home. I really need to get on the ban-wagon and start feeding my son nutritious food for school lunch as well.

Thanks.
Kristen C.

momofmonkeys said...

My kids love to take leftovers in their thermos'! I like to "pre-heat" the thermos to make sure the food stays warm. I boil water in the micro then fill the thermos with it. Let it stand for a few minutes then pour out the water and pour in the leftovers. you could also keep burritos warm in a thermos by wrapping them individually in a paper towel then foil and sliding them into the "pre-heated" thermos. Have a great day!

MarcieJ said...

My sons favorite lunch is when I make dinosaur shaped sandwiches and send him along a hard boilded "dinosaur" egg and celery with dip (prehistoric trees and swamp). He loves pretending to be a "dinosaur bone digger" at lunch and I love sending him something fun and nutritious for lunch.

jotiw@yahoo.com said...

My child is only 4, but I plan on sending him to school with his lunch 2-3 times a week next year for Kindergarten. His favorites are hotdogs..he looooves them. I need to buy something thermal so I can nuke them in the morning and slice them up..pop them in the thermal container.

Kandy said...

I have a picky kindergartener this year so I have to send her lunch at least twice a week. She's the easy one.

My oldest daughter (12 going on 20) is a little chubby, and has been taking a lot of teasing for it. This year she wanted healthier options for lunch, and loves salads, but the salad bar at school is pretty naked. So at least 3 times a week I let her take her lunch, a salad, and we've already seen some results in her waistline (it might be coincidence, but I don't think so).

She gets regular lettuce unless our budget allows us to get the mixed bag of iceberg, romaine, and spinach (she loves spinach). Along with that goes grated carrots, sunflower seeds (unsalted), diced boiled eggs, some form of meat for protein, usually cubed ham but we do turkey and chicken too, sometimes all three lol), real bacon pieces (not much as its a little fattening), and whatever else we happen to have in the fridge that she takes a hankering to. Sometimes its cut up apple pieces, sometimes its blueberries (a particular favorite), grapes, just whatever she thinks of. ON the salad, not on the side lol. She also gets fat-free catalina dressing. I have some Tupperware midgets, and she gets exactly 1oz of dressing for her salad. Otherwise she'd pour the whole bottle on if I let her loose with it. The salad is so big and has so much in it that it fills her up, but its healthy too. We don't do croutons even though she loves them because of the fat.

The problem is we haven't been able to find a lunchbox her salad will fit into. Most of the ones available at our local stores (we live in the boonies) are the "lunch sack" style and are too narrow. So many times she takes her salad in a plastic grocery bag for lack of anything better. A Lands End lunchbox would be very cool :)

The Hayes Famiy Events said...

Those are some great tips! It ould be nice to send some different things in my hubby's lunch as he normally gets a ham and cheese sandwhich. Those lunch boxes are very cute, too!!

Kim H.

Emily and Tom said...

You've totally lost your "slacker status" with me after reading all your cool ideas. I have a first grader who just started taking lunches. He is a routine kids and doesn't like change much so I'm afraid that I pack the same old boring sandwich, fruit, drink, and treat lunch. But hey, at least it's easy and pretty nutritious.

He also tends to lose/leave things at school. We've already been through two lunch bags and we're only one month into school so I could really use a back-up!

Jenny said...

No kids yet, but I am a teacher and I try to avoid the school lunches. I think I have put on 10 pounds from just eating them! I love packing half of a sandwich and some of those hundred calories snack packs or fruit in a baggie.

Jessi said...

Amazing. You always give away the nicest stuff. The stuff, you know, that I wouldn't ordinarily splurge for.

When packing lunches, I too use yogurt and have something to mix with it like granola. I hadn't thought of cereal. That's a great idea. I love Kashi too! I will sometimes add Fiber 1 cereal as a side snack so I suppose we could mix those together. Fiber 1 has half your daily fiber intake in just half a cup. I love it!

Thanks Dawn!

Julie said...

Great ideas! It's so easy to get bogged down in the same-old, same-old.

JS said...

As a mother of three I have to be creative with lunches as they get really boring. I like to make bug sandwiches. Its an english muffin with a little homeade pizza sauce, motz cheese, and some cut up veggies. Then you just decorate them to look like spiders, bugs, ladybugs, ect. Its fun, healthy and very interesting at the lunch table.

B and T and R and N said...

I tend to pack a lot of roll-ups or pinwheels. I use whole wheat or spinach tortillas, smear on some cream cheese for 'glue'. lay out some lunch meat (My kids love turkey), cheese (i like Muenster...my kids like american slices lol), and some sprouts in the center. Roll it up TIGHT. Then slice it into 1/8-1/4" slices. These are a hit among my kiddos. :)

On another blog I read a lot ( http://pleasegivepeasachance.blogspot.com/ ), the blogger uses molds to make hard boiled eggs in all sorts of shapes. I do that from time to time, too, when I remember the night before. I rarely have the time to mess with it in the mornings, though. My kiddos eat them every time, where they won't if they are just egg shaped. I spear one of those on a skewer with some fresh fruit, veggies, or cheese cubes. Definitely a hit!

Diana said...

My older child buys her lunch at school because "No one brings a lunch to school, Mom" (insert rolling eyeballs at this point)....My younger child insists on plain graham crackers with cream cheese an put together like small sandwiches for snack time. For lunch it's either chicken soup, mac & cheese or jelly tacos, with carrot sticks (ranch dressing? yuck she says) and milk.

Janel said...

My favorite lunch to pack is a turkey and cheese roll-up with whole grain flatbread and chopped up fresh fruit, and a chocolate chip cookie.
blaregerber@hotmail.com

Blackman Blog said...

I like to make Wraps also. My children enjoy cream cheese and strawberry jelly. Or PB sanwiched between crackers instead of bread. Another favorite it a TUNA or CHICKEN burrito. Basically make tuna/chicken salad and make a burrito. In our chicken we love a little dry Ranch mix with Mayo and some mushrooms...YUM!
Fruits of all kinds. I also buy large containers of yogurt and apple sauce and just use small tupperware or Glad ware.
And believe it or not I sent Salad a few times with my son in preschool. I hnag on to ranch dressings from restraunts or such so I can pack it in lunches...no spill!
Utensils. I bought used (sounds gross but Bleach kills stuff) utensils at Goodwill and other thrift stores for 25 cents each, or less, so that if any get trashed or lost it is not a big deal!
:) Have a great weekend!
bennettelizabeth2000@yahoo.com

FreeSpirit said...

MY BENTO RENDITION:
Every now and then I will make my husband a BLT...the bacon, lettuce and sliced tomato go all in separate baggies. The bread gets toasted and then I put a little condiment of mayo or mustard on the side. Think Land's End has something to accomodate that??? LOL

He uses the same CVS bag until I insist it be thrown away and sometimes the same ziploc bags for sandwich and chips. Green, yes, but green with mold, I say!

My husband TRIES to take pb&j to work EVERY day...he's done this for 6 years! I would love to have something to send with him that was more manly to keep his fixin's in. I thought about buying him a lunch box...but, no. He wouldn't dare.

bada*blingg said...

I really like your frozen muffin tip!!! My littlest HATES breakfast & that would be a quick & easy way to get her to eat it! I will be muffin making this weekend for sure!!

My fav lunch trick is.... I bought small thin reusable containers that will fit the kids silverware, & in that I also include wipes to help clean messy fingers & a breath mint for the older kids for those tuna salad lunches!... it has worked great!

I also freeze my grapes the put those in the containers & they thaw by the time its lunch!

Karen said...

I used Tupperware containers for my childrens' lunches and now have started the same for my grandson. It would be great to have an insulated bag for his lunch. All of your container ideas are great!

Sarah said...

I pack 2 lunches every day so thanks for the great ideas. Thankfully my kids love peanut butter sandwiches, but I also make pb rollups in wheat tortillas, and a few other more creative things. Thanks for the great ideas!

Terry said...

I have a daughter who does not like sandwiches so I use a sandwich container and put a slice of bologna, then ketchup, then cheese and top it off with a slice of bread and butter. All the components of a sandwich, just not together. She has actually moved on from bologna and now I can use regular lunch meats (a little less processed). A friend recently brought an apple for her son and had taken the core out with an apple corer and filled it with peanut butter! Great idea - they actually have to eat the apple to get to the yummy peanut butter.

Kate said...

My kids love peanut butter and miracle whip mixed up for a dip for bananas. They also like peanut butter with carrots. They don't eat bread with meat, so I just roll up the meat with cheese.

Erin said...

My daughter loves taking cheese and crackers for lunch when she's bored of the same old pbj sandwich. She also likes peanut butter with mashed banana rather than jelly. :)

Joy said...

Whole wheat pita pockets stuffed with lunchmeat, cheese, spinich (yes they eat it), and pickles.

Kim said...

We love Land's End products. I have one lunch box from them for hubby, but could use another one for my daughter. I have been wanting to try the insulated mugs...my daughter loves noodles and would be a good lunch for her.

Mandy Ferguson said...

I pack a lunch for my husband and his lunchbox has had it. I would love to have a new one.:)

Alexis said...

I love to do the homemade bread in shapes to match what they are learning that month in class. Homemade applesauce in a small reuseable cup. Also make jello in those same cups with a little sparkling water to add a little something to the jello. Alexis

Beth (A Mom's Life) said...

Thanks for all of these great ideas!

My oldest is in Kindergarten so I have only had a few weeks experience in packing lunch but he loves it when I send him those petite dill pickles. They are the perfect size for him and they are quite tasty!

Ashley said...

Our favorites are leftovers too-heating the thermos with hot water first keeps food warm longer. It's finding lunch boxes that will hold the thermos that can be hard. And drinks are usually made in a pitcher (tang, flavored water, etc.) and poured into recycled water bottles. I love the silverware idea-I get so tired of buying plastic ones. Now, PICK ME!

Dawn said...

Ok, you've guilted me into doing better with lunches. I like the tortilla roll-ups and freezing muffins. I've never been very creative when it comes to packing lunches. Maybe something to do with the fact I'm barely awake in the morning. If I'm lucky, I've remembered to through a water bottle in the freezer the night before. Thanks for the ideas.
Dawn/michigan

Kikilia said...

The favorite school lunch idea areound here was drawing a heart on a napkin and putting it in my child's lunchbox.

My child's idea to break the pb&jam routine is biryiani rice and leftover tandoori chicken from the Indian restaurant for school lunch.

Michelle said...

One of my favorites is a big dill pickle. As a kid, my Mom would sometimes wrap one in foil, and then put it in a baggie. I always loved having something different. They're always sooo good with tuna, or chicken salad. :) My hubby desperstely needs a new lunch bag. Please enter me!!

Sam and Rachel Tramontana said...

Hey Dawn, nothing to do with your lunchbox post........but look at the creep who got on my page!
http://tramontanamemories.blogspot.com/2008/09/i-called-fbi.html#links

I called the FBI today and told them their ip address....this one goes in the "CREEPY" file...not just the weridos who land on my site section. SCARY. FBI said that is what I should have done (called them with the ip address and their location.) I know you get lots of weird hits, not sure if you have gotten anything child molesterish. If so...call your local FBI.

Crystal said...

As an elementary school teacher, I LOVE it when I have lunch duty and kids have cool meals other than the processed lunchables or just a bunch of prepackaged bags of junk (don't get me started on school lunches). Some of my favorites have been soups, stews, baked potato, and rice and beans in the thermos containers (not at the same time), frozen (precooked) shrimp that thaws by lunchtime with fruit and veggies, and homemade french toast for lunch. A favorite in my house is a banana, peanut butter, and raisins wrapped up in a tortilla (my school isn't peanut free).

Sharon Meyer said...

Oooh, ooh!! See my hands waving frantically?? PICK ME!! I have to make 5 lunches a day! I have 4 kids (2 boys ages 13 & 9 and 2 girls ages almost 8 & 7) and we all go to the same private school together as I teach where my kids go to school. My girls would love the thermos for tomato soup!

When I'm running late, I'll pull out a bowl and stir in a little brown sugar with the peanut butter, just enough to give it a little texture and sweetness. The kids think they're getting a big treat even on the whole wheat bread which we always have, and it's super fast to put together.

Keeping my fingers crossed!
Sharon Meyer
shar@austin.rr.com

Amy said...

Dawn, I've been reading your posts for awhile now--since the whole eBay/pokemon debacle LOL and I've been meaning to say thanks--for being able to make me laugh even when everything might seem to be going wrong. no matter what, when I log into your blog I am sure I will end up with a smile.
anyway--I'm a single mom who works full time and goes to school so I always seemed to feel rushed in the mornings. even so, I think it's important to pack a lunch each day for my son so I'm always on the look out for new/different ideas. my son's favorite lunch right now is chicken taco salad...I buy mini taco shells and make up some chicken salad(or tuna or whatever they like) and put it into a small bowl. he eats every last bite and I've heard from other parents that their kids actually tried chicken salad for the 1st time because my son shared those "cool" new tacos with them at lunch! LOL
if I were to win the lunchbox and thermos they would be put to good use. thanks for all you do--you are amazing ;)

A Mom in Jacksonville, FL said...

LOVE your ideas. I've just started making "wraps" this year. It has been a hit thus far.

My tip piggy-backs off one of yours. I have a small alphabet cookie cutter set. My daughter loves when her cheese slices or sandwiches are cut into E-M-M-A to spell her name. :)

Little codster and Miss Ashley said...

I really don't have any good ideas to share, but I am so glad you shared all those great ideas with us. My little boy loves mac-n-cheese so I definitly have to try the thermos idea. Thanks!

Jennifer in Wisconsin said...

Not sure if any one else asked (WAY TOO MNAY comments to read through by the time I posted) but ware you willing to share your pumpkin muffin recipe with us? Great job on reminding us that a packed lunch is not "just a sandwich".

Jenny said...

My son loves for me to put hot oatmeal in his thermos Funtainer and it stays warm until lunchtime. Perfect for cold winter days!!

gretchen d. from AK said...

Two of my four are school age & I pack their lunches every day! I try to pack something healthy...sandwiches, fruit, etc. I don't have any new ideas that the other readers didn't already mention. Please pick me, pick. I would love a new lunch box for my munchkins!

Mum - Mainly Upbringing Monsters said...

You can make sandwiches with various fillings and freeze them - they defrost wonderfully as long as they don't have fillings with a high water content like tomatoes as they go all mushy upon thawing.
Saves SOOOO much time.

Amanda said...

My kids get tired of sandwiches, so we do pitas sometimes. OR, I get the wraps and spread PB&J in them. They looooove PB&J wraps!

Melissa said...

Unfortunately, my daughter is the pickiest eater alive and wants the same thing every day. But I do freeze one of the foil lemonade juice pouches and in the morning put it in a section of her lunchbox with her yogurt. It keeps the yogurt cold and the drink is the perfect amount of slushy at lunchtime.

The boy just started school this year and he's a little more adventurous, but that means he wants to try some of the school lunches instead of bringing every day! I'm trying to talk him into some of the more "fun" lunch ideas. Making progress....

Morrighan said...

You are such a good mom.


In other news, I found this rather hilarious blog about disastrous cakes and immediately thought of you: http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com/

April said...

My favorite (if they have a microwave) is still the meals that I served at supper the night before. I take the leftover and put it in a freezer safe container with enough for oene meal and freeze it. Then when morning comes around, I toss that, some yogurt or some fruit in the lunch bag and the meal acts as the ice chunk to keep things cool and then can be heated up for lunch. Works great!

Anonymous said...

My daughter is a very picky eater, but one of her favorite lunches is breakfast lunch. I send a thermos of cereal (she adds milk at school), some yogurt, and a fruit. She love it!

Jayne V.

Kim Williams said...

I have a seriously picky eater on my hands so lunches are pretty much the same thing every day: a sandwich that consists of turkey and bread that is cut out with my Pampered Chef cut-n-seal (nifty tool for the crust haters in your life), a container of Pirate's Booty, some grapes and apple slices, a cookie and some juice. Every day.

Thanks for some other great ideas, I am hoping to get the kiddo on board with the fact that you can eat a different lunch every now and then. I guess I am just glad that she actually eats what I pack for her and doesn't trade it all off.

BTW...I loved the "bubble-blowing" video...my little girl has the exact same PJ's that Brooklyn was wearing and she loves them! It was cute to see Clay's take on how to blow bubbles.

Latte: said...

I have to admit I am so glad that you are showing off the "going green" trend. However the Crayola drink...great idea I am really fond of it because my baby has a apple juice problem.

Thanks,
Latte

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