Healthy school lunchbox ideas?

Belinda - posted on 07/22/2011 ( 44 moms have responded )

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My daughter will be starting school in 2 days and I've been thinking about her school lunches. I don't want to send her to school with the same boring thing everyday so I wonder what all you other mums put in your kids lunch boxes? I do want it to be healthy, but I also want it to be appealing enough for her to eat. Just trying to get some new ideas. Any suggestions?

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Kim - posted on 07/22/2011

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I know with my kids they love then uncrustable pbjs, jello cups, cheese sticks, fruit cups, pudding,they also love crackers with sausage and cheese instead of a sandwhich. Or pepperoni and cheese with crackers. Because they too get tired of the cold meat sandwhich. My 5 year old loves cheese sandwiches....just using bread with sliced cheese. I really stay away from chips....but they go for the Go fish crackers, pretzzels, little debbie snack bar or fruit snacks....celery, carrots, bananas, apples, grapes, cottage cheese......it really is pretty easy to please them. Sit down and make a cold lunch menu....let her choose! Have fun with it! Good Luck!

Nicole - posted on 07/23/2011

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My daughter loves tuna or chicken salad with bow tie pasta friut slices.You can try betty crockers web site for kid friendly snacks. I have a kids cook book that my kids love.

Melissa - posted on 08/01/2011

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Hi! Well my son loves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, so I'm always sure to use a natural peanut butter and a real fruit jelly spread. stay away from the sugar free ones cause it just adds unnecessary preservatives. and I use the honey wheat bread. He also loves fruit so I try to pack him a different kind of fruit each day so its not always the same. And if your trying to stick the healthy snacks, go with stuff that is all natural or gluten-free. They are good for the kids, and I've been able to find lot's of things that my son loves! If you find something with sugar in it, try and go for the raw cane sugar. It's not filtered or bleached with preservatives so it is better for the kids too. Annies is a good, cheap, organic brand that comes in stuff like cheese crackers and fruit snacks. You can even find it at Walmart! Hope this info helps, and good luck!!

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we usually do a sandwich everyday, but sometimes i will put their lunchmeat on a hot dog bun, or a potato roll, or make little cracker sandwiches; or we do "checker board" sandwiches, where you use one piece of white, and one piece of whole wheat and then cut it into 4 squares and flip two of them over or you can use a cookie cutter to cut a shape in the middle and flip that over, and the two colors of bread make it look neat (got that idea from familyfun.com) or if your kids eat the soft shell tortillas, make a wrap to put in their lunch. I try to do healthy lunches alot too. I usually give them fruit, yogurt, veggies. And only occasionally do I put in chips or a cookie. (1 cookie) When they have asked why I don't give them "good" stuff like their friends have, (which is nothing but junk) I tell them that I give them energy food so they won't "crash" later in the day and be too grumpy to do or understand their work, and that healthy food gives you a healthy brain so that you can think smarter. And if you buy some fun food containers to use instead of plain plastic sandwich bags, let her pick pink or purple or dora...the cost of buying a few now is about the same as buying the sandwich bags all year. Find a lunchbox with a water bottle or thermos that comes with it. For some reason, my girls think that a thermos is the greatest thing in the world, haha!

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My little one likes salads I put her dressing in a separate container so it isn't soggy. I also have a soup thermos I occasionally put Mac and cheese in there or soup spaghetti o's what ever she asks for I heat it up way too hot before I put it in the container this way by the time she goes to lunch it is still warm. I change up her snacks sometimes i give her carrots sometimes she gets granola bars. To be honest she mostly asks for PB and J or Turkey sandwiches

Nicole - posted on 09/06/2011

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My son's favorite is grilled cheese and baby carrots dipped in peanut butter!

Kitty - posted on 08/26/2011

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wow you start Early mine dont go back til Sept 7
i usually just add some kinds fruit into there lunch im not sure how healthy you can make it with out adding somthin good they will wanna eat.. lol

Anselm - posted on 08/25/2011

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my kids love salads, include boiled eggs, tom, croutons, carrots, or pasta with veggies

Meg - posted on 08/25/2011

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My son is going into second grade. We have always talked about food groups and healthy foods. When packing his lunch, I will ask him. what he wants for a fruit/veggie, dairy, meat, starch. He gets choices and a healthy lunch and snack at the same time.

Janelle - posted on 08/21/2011

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Oh wow you know I am going to try some of these things with my son. He will go all day without eating because he will not eat the school lunch.

Rebecca - posted on 08/08/2011

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Freeze a box of Gogurts and put one in your child's lunch box. The freezing keeps them plenty cold until lunch. A healthy alternative to chips or pudding.

Katrina - posted on 08/07/2011

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When Walter burns out on bread and sandwiches, I give him wholegrain crackers-- he likes those really airy ones-- with cream cheese and/or ham.

Gloria - posted on 08/07/2011

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My kids love this little treat , Melon shapes . All you need are some cookie cutters and melons!! lol oh and a couple Popsicle sticks! Cut your melon More like you would a Cucumber then just tke your cookie cutter and cut out your shape and stick a Popsicle stick in it !! instant healthy Sucker! XD Another cool Idea are the sandwich Cutouts as well they are basicly giant cookie cutters you can find them on amazon! Veggie chips / Veggie fries is a alternative to Chips , and they are YUMMY . Air puffed corn is also Yummy and way better then potato chips. when it comes to drinks , skip the welch's (butt loads of added sugars!!!!) and go for the V8 . The list goes on and on lol !

Teresa - posted on 08/04/2011

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My son likes this bread we found. It is 12 grain wheat bread and he likes it with peanut butter and Nuttella. He doesn't like white bread. I will send him with butter beans and rice because he loves beans. He also get chicken nuggets. BUt he always has a carrot cut up and yogurt for him so he is getting a rounded meal. AT 7 he is pretty easy and predictable. His snack is a banana and juice pouch.

Katrina - posted on 08/04/2011

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My son is a difficult eater. He has, well, proclivities. He likes to take such ncredibly tiny bites, for example, that he can take more than an hour to finish lunch. Obviously in the half hour they have for lunch at school is not enough. So we experimented, and in the end it turns out that he eats much faster and with more enthusiasm if his lunch is separated: a hunk of ham or sausage or some rolled-up cold cuts, bread with or without butter depending on his whim, cheese blocks, some crispy raw green beans, etc. An apple. A chunk of cucumber. I've also found that if he has milk or a yoghurt drink in his school snack he doesn't eat a good lunch, so I send clear juice or water (again depening on his whim) in the snack box an dthe milk or yoghurt in his lunch.

Amalea - posted on 08/02/2011

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My son takes lunches to school, and with the high sodium n fat in most lunchable type foods, I make my own kinds of lunchables, with cubes of cheese, ham, turkey pepperoni, and different fruits. yogurts that you can freeze, different crackers and spreads also. making different sandwiches is fun for them. Ill make buffalo chicken, turkey bacon ranch, pizza sandwich, all kinds of things, using regular bread, bc my son cant microwave his food and doesnt like certain things cold. try the kraft or betty crocker websites, and start from there. Good luck!

Rose - posted on 08/02/2011

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here is a favorite of my son a peanut butter sandwich but instead of jelly a light coating of marshmellow

Karen - posted on 08/02/2011

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If you can't use nuts at your school I use a soya nut butter it tastes like peanut putter and I cut up fresh strawberries
(you can have them help you make it the night before so there excited and proud to eat it ) I would cut sandwiches up in finger slices or even cubes depending on whats inside and whatever they like you can write on a note on the fridge so by the middle of the year you can have them pick what main food snack and drink they want
you can also get a thermos for there drinks that you can freeze it has liquit in it that keeps drinks cold like milk or you can buy Ice cubes for coctails that you can reuse

Shannon - posted on 08/01/2011

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WOW! I thought I was pretty creative with lunches , but I picked up some great ideas. Thanks moms! To share one of my own secrets is to first tell you that I'm addicted to the thermos! Homemade pasta, homemade mac-n-cheese, or other leftovers is a real hit with my kids. But, I'll also fill the thermos with hot water and put in a hot dog. I pack a bun and condiments in their lunch and when they get to lunch they put together their "hot" hot dog. The key for us for school lunches is to mix it up!

Darlene - posted on 08/01/2011

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My son refuses to eat sandwiches, so lunches can be a little daunting. Thanks for all the helpful tips, wish i could add some of my own. Love the chicken nuggets and the crescent rolls idea!

Latasha - posted on 08/01/2011

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Try a weekly system {and mix it up} like Mom's Meatless Monday {meatless meatball marinara sandwich} , Terrific Turkey Tuesday {turkey burger on grain bun}, Wacky Mac&Cheese Wednesday{homemade mac w/breadcrumbs on top, they choose the veggie/fruit}, Wrap-It-Up Thursday's {chicken wrap combinations} Fantastic Fish Friday {one option, homemade breaded tilapia nuggets} spring water is an excellent choice 4 lunch, they can have juice 4 breakfast or dinner. Have yr children choose the fruit/veggies, nature valley snacks, occasional chocolate snack, pork is not healthy, neither is cows milk 4 humans. Hope this helps.4 recipes like Garden of Abundance fb page..

Hilary - posted on 08/01/2011

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my son loves cold pasta dishes like tuna mayo pasta, or cold rice dishes, they are very filling so they dont need much, but just keep things alternating. He also loves sausage rolls or a piece of quiche :D

Dawn - posted on 08/01/2011

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I always try to give them a fruit or veggie and something else somewhat healthy (yogurt, granola bar, etc) in addition to the sandwich or whatever. My kids are somewhat picky, so creativity is key. I have done ham roll ups (whatever lunchmeat w/ cream cheese rolled up in the middle). One of my kids is currently on a kick of crackers (ritz) w/ cream cheese and salami (or whatever lunchmeat). Both of mine love mac and cheese in a thermos (just put boiling water in thermos covered for a couple mins., pour it out and add mac...to keep it hot). My sister in law taught me this trick, but she uses most. or spaghetti. My other child's current fav is a nutella sandwich. I usually put slices of banana on it too, so that it is a little healthier. I have also added other ingredients. She recently requested peanut butter to be added. I just put a small amount of each (worried about how unhealthy the combo is). Both of my kids have gone through an anti-sandwich phase, so I have had to come up w/ other ideas. On a rare occasion, I have given my older child a healthy cereal like frosted mini wheats (I make sure she has eggs or something w/ protein for breakfast). I had to get over the stereotype of what is ok for lunch.

Monique - posted on 08/01/2011

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When my son started school, we always start the year with sandwiches but by the end of the first week he is tired of them so this past school year I used wraps and filled them with sliced turkey, or tuna, or roast beef, he loves them filled with left over chicken or steak. and then you can add mayo or mustard and he even likes to add rach or ceasear dressings too, with a little bit of lettuce and tomato. I guess it really depends on what you daughter likes. hope some on these ideas help you. We also send frozen yogurt tubes and apples or oranges even banana's.so good luck.

Jody - posted on 08/01/2011

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do you have animals? Strange question but we have a dog, birds and rabbits so one thing I have always drummed into my kids is that if they don't eat anything in their lunch box they must bring it home to feed the animals. That works two ways... food is not wasted and I know exactly what they eat and so saves me putting stuff in their lunch boxes that simply get thrown in the bin. My kids are now in Year 2 and Pre Primary and will bring home everything from apple cores to the bread crust.

Louise - posted on 08/01/2011

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Hi sometimes I pack tortilla wraps withe cheese and ham. They can also eat them cold. I also put in very diluted juice so that they get mostly water as they dont like drinking water on its own. i put in a piece of fruit or a yogurt or crackers. But as the other mom said your child will let you know what the others have in their lunch book so dont worry go with the flow. After a while you will get used to it.

DAWN - posted on 08/01/2011

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Try this. Roll ham and cheese in refrigerated cressent rolls. Bake them and put them in the fridge. They are great cold. You can also spread pizza sauce on them and add mozzarella cheese, pepperoni etc.. Just about anything. You can also make little pizzas with english muffins or bagels. freeze them and they can go straight from the freezer to the lunch box. Once I realized that my kids didn't mind eating stuff like this cold, lunches became easier. You can also cook some frozed chicken nuggets (I buy the baked or organic versions, not the cheep fattening things) and just wrap them in foil and put them in a thermos. Or just let them eat them cold. Publix sells some great Chicken nuggets in the section where they sell the pre-cooked chicken and tubs of mashed potatoes etc.. the nuggets are baked not fried. I think they are made by Perdue.

Minetta - posted on 07/31/2011

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Hi with my kids they just enjoyed a peice of fruit, sammy with eaither honey or meat in it my son loves cold sauges in his lunch box,pkt of chippies, real friut bars, and a craker with a frink of water.
I just put in 5 things as they dont need much as like to play to much at lunch. your child may let you know what other kids have in theres after a few days and give more insight.
Hope your daughter has a great start to her schooling.
Cherrs

Elizabeth - posted on 07/31/2011

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Hi, depending on her grade I would not pack a lot. I have put 5 kids thru school, one is in high school this year and one is going into 1st grade. I've found that a variety of healthy snacks if perferred. I bought a Bento box, a little container that has several divided areas to hold small amounts of food. I pack cheese, crackers, carrots, small fruit, like grapes or cherries, left overs, salsa and chips, celery and cream cheese cut small and other small things. The choices are variable so if they are hungry they eat it all and if not they can just snack. I still pack a juice pack, but also make sure they have water in our own water bottle. Yogurt is also a favorite. Just add a little cool pack. Hope this is a little helpful.

Aaryn - posted on 07/31/2011

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Karon, those look like great sites...would you check out mine too? I'm a regular Mom and I really love food and writing, I'm fairly new to blogging, and I only blog about the lunches I pack my kids;) www.twolittlelunches.blogspot.com And if it's not too much to ask would you let me know what you think? Thanks so much, Aaryn

Aaryn - posted on 07/31/2011

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This is something I totally love to talk about! LOL I blog about the lunches I pack my girls, and I'm just a regular old Mom looking for ways to make food both exciting and healthy...plus I try to do it on a budget... I could give you lists of ideas and I'm happy too, but it might be easier to check out my blog www.twolittlelunches.blogspot.com or my page on Facebook Two Little Lunches. I hope this helps at all...let me know if you'd perfer a list though;)

Amanda - posted on 07/31/2011

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My 7 yr old loves getting a frozen go-gurt in his lunchbox, and I will include either a small bag of chips or pretzels (I buy them in giganto-boxes of single-serves at Smart & Final in Los Angeles), a mini-wheel of cheese (laughing cow - again, at Smart & Final, they're stupidly cheap), a sandwich of whatever variety he requests. Usually "mustard and mayo, baloney and cheese sammich, please!", but he'll mix it up with PB&J. I'll occasionally sub out the chips with a handful of raw carrots, and include 2 fortune cookies (one for him, one for one of his friends).

When he requests PB&J, I'll use a big cookie cutter to shape the sandwich into either hearts, a star, teddy bear, Christmas stocking, sunflower, or whatever catches my fancy (and fits the bread), since he uses a tupperware sandwich container in his lunchbox. It's always a surprise!

Sometimes, I'll switch out the gogurt with an applesauce cup, too.

I'm thinking that this year, I'll give him a chart for what he wants in his lunchbox. Give him a selection of 3 sandwiches, 2 sides, and a dessert. He can plot out his lunch for the week with it.

Kathleen - posted on 07/31/2011

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My twins always took lunch because I know what I pack they will eat and the lunch at school they might not. One of their favorite things is a tuna pasta I make. It's just elbow macaroni (you could use any type) you cook it but not too soft. Add tuna, a little mayo my kids like it on the dry side. Then I chop carrots in the little mini food processor. I have to make two pounds of pasta because they will eat it after school too. I would cut up apples, oranges and grapes etc. I would give them a treat in the form of Go-Gurt, Jello or pudding. I would freeze the go-gurt and it would thaw by lunchtime. I would sometimes give them gold fish but not many because of the carbs in the pasta. I'm diabetic so I am careful with their food because they are gaining weight and it runs in the family.

Karon - posted on 07/27/2011

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Check out weelicious.com and schoollunchideas.com. I use them regularly for lunch ideas! Weelicious is sometimes aimed at toddlers, because the mom who runs it has one, but a lot of the toddler finger food is great for lunches! I invested in a pair of mini muffin pans after reading through her site and realizing how much can be done that way!

Shalu - posted on 07/27/2011

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I pack combo of 2fruits,each day of week different for variety including sandwhich(bread cutting in different shapes like star,oval,moon...)filled with different stuffing.Try it out..:)

Lori - posted on 07/26/2011

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try kraft canada-website they have lots of great lunch ideas-or just google kids lunches-there are lots of different sites-we like allrecipes.com too. For my teens who prefer hot lunch we pack leftovers from dinner the night before, wraps that can be heated, soups, rarely pack sandwiches. fruit and yogurt with granola is a great treat too.

Cheryl - posted on 07/26/2011

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On chilly days, I will heat up soup and put it in a stainless steel thermos. It stays hot til lunch and they love it!!

Tamara - posted on 07/25/2011

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I make

Chicken Wraps
Soups/chili (during the winter I make alot of these then the next morning toss it in a thermos)
veggies and dip
fruit salad
home made lunchables
Salads, (Regular salads with taco meat, chicken, any leftover meat)

Belinda - posted on 07/23/2011

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Thanks Nicole I've never thought to make her a tuna salad at the risk that she won't eat it, but I may try it at home first & if she likes it then I will know she will eat it at school. I will have a look at Betty Crocker's website too, then I can make some of my own snacks for her. Thanks a lot for your suggestion!

Belinda - posted on 07/23/2011

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Thanks for that Kim. The list & letting her choose is a great idea, at least she will choose something that she feels like eating. Fruit is always a goody but I may try getting some of the on-the-go tuna packs & see if she likes it. I appreciate your input. Cheers

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