School Lunch – What Are You Packing?

School’s in session, is on Day 3 of her 3rd grade year.  Amazingly enough she hasn’t been as resistant to getting up and getting ready for school like she has in years past – having some familiar friends in her classroom this year really does make a difference. It’s more fun to eat with familiar faces in the vast cafeteria, instead of feeling like you’re lost in a sea of little strangers.

The cafeteria at her school does a great job with fun yet healthy options, and since it only costs $2 for lunch, it’s also quite reasonable.  They send home a calendar each month of the day-by-day menu, so Princess Nagger and I will circle the days she wants to eat in the cafeteria (especially if they’re having Mickey Pizza) and cross off the days they have something she doesn’t really like.  I think she likes that she’s ‘in charge’ of what she decides to get for lunch at the cafeteria.

When she’s packing, I try to get creative but have to limit it to things I know she likes and will actually eat.  At least she does love things like egg salad or tuna salad – but forget the bread, she just wants to eat it from a container rather than deal with it in sandwich mode.  I alway pack fruit and/or yogurt with a healthy snack and a treat (like a cookie or Baby Bell Cheese – yes, she considers those cute little round cheeses as treats).  I’ll also send mac’n’cheese or soup, but I have yet to find a container that 1) keeps it hot until lunchtime, or 2) doesn’t leak.

Since she is a picky eater, I can’t get as creative as I’d like to, aside from cutting her jelly sandwich into dinosaur shapes.

Which brings me to this week’s question(s):

Whether you have school aged children or not, how do you make lunch interesting?  If you pack lunch, what are you packing?

Have a great weekend!

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About Stacy (the Random Cool Chick)

After 20+ years in the Corporate World and years of infertility, Princess Nagger made her miraculous appearance and I chose to become a SAHM and WAHM - I love every minute of it. We added Little Dude through adoption, adding a whole new dimension to our family. We have an eclectic mix of pets: dogs, cats, birds and fish. I love to cook and try new techniques to turn ordinary into extraordinary. Crafty by nature, I take on a lot of unique projects and enjoy seeing the end result. My favorite, of course, is making my own wine out of fruits and grapes. Experiments with water currently underway. I blog about the joys of parenting, family, friends, life, love and anything else that strikes my fancy. I do enjoy doing reviews and giveaways for products I use, believe in and can stand behind.
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36 thoughts on “School Lunch – What Are You Packing?

  1. My daughter has always eaten school lunch. Its my attempt to force her to try new foods and get some variety… She is horribly picky… I am so NOT creative when it comes to the kids meals…

  2. It’s been years that I have had to worry about this but we did have a tradition for bdays. On both my sons’ bdays, I would wrap each item in their lunch box/bag (after wrapping it in wax paper or storage bags) sandwich, cupcake, fuit, and drink in bday wrapping paper with a bow. Their classmates wouldn’t start eating until my boys opened their lunches to see if I had done it again. I did this from K-HS. And their friends still talk about it. My boys are now 27 & 25.

  3. Hi there, new follower from Friday Friend Connect.

    My daughter is a first grader and getting up in the morning is the hard part.

    Drop by when you can. Have a great weekend.

  4. Will is starting all day kindergarten so making a lunch he will eat will be interesting and challenging not sure yet but probably sandwiches, fruit and a treat

  5. My daughter is a vegetarian that is too lazy to pack lunch, so I started buying uncrustables, and she’ll grab one from the freezer in the morning and just throw it in her bag, so at least I know she’s eating something other than candy and chips.

  6. Hey Happy Friday … we make our own version of sub sands here – with shredded cheese or they won’t eat them! Hope you can stop by today.

  7. Not sure what we will do this year. Daughter is a senior and I thought we would just give her food money for the month and have her decide, Trying to get her ready for College life, making her own decisions.

  8. The Young One is also a very picky eater and at 16 1/2, refuses to touch a cafeteria lunch, which has made lunch packing interesting in the past. This is compounded by the fact that I no longer keep things like chips, cookies and candy in the house. However, I’ve found that he will willingly eat the same thing every day for lunch if it is something he likes, so this is what he usually gets:

    A sandwich on sprouted whole wheat bread that contains no soy or high-fructose corn syrup. The sandwich usually contains grass-fed, raw milk cheese and nitrite/nitrate-free lunch meat of some sort. Occasionally he gets a PB&J as a treat.

    Carrot sticks.

    A handful of dry-roasted cashews (the only nuts he’ll eat).

    A cheese stick or cubes (again, grass-fed and raw milk).

    Fruit – usually an apple, grapes or a banana.

    Water.

    It works for us.

  9. I don’t generally pack lunches as we home school, but I am always looking for new eat at home ideas. Great post! From the Feed Me Friday Hop, GFC.

  10. Sprite does the school lunches for now since it’s included in her tuition, but once she hits actual school, it’s on me since I refuse to let the USDA decide what it deems healthy. Luckily, she’s become a huge fan of almond butter and jelly sandwiches, (she calls them peanut butter and jelly, but as long as she’s eating them, whatever!) and loves fresh fruit, and I could probably stick an Annie’s snack pack (natural, mostly organic) as a treat to round it out. I have found some containers at Target, Sprite’s cousin has a Hello Kitty thermos and Sprite just HAD to have one, and I noticed the containers which will keep food hot. My sister-in-law has a few and raves about them. Maybe one of those?

  11. This will be Alex’s first year in Pre-School! It is only two days a week but I have been brainstorming on her lunches and am headed shopping today to get some stuff for her : ) Still have no clue as to what yet!!

  12. My 5yo is just about to start morning kindergarten, so we haven’t had to tackle this just yet. I certainly AM NOT looking forward to it, as he is an extremely picky eater.

  13. I have a menu for four days and Friday he picks what he wants me to make for his lunch.
    He got sick from school lunch once and then I started making his lunches and he refused to eat the school lunch anymore.

    I always use fruits and I need to add grains.
    sandwiches and pizza slices etc.

  14. That’s such a dilemma for us. My kids aren’t extremely picky, but, they don’t like to try many new things. It’s usually pretty boring when it comes to their lunches – turkey sandwich or pb&j; some fruit; granola or fruit bar, and a bag of chips or crackers.

  15. My kids are only in preschool for the morning so they don’t have to bring a lunch… but my 4-year-old did three weeks of “camp” there this summer and had to bring a lunch. Unfortunately they are a nut-free school so I couldn’t do peanut butter and jelly, which totally threw me for a loop! We managed to scrounge up enough crackers, applesauce, etc to make it for the three weeks, but it was hard!

  16. Oh, dear, I hate to think about how many years it’s been since I had to worry about school lunches. My 5 kids ate the school lunches. If they wanted a packed lunch they had to pack it themselves, which wasn’t very often.

  17. I try to make it as interesting as possible by playing a game with Lulu’s food. I know you aren’t supposed to play with your food – but if it gets her to eat, then I am all about it!

    As for your mac n cheese…have you tried one of those short(er) soup bowls? I usually have great luck and they don’t leak at all.

    WM

  18. I wish my kids would still use the great lunch boxes – they have… Now they want to brown bag it or money, please.. My youngest does not like sandwiches – she likes cold tuna with mayo – well can’t keep it cold in a brown bag… so she wants “hot” lunch also known as a pizza stick everyday… yikes… Now I am trying to get her to compromise with me.. brown bag with a little thermos to hold hot and/or cold… hmmm – hope it works!

  19. What a healthy lunch!
    So glad you stopped by Friendly Friday and hope you have a wonderful weekend with your family!

  20. This is pretty informative my little one is only 19 months so I have some time before she has to pack a lunch. I am a new follower from the blog hop would love it if you could come by my blog and check it out. Happy Friday

  21. Well my little one isn’t so little and is just happy with a few favorites. I still to this day have a hard time finding/keeping leak proof containers. I sent carrots and ranch one day and it got all over the entire lunch!

  22. My son likes most hot lunches but my daughter is a different story. A sack lunch every day! I am not very creative though. Cheese sticks, fruit, chips etc. Maybe this year, I will try to be a better mom! 🙂

  23. My son loves lunchables and my daughter eats nutella sammies. Not too creative here. I found you from the Freaky Friday hop – have a great weekend.
    Dayna

  24. mmmmmmmm Will you make my lunch too? I likes your lunches! I have to try this nutrella stuff everyone is talking about. I make hubby’s lunch every night, but he’s a piggy, him gotta have BIG lunch or he’s so not happy. Nice big thick sandwich with about three different kinds of meat & a slice of cheese & lettuce, mayo & mustard, a pickle in a baggy, sometimes sliced tomatoes in a bag as to not make the sandwich soggy, a bag of chips, a can of pop, some string cheese (either with lunch or on the way home, napkin, sometimes he gets cole slaw or macroni & cheese & in the winter he gets those soups you can put in microwave and lately he’s on a kick with strawberries for on the way home! Sheesh Ya think I was a short order cook!!!

  25. My son who’s just started his 3rd year of college, Still packs his lunch because the food at college is Very expensive. He is able to use a microwave in the student lounge and that helps him have a hot lunch and things more exciting than just a sandwich and chips.. which wouldn’t fill him anyway.. He’s a Big Boy @ 6’2″ now. 🙂

  26. Wow, I’m late on this one. We pack almost every day. We do cream cheese and jelly, or bologna rolled around a cheese stick for “cold lunch” days. I’ve found that the Themos brand (the ones sold at Target with the characters on them) do keep stuff warm until lunch time if you follow the instructions (heat the thermos with hot water and also heat the item going in it!) They never leak, and are a good size to eat from. LG and o like noodles with ground beef and tomato sauce, or chicken soup with enough rice or alphabets so that it’s not quite so “soupy” (I have to add extra rice or noodle when I’m cooking it to get it that way).