School Lunches

This week welcomed another school year. Boo started 3rd grade, and Hunter 8th. They were both so excited for school, for their own reasons.

This week also got me back into my pre-school day routine. I make Boo’s lunch everyday, very rarely does she have school lunch. This is a financial reason, but also I want to know what she is eating.

We started doing this in 1st grade for Boo, when I just couldn’t take school lunches changing on a moments notice and not being happy with the choices she had each day. So this made the decision easier, much easier.

Yes, she gets PB&J Sandwhiches some days, but she also gets real meat sandwiches, with real cheese (not cheese food – ick!). While milk is good for kids, it isn’t good for their teeth over and over day after day. So she gets water for lunches, and every once in a while some 100% juice. We got her a leak-proof (we shall see) water bottle this year, so we won’t have to buy the mini water bottles again! I hated that last year!

We also got Boo a thermos, so that she can bring soup, hot-dish and even chili (one of her favorites!). I know that last year she was getting sick of a sandwich everyday, so we hope that this year the thermos will make a difference.

We also do wraps: chicken, turkey and ham wraps for sure but we will explore new ones this year too (veggie ones).

Boo is not a picky eater, neither of my kids are. They will eat what is put in front of them, and will always try new things. We did a lot of testing last year, different veggies (she LOVES jicama) and testing what would stand up to a 8 year-old’s backpack (not everything will!). We have found that lunch box containers work wonderfully, smaller tupperware containers, and that the sandwich keeper from Tupperware is REALLY worth the money. I do need to get new smaller containers for her…

We do fruit in each lunch too, it changes each time. I stock up on whatever is one sale and in season. When we have grapes we always freeze them the night before so that they are still REALLY cold when she eats them at lunch, warm grapes are nasty. We don’t do cut apples often, they get gross by the time lunch comes, but if she has enough teeth (last year she didn’t ALL YEAR LONG) I will give her a whole apple for snack time.  We used to do pears all the time, but the prices haven’t been as good the last couple years so those have been rare. We do lots of berries when they are in season, which is usually the end of the year, and anything else I can get a good price on.

Very rarely do we send her to school with a pre-packaged fruit. So much sugar,and who knows what else. We do some snacky stuff (pretzels etc) but only in small amounts. Her school had a rule last year that only fruits and veggies could be brought for snacks. This year that rule doesn’t apply to her this year, but that is my rule too so I was glad it was there. So many of her friends bring cookies, sugary cereal and other stuff that is just not healthy. To each their own, but it can be disappointing.

This got way longer then I thought it would…wow. I am adament about lunches both at home and school and passions come out in me!

What do you do for lunches at school?

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6 Responses to School Lunches

  1. My oldest (now in 4th grade) doesn’t like PB. That’s my lunchtime staple. So from the beginning, I had to get creative.

    In addition to all the things you mentioned, I’ll send homemade mac-n-cheese in a thermos or in a plastic container. (My kids even eat it cold.) Cold cheese pizza is also a hit. Natalie also loves burritos, so we do a lot of bean and cheese versions and keep them handy.

    Other fruit options: Natalie loves melon, so I often put some in a plastic container and send a form. Fresh pineapple works well for that too. We also stock up on Trader Joe’s organic applesauce.

    My kids also get a veggie for each day at lunch. Baby carrots and sugar snap peas are standard. Sometimes, I’ll send corn I cut off the cob. And sometimes, we have something else they like (jicama is a hit here too).

    Snacks are often pretzels and peanuts or yogurt and granola. Popcorn. Fruit leather (also from TJ’s). Carrots and hummus.

    🙂 I guess I’m passionate too. Or at least interested. You have to be, when you pack lunch almost every day for 12 years.

  2. samara says:

    I feel like i have packing lunches down to a science. T and M get the exact same thing. Usually PB&J’s (frozen), fruit, sometimes a frozen yogurt so that it thaws throughout the morning and is still cold at lunch time, some sort of chips or pretzels or crackers, something sweet like a cookie or bar and a drink.
    It’s the eating lunch at home thing I’m struggling with each day with my littles, not knowing what to make or do if we’re not packing lunches to go somewhere.

  3. Tina says:

    You ladies are inspirational to me! I will just be honest and admit that I have been lazy when it comes to my daughter’s lunch. She eats hot lunch most of the time but mostly because I was struggling with what to make her for lunch and how to keep it good when she leaves home 2.5 hours before school even starts.

    But I LOVE the ideas you have laid out in this post and the comments. It gives me something to work off of so I can try and take back some control over what Anna is eating. I always felt bad aka guilty that I was just sending her to school to eat pizza and drink chocolate milk. Now I feel a little better armed with other ideas for cold lunch!

  4. I pack lunches the night before. We’re not allowed to send peanut butter to school and, at 2, A does not like lunch meat at all. Since they’ll heat her lunch for her, I usually pack her mac and cheese or left overs from dinner. She loves cubed chicken or leftover casseroles or even cut up meatballs. I always send some fresh fruit – grapes, peaches, apples, cherries, berries – whatever I can find. I also send a cheese stick. She doesn’t do really well with raw veggies yet – she gags and chokes on raw carrots and celery and peppers becuase she has not yet learned to take small enough bites. Sometimes, though, I send some frozen peas or cooked veggies from the night before. I’m hoping to be able to start to send yogurt sometimes too. Up until now, it has been to messy for a two year old who feeds herself and most has ended up on her shirt!

    I love seeing the other ladies’ ideas and I’ll check back for more later!

  5. I bought these amazing containers at our grocery store:

    They have ice packs to keep the food chilled until lunchtime and they’re easy to clean.

    I have great eaters, except for at lunchtime at school. Michael eats rolled up ham EVERY DAY (drives. me. batty.) I always stick a fruit or veggie in there, and I make him promise to eat a few bites. Since he’s underweight and never hungry, we don’t argue too much… 😉

    But, water with lunch every day. Definitely 🙂

  6. Amy says:

    I’m gonna admit it. I suck at lunch.

    My oldest is picky, and i’ve indulged him.

    After reading this, however, I’m more inspired to no allow so much crap. 🙂

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