32 answers

"Help What Do I Pack My Son for Lunch Everyday

My son is 5 and beginning Kindergarten and I don't know what to pack/fix for his lunch box. He loved fruit and the dole fruit cups. He likes the lunchables but will not eat every item. Like he eats the meat and cheese and will not eat the crackers, or sometimes he only eats the meat. What do mother pacj in school lunches.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Okay. The verdict is in. I made my son lunch for the first two days. He ate all of the lunch. You guys had great ideas. Thanks so much. I went to Walmart and got the sectioned plastic dish from the baby section and a couple of airtight bowls. .$99 a piece, wow, my price. I bought 3 plates and 2 bowls. I sent him to school with goldfish, sliced grapes and three drummettes the first day and a snack. He ate it all. i asked him what he wanted the second day: strawberries, goldfish and chuncks of cooked turkey. He ate it all. When i asked him how lunch was going he said that he did not want to take his lunch anymore. I asked him why and he told me that it was because "I can eat in the cafeteria with the other children., They have enough food for me to eat too." I roared. He thought I was letting him take lunchbecause there was not enough food. Anyway, today I am sending, the money for him to have breakfast and lunch at school. He gets a snack with hi spaid lunch. All the stressing for nothing. When he asks for a lunch I will pack it and when he doesn't want a packed lunch he will be able to get lunch with the rest of the kids. I really appreicated all of the great ideas and want tothank everyone. I got some great ideas that I can use for the future.

Featured Answers

My daughter is not a picky eater, however to make lunch fun at school this it what I do. The night before we work on putting her lunch together. She loves ham, sweet pickles, and cheese. We cut up all of the items into chunks. For bread I let her pick out a cookie cutter and then cut the bread to that shape. Then I add a tooth pick or a fork to use to eat with. She likes to have the tooth picks the most. Its as if she is eating a fancy meal. There are times she will take peanut butter and jelly for lunch. We also cut them up in small shapes also. She like my very small flower and star shapes the best. I also pack cottage cheese and fruit. I put those in the same bowl one on each side. As for the fruit cups I open those at home and put them in another container. They are very messing when opening them at school. Have fun, and I hope this helps you.

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My kids would only eat mesquete smoked turkey sandwiches! I added fruit, a juice box and maybe chips to it. The other thing they liked was quesadillas. I would make enough on Sunday for several days the following week. Too make them I took small flour tortillas with a small amount of margarine on one side, put that side down on a cookie sheet and cover with grated cheese, top with another tortilla (buttered side up). Bake in a 325 degree oven until cheese melts and tortillas are slightly crisp. When they cool cut each into 6 wedges and refrigerate. A package of flour tortillas makes about 6 quesadillas I would give them 4 - 6 pieces, salsa, and fruit for a lunch they loved. They make great snacks too. Buy the disposable portion containers and lids at Sam's for the salsa and other lunch box items. The 2 oz size is great for dips, canned fruit or leftovers. Enjoy!

2 moms found this helpful

hi G.. i pack my daughter's lunch everyday, she is going into the 1st grade. i love to pack her lunch because i feel like i send a little part of me with her to school plus i know she gets healthy servings of 'most' of the food groups. i purchased, at wal-mart, a lunch set from rubbermaid. there is a sandwich box and several other smaller containers that fit neatly into her insulated lunch carrier. here is the basic list of things i send with her, any combination works.

1. bread~~ritz or club crackers (6), pretzels, goldfish crackers, bread, occassionally cheetos or doritos.

2. meat~~sliced ham, turkey, drained tuna plain, cottage cheese, string cheese, peanut butter, grilled chicken.

3. fruit~~she doesn't eat vegies, something we are working on, i love the little fruit cups too, also peeled and sliced apples, grapes, i don't put bananas in there, they get yucky too quickly. and applesauce cups work well.

then she gets milk served by the school.

in my experience with her, she eats 'prepared' food much better, meaning, she would do the same with the lunchable, but if i slice and dice everything she seems to eat more. i even open and drain the fruit cups and put them in one of the little containers otherwise the cups come home unopened. plus lunchables are expensive.

i hope this helps, it seems pretty simple when her lunch contains pretzels, a cheese stick, and cup of mandarin oranges, but that is an appropriate meal for a child her age and sustains her until she gets home. if only i could feed myself as well...lol....best of luck....get the containers, they have latches that click down on all 4 sides and never leak, even when i send tuna, she loves it!

don't forget little love notes sometimes and i put a sweet treat such as a few m&m's or a mini kit kat in there, not everyday, just for a treat, i told her the fruit is dessert :-)

2 moms found this helpful

Hi G.

I work in a local school as a cafeteria monitor so I see what kids bring everyday. You could do celery with peanut butter and choc chips on it.
Kids love wraps. You could use chicken or Turkey
Another favorite is leftovers from the evening before.
You could always suprise him and drop in for lunch with him and bring him his favorite. I know we have parents do it and the kids just love it. Just don't forget to send him a note from you in his lunch. They eat that up too.
Thanks
Beth

1 mom found this helpful

Oh, Lordy! I hated those days..... Lunch boxes!

From what I saw -- you'll not going to find anything wthat a child will eat everything from. We did a lot of lunchables -- if only eats the meat and/or cheese, then I would just buy those separately rather than spending for the "contained" lunch -- fruit cups, NO chocolate (it can make some children hyper) -- so cookies, sometimes puddings, which he adored and provided milk! Go on-line and I'm sure there's abuot a thousand things.

My only suggestions:

Don't buy an expensive lunch bag -- you'll go through several as they tend to get "lost". Thinking back, so did several pairs of eyeglasses!

I would freeze the drinks and then use those as ice packs for the lunch. They would usually be thawed by the time lunch was.

Good luck -- now my son fixes his own lunches and sometimes mine, when he's home! He's much, much older!

Kindergarten -- HOW EXCITING!

M.

1 mom found this helpful

Think NUTRITION and then fun! Kids usually enjoy sandwiches. Try peanut butter because it's packed with protein! And raisins for a treat, great source of fruit! Nuts for additional protein, finger snack and fun to eat! How about carrot sticks with real cheese chunks (cheddar you cut into chunks) and any other fruit he enjoys and will eat. If crackers don't work for him, give him a roll with his cold lunch meat. What did you eat as a kid? and why not some left overs from the previous night's dinner? a piece of left over chicken, salad, bread, fruit. Juice with no added sugar. The less sugar you put in that lunchbox, the better your child will be in his learning enviroment.

good luck and have fun with this. it's not a chore, nor is it as difficult as you may be feeling it to be. Your child will eat what he wants during the lunch hour and will leave what he doesn't want at that moment. With no supervision pushing him to eat everything, he is left to his own descrepencies. You can always give him the remainder of the lunch box as an afterschool snack! That way you have nothing wasted. AND he will learn to eat everything during lunch hour, if he's left feeling a bit hungry later in the day, after haveing left certain items in his box. You can trust he will not starve!

D.

1 mom found this helpful

Here are some ideas that work for my kids:
- pasta salad (no mayo) - a big hit with my kids!
- those pre-made frozen PB+J sandwiches - they like them because they are pre-made; you can make your own with a big, round cutter
- veggies + ranch dip
- string cheese and a few slices of salami

I would also try to pack some kind of chip or cracker (teddy grahams, goldfish, or the small chip bags), and fruit,

I also have used lunchables but my kids won't eat the whole thing either - some days they do, some days not. My son does love the one that comes with chicken nuggets or chips & salsa.

Good luck!!

1 mom found this helpful

My oldest was SOOO picky! We'd have the deli cut 1 slice of ham about 1/3 inch thick and cut squares, I'd cut cheese squares and add crackers that she liked, and of course she'd eat her weight in grapes and srtawberries.

I'd wash all the fruit, pull off stems, etc. and cut all the cheese and ham (sometimes hard salami or smoked turkey) over the weekend and it'd be ready to just throw into a sectioned container. I'm all about organic or natural, so her crackers were whole grain and the ham was no additives- nitrates/nitrites (which is linked to exacerbating ADHD) It was much healthier than a lunchable, and she got to choose which cheese or meat she wanted that time.

Try baby carrots or grape tomatoes and even celery sticks if he's willing..my second child likes veggies too.

Mine kinda liked their lunch to look like a plate you'd put together at a party, the little stinkers!
Good luck, and you and your son will find your own routine soon enough.
~K.

1 mom found this helpful

I think you'll be surprised what he'll eat. He will be hungry. I am a first grade teacher, and they tend to eat a lot more than mom thinks they will. There are all kinds of pre-packaged,healthy things now. If he will eat grapes or sliced apples, pack those. Most kids will eat things that are dipped in some kind of sauce like ranch dip or ketchup. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi. Try cutting up the lunchmeat and cheese that you buy and pack it. It will be cheaper than a lunchable without wasting food. If it likes crackers or a slice of bread pack that. Then, I would do a fruit cup and then maybe a cookie or something for dessert. Does he eat cold pizza? That's always an easy thing for one day a week. When it's cold you can make hot items and put them in a thermos. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I usually asked my son what he wanted....I kept a supply of fruit, veggie sticks, pretzels, and his favorite lunch meat. On special occasions I would pack a snack cake, but I usually tried to avoid too much sugar. Stores now carry the pretzels or crackers with cheese, veggies with dipping sauce, fruits with dipping sauce, etc. if you want to go that route. I also got him the tiny bottles of water to send. You can even send the flavoring packs for water now, if your son doesn't drink plain water.

1 mom found this helpful

How about let him in on the planning. Pick a list of healthy options for him and let him pick something from each category, so he has a protein, vegetable, fruit, etc. Get some small containters or ziplock bags to put things in. Chances are, he'll be more inclined to eat his lunch if he has some say so in it. Some good choices are, carrot sticks,or other vegetable sticks or grape tomatoes, peanut butter/celery, raisins, oranges, pepperoni slices and cheese, mandarin oranges, apples. Also, if you google healthy kids lunch ideas, you will come up with a lot.

1 mom found this helpful

My 11 years old doesn't care much for the lunches served in school and I pack his lunch box or swing by a hot meal if I have the time and inclination. Juice,water and/or milk.
Sandwiches, PB & J's, you can make your own "lunchables," veggies, crackers, fruit, leftovers... The sky is the limit.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi G.
As a mother and a former Kind. and 1st grade teacher I have seen many different things packed in lunch boxes! My daughter is very picky so lunches have always been very hard to decide what goes in them! So we have tried grilled cheese sandwiches,ham and PB&J sandwiches too! Sometimes I have sent a thermos with soup in it, pizza,and left overs from the previous nights dinner. Keep in mind that they do not have long for lunch so do not send a lot of things but if they are picky then send a variety to choose from! Another thing you can try is not only the fruit cups but fruit, like bananas, grapes, or whatever they like. Pudding cups,yogurts, and J-ello are also very good them. Some of the nutritional bars for kids and fruit snacks! Well I hope I have given you some new ideas! Good Luck !!
C. Stork
www.forourkidz.fourpointmoms.com

1 mom found this helpful

G.,
My daughter is also headed off to kindegarten soon. We have had discussions of what she wouldlike to eat in her lunch every day. So far her request for the first day in a cucummber sandwich, carrots, apples, dried sea weed, crayola water, and yes of course spider man gummies. The best thin is to talk to your child about what they would like to eat quickly at lunch. When I was teaching, it would break your heart the kids who wouldn'teat what was in their lunch box because they were either tired of PB&J or didn't even like it but their mothers wouldn't listen to them. Best to you and your son.

1 mom found this helpful

How exciting for you!! My daughter went through her first year of school in 2007, and we did a lot of experimentation with her lunches..her favorite was when I would pack a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on wheat bread with a piece or 2 of fruit and a bottle of water. We tried all kinds of sandwiches and leftovers etc. P B and J was her absolute favorite..

1 mom found this helpful

Good Morning - I raised 9 kids - peanut butter & jelly on whole wheat (or equivalent), baloney and cheese, and so forth. Pack some crunchy baby carrots, celery, etc., a couple healthy cookies and fruit. Chances are he will trade if he can get away with it; you will just have to trust that he will eat when he is hungry and he will eat what you give him. Try to avoid processed foods if possible. Try the basics and do not give into whining that everyone else has..... :-) Make roll-ups - fun to eat (and harder to pick apart). As long as you provide healthy meals at home, the lunch issue won't seem so important. Let him help him pack his lunches - participating makes it more "his", and allow him to assist in shopping for his lunch "stuff". Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

My oldest is starting kidnergarden this year as well. I have heard from my teacher freind that the young kids do not eat half their meals most of the time anyway especially if it is packed,lol. So iw ouldnt worry too much about it give him the good eats and let him choose he will eat if he is hungary =)

1 mom found this helpful

Hi G.!

What an exciting time for you! I know I am late responding and you've gotten some great ideas, but I wanted to share a few more tips that have worked for my pickiest child. I went to the Dollar Tree and bought these little four-pack of bowls that are like small Tupperware. I bought eight. They also have the little snap containers which are great. Also, in the camping section in Wal-Mart they have a Coleman thermos that keeps things hot for 6 hours and you can put things like soup or ABCs & 123s in the microwave (you empty the can into the thermos and the whole bottom of the thermos goes into the microwave) before you leave in the morning and it is still hot.
I work full-time, so it works best when we can get organized on the weekend. I try on Sunday night to divide out little bowls of canned fruit or a ziploc of carrots, ranch dressing in the tiny bowls, pickles, whatever fruit or veggies, then some bread items like wraps, crackers, goldfish, chips, etc. I even divide out cheese slices or meat. Then all the cold stuff goes in a drawer in my fridge and the other in a basket on the counter. Each morning she helps me pick some from the groups and throw it into a lunchbox along with a freezer pack. She usually buys choc. milk at school. Our school has snack in the afternoon and we send an extra something for that. She picks when to eat what.
This is, of course, in a perfect world where we are always on time :), but if even part of this can get done ahead of time it is a help.
I wish you all the best. Enjoy these days.

1 mom found this helpful

Peanut butter and Jelly sandwiches, grapes, applesauce, are all things that you could pack. You could send lunchables sometimes. You could also let him eat the school lunch. My son is a picky eater but loves the school lunches. I used to pack his lunch all the time and then he would say, well they had so and so today that looked good, so I just started letting him eat the school food. My son is now going into the 3rd grade.

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Let him come to the store with you to pick out what will go in his lunch.
Nothiong that requires mayo, unless you have one of those frozen cooler packs to go in the lunchbox - mayo at room temp can spoil by lunch time. Fresh fruit, raw veggies, peanut butter or Nutella (my daughter used to love Nutella between two graham crackers for a sandwich), cheese - all pack well. I don't recommend giving children cured meats such as ham or pepperoni on a regular basis - too many chemicals. I'd stay away from the Lunchables - not only because of the cured meats, but also because they come with a pouch drink that's sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, which is not good for growing bodies. Either give him milk money or pack a container of real juice in his lunch.
Don't worry if he doesn't eat it all - he'll make up for it when he gets home. And as long as he's getting healthful meals and snacks at home, it won't matter if he gets a little extra junk food from his friends at school.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi G., I have a grandson who sounds a lot like your son. I have been packing his lunch for the last three years. Like your son he has always been a picky eater. I pack peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, apples, pineapple cubes,small boxes of raisens,cubes of cheese,ham sandwiches, bananas,veggies like carrots, celery, pickles,cucumber slices etc.Don't get discouraged he will start trying different foods as he ages. Being around the other kids and seeing what they eat and like encourages him to try different foods. He is starting the third grade tomorrow and he will be bringing his lunch but also eats in the lunch room some days, when there is something he likes. It does get better. Good luck. J. F.

1 mom found this helpful

The Lunchables are quick and easy but have TONS of preservatives that aren't healthy .. also too much sodium. A fresh PB&J sandwich is healthy and tastes good too. Add that to a bag of chips and a fruit roll-up is our standard lunch. I will often toss in a Hersey Kiss for something small and chocolatey! You can make your own lunchables in a little tupperware container with cut up cheddar cheese and lunch meat if he doesn't like sandwiches. I can't believe it's time to pack lunches again ... ugh ... I do it for our two each morning and LOVE our summer mornings without this routine.

1 mom found this helpful

sit down with your son and write down what he says he likes to eat. keep the list handy and that will help with some ideals for his lunches. cc in okla.

1 mom found this helpful

I would pack peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat, make them fun by using a cookie cuter to from shapes. A ham and cheese on a hambuger bum again whole wheat. I would pack small cups of fruit or applesauces. I like frozen grapes which are a nice cool treat. Also whole foods have a food plan on their web site you might take a look at it. If he has a thermos you can make soup for cold days just tell him to get help from his teacher to pour it so he will not spill it. Like others have said let him have a hand in what goes in his lunch box from the shopping to the packing. Rest a sure he will be just fine.

1 mom found this helpful

if they allow pb&j, ham and cheese sandwiches, string cheese, fruit cups, pretzels, if he likes raw veggies like carrots or brocolli with ranch dip, yogurt or gogurt, tuna sandwich....just trying to think of things i've used...hope this helps!

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter is not a picky eater, however to make lunch fun at school this it what I do. The night before we work on putting her lunch together. She loves ham, sweet pickles, and cheese. We cut up all of the items into chunks. For bread I let her pick out a cookie cutter and then cut the bread to that shape. Then I add a tooth pick or a fork to use to eat with. She likes to have the tooth picks the most. Its as if she is eating a fancy meal. There are times she will take peanut butter and jelly for lunch. We also cut them up in small shapes also. She like my very small flower and star shapes the best. I also pack cottage cheese and fruit. I put those in the same bowl one on each side. As for the fruit cups I open those at home and put them in another container. They are very messing when opening them at school. Have fun, and I hope this helps you.

1 mom found this helpful

My children do not like the crackers in lunchables either so we started making our own lunchable. I cut up cheese, add a fruit, either grapes or strawberies, roll up ham or turkey and put ritz crackers with them. I also bought a round plate with a cover on it from walmart in the baby section, that way all they have to do is take the top off and it has dividers-so it is ready to go. My son loves peach cups so sometimes I would put that in his luchbox separate from the plate.I also put raisins or extra crackers in case they are really hungry that day. Oh mine also like a mix of pretzels, cheez-it crackers, a few m&m s, raisins-make a trail mix. And I alternate sandwiches with bread or tortillas -just roll up cheese and ham or turkey, can always add lettuce if your would eat that and cut in half.Good luck!

Just send things that he can open by himself, his teachers may not always have the time to open his things as well as all the other childrens things.

1 mom found this helpful

Make your own lunchable, its cheaper, healhier,and will not have too much waste.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi, G.. As I a K teacher, I have seen it all in a child's lunch box.

In the beginning of K, I would start out simple...and make sure he can open everything that you have to offer him. You might consider having a pretend day that he does all things K and you can watch to see what he can and can't open. You could go for a "picnic"---I know not in this incredible heat we are having---but then you could get a feel for what he can and can't do like opening ziplock bags, fruit cup, water bottle or thermos, picking up his trash and knowing to keep his spoon if you send him fruit. After the pretend day, you will know what skills to work on and what you could send or not send.

For the first week at least, I would keep it simple and make sure that he can open everything you send. He may or may not have extra help. At our school, all of the K teachers basically skip lunch and help the kids for a few weeks until they get a handle on lunch room procedures.

Food ideas for the first weeks...
pbj sandwich (if you can take peanut butter at your child's school)
chips or chex mix
strawberries or grapes
1/2 of piece of string cheese
small bottle of water or juice box (I personally don't let my kids get milk until the second week at the earliest because the lines move very slowly as the cafe' workers are learning names and id numbers/card intake procedures are taught)

Other ideas:
ham and cheese sandwich
carrot sticks/celery sticks with ranch
chips/carrot chips
orange wedges
water bottle with Kool-aid pouch poured in and he just shakes

nuts
craisins
chex mix
pretzel twists
pretzel sticks
orange wedges
bell pepper strips

Lunchables are high in sodium usually and our K kids eat the candy and skip the food.

The MOST IMPORTANT thing is find out the length of time for lunch...subtract 10 minutes for standing in line before and 10 minutes for standing in line for the trash and that's lunch time...we are happy if our kids end up with 20 minutes. They have to learn to eat fast and can't be distracted by others talking and playing.

This is an exciting time. Plan now for your picture taking spots (with his teacher, in front of the school sign, etc...), his special outfit, the apple for the teacher or your special first day tradition that he does every year and take a picture of it. My husband's family snapped a picture of him walking down the driveway waving on his first day of K so now that is one of our first day family traditions...

Congratulations. I will be praying for you both on this special day. C.

ps...I sometimes cut my kids' sandwiches with cookie cutters to jazz them up. I also write notes on their napkins. My kids love the special edible markers that write on bread.

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter took her lunch everyday in pre-k and kindergarten. If it is a private school and the teacher has access to a microwave you might pack the single serve mac & cheese or ravioli's...things like that. My daughter also loved chicken strips, chips, cheese, crackers, carrot sticks w/dip, fruit, juice or milk in a thermos, pb&j...Just ask him what he would like. You can give him different choices and then be fairly certain that he will eat it all when he makes the choice.
G.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi G.,
I would pack a sandwich of some sort, a piece of fruit, fresh veggies (raw carrots or cucumbers), and milk. Lunchables aren't very good for kids, so I would avoid them. Maybe a small treat, too, like pudding, or a couple of Oreo's to hold his interest. That's what I would do, but it might seems kinda boring.

1 mom found this helpful

You just need to make sure you pack something that he likes to eat and also just to let you know that he will either start to eat everything in the lunchable or either he will see what his friends are eating and let you now what he would like you to start putting in his lunch box. Trust me because i went through that last year with my daughter when she was in the kindergarted and now i have another one starting kindergarten this year and another starting next year. My oldest daughter did me that same way and now she knows wha tto tell me that she wants and how much of it to put in there because she knows what she wants to eat and how much of it she wants so that it will last her until she gets home from school, but i should warn you when he gets home from school no matter what he eats at school he may be hungry enough to eat an sdult sized meal because they run and play off everything that they eat at school especially if he decides to eat the school lunches because they give kids only a certain amount of food because of waht studys show what kids their age should eat and how much they shuld have of it. They never give kids enough food because they say that their little stomachs can only hold a certain amount of food but that is wrong because my daughter is 6 now and will be 7 in september and she eats almost as much as i do and she is not over weight or under weoght she is just right for her age and i was told that by her doctor because i had her checked because she eats so much but they said that is because she is a growing girl and she is tall so she has a lot of room for food and she will tell me if she doesn't want anymore because she is old enough to know when she is full enough to stop eating. She is very slim but eats like a teenager that is in sports and they said that is fine as long as she doesn't start to gain weight very fast which she doesn't. So don't worry i think he will let you know because he is not a baby anymore and he can tell you what suits hm perfectly especially when it comes to the fruit cups and things like that, i would suggest you keep asking him too and also ask him is someone asking him for his food at school if you think that he is wanting to take more than you think he is really eating because some kids parents can't afford the things that your son may take everyday and the kids of those parents tend to ask others that do have it if they an have some if their food and some bully kids will just take it without asking and your son may just be asking for more so that he can get to eat something too. Good luck!!!

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