21 answers

How to Put Variety in School Lunches

Good Morning Moms,
I know school is going to be starting for all the kiddo's and I usually make my children's lunches. However, they are burned out on what I make and often times do not like what is offered at the schools. I usually make the FAMOUS P.J. sandwich, turkey or chicken sandwiches. I add a bag a chips (been trying to use the baked chips), carrots, something for the "sweet tooth" and a caffeine free soda, green tea, or bottled water. I have a son in college so he usually grabs a bite on his own. My to other sons (ages 14&17) are the one's who need a change. Any creative suggestions for this age group? I certainly can't make shapes out of the sandwiches, they would think, "what a joke!" LOL! Any how, your suggestion on foods that will still be semi fresh by their lunch break would be greatly appreciated. Blessing to each child as they start the new school year. May they all eat their lunches!!!!!!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you ladies for all your awesome input. I will take something out of each response and put a great plan together. I look forward to a new school year with brand new ideas that each one of you have shared with me. I also wanted to let all the moms know that YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE! Well, time to go grocery shopping. Blessings to all!

Featured Answers

You have some wonderful suggestion from the other ladies. However, have you heard of the warning against hot dogs. Actually against any kind a processed meat? I seems they have discovered it does do brain damage, especially in children. It was on the news in Dallas this summer.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi C.-

If you buy them each a thermos you can heat up ravioli, soup, stew, etc in the morning and it will still be warm by lunchtime. Dried fruit or trail mix is also a nice treat.

Good Luck,
K.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

Here is what I do for my husband...who takes his lunch everyday to save money in our budget. I have a different sandwich of the week...such as roast beef with sharp cheddar and a horseradish dressing, then I send pickles, a piece of fruit, and a drink. The next week I might do ham with swiss cheese and a mustard dressing (hot or Dijon), then a cold cut combo the next week with salami, bologna, and left over ham. Pastrami and provolone cheese with an Italian dressing.

Oh, and I always change up the rolls that I pack the sandwiches on...croissants, sub rolls, rye or pumpernickel rolls.

That way each week is like going to a sandwich shop and getting a gourmet sandwich. I can get all the ingredients for $10 to 12 dollars a week. So for about $2 a day my hubby has a great lunch. Now he will even ask if he can have a certain combo for the week to come.

Hope this helps...{{{{hugs}}}}

3 moms found this helpful

I make chicken salad or tuna salad and send put it on a bed of lettuce or spinach, with carrots, crackers, and fruit. To drink: bottled water with a pack of Emergen-C for flavor, Hi-C juice box, CapriSun juice "pouch". Fried chicken is something doesn't have to be warmed up. Instead of potato chips, they acn eat Wheat Thins or Triscuits, just to add some "mature" variety. Also, those natural sodas from Whole Foods are good, in lots of flavors, too. Raw sweet potatoes or even sweet potato pie is good to add. Also, you can change up the fruits--apples, peach, grapes, strawberries, pear, banana. Sometimes that change can turn the whole lunch around.

It's not easy. Happy "new year" to you!

3 moms found this helpful

My son was picky about lunches too, and after 6-7 years of pbj sandwiches, we found those lunchables. He loved the pizza and taco ones, but now they have mini hot dogs too. They are a healthy balance and can be ate at room temperature without any problems or heated in a microwave if their school offers that in the lunchroom. Also, Tyler Florence on the FoodNetwork has some great creative, healthy school lunch ideas. Good luck :)

2 moms found this helpful

You have some wonderful suggestion from the other ladies. However, have you heard of the warning against hot dogs. Actually against any kind a processed meat? I seems they have discovered it does do brain damage, especially in children. It was on the news in Dallas this summer.

1 mom found this helpful

Maybe I am from old school, but at 14 and 17 I would have them make their own lunchs! Then they can decide what to put in them! Am I alone on this? or do others think that they are old enough to start thinking for themselves? I hope that they clean their own rooms, make their own beds and help out around the house and /or yard. If not then you are setting them up for failure as adults and God bless the poor women that they end up marrying. Sorry, I don't mean to be harsh, but when I read your request I thought it to be a good question until you let out their ages! JUNE CLEAVER is a myth! I'ts important to show our children/teens a glimps of the real world! Boys have to eventually become men!

1 mom found this helpful

Cheese/crackers

Fruit salad (people usually eat more fruit if its cut up.
A little lemon juice keeps apples from turning
brown)

Yogurt

Granola bars

Nuts

Hard boiled eggs

Salad (you can add craisens, candied nuts, sunflower seeds, eggs, cheese, croutons or bacon bits for more appeal) Put dressing in a small container

If they like "wraps" try making their sandwiches with tortilla or flat breads

Cut up raw veggies with ranch dressing

1 mom found this helpful

Hi there...
I give this speech to parents every year in our summer camp program. There are many things you can pack for lunch that will stay good up until they eat it. Children don't need HOT lunches; and most likely would prefer them at room temp or cold depending on the climate they are in.

I pack my boys things like:

baked chicken nuggets, chicken patty sandwich, fish fillet sandwich, hamburger, hotdog ,etc...wrapped in foil. It will not be refrigerator cold when they eat; luke warm rather...so no bothers.

I'll take a glad bowl and put mac and cheese, spaghetti, lasagna, cooked carrot rounds, corn, YOU NAME IT... in it for a side.

AND LEFT OVER PIZZA?... kids love that!!! Don't even warm it in the microwave the next morning... straight from the refrigerator, foil it up and put it in the lunch box. It won't be cold by the time they eat lunch.

As for packing yogurts, gogerts, cheese sticks, pepperoni slices, and things like that... you can preserve and protect them by FREEZING a capri sun or Kool-aid (we keep several frozen in our freezer)and using it as an ice pack w/the foods that need to stay cold.... by the time your child eats lunch, the food is good and the drink has thawed to a point they can drink it! Then they don't have to bring back and forth a heavy ice pack either!!!

As for juices... there are 100% juice packs on the market now.. I would stay away from soda; encourage water bottles, you can refill water bottles w/the crystal light packets or some powder drink packet too.

YOU HAVE A LOT OF GREAT responses here on your page... bottom line I'd have to say... toss out the idea of "typical lunch for kids". Rather think about the USDA pyramid and what a well rounded lunch would be: One serving from the protein group...used to be meat; now protein: meat, egg, cheese, nuts, yogert, etc); two servings from fruit/Veg group; and one serving from the bread group.

Have fun and good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi C.-

If you buy them each a thermos you can heat up ravioli, soup, stew, etc in the morning and it will still be warm by lunchtime. Dried fruit or trail mix is also a nice treat.

Good Luck,
K.

1 mom found this helpful

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