40 answers

Kindergarten Lunchbox Ideas

Hi All
My son is heading to kindergarten soon. His school does not have refridgeration for the lunches, but I have a little icepack. I need ideas for 2x snacks and lunch. It would be great to get a list going.........
thanks

5 moms found this helpful

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Hi,

Well, I know when my daughter as well as my son started Kindergarten the school did not like for you to put any kind of sweets in there lunch box. I suggest fruit, veggies, and even cheese and crackers are good. They have really good individual packed things at trader joes and even Ralphs now for kids lunches. I even sent mini bagels with cream cheese with them. Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful

Another idea is to freeze the drinks in the lunch box they will be nice and cold for lunch and they will keep the rest of the food cold as well. the other ladies have the same ideas that I had. Good luck!
T.

2 moms found this helpful

Hidden Valley Ranch sells the little individual containers of ranch dressing which are less messy than a reusable container. My daughter uses ranch on carrots,spinich, other vegetables and cold chicken nuggets. She also likes taking leftovers for lunch, such as cold salmon with rice, fried or baked chicken, tri tip. Hard boiled eggs are a big hit too because they are fun to peel. A halfway frozen water bottle works good to keep lunch cool...(if it's completely frozen it doesn't defrost by lunchtime). FYI, Lunchables are a big waste of money and packaging...just as easy to pack you own cheese, meat and crackers...

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

As a teacher I really encourage parents to consider healthy treats that are in their natural state not a lot of processed foods. Some great ideas are: cheese, hard boiled eggs, raw vegetables (red and yellow bell peppers, jicama, spinach leaves, carrots, celery), fruit, nuts (but not peanuts due to allergies),etc. Try to avoid food with a lot of starches such as crackers, chips, fruit roll ups, cookies, etc. These create excess energy (and usually lack of concentration) that wear off quickly. These foods should survive being in a lunchbox with an ice pack.

4 moms found this helpful

You can check out all the fast, easy and healthy recipes on www.weelicious.com. How about chicken, bean and cheese, quesadillas, summer vegetable pasta salad, banana bran muffins, rice and beans, nuts and raisins in a baggie, almond butter and jam on rice crackers (won't get soggy), whole fruit....and more...

3 moms found this helpful

You should go to kraftfoods.com They have an entire section just for lunchboxes!

3 moms found this helpful

I'm from Hawaii, so a couple of my suggestions may seem a little odd:

Snacks: Carrot sticks, celery sticks, black olives, grapes, apples, raisins, bananas, crackers (Teddy Grahams, Goldfish crackers, graham crackers, whole wheat Ritz, Cheez-its, etc), edamame (soybeans), cheese sticks, 100-calorie snack packs of anything, mandarin orange or mixed fruit cups and lowfat pudding cups (the kind that don't need refrigeration). I wouldn't recommend fruit snacks and sugary breakfast cereals unless he is going to be near a toothbrush--these foods lead to a higher rate of tooth decay. Raisins and cheese, on the other hand, actually help to fight bacteria in the mouth according to new research!

Lunches I typically make for my son: Grilled cheese, pasta (plain, boiled in water with a little salt) with chicken nuggets or Morningstar (vegetarian) items, scrambled eggs with soysauce and rice (his favorite), ground turkey and rice, quesadillas (sometimes with turkey or chicken), and I purchase a mini pizza from his school every Monday for him. Hope this helps! Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful

My son has been on PB&J all through K and heading into 1st. I do send him with cold pizza every once in a while. The only thing I would really recommend is G2 (a Gatorade product) or Propel for a drink. I don't know about you, but I'm really picky about my son's sugar intake and these two have the least sugar of any of the boxed/bottled drinks out there, that I have found. Even the super natural stuff is full of sugar. They also have those 100 calorie packs of snacks and of course Wheat Thins. I also try to include one fruit or vegetable like grapes or baby carrots and one special treat like a fruit roll up or cookie.

3 moms found this helpful

peanut butter and jelly! that's a staple. bananas, sliced apples, grapes, carrot and celery sticks all stand the heat. pretzels, whole grain crackers (think wheat thins, triscuits) also work. cheese, crackers, and salami make a fun lunch. once in a while for a different lunch, the turkey and chedder cheese lunchables are a good choice-low fat, low sodium, high protein. lots of finger foods, basically, which is what they are into. costco carries alot of organic and no sugar added fruit snacks and granola bars for treats. caprisun makes flavored waters with no sugar in them, and juicyjuice makes all fruit juice, no sugar added juices in a variety of flavors. i know there is a birthday nearly every week in kindergarten, so my daughter got her sugar fix that way. hardboiled eggs can be out of the fridge for hours before being eaten, and leftovers from pizza or mac n cheese work well also. regular meat and cheese sandwiches are fine too, just watch the mayonaise if you're not sure how well your ice pack works(you don't want food poisoning). save tuna and egg salad sandwiches for the winter months. if you have a good thermos, you can send soup also, or hot chocolate when its cold and raining. these are all the things my daughter loved last year. hope they help you!

3 moms found this helpful

Most lunch boxes these days are mini coolers, so your son's food should be fine if you stick an ice pack in there every day. Here are some snack ideas:

string cheese
soft pretzel
goldfish crackers
graham crackers
carrot sticks
yogurt
granola bars
nuts
grapes
apple
peeled orange
watermelon
mini Babybel cheese
mini bagel w/ cream cheese
sunflower seeds
pretzel sticks
Pirate Booty
Trader Joe's fruit leather

As for lunch ideas, we usually do sandwiches, but depending on what your son likes to eat, you could include just about anything - quesadillas, soup, pasta, etc.

Good luck with Kindergarten!

3 moms found this helpful

Another thread that might help:
http://www.mamasource.com/request/4591715057146003457
I would suggest sandwiches, but mix them up-turkey, pb&j, salami, ham, cheese, if you don't have much time you can buy the premade ssandwiches in the freezer section. Then I put in chunks of cheese with crackers, goldfish, or pretzelfish. For a fruit I put in a fruit cup-either peaches, oranges, or applesauce-you could do veggies if he'll eat them. And then a box drink.
Sometimes for fast alternatives I'll pack a lunchables with a fruit.
If I want to give him something special, I'll make mac n' cheese in an insulated bowl (bought it at Target $7-8), you can also put raviolis or anything you think he'll eat warm. My son's preschool won't heat stuff.
For snacks, you can do crackers with peanut butter, crackers with cheese, popcorn, fruit, yogurt, a cheese stick, cottage cheese or even a breakfast bar.
Just make sure you put a cold pack in if you send a dairy pack. Another suggestion, try to use recyclable containers-small hard Ziplock or a "sandwich box," otherwise, well if you're like me you'll feel bad about using 2-3 bags everyday, it seems like a waste.

3 moms found this helpful

this blog website offers many bento/lunch ideas for younger kids.
also check out the food safety page:

http://lunchinabox.net/2007/05/08/food-safety-for-packed-...

3 moms found this helpful

Check out Susans Healthy Gourmet online - they offer "backpack" lunches for kids that are really good and nutritious. They deliver them too your door too!

www.susanshealthygourmet.com

2 moms found this helpful

I like to make homemade lunchables with ham, sliced cheese and crackers. I pack them in a Tupperware container that has 3 compartments. It is so much healthier and cheaper to make your own rather than buy the premade ones! I also like the Motts Healthy Harvest individual applesauce cups, they have cool flavors like peach and berry. My daughter loves baby carrots with ranch dip and almost any kind of fruit. Grapes work well in lunches--nothing to peel or turn brown. I also make a homemade trail mix with granola, craisins and chocolate chips, and almonds. Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful

Another idea is to freeze the drinks in the lunch box they will be nice and cold for lunch and they will keep the rest of the food cold as well. the other ladies have the same ideas that I had. Good luck!
T.

2 moms found this helpful

1. When my kids were little they used to like to dip things, so I'd pack fresh veggies, fruit and breadsticks with yogurt dip or salsa in small tupperware containers. I used to get the kind that had a sliding "door" in the lid so they didn't have to struggle with removing or resealing tupperware tops.

2. I used a food dehydrator (can get this at Bed Bath and Beyond) to make yogurt roll-ups and beef or turkey jerkey.

3.They also loved the little baby-bel cheeses. The wax keeps the cheese fresh and is fun to play with after it's peeled off.

4. Any kind of sandwich cut into small shapes. I used a variety of cookie cutters and fillers like lunch meat, tuna fish, egg salad, etc.

5. Snack crackers like goldfish were a favorite, as were pretzels. My kids loved to wear the pretzel rings and eat them off of their fingers.

6. Trail mix made with almonds and dried fruits. Sometimes I'd add carob chips. Check to make sure none of the kids your son will be eating with have tree nut allergies -- almonds or other nuts can be just as dangerous to them as peanuts are to a peanut-allergic child.

BTW, except for during the hottest months (when the temp was over 80 deg F), I never bothered with an ice pack. I always packed their lunches in an insulated lunch box, which is generally good enough for keeping foods cool enough to prevent bacterial growth for 4 or 5 hours, by which time the perishable foods were usually eaten. As a biologist, I knew enough about bacteriology and the human immune system to realize that there was no risk involved and it made their bags a little lighter. I dumped anything that was perishable or only partially eaten when they got home from school.

2 moms found this helpful

Just a few more suggestions to add to those already posted:

Horizon Organic and Yoplait both make yogurt tubes. I freeze them before sticking them in the lunch box. They help keep his lunch cold and defrost to good consistency by lunch.

My son's school is peanut free so he has soynut butter and jelly sandwiches or Nutella (hazelnut spread) on either bread or in a pita.

Be wary of juice boxes and Capri Sun, most are not 100% juice. At Ralph's they have the Disney brand of small water bottles. They are 8oz bottles with characters from the movie Cars. They sell it in the bottled water aisle. Both Juicy Juice and Hansen's make the smaller 4oz size juice box that is 100% juice. Also, at Costco, they have the Kirkland brand chocolate milk boxes that are cheaper than the Horizon milk boxes.

2 moms found this helpful

The best lunch meat I have found is at Smart and Final. The sliced turkey meat is in two packages, so I freeze one while using the other... I serve "roll-ups" of lunch meat with string cheese and a box of rasins. My kids like the golden rasins because they are chewy.

Also, you can serve breakfast for lunch.(to change things up a bit).. I like serving mini pancakes with applesauce for dipping. Look in your freezer section.

My kids like trail mix...that means anything healthy from all the" almost empty" boxes in your cupboard. It can include cheerios, dried fruit, fish crackers, etc. Also great to keep it in a tupperware container for after school.

Shell

2 moms found this helpful

In our house, we pack three lunches a day during the school year. Some of our faves:
-Mini pita pockets from Trader Joe's, stuffed with their faves. These come in white and wheat and are adorable!
-Freeze dried fruit (like Rambuten) also from TJ's - this is a nice change from fruit leathers but as with all things, watch sugar content
-Pretzels, bought in bulk at Costco
-100% juice packs or water bottles - we found if we froze & packed them right before leaving for school, they weren't thawed for lunch. We put the juice boxes in the freezer on Saturday. On Sunday (and all subsequent "school nights") we pack the boxes/bags in the lunch box and leave in the fridge. The drinks help keep things cool in the lunch box but are thawed enough to drink for lunches that start at 11:30.
-Leftovers! My kiddos love taking leftover pasta in small thermoses (sp?). I fill them with hot water first, empty the thermos and then add the hot food. Works like a charm.
-My kids loved taking salads, with cheese and crackers as a main meal
-grape tomatoes are always a big hit
-Frozen berries in reusable containers are cool and refreshing. Plus, fresh berries are on sale this time of year at Henry's and they freeze well. Stock up while you can.

Best wishes for a great year and remember you can save hassles in the morning by packing lunches the night before. Mornings are hectic enough!

2 moms found this helpful

Snack Ideas:

Grapes

Baby carrots

String cheese

Granola bars

Graham crackers

They have individually wrapped packs of pre-sliced apples at the grocery store. They are great because they don't turn brown (they use a little citric acid to maintain freshness)

All those "100 calorie pack" snacks are good because they have small portions of snacks kids like...cheez its, pretzels, chex mix, baked cheetos etc.

Main Course:

So he doesn't get bored with sandwiches...mix it up

Put turkey and cheese (or whatever) in a tortilla, on a hot dog bun, or in a pita pocket.

Make a homemade "Lunchable" with little bite sized pieces of meat and cheese with crackers

Hope this helps!

2 moms found this helpful

Hi,

Well, I know when my daughter as well as my son started Kindergarten the school did not like for you to put any kind of sweets in there lunch box. I suggest fruit, veggies, and even cheese and crackers are good. They have really good individual packed things at trader joes and even Ralphs now for kids lunches. I even sent mini bagels with cream cheese with them. Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful

I make an individual frozen pizza in the toaster oven and give my daughter half in a sandwich tupperware thing. It's room temp by lunchtime. Of course, there's the usual PB &J or PB & banana. Cheese sandwich. Tuna, whatever...

There are these great little disposable 1 oz dip containers at Smart & Final that I fill with dip or hummos and serve w/fresh veggies or pita slices in a baggie.

My kids also like a thermos filled with soup. I give them a whole wheat roll with that.

I freeze a juice box or a bottle of water to keep things cold. Or I use a big ice block. The kind of lunch boxes that work best for our lunches are the inexpensive 6-can coolers that you can find in the drug store. The kids' size lunchboxes don't hold the larger size tupperwares I like to reuse.

Snacks are things like nuts and cheese nips mixed togehter. Apple slices and peanut butter. Cheese sticks. Go-gurts (sp?. No sugar dried fruit strips. Hard boiled egg in a baggie with a litle salt.

There's a lot of ideas out there and my kids truly know the difference between healthy eating and the garbage a lot of their friends bring disguised as lunch. They're 8 & 10 now and I think they really appreciate all the good stuff they get every day. It's work making healthy lunches, but it's worth it!

2 moms found this helpful

Check out this website on Bento Boxes: http://lunchinabox.net/

Thanks to all the moms who wrote in with the good ideas!

1 mom found this helpful

the best list (including pictures!) that i'm absolutely in love with is at:
www.laptoplunches.com. enjoy & be inspired!

1 mom found this helpful

celery and peanut butter, apples and yogurt, cheese stick and crackers, and persian cucumbers are all good snacks. If he eats sandwiches you could do that...or chicken fingers.

1 mom found this helpful

You need something to keep his energy up amd not make him tired, apples & a little tubberware container of peanut butter for him to dip his apples in, a juice box to help it go down, yummy !! a flour torilla and cheese, PB & jelly sandwich but only a little of each so the bread doesnt sog.
Crakers & cheese but the kind in the little package where he dips the cracker in the cheese. A cut up orange, not a peeled one but cut up one. really depends on his eating habits. Cup of soup the noodles one in a thermise. Easy on the juice, so when he pours it into the cup it pours exactly the same level to the top of the cup so he wont spill it. and its a tad warm. well all from me my brain just frooze

Good luck !!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi - my son just finished Kindergarten. Does the school have a hot lunch program? Almost every day my son took his dollar to school and bought hot lunch. The teacher would collect the dollars in the morning and supervise the kids who wanted hot lunch. The school sends home a menu calendar and every day we would ask him if he wanted the hot lunch. It came with veggies, fruit and milk or chocolate milk. My son also took a quarter to school every day because they offered milk/chocolate milk and juice at snack time for a quarter. (The teacher also collected this in the morning).

Everyday we sent him to school with his snacks and a big thermos of ice water in his lunch box. We went to Smart and Final and bought bulk gold fish, chips, rice crispy treats, cookies, fruit snacks, etc. We would give him 2 or 3 of these snacks in his lunch box each day. He would bring home what he didn't eat. (You have to remind them to do that!)

On the days he took lunch to school, we made him a sandwhich (with cold cuts or tuna) or gave him a lunchable. We also gave him the snacks mentioned above and a juice box or Yoo Hoo. The cold thermos of ice water helped to keep the sandwhich cool. We also used the ice packs a few times but my son kept throwing them out with the trash. So if you use those, remind your son to keep them.

I hope this helps!

1 mom found this helpful

If your child likes peanut butter and jelly snadwhiches like my daughter does try an uncrustable in the frozen food section at the grocery store, it will be perfectly defrosted by the time it's time to eat. Lunchables also work great some even have a drink included and a snack.

1 mom found this helpful

Hidden Valley Ranch sells the little individual containers of ranch dressing which are less messy than a reusable container. My daughter uses ranch on carrots,spinich, other vegetables and cold chicken nuggets. She also likes taking leftovers for lunch, such as cold salmon with rice, fried or baked chicken, tri tip. Hard boiled eggs are a big hit too because they are fun to peel. A halfway frozen water bottle works good to keep lunch cool...(if it's completely frozen it doesn't defrost by lunchtime). FYI, Lunchables are a big waste of money and packaging...just as easy to pack you own cheese, meat and crackers...

1 mom found this helpful

My kids like lunch meat wrapped in a tortilla and pasta salad with ham or salami. I use gladware containers in case they end up iin the trash. They prefer all the usual kids type snacks. An ice pack will keep things plenty cold. If their lunches are being kept outside, use two. I put in gogurts, cheeses, etc. with no problems. Just avoid sugary things-save the treats for after school. Fruit leather is another things my kids like and it can be found at trader joes, costco, target, etc.

1 mom found this helpful

PBJ sandwiches work well for us.

Snack-wise, with an ice pack or two, I put in small yogurts, apples, grapes, little fruit cups, applesauce cups, string cheese.

My son is in daycare all day and most of the days if there are things left, they are still fairly cool after being in the lunch box all day.

I've also heard of folks that freeze a drink the night before to use as an additional "natural" ice pack.

1 mom found this helpful

My son LOVES:
Ham rolls (lunch meat with cream cheese spread on each end to keep the roll together)
Meatballs
Snap Peas (with Hummus)
Peanut Butter & Honey sandwiches (check with school - allergies)
Yogurt covered Cranberries

Good luck :)

1 mom found this helpful

Can you share this info with me as my daughter will start kinder too.
Thank you!
A.

1 mom found this helpful

* sandwiches
* go-gurt
* dried fruit
* granola bars
* apple sauce
* cheese and crackers
* rice cakes with peanut butter
Just a few ideas. I hope your son has a great time in kindergarten! :)

1 mom found this helpful

When my daughter was in Kindergarten each day she had a Honey Nut Cheerio Breakfast Bar in her snack. She loved them. By the end of the year, she OD'd on them and refused to eat one still today (she's 8). We moved onto the chocolate chip Odwalla bars, the Fruit and Nut bars...all of which she had too much of and will not eat now. Now she has the Quaker breakfast cookies or dry cereal. I like her to have some kind of semi healthy bar with whatever she has. Pretzels, fruit rollups, gold fish, her favorite fruit... oh and those individual packs of carrots were good too.

Good luck, J.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi,
My only advice would be...when you are shopping at the store for his "snacks" do not walk down that "snack" isle for them! You know, the isle with the 100 calorie packs, granola bars, fruit snacks, etc. Those are ALL so bad for you!!!! Especially the stuff that is low calorie and fat, most likely have artificial sweeteners (aspartame) and partially hydrogonated oils. Years of these things can lead to cancer...and major health problems. I feel so bad for the kids these days because parents think they are doing good by buying these snacks that they think are healthy. Just check the ingrediants list....it will be a mile long. Gross.
I would check out snacks that are made by Amy's. They have great stuff, or organic things. Just stay away from the snack isle. I saw lots of great suggestions on here already, especially from the teacher. Just try to stay away from anything with artificial flavor, colors or any preservatives.
It is of course more time consuming to make your own snacks, but if you set aside an hour on Sunday evenings you can get all of his snacks bagged and in the fridge and then you just have to grab them out each day.
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Besides PB&J, I have packed pita with hummus and tomatoes; flat wraps with chicken, spinach, tomato and balsamic vinaigrette; peanut butter with honey and bananas.

For snacks, I've packed crackers, carrots, apple slices, granola bars etc. My daughter had trouble with opening fruit cups and apple sauce, so I purchased Lock & Lock containers for fruit I cut up at home. They are easy to open and you wont need to use 4 baggies a day.

1 mom found this helpful

I need the same information please share with me :)

Hi S G For my daycare child, I bought him a insulated lunch box, and he used to love the lunchables, they only had one eating time and that was lunch. I used to also send in a small tupperwear bowl grapes, strawberies, sometimes I would send grahm crackers, ritz crackers, sometimes animal crackers, little boxes of raisens are good, the school where my daycare child went frowend on chips, cookies, muffins, things like that, i always tried to keep it healthy. Hope this helps. J.

One good trick is to freeze juice boxes. These will act as icepacks and keep everything cold until lunch and also provide a cold drink.

M.

*bananas
*Smuckers PBJ uncrustables frozen(they thaw by the time they eat it)
*applesauce
*baby carrots
*cheese and crackers.
*sliced apples

i have a few suggestions, if you haven't tried them already:
this is my childs list for lunch ideas:
*pb&j
*turkey or bologna sandwiches
*nutells sandwiches (the nutella is in a jar normally found around the pb isle. it looks like chocolate in a jar~it's very yummy,even i like it~ all of my kids love it! my 5 yr. old my 3 yr. old and my 2 yr. old.)
*those yogurt sticks you can freeze & there ready by lunch time. can also be used for snack if you have cold packs to keep them cold.
* banan
*juice
*goldfish/crackers
**these next 3 things i'm gonna try/experiment with:
*ravioli in a thermus~ i found this on the e-net, and i know walmart has some short/fat looking thermus' for like soups and stuff. but i have to experiment with it before i send him to school with it. he's only 5 so i'm kinda iffffffffyyyyyyyy with it!
experimenting with these too!:
*banana sandwich, you can either put pb w/bananas or may w/bananas. my kids like them either way, it's a southern snack/lunch for us.
*grilled cheese wrapped in tinfoil. i have to experiment with this one too! i figured if i make it be 4 he goes to school and wrap it in tinfoil it might stay warm enough for lunch.

as for his snacks: i found this really awesome pb fruit dip on jif.com, all my kids love it too, it's the only way i can get them to eat apples.
*apples/pb fruit dip
*bananas
*grapes
*frozen yogurt sticks
*goldfish/crakers
*nutella sandwiches
*pb&j

well that's all i can think of right now. hope this helps!

Hi SG,

As a kinder teacher, I love the suggestions you have been given! Most likely, the school will also have some suggestions. Many also have pretty specific policies as well. Our kinder is peanut free due to all of the allergies and we request healthy snacks since our snack time is at 10:00 am. This means no chips, cookies, donuts, etc. I'm going to print out many of the suggestions here to provide for our parents. Thanks for asking! :)

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.