20 answers

Lunch Box Ideas for School

Hi Moms! My son will be starting 1st grade this week, and for the first time ever, I will be packing his lunch every day. I'm looking for some healthy, balanced lunch ideas other than just sandwiches. Thanks for your thoughts!

3 moms found this helpful

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I have done Tortilla wraps (pre-made salad with lunchmeat or chicken) my daughter seems to love them. and when cut into little round spirals I never get leftovers. I also put a certain amount on her lunch account so that at least once a week she has a hot lunch that she chooses herself.

In addition to the fruits and veggies...instead of a sandwich, maybe you can do a wrap. You could put lunch meat and cheese in a whole wheat tortilla... or you could get whole wheat pita pockets with sliced meat and grated cheese. My daughter (almost 8) loves pitas. I haven't tried wraps yet but that is something I will be thinking about as school is getting closer.

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Hi! I'm in the same boat and have been thinking about lunches for my almost-first grader. I finally coughed up for a Laptop Lunches lunchbox and that has opened a whole new world of possibilities to me. You can look at them at www.laptoplunches.com. At home, I often make my kids a "nibble tray" with muffin tins, putting something interesting in each spot, and the Laptop Lunches lunchbox lets you do something like that for on-the-go. It's like a collection of really sturdy containers that fit together in an insulated case. Even if you don't want to buy their product (which I am so impressed with, quality- and functionality-wise) you can see lots of ideas in their photo gallery and also ideas of books to look for that will give you more ideas. The lunch kit came with a booklet of ideas, and there are tons of books about packing great lunches for kids on Amazon. I also have been enjoying a couple books about putting cute notes in with a lunch--one is called "Hugs in a Lunch Box," I think. It's nothing that's not fairly obvious (everyone likes to be loved) but it does have a few fun, themed ideas I wouldn't have otherwise thought of. The book "Lunch Lessons" is more about how to improve the school lunch program than how to pack a lunch, but I did get some recipe ideas from it and it was an interesting read for a health-conscious mom. There are some great breakfast ideas and also some recipes specifically labeled appropriate for travel in school lunchboxes. The Moosewood Cookbook has been around long enough to be at your local library and has a whole section about dips and sandwich fillings that are not your tired stand-bys (sometimes thinking vegetarian can open up new ideas beyond ham-and-cheese, you know?)
I do think reconsidering dips is another good way to avoid the sandwich trap. My kids enjoy having a dip--hummus and pita, refried beans and whole wheat tortillas, marinara sauce and breadsticks, fruit and yogurt--the possibilities are endless.
I grew up very Asian and I think presentation is everything with food, especially for kids. There's a popular DVD about lunch ideas, and packing and presentation stretegies. I've seen it at LaptopLunches.com and elsewhere, too--I think it's called "Healthy Lunches for Kids." Looks fun, although I haven't seen it myself.
I remember sitting by a friend in elementary school whose mom made homemade bread and added food coloring. Maybe that's not the healthiest these days, but the whole class was dazzled by her pink bread. Her mom often used cookie cutters, too, so it was not unusual to see her have pink flower sandwiches, or green alligator bread. . . I was so jealous! ;)
Enjoy your lunching and happy first grade!

1 mom found this helpful

My girls don't like school lunch and they don't care much for sandwiches so we have had to get creative. One thing that really helped is to buy a food thermos. I could send soup, pasta, lasagna, leftovers, and just about anything else we wanted with them for lunch. They love it. Make sure you poor boiling water into the thermos and let it sit for a while before you dump it out and put the food in. This will make the thermos hot and the food will stay really warm until lunch. Also make sure the food is really, really hot before you put it in.

My girls also like having cheese and crackers, fruit, carrots and peanut butter, yogurt, cheese, and vegetables in their lunch. I also always send them with milk. I re-use the mild containers from happy meals and make sure I put ice in their lunch bags.

1 mom found this helpful

salads, apples, carrots, celery and pb, different types of sandwiches with spreads like avocado, peas, etc

Our 7th grader had to pack everything under the sun-he was sandwich, chips, drink, fruit & dessert. Our 2nd grader has ADHD & doesn't eat much because of his meds, so he's 1/2 sandwich & one other thing. He gets burned out on his sandwich choice so thanks to everyone here, I've got new ideas for him! Thanks so much, glad I read this post!!

I have 3.5 year old and I send her to school 3 days a week with lunch. She gets a 1/2 sandwich, rice cakes (minis), juice box, cheese stick, applesauce (no sugar added) and a "surprise" box - usually fresh fruit - grapes, strawberries, blueberries -sometimes even cherry tomatoes. She loves the "surprise" and eats EVERYTHING I send consistently. She loves ranch dressing and yellow mustard on her sandwich - that surprised me but she devours her lunches. Substitute jello fruit cup for applesauce for variety. Also - dried mangos are a hit too.
She also mentions things she sees other kids eating - we now send her tube yogurt with her breakfast fruit and dry cheerios - very healthy and most importantly a HAPPY eater.

Cheese and cracker and lunch meats are good... Vegetables and dips. Soup in a thermos... Roll up sandwiches in Flour tortillia's are fun.

Hope that helps!

This lady has perfected the art of the healthy lunchbox by making it kid friendly. Make sure you go through the archives cause that's where you'll find lots of great ideas.

rachael ray has a lot of great kid friendly ideas on her site you should check it out (rachaelray.com ithink)

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