23 answers

Seeking Ideas for a Quick Easy Delicious Lunch That Can Be Packed for School.

Hello Mamasource Community,

I need your help. We are in the process of evaluating schools for our son and the school that we like does not provide breakfast or lunch. I am petrified at the idea of having to pack a lunch everyday, it's almost a dealbreaker. I barley make it to work now by 8:30 am and that is with my husband dressing our son. Please provide some ideas/recipes for a quick lunch that can be packed besides a sandwich. I want to steer away from the lunchables and those frozen kiddy dinners too. You input will be greatly appreciated.

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Featured Answers

Sometimes I make a big thing of rice early in the week and my son gets a scoop of rice and beans (from a jar) plus maybe a hardboiled egg, leftover ham if we have it or just some cheese. He loves any combination of the above, and I love it cause it's so easy to prepare for his lunch.

For sandwiches, pb&j, tunafish, grilled cheese (still good cold I think)

Good luck,
M.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi -- I didn't see anyone leave this suggestion: is there a fridge or pantry at the school that you can leave things in? That way, you can pack a bunch of stuff on Sunday night so if you are really stuck one morning, you'll have a backup. You can pack little containers of applesauce and pudding, crackers, cheese, bananas, etc.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

Sometimes I make a big thing of rice early in the week and my son gets a scoop of rice and beans (from a jar) plus maybe a hardboiled egg, leftover ham if we have it or just some cheese. He loves any combination of the above, and I love it cause it's so easy to prepare for his lunch.

For sandwiches, pb&j, tunafish, grilled cheese (still good cold I think)

Good luck,
M.

2 moms found this helpful

I had seen this article in Parents magazine in sept 2008, and clipped it. Great pics and ideas..

http://www.parents.com/recipes/cooking/kid-friendly-food/...

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Applegate farms makes a great hot dog that is precooked. Pasta salad, tuna burgers, chicken burgers, veggie nuggets, egg salad, crackers, yogurt, bagel and cream cheese, baby carrots with dip, cheese and crackers with fruit, applesauce, granola bars, chips and salsa, wraps/pinwheels, fruit salad, soup in a thermos, meatballs, pizza, pita pockets filled with anything he likes, grapes in a baggie, berries, raisins, celery and peanut butter, french toast sticks, waffle sandwich, oatmeal,

Honestly, I think you should consider an au pair, then the au pair can make the meals for him and do his laundry, drop off/pick up, set up playdates and give you a break, allowing you to enjoy your time with your son. www.culturalcare.com
Free to apply until June 15th. Ask me how.

1 mom found this helpful

-I used to make for my 3 year olds creppes filled with whatever you want, cheese, grape jam, fruit, sour cream with pieces of bologna.

-chicken nuggets with sweet potato fries
-1 boiled egg, string cheese, carrots, a slice of bread (if he's a bread eater), some fruit

-a night before you can make mashed potaoes mixed with peas and pieces of chicken

-of course, sandwich :)

as for breakfast, i wouldn't send him off to school without eating anything. You can make him a bowl of dinosaur eggs. or a waffle with honey and fruit. or a fruit smoothie. anything to get him started. you can't really know whether he'll eat at daycare or not or if he does if it is enough. one of my daughters was and is still a poor eater because of the time she takes in between talking, laughing, watching others. and she used to spend a couple of hrs in the afternoon crying in school because she was hungry, and she had missed her meal. so i always made sure she had a healthy breakfast, and the things i packed for her offered protein, carbs, and fiber.
good luck

1 mom found this helpful

Depends on if you have a peanut free school. My twins love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (or peanut butter and fluff). They will also eat turkey or ham sandwiches. Sometimes we put Mac & Cheese in a thermos for them too. If we have leftover chicken, we'll give them that. We have an insulated lunch bag and put an ice pack in there. Their school happens to have a microwave so we could heat food, but usually they eat it cold (unless in thermos, where it stays warm). We also give them a snack... either fruit, string cheese, crackers, pretzels, etc... and our lunch bags came with a water bottle so we give them water (or propel water) or juice box too.

1 mom found this helpful

Well lucky for you kids are creatures of habit. Thats why they like the same tv shows over and over and over. UGH They will also eat their favorite lunch over and over and over. One of my sons ate a baloney sandwich every day for 5 years. Really. If I dared to give him something else he had a fit and wouldnt eat it. He did like lettuce and tomato on it so I didnt feel so guilty and he liked the little fruit or applesauce cups too.
So find a few favorite sandwiches he likes and make them the night before. At his age a half a sandwich will probably be more than enough with fruit.

1 mom found this helpful

Our school does not provide meals either, but they do warm up the food we send. I mostly send whatever we had for dinner the night before. My son is somewhat a picky eater, no sandwiches or cold food. I mostly send rice and chicken or steak, I make abc pasta with chicken. They also started a program with a local pizzaria and we signed up for it, so he gets pizza every wednesday, and once a week I send chicken nuggets (mostly as an emergency option). Pack it the night before so you don't have to rush in the morning. It's not that bad at all. I pack lunch and two snacks, one juice box, and water. The school provides snacks, but all the kids also bring their own, so cut up fruits, teddy grahms, yogurt...

1 mom found this helpful

Why don't you prepare his lunch the night before so you don't have to worry about it in the morning?

1 mom found this helpful

I have a 2 year old that I pack lunch for. One thing I like to do is just pack leftovers from dinner the night before. Whatever it is, it all gets cut up and goes into one bowl. Does your school have a microwave? I usually pack chicken nuggets or grilled chicken (if its leftover from the night before) and peas, carrots or corn (in the same bowl) Frozen Veggie burger and corn (in the same bowl) Mac and Cheese and peas (in the same bowl). Just some turkey cold cuts and cheese rolled together. By the way, I use frozen veggies most of the time - quick and easy and still nutritious. Hot dog and corn or vegetarian baked beans (we use the all natural, no preservatives, uncured hot dogs). Pasta - big favorite and its always leftover from the night before, so easy! Good luck - and once you get into the habit of the lunches, it actually comes pretty quickly and easily.

1 mom found this helpful

Hey L.,

As a mother of 3 boys, that would be a deal breaker for me.

BUT if you insist.

BREAKFAST:

they sell frozen pancakes, waffles, english muffins, muffins, eggs ( boiled, or scrambled, omlet)
can be cooked and stored in container and nuked,
Sausages can be warmed up, and cereal, pre-cut fruits in tupperware are easy and great. brakfast bars, granola bars,
oatmeal, farina,

LUNCHES:
GRilled cheese , chicken nuggets are fine at room temperature, grilled panini ( basically a grilled cheese with some turkey or cold cut) cheese cubes, and fresh fruits cut up, with cold cuts rolled up- , peanutbutter and jelly, fluffernutters, choclate and bread ( nutella), yougurt and fruits, cottage cheese with fruit, hotdogs are fine at room temp with a little ketchup, chicken bits ( breast cut up) with salad dressing. Chips, crackers, cookies, raisins, apricots dried, granola

Want somemore ideas

Email me.

Good luck

M

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter's school just notified us that they are no longer providing lunch ... so we've been discussing what to send/bring. In no way would I make this a deal breaker tho. We chose her school based on what's best for her .. the lunch issue was an added bonus ... which was no rescinded. Her school is a nut-free/seed-free environment which makes us think a little harder.

The plan is to send her with yogurt, cheese (chunks, string or sticks) plus fruit & veggies along with a couple of crackers/cookies. She's not a big sandwich eater, but I'm hopeful she'll do cream cheese sandwiches (on either bread of crackers) on occasion. And to once a 'blue-moon' provide a lunchable type meal is ok.

Regardless of what you decide to send, it must be taken care of at night ... and let your son help make.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi L.,

First of all- pack lunch the night before!

Now, make a list (or ask him) of food he eats/ likes to eat.

My daughter likes buttered penne w parmesan, slices of turkey, cheese sticks, strawberry yogurt, cookies, peppers w humus...etc and she is starting a school that also doesn't serve lunch so I will just send these things everyday in her cooler. Also, there is a thermos made by foogos (search on amazon.com) which keeps food hot 12 hrs and drinks cold! So I got one for drinks and will get one for keeping pasta warm.

No worries!! He will tell u if he doesn't eat something! Ask him daily what he likes to eat for lunch + for snack and he'll tell you!!

1 mom found this helpful

As working mother of 2-year-old twins I feel your pain. Packing for two is not the same as packing for one, especially if you are concerned about following the food pyramid or other nutrition plan and want to give them things you know picky eaters will actually eat. It isn't easy, but I rest easy knownig they are getting what they need. Just remember - you've adapted to everything else up to this point. You will adapt to this too. You can do this and survive. This is a breeze next to taking care of twin newborns. Like other respondents, I prepare everything the night before. I, too, give them leftovers when we have them, along with sides that I make including pasta from the previous nights leftovers, steamed carrots that I make at midnight (frozen veges in microwave are easier). For entre sometimes I make homemade burritos from boiled beans, cheese, picante sauce and sour cream. They are are a big hit and healthy, too. I soak beans over night one night, cook them on another night and fit them in somewhere duiring the week or make burritos on weekends and freeze for sometime in the future when I need a break. PB&J on whole wheat or sprouted wheat is excellent for afternoon snack, four scrambled eggs for breakfast along with a babyfood oatmeal-fruit pack and toast with simply fruit jam. I also prepack watered down orange juice in sippy cups and waters in sippy cups or thermoses of watered down juice. School uses dixie cups for water, which isn't enough, so I like to send my own at least for breakfast and lunch. They get their need for milk filled at school and just before bed when I give it to them warm. For packing luches, we use Glasslock containers for hot food, and BPA-free plastic bowls-lids for cold items. Barely insulated lunch boxes and ice packs work great for the lunch. Breakfast is packed in another container, then it all goes into one big canvas beach bag for their daddy to carry into the classroom. For fruit and veges, I say go for the babyfood cups. They love to hold the cups so much that they will eat veges this way when they won't touch them any other way. Whole bananas and whole "cuties" oranges are easy - they like to peel them themselves. I also make mini cornbread muffins - place ingredients into a ziplock, squeeze it around until mixed, then cut a hole in bottom corner and pour into muffin tins. When you cut carrots, use a serrated knife and cut both ways - pushing and pulling. We also give them rasins or Animal Crackers. Here is our schedule. Not ideal, but until I find a better way here it is. My husband makes dinners and shops for groceries. Once I get the kids to bed at 9 p.m., sleep from exhaustion for an hour or two, I get up and spend two to three hours making breakfast, lunches, and snacks for my kids and I (My husband eats out). I also lay out their clothes, do the dishes which includes sippy cups carefully hand washed with two sizes of brush in the cracks before going in the dishwasher. I feed and water the dog and parrot then usually get to bed by about 2 a.m., up at 6 a.m. to get out the door for a 40 minute drive to work, arriving by 8 a.m. Sometimes I get to see the kids in the morning, but sometimes they get to sleep in depending on my husband's schedule. On those days I talk to them on the phone. He gets them off to day care and I pick them up at 6 p.m. It is the same four days a week. I have one day off during the weekdays. Kids are adaptable. Give it time. By the way, my son is now eating grapes - he wouldn't touch them for the first 6+ month's of offering them almost daily. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

L.-

I have two sons and work full time and commute to Manhattan from Long Island so I really know how hard it is to get it all done. The first thing that I recommend is that you pack everything the night before so that all you have to do in the morning is put it in your son's bag. I would recommend: yogurt, cut up fruit, cheese or cheese sticks, crackers with cream cheese or butter on them, bagels, pre-cooked cut up veggies (pease and carrots or corn) that can be eaten without being hot. Just a few suggestions, I hope this helps. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi -- I didn't see anyone leave this suggestion: is there a fridge or pantry at the school that you can leave things in? That way, you can pack a bunch of stuff on Sunday night so if you are really stuck one morning, you'll have a backup. You can pack little containers of applesauce and pudding, crackers, cheese, bananas, etc.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Dear L. S.,

A suitable lunch may be sandwhich wrap, cut-up fruit (of the child's choice), milk/apple juice. This is a simple lunch that is also healthy.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi L. S.

I have a 23 month old in daycare and a 3 year old in Pre-school, in both case I need to provide breakfast and lunch for them. I do make sandwiches for my kids, but not everyday, the days they do not have sandwiches, I will usually give them leftovers from dinner the night before or I will make them something the night before and pack the entire lunch and put it in a cooler bag in the fridge that way in the morning all I have to do is grab the bag out of the fridge and off we go. Obviously dinner leftover would only work if the school has somewhere to heat it up (or an option would be to heat it up while you get your shoes on then put it in a thermos so that it is still warm for his lunch). As for breakfast my kids will usually eat a yogurt, banana, apple sauce something quick and simple.
Hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful

The childcares that I worked in that had parents bring lunch had microwaves so you most likely pack some left overs from dinner. Just check that they can cook food.

1 mom found this helpful

L.,

There is a deli in our area that delivers lunches to the local public school across the street. Parents fill out a sheet once a week. Maybe you could see if there is a business near your school that has this service.

Good luck,
R.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi L.,

My kids' lunch often consists of left-overs from the night before and some fruit + a slice of bread with cheese or something like that.

I use the Laptop lunchboxes ( www.laptoplunches.com )- they are awsom! I usually arrange the left-overs directly into the bento boxes after dinner and store them in the fridge overnight. That only leaves me to cut up some fruit or other simple things in the morning.

I am glad to hear your husband is as supportive as mine and taking an active role in raising your son!

Good luck.
M.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi L.,

In addition to a few ideas for quick, easy lunches, I have a few suggestions for items to keep on hand so that preparing lunch will usually be a breeze. Alternatives to sandwiches:

1. Cheese quesadilla: I usually cook an extra one at dinner the night before and use a pizza slicer to cut it into little triangles; the little triangles fit nicely into a sandwich bag.

2. Cheese tortellini with broccoli and pesto: Again, cook the night before and set aside a portion, spinkle with Parmesan cheese and refrigerate. It tastes good cold.

3. Sandwich wraps are also a good alternative to regular sandwiches. Just fill a flour tortilla wrap with sliced deli meat, bagged salad mix, shredded cheese; roll it up, slice in half, add mayo or honey mustard and you're good to go.

Some items to keep on hand to fill out the bagged lunch: raisins, yogurt tubes (my son likes his frozen), apples, grapes, baby carrots, Kashi chewy peanut butter granola bars, string cheese, Goldfish crackers, pudding cups, mandarin orange or diced pineapple cups, pretzels. Most of these items are individually wrapped or can be put in little baggies. Hope this helps!

A little about me: Married WAHM with 9 year-old son and 19-month old daugther.

1 mom found this helpful

I would also love to hear some ideas.

One of the things I pack on a regular basis is a slice of wheat bread with hummus. I also will spread baby food on a slice of bread, since my son is not so fond of vegetables, but for some reason will gladly eat it smeared on bread. A slice of cheese and some applesauce usually rounds out the meal. Good luck!

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