Cold Lunch for School

Updated on October 15, 2010
B.J. asks from Rochester, MN
17 answers

I pack a cold lunch for school for my son, but am running out of ideas. I do PB&J but he is getting sick of this. What does everyone else pack for a cold lunch?

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So What Happened?

Thank you for all the good ideas. I never thought to take thinks with meet or thinks that needed refrigeration as I thought they would not be able to maintain the temp long enough. I think i will start with the frozen yogurt and go from there!! Thank You!

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answers from Santa Fe on

my son won't eat any sandwiches. It's so hard. He will eat white meat chicken,so basically I get a rotisary chicken every week and cut him up pieces. He also gets fruit crackers and milk. He also likes pepperoni so we do that sometimes. That is ALL he will eat! It's so frustrating.



answers from Minneapolis on

My kid really won't eat anything other than a pj sandwich. So I do pb&j, pb&nutella, I alternate between cruchy and creamy. Or sometimes just a plain peanut butter sandwich. I give him different sides, tortilla chips, animal crackers, ritz, graham crackers and always a fruit or veggie. To drink it's usually milk but I'll also do chocolate milk, juice and danimals cup and water. He will take lunchables but only the pizza & chips/salsa ones. I'll also re-heat spaghetti or any noodles with a sauce in a thermos.

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answers from Dover on

I used to pack my own "lunchables" for my son. I would get the various lunchmeats and cheeses that he liked, sliced thicker of course. I would cut them in the cracker size pieces and pack those along w/ his favorite crackers, snack and drink. Freeze a capri sun or pack a thermos w/ a cold drink. If your son likes tuna or chicken salads, you can pack those as sandwiches or on crackers. My son didn't like PB but he did like jelly so he had that too. How about a left over hot dog (some kids like them cold)?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

My kids are always taking their lunch and here is what has worked for us. Yogurt (frozen or refrigerated), a nutrigrain bar, grapes and chips, this is a favorite. As for sandwiches we do Sunbutter (a peanutbutter substitute) & jelly on a mini bagel, cream cheese and jelly sandwiches cut into a shape with a cookie cutter, cream cheese and apple butter in a tortilla or on a mini bagel. My kids also like it if I take a cheese stick and wrap it up in a piece of ham or bologna without the bread. My son loves to get a container of black olives with ranch dressing, he mixes them together in a bowl and it's his favorite.
Good Luck



answers from Los Angeles on

turkey wrap (avocado, spinach or lettuce or both)
My version of a lunchable: Using tupperware and those paper muffin baking cups to seperate everything: turkey breast, hardboiled egg, sugar snap peas, sunflower seeds. fruit
sushi (she like the simple one with avocado, spinach, carrots and crab)
salsa w/shrimp (I use the cooked/frozen). thaws out in minutes
I always try to include a lean meat, veggies (1-2) fruit (1-2) nuts/seeds. Maybe a bar or dried fruit snack. I vary things up quiet a bit and when I pick her up I always ask her how her lunch was, what she liked/didn't like.



answers from Atlanta on

I pack lots of wraps, and my son doesn't like bread, so I pack lunch meat and cheese -the "guts" of the sandwich! I usually put a fruit he likes with it -grapes, apple slices, banana, melon or blueberries or carrot sticks and either some chips or crackers or a fruit leather or roll up -sometimes maybe a granola bar or Larabar (he loves those). He usually has a Go gurt or yogurt cup with him. He also loves the fruit sauces in the individual cups -apple, strawberry, berry, pear, etc.Other "main" portions I send with the above-mentioned rotating sides:

We got a Spiderman child-size thermos. Get the Thermos brand (found at Target) -and they DO NOT leak! I send his favorite soups in there and Spaghettios and Ravioli.

I also send veggie burger patties. Since he doesn't like bread -it's just the patty, but you could make an actual sandwich out of it!

Cut up hot dogs or tofu dogs -you can find a lot without nitrates and nasty stuff in them.



answers from Atlanta on

My girls like turkey wraps. I slap some mayo on along with some turkey and whatever else they like and they love it! Just don't do a pb&J wrap. My kids came home and said it was very messy and got all over the place because it had somewhat melted-lol! So now we stick to the turkey wraps. My kids don't like ham so I can't do a ham wrap or anything like that.



answers from Omaha on

Cheese sandwiches
Cheese and crackers
Hummus and carrots and celery
Cold spaghetti
Cold whatever we had last night for dinner
Hummus or some sort of sandwich wrap

All I can think of right now but there is lots more.

Oh and the sides are pretty much endless. I just worry more about the main course. I try for protein and carbs.


answers from Ocala on

How about ham and cheese or turkey and cheese.
How about chips or cookies.
How about carrots or celery.
How about grapes or an apple.
How about crackers.
How about fruit roll ups or a pieace of candy.

Ok I'm getting hungry now, so I'm going to stop.
I wish you the best.
= )

P.S. Don't use mayo, it's not good to be sitting out for a while.



answers from Minneapolis on

I use an insulated lunch bag and pack one of those reuasable ice packs. I struggle with the lunch thing too since my son is fussy, but we do yogurt, ham slices, crackers, fruit slices, pretzels. Sometimes I do soup in a thermos, but it has to be a metal one. The plastic ones don't keep things warm enough.


answers from St. Louis on

Here is a typical lunch week for us:
- Turkey (from deli) and cheese on a bagel, blueberries, cucumbers with dip, juice box
- Ham (from deli) and cheese on whole wheat, grapes, string cheese, gogurt, milk
- Mac n cheese in thermos, sun chips, raisins, green pepper n dip, water
- Triscuits, deli lunch meat, sliced chz (make own lunchable), raw brocolli n dip, homemade cookie, juice
- Turkey wrap on whole wheat wrap (or PB&J on pita pocket), carrots, craisins, handful of almonds, water

Other Ideas:
Cold quesidillas
Chips and guacamole and/or salsa
Kashi go lean bars
leftover anything - pizza, salmon (my son won't eat cold, my other kids will), If I am ever unsure if someone will eat something, I test them with it a few nights before.
Stick a cold pack in the insulated bag and you can send almost anything!

We purchased the laptop lunchbox and it makes lunch prep so much easier and more fun for everyone. At first I was hesitant to buy since I thought it may be a waste of money - it wasn't!
Good luck!



answers from Austin on

Things I do:
Hard boiled egg
Home made "lunchable" with good cheese and healthy crackers
"just jelly" sandwich made on whole grain bread
pocket sandwiches
wraps (with spinach, cheese and a meat)(If you make it the night before, you don't need mayo or anything for it to stay wrapped) (mayo is gross)
cold chicken pieces with tortillas and cheese


answers from Jacksonville on

Roll up a couple of slices of thin deli meat with a thin slice of the cheese of his/your choice into a tortilla. Spread a little mustard/mayo on before laying the meat/cheese on it, then roll up tightly into a log. Slice into little pinwheels and stick it in a snack size ziploc. My son would eat those all the time.

Include a snack sized portion of olives (green or black, whichever he prefers); some carrot sticks with ranch dressing to dip; a frozen go-gurt or danimals yogurt drink; a snack portion of almonds, sunflower seeds or other healthy nuts/seeds (we even like pepitos --- pumpkin seeds!); stick of cheese (there are cheddar, colby-jack and other varieties besides string mozzarella); a pudding or jell-o cup. Just be sure you use adequate cold packs with an insulated lunch bag. :)

You can go outside the box. It doesn't have to be a sandwich. He will like something new and "fun". :)


answers from Albany on

Hi B.,
My kids liked
cold leftover delivery pizza
pasta salad
crackers, pepperoni, cheese
thermos of soup, spaghetteos, mac n cheese
also, ask him what he'd like, have him help pack it



answers from Minneapolis on

I do a hot lunch about half of the time - I use the Thermos brand canisters (consumer tests found they were one of the only brands to maintain proper temperature for 5-6 hours) and send leftovers from dinner, or spaghettios. I microwave half a can in my Pyrex measuring cup and then pour into the Thermos. It's a nice change from sandwiches. If your son is using a reusable lunch bag already and is used to bringing it home this isn't much of a change.



answers from New York on

PB and nutella. Cereal and fruit in a tupperware with a container of milk.Veges and dip. homemade whole grain muffins or granola bars.Leftover french toast with cinnamon/sugar sprinkled on it.(my kids love this)



answers from Denver on

You don't say how old your child is, but my 6yo packs her own lunch everyday. It gives her more latitude in deciding what types of sandwiches or other protein she'd like to take and consequently she's eating more lunch.

I give her $2.50 a week. She keeps the money if she packs her own lunch, with my supervision (don't want her to pack only cookies, and so far she's been really good about a balanced meal). She pays me 50cents if I pack it. She pays $2.00 to get a hot lunch at school, or save it to buy silly bandz.

So If I pack it one day and she buys a hot lunch one day, she still needs to pack her own lunch 3 days of the week, or I can make it every day of the week, or she can make it and keep the entire $2.50.

As far as what to pack, ask him. It's his tummy. And try some of the items mentioned below :)

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