Field Trip Lunch Help

Updated on September 20, 2010
R.P. asks from Denver, CO
19 answers

My son is going on a field trip in a few days and he suddenly declared that he is tired of peanut butter and jelly. His lunch has to be a bag lunch and everything must be disposable - therefore I can't send a thermos or ice pack. I don't know if a frozen juice box would keep a sandwich with coldcuts cool until noon, especially on the school bus. I worry a lot about food safety. I guess I could send a variety of healthy snacks. Any ideas? Thanks!

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answers from New York on

Healthy snacks work great. Cut up veggies, fruits, crackers. Forget about the juice box. Freeze a water bottle and pack it in his lunch.

I've supervised quite a few field trips in my day. They tell you disposable, but 99% of the time that's not true. Lots of times the child needs to carry the lunch with him/her, and then when it's done they toss it, however, he can carry his container with him and bring it home.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Augusta on

I send my son with single packs of mini pepperonis since he got tired of pb.
Also try peanutbutter and honey.

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answers from Dover on

I used to make my own lunchables for my son...I would get the type of ham or turkey and cheese that he liked sliced a little thick and then cut them to cracker sized. You could freeze a Capri Sun and a tube of Gogurt. The two together would keep the meat and cheese cool enough. Addition items to include would be apple sauce, mixed fruit, and fruit snacks.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

You could freeze a pudding or yogurt in addition to the juice box. For my son who won't eat sandwiches, I packed grapes, carrot sticks, and cold twisty noodles in zip lock bags.
Ask the teacher if they will be putting all the lunches in a cooler. Some field trips my son has been on, they did this to make it easier to roll the lunches to the picnic area.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Definitely ask the teacher about a cooler. For most of the field trips but not all, a cooler was provided.

My oldest son ate PB&J for lunch everyday about 7 years. I was so glad when he decided he wanted something different. I've sent fruit wedges, cut-up veggies, hard cheeses, frozen yogurt cups or yogurt with frozen fruit, nutella (in a sandwich or a container for dipping), pretzels, frozen grapes, crackers or chips, edamame in my boys lunches and not worried about refrigeration.

Also google laptop lunches and look at the picture gallery. There are lots of pictures of different lunches. Lots of good ideas.

Hope he has a great time on his field trip. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

how old is he? is he old enough to open one of those cans of chicken or tuna that comes in the pack with crackers? that might be a good one. you could always put a giant baggie of ice in the bag and rubber band it to the sandwich if it has cold cuts. when i think back to when i was a kid, my mom would put all kinds of cold cuts on bread with mayo in my sack lunch and we would leave it on the bus on field trips. we didnt think anything about it and i never got sick.


answers from Austin on

You can make a homemade pizza the night before, and he can take a few slices for lunch (assuming he will eat cold pizza). It's already cooked, so very unlikely it will spoil.

You can make a "hot dog sandwich" (cooked 1-2 hot dogs, sliced thin longways, on bread with ketchup, mustard & sweet relish). Or, you could bake a few hot dog 'pigs in blankets' (with the pilsbury dough). Again, with cooked meat right before you make it in a sandwich, you'll have low risk of spoilage. I also like to make sandwhiches with cooked turkey bacon for this reason too. (I use non-nitrate lunch meat... However, it gets so hot in TX during the summer that I have literally seen lunch meat change to a greenish color within an hour of taking the sandwich out of the cold pack. I'm totally with you on food spoilage concerns).

Dry salami, cheese and crackers are also an option. Hard cheese (like chedder) might sweat a little if it gets warm but it won't go bad.

I would suggest you avoid anything made with real mayo and/or eggs. You can always try Miracle Whip instead if mayo; Meracle Whip isn't made with eggs so it won't spoil either.


answers from Erie on

I was also going to suggest Gogurt. That should keep a sandwich cold while it thaws.



answers from Lancaster on

I always buy my kids a lunchable - thay are easy, with everything in the box - just write their name on it!



answers from Las Vegas on

Feed him a healthy high protein breakfast and send snacks for lunch. Yogurt covered raisins and cheese crackers and that frozen juice box, dried fruit bites, and wow this is tough! Can you drive to the field trip and drop off his lunch, or is that coming on too strong?



answers from San Diego on

My daughter loves the already prepared tuna salad with crackers they sell at the store for about $1.50. they also have just the tuna salad without crackers and you can send bread in a ziplock.



answers from Pittsburgh on

A granola or nutrigrain bar, an apple, frozen water bottle, frozen go -gurt. My kids like it when I freeze grapes and them put them in the lunch box. They are still a little cold at lunch time. You can buy carrots/celery and they now sell disposable one serving ranch cups. Maybe roll ham and cheese together in a roll as a sandwich with out bread. Fill the lunch bag with healthy snack you know he will eat, at least that way you know he won't go hungry.


answers from Jacksonville on

Is the teacher bringing a cooler for on the bus, to store the lunches? I'd ask her. If they won't let you send ice-paks, that wouldn't be an illogical question.

As for your kiddo declaring he is tired of PB & J. Okay.. well don't send it for awhile, EXCEPT for on the field trip. Tell him it will happen that way. You've got a few days, right? So he'll have a few days of lunches that don't include PB & J and can tough out one sometime in the middle next week. :)



answers from Pittsburgh on

We've done the frozen juice box before for school (where the lunchbag sits on a shelf until lunchtime), and depending on when lunch is served... the juice box may not even be thawed out enough to drink at lunchtime!

You can also try doubling up the paper lunchbags to further insulate the contents. Paper - especially a double layer- won't let the cold seep out as quickly as a plastic bag will. Just a thought.

Also, most of the field trips I've been on with my son's class have had the students load up a cart with all their sandwiches and the museum or zoo has stored all the lunches in a walk-in cooler. You may want to ask the teacher if this will happen on your field trip. Most schools seem to do the same field trip over and over again for the same grade, so my guess is your teacher will know these kinds of things.

Lastly, why not try a "practice run"? Freeze a juice box and place the juice box and a sandwich in a bag and see how the sandwich fares after 4 or 5 hours. This will give you peace of mind.

Hope you find a solution that works for you and your son!



answers from Pittsburgh on

Get a wrap from a restaurant and pack him half of that, some cookies or chips and a drink. Use an ice pack and you won't have to freeze anything!



answers from Pittsburgh on

Does he like yogurt?
The "Go-gurt" brand yogurt for kids is really good - and supposedly it's designed that you can freeze it and by lunchtime it will have thawed out enough to be eaten regularly. How about if you use that as a makeshift icepack for his lunch?
They're smaller, but maybe packing 2 in his lunch on the day of the field trip will be enough to keep the rest of the lunch cold til lunchtime... OR, you could try putting ice cubes in a ziplock bag (I'd suggest using 2 ziploc bags just to make sure he doesn't end up with a puddle in his paper bag!) -- that should be a disposeable icepack that will keep his lunch cold until it's time for him to eat it!

Good luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

Toasted cheese sandwiches.
cold fried chicken. (If you freeze it, it will be thawed out by lunch time.)
Ham sandwiches. (Again, you can freeze the ham before you add it to the sandwich and it will still be safe by lunch.)
Put a frozen bottle of water in his lunch. It will be almost completely thawed by lunch. He can drink the thawed part and enjoy the melted cold water and the water will keep everything else cold.

Good luck to you and yours.



answers from Harrisburg on


My guess is a frozen drink would keep it plenty cold. If you still want to avoid the lunchmeat, cheese sticks could help him get protein. Nuts? Many children like fingerfoods. Carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, pepper slices. It doesn't have to be a sandwich. Our daughter kept taking peanut butter and jelly and bringing much of it home.

Thank goodness the "must -be-disposable" thing is only for the one day.




answers from Boston on

Whatever you pack, unless they are going to a field trip at the beach or something, won't spoil if left at room temp for a couple of hours. I routinely pack my lunch at 7am and leave it just sitting on my desk until I eat lunch at noon and I have never ever had a problem. I eat mostly cold cuts, yogurt, etc. I wouldn't worry at all - just pack a different sandwich, and if you're still worried, skip cheese.

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