Fun Lunch Box Ideas for a 1St Grade Boy.

Updated on May 07, 2010
J.K. asks from Rocklin, CA
17 answers

Hello Fellow Moms.

I am sending my oldest son to 1st grade and he will need a lunch packed for the long day. Does anyone have any good ideas and or recipes to pack in his lunchbox?

Do you have any "On the go, in the car" driving to school breakfast ideas?

7 moms found this helpful

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So What Happened?

Wow what great Ideas everyone had! Just to let you know. I have a group of moms that get together on Fridays for coffee after we drop off our kids ( our kids are in the same grade. Thats how we met.) We have a group e-mail and I sent it to everyone (about 15 moms) They loved it! You help more than just me you helped all of us have get new ideas for our kids. THANK YOU THANK YOU!!

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answers from San Francisco on

I'm a first grade teacher and there are 2 products the kids just love and I love due to low environmental impact and ease of use.
1) Laptop lunches - you can get them online or at whole foods.
2) Steel options -

Good luck,

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answers from Sacramento on

Hi J.- I have worked in an elementary school lunchroom and wanted to offer some suggestions.

- Peel the orange or hard boiled egg for the child. They don't have much time to eat and will choose the quick/easy stuff first.
- Cut things like apples, cheese or leftover chicken into bite size pieces
- Kids love to bring leftover pizza.
- Make sure your child can open the container or wrapper. Practice if necessary. Plastic wrap is often hard for little hands.
- Fruit cups with the tear off plastic cover always squirt juice and spill and the kids can't get them open easily.
- Include necessary utensils and a napkin
- Kids can't open most Thermos'
- Consider buying a small reusable water bottle instead of juice boxes or Capri Suns
- If your child is buying milk, 90% of the time they choose the chocolate milk. Most parents don't know chocolate milk is an option.
- Know they will eat the junkiest item first and the healthiest item last
- Teach your child to bring home what they don't eat. That way you can see what and how much he ate and he can always eat the rest as his after school snack. You would be heartbroken if you saw what the kids throw away.
- Ask your son what other kids bring for more lunch ideas

If you are able, surprise your son by showing up to eat lunch with him. In first grade, you are a celebrity if your parent comes to eat with you. Call the school office beforehand for the schedule and any rules.

Enjoy this school year. The amount of growth and development in first grade is amazing!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Boiled eggs, cut in half.
Cut fruits, veg.
Small yogurt cup.
Half sandwich.
Cereal bar.
Peanut butter filled pretzels.
You have to know your kid. Some kids are happy to eat the same thing every day for years, other kids get sick of the same thing and need frequent changes!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I dreaded the day my son started first grade and needed to take a lunch to school. I hated my brown bag lunches! Here's what I came up with:

* Soft pretzel, string cheese and applesauce
* Whole grain roll with butter or margarine, hard boiled egg, and carrot, celery or cucumber sticks
* Kid size yogurt, whole wheat crackers, cherry or grape tomatoes (make sure the child is old enough to know to chew the food completely)
* Bagel with vegetable "confetti" - spread the bagel with plain cream cheese and cover with finely diced sweet raw veggies (red & yellow bell peppers and carrots).
* Make a sandwich on a flat tortilla, spread cream cheese, add meat, cheese and thinly sliced or shredded veggies, roll it up and slice.
* Put tuna or chicken salad in a pita or ice cream cone for a change of pace.
* Use English Muffins to make little "pizzas"
* Fruit & Vegetable Kabobs with yogurt dip
* Make homemade Lunchables with Ritz crackers. A clean empty prescription bottle works well to cut the cheese and meat to appropriate size.
* Peanut Butter Pinwheels: spread peanut butter and a little bit of honey on a flour tortilla, sprinkle with granola or Grape-nuts cereal, roll up the tortilla and slice.

Remember they need something with crunch: baked potato chips, homemade tortilla chips, pretzels, goldfish crackers, graham or saltine crackers, plain popcorn, a hand full of breakfast cereal, or trail mix (raisins, nuts, cherrios, pretzels and a small amount of chocolate chips or M&Ms) are a few ideas.
* Once cold weather sets in they like to eat soup in a thermos. I send some saltines. We've learned cheese sticks and thermoses don't mix well in lunch boxes though!

I use the inexpensive glad ware and washed out margarine / yogurt containers to send lunch items so if they get thrown away by mistake it's not too bad. They know to bring them home. I also bought real silverware at Business Costco or Smart & Final. Set of 12 spoons or forks for a dollar or two. They say food tastes better than using plastic and they remember to bring it home (and if it's thrown away or lost, it's not my good tableware!)

Our "on the go" breakfast consists of: Kids Clif Z bars (you can buy them by the box at Trader Joe's or Costco or Tiger Milk Bars, String Cheese, Cold Cereal in a baggie (milk or juice in a covered cup or juice box), pop tarts (my kids love those!), apples, bananas, yogurt.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I came across this website and thought this was sooo cool. It's reusable and sustainable and they have great ideas on healthy lunches and so many pictures to give you good ideas. You can sign up for weekly menu ideas - so helpful. I'm going to be getting these for my 2 little ones.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Bakersfield on

Hi J.-
I pack a lunch for my husband daily =) and he tells me he wished he had eaten like this most of his life. Orowheat makes "sandwich rounds" that are super slim sandwich rolls. The carb count is good since my hubby is diabetic- plus he says he is never hungry once done. We do trader joe's no salt, all natural peanut butter ( i like crunchy) and the low sugar jam. There are no weird preservatives, so it works out pretty good. You can also switch it around and do cream cheese and cucumbers or sandwich meat and mustard. My husband refuses to eat mayo, which isn't so bad. Next he gets an apple or an apple sauce, a snack bag packed with veggies- carrots, grape tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli- basically whatever he will eat all of- a snack bag of mixed nuts, and a bottle of water- or a thermos of water. None of these have to be refrigerated , so he can have them in his pack until lunch time. You can also add string cheese and one of those mini ice pack things from the dollar section of target if you want to cool anything.

Another idea for you is to pre-make snack bags. I do nuts and dried cranberries, veggies, etc. This way the kids (or even you) can grab a quick snack that isn't full of sugar.
I tried yogurt and found that the only one that wasn't crammed with sugar was yo baby. I get it at Trader Joe's, too. We love the apple and blueberry the best. We also like grapes. THe key is to pre pack the food at the beginning of the week, like on Sunday evening- sitting at a tv tray with your snack bags and bits out. Sort out at least a weeks worth and you should just be able to grab and go.

As far as in the car breakfasts, why not try those quaker oat oatmeal squares?!?! or the natures valley granola bars. They have some sugar, but they are also full of complex carbs that should keep your bouncing bundles full until lunch time.

It sounds like you have your hands full with two wonderful and energetic boys. Yeah!

I hope this helps you some.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

You made me laugh hearty today regarding your two boys who booby trap you and you love it! That really made me smile. Thanks for the posting.

You can make your own fun and Healthy Lunchables. I put ham or Turkey and cheese with Crackers. I put Tuna with Crackers. I pack Carrots with a little ranch dressing. I cut up fun Fruit. The thing they love is the packaging. Crayola has a Sandwich Holder so the Sandwich does not get all smushed. Buy those "fun" bags or a cool lunch Box. I always put in a little treat and I tell my son not to look until lunch. (ie. Fruit roll up or one fruit snack, or a few gummy worms or a few mini marshmellows or some orange slices with a face)
Have fun!

P.S For the Breakfast on the run: You can make Breakfast burrito's and give him a half for the car, or a half slice of toast with Veggie Slice cheese, or English Muffin Pizza, or Go Gurts Yogurt that comes in the tube or make a smoothie with Apple Juice and cut up bananas or strawberries or blueberries to go in-it is yummy!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

here's a good site for getting the creative juices flowing:
You can often find bento-style boxes at Asian supermarkets. Having the small compartments is useful for young elementary schoolers b/c you can put a variety of small servings of different things (pastas, cut fruit, veggies, etc.) in one box



answers from San Francisco on

Hi J.,

Are peanut butter and jelly sandwiches no longer in vogue for school lunches? My little boy eats them any time we need food on the go - good bread, healthy peanut butter and high fruit jam. They're good for breakfast on the go and lunch.

They're not for everyone, but my little boy also likes cream cheese and crushed pineapple sandwiches on raisin bread. These might be better for breakfast than lunch because if they were sitting in a lunchbox the pineapple may make the bread a bit soggy - even if you drain it well. If you did want to try them for lunch, then strawberry jam is also yummy with cream cheese.

Depending on how inventive you feel in the morning trying to get two boys out of the house, I also use cookie cutters on my sandwiches to make them more fun for him to eat.

I have a great recipe for healthy carrot, raisin and pineapple muffins that would be good for breakfast on the go if you don't mind a few crumbs in the car. If you're interested email me and I'd be happy to send it to you. Any kind of muffins or breads - like banana bread or zucchini bread would be good and easy for breakfast. If they're not sure about it, call it 'banana cake' and it puts a whole different spin on it. ;-)

For lunch, my little guy also likes a little pot of hummus with assorted raw veg and strips of pitta. That could pack up nicely in a school lunch. I also include cheese pretzels - again which I would be happy to send you the recipe for and are really fun to make with the kids if they like to cook. You can shape them into any shape you want so they would be fun to pull out of a lunch box.

Just a few ideas off the top of my head. Have fun with your boys, who sound beautifully high spirited.



answers from San Francisco on

You've already gotten lots of great lunch ideas, I just wanted to add that my kids like a scrambled egg & cheese on a toasted english muffin for breakfast. It's really fast to make and they wrap up nicely in a napkin if you're running late. Have fun :)



answers from Sacramento on

cherry tomatos, crackers and cheese, celery and peanut butter, frozen yogurt pouches (like the can also find those in organic healthy versions) cold green beans (if he likes those), dry ceral in a baggie.



answers from Sacramento on

Remember, too, to check on your school's policy about nuts. Some are extremely strict about any nuts (in whole or butter form) even if there are no children allergic to them at the school. You don't want to pack the favorite PB&J only to have your child have to toss it out and have no lunch that day.



answers from Phoenix on

a favorite with my son is to make our own lunchables. Cookie cutters shaped tortillas, crackers, etc. Cheese & lunch meat cut out or simply quartered.

I find that he will eat carrots and other veggies if I send a little dressing in a cup. (I'm still trying to figure out the best way to do this as some containers are hard for him to open still.)



answers from San Francisco on

I don't have anything to add. I just wanted to say thanks to everyone for the GREAT ideas!! I am going to use them with my husband and toddlers!! :D

Thanks Again,
'Helping moms work from home



answers from Medford on

Read all reply's but didn't see our favorite.....peanut butter and chocolate..... I use dark chocolate that comes in a bottle. I have to say "no" so much..... they would eat it all day. Its really good with a banana and milk.
Also toast with cinnamon and sugar, cut in bite size pieces, is good....I like to nuke it so its like zwieback...I also like to dehydrate fruit and put in a snack baggie.
Good luck
Child Care Provider 40yrs



answers from Chico on has some good lunch ideas. For breakfast, you can also try Instant Breakfast. I made some Breakfast Cookies from a recipe I found on that my kids really liked: oatmeal, peanut butter, applesauce, raisins, and a little sugar... If you want it send me a message and I will find it for you.

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