School Lunches - Columbus,OH

Updated on August 23, 2010
K.S. asks from Columbus, OH
13 answers

My son is entering 1st grade & I will be sending him with lunch. He is a pretty picky eater & although the school provides pretty good meals, he won't eat much of anything from their menu. The school is also trying to become peanut free. This is not the problem. The problem is that PB&J's are one of the VERY FEW things he will eat. The teacher has said that they will try to help him clean well & for me to send hand sanitizer, so they are willing to help, but if I can get him off PBJ's every day, I'd like to. I need some ideas for lunch. I've heard of sunflower butter?, & soy butter-which I plan on looking into both of these & trying. I can't send him with little crackers & fruit every day. Any ideas would be appreciated?

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So What Happened?

Wow, great ideas so far & it's only been a couple of hours. I forgot to mention that I do have a thermos & we've tried it out & it keeps food warm enough for him. So, spaghetti or mac & cheese will work. He won't eat cereal & milk, any other meats, or even cheese crackers. I've tried. But, he does like cheese. Keep the ideas coming.
And, I get the seriousness of the allergy, I didn't ask for a lecture. That's why I'm asking for other ideas.

Featured Answers



answers from Washington DC on

Get a thermos - pasta, rice, cooked veggies, soup - and the thrill of a thermos is quite motivating. We do a lot of cream cheese and jelly, sunbutter, crackers and cheese, hummas and pita, and always a side of fruit and veggies.

5 moms found this helpful

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answers from Chicago on

I second the idea about buying a thermos. I have a picky eater and he loves taking soup or leftovers to school for lunch. I have learned to slowly warm up the food before it goes into the thermos (this way the food gets good an hot and heated all the way through). I also preheat the thermos by putting very hot water into it, I leave the hot water set for about 5-10 minutes before I change the water out with more very hot water. Another thing that my son likes to take, is a dish with a lid, in the dish is dry cereal and then he purchases milk and pours it over the cereal.Remember to pack the plastic silverware. One thing I have my children do, if they don't like something, they need to either tell me or leave it in the lunch box, otherwise I might keep sending it to school with them. I have volunteered in school lunch rooms and I have seen many kids toss out unopened packages of food, because they didn't like what was packed by parents, the parents, not knowing that their child disliked it, keep sending it with them. A waste of money and food. Good luck and hope you have a great school year.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Topeka on

Really great ideas on replacing peanut butter..I have a 1st grader last yr he was asked to try the meal before he decided to take a lunch i'd mark it that it was disliked on the menu.I only packed 2 lunches the whole yr. I was disappointed I wanted to keep packing them for him he has yet to ask me to pack his lunch.One item he like was Yogurt you can freeze them by lunch time they are ready but they are also good frozen.I like cream cheese with pineapple tidbits well drained to make a dip for crackers,pretzels or on a bagel.Have a good school yr.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Cheese, bread, good crackers, fruit, fresh veggies, yogurt. So many things! Also, can you give him almond butter? It is so good.
Of course Almonds are nuts. But if the school says no "peanuts", then almonds are allowed.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

My son is a very picky eater also but I found that, where school lunch were concerned, he was interested in eating what all his friends were eating so suddenly he's eating all this stuff that he wouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole if I were the one offering it to him. So don't be surprised if your son comes home one day and tells you that he wants to eat the chicken and noodles lunch from the school cafeteria the next time they serve it.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

If the school is willing to allow PB and help him clean up try baby wipes or wet wipes. According to a friend with a child who has a severe peanut allergy you need to wipe or wash off the nut particles away and hand sanitizer doesn't do this (unless you use a napkin to wipe off hands with the hand sanitizer on). It is crazy how many people, especially kids now have such serious food allergies. I have heard it has to do with increasing environmental pollution from plastics. At any rate it is hard for not allergic, picky kids.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Harrisburg on

Try almond butter and jam instead. Also try bread and cheese, bread and cream cheese for sandwich ideas. I like bread, honey nut cream cheese, add sliced bananas on top of it and make it into a sandwich.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Almond butter is good too.

chesse cubes
apple slices, oranges

A cov'd rubber maid bowl of non sugar cereal and have him purchase a carton of milk. Include a plastic spoon. Fruit.

Pizza slice from the night before.
Cucumber slices, carrot sticks, celery sticks ranch dressing.

If he likes lunch meat, roll them up.
Whole wheat Crackers, almond butter.

Baked potato, shredded cheese.

Cheese sandwich

plain pasta noodles,
with a side container of spaghetti sauce he can dip his noodles into.

Lettuce pieces, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers.

Tortilla wraps with cheese, with almond butter and jelly

Tortilla wraps with favorite lunch meat.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

will he eat mac & cheese, soup, etc you can get a thermos and it should still be hot by the time he has lunch, my oldest loved bagels w/ cream cheese, cottage cheese and fruit, rolled up sandwich meat instead of it on a sandwich.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Some peanut free schools, also, are "nut free" too.
So check on that as well.

Will he eat cheese? On bread? On crackers?

Or there are fruit butters too...
try looking at the 'gourmet' section of grocery stores.
Or with him at the grocery store.... have him 'help' you choose what he will eat.

maybe if you explain that he can't eat things with nuts at school... then he may be more accepting of trying different foods.

At my daughter's school, it is peanut AND nut free.
AND allergic kids, can even have severe attacks... even if in the air, the smell from a nut is there... or even if they are in the near vicinity of nuts/peanuts. Or if there is a residue on the surfaces of where nuts were....
So, just cleaning his hands will not always "help" the kids that are allergic.... to nuts/peanuts. And any reactions in them, can be very serious... needing an EPI pen for example.

all the best,

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

omg i bought sunflower butter because of the allergy issue, it is DELICIOUS! even better than pb, which i love. if it wasnt a million fat grams i would eat it every day. give it a try. also, try just jelly sandwiches. my son is picky too, and i make jelly sandwiches on the healthiest bread i can get my hands on (milton makes a great one), with no sugar added jelly. a little tupperware of some fruit, a cheese stick, some healthy crackers, some plain ww pasta, applesauce. apple butter is yummy too. healthy chicken nuggets. whole wheat mini bagel with some cream cheese. cream cheese and jelly sandwiches....

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

ALMONDS ARE NUTS--To all those that don't know it. If a school is going nut-free this could be dangerous to all allergic children. I can't even walk by the peanuts in an open bin at the grocery store and have to clean the cart before I can use it, so it is not an allergy to fool with. However, Sunbutter is the best substitute for going nut free. Go to and order away. I love it. Some people can tell the difference, but not many. The wierd thing about it is when cooking you have to use only 1/2 of the baking soda because it turns your cookies green. They send you a little slip about that with your order. As a child I hated PBJ and then when I developed severe allergies to nuts that is all I could think of. I order 2-5# pails for under $25 and it lasts for a few months (I leave the big container in the fridge downstairs and put a moderate amount in a tupperware container upstairs). I have tried soybutter but it has a "uncooked beany" taste to me. Good luck. And by the way, as someone said earlier, you really can't get all of the peanut butter off with a wipe. Be kind to someone else's kid. Don't send peanut butter.



answers from Pittsburgh on

If your school lunches are "pretty good" then you're in the minority. As a rule, school lunches are pretty lame nutritionally.
You're better off packing and they have more time to eat that way, too.
My son has REALLY like taking stuff in a Thermos that stays warm til lunch: meat balls, pasta, etc.
I have the opposite problem of most, because he always wants NEW and DIFFERENT things! I guess we all have our crosses to bear....
Anyway, would your son like wraps? My son really go into wraps last year--sometimes I would buy them and O. wrap was enough for 2 days--sometimes I would make them.
They don't get that long to eat. Fruit, trail mix (minus peanuts), granola bar, diced cold meat leftovers, string cheese are all good.

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