What to Fix for School Bag Lunch?

Updated on February 19, 2019
D.S. asks from Maricopa, AZ
16 answers

As I noted in another post I am babysitting my grands for a couple of weeks and I have to pack school lunches. It’s been a while since I’ve had to do this.
Please give me some suggestions. Something easy and fast. And something they will actually eat.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I suggest that you either ask them or ask their mom. They must have a routine down, you just need to find out what it is.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

Ask them what they like! I have one kid that will eat anything in her lunch and one kids who is really picky and specific about what he wants and does not like sandwiches. I always put in a fruit and a veggie or both. I always put in protein of some kind. Google lunch box ideas. We often do pasta, wraps, sandwiches, leftover pizza, crackers and cheese, nuts and fruits, veggies and a dip. Have fun!


Ask them what they like! I have one kid that will eat anything in her lunch and one kids who is really picky and specific about what he wants and does not like sandwiches. I always put in a fruit and a veggie or both. I always put in protein of some kind. Google lunch box ideas. We often do pasta, wraps, sandwiches, leftover pizza, crackers and cheese, nuts and fruits, veggies and a dip. Have fun!

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Dallas on

Ask your daughter what she sends with them. I suggest packing them the night before. I always hated packing lunches that morning.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


Why don't you ask them what they like in their lunches? that would be the best place to start.

I have one in college and one junior in high school. When they would fix their lunches for school they would fix two sandwiches - peanut butter and jelly and then a meat one. They liked pickles, carrots (with ranch dressing) or celery with peanut butter on it and chips (I have Pringles singles for lunches and they like the variety). They loved the Nestle Chocolate milk to drink. I also have the Hunts pudding - they would put a chocolate or whatever flavor they wanted.

Take your grand kids to the grocery store and have them help you pick out stuff they like.

Oh yeah - my youngest son? He LOVES the "lunchables" - those are "snacks" to him!!!

Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Ask the parents what the kids eat. Don't reinvent the wheel for 2 weeks. By the time you figure it out, the parents will be home.

Besides, many schools have general rules, or specific kids with severe allergies. Don't mess with that.

If you want to get creative, do it during free time or on weekends - bake brownies or cookies, make pancakes, make your own pizza (English muffins are great bases for little kids), etc. Stuff where the activity is fun by itself, not just based on the end result and something where you don't care if they ultimately eat it.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I am not a cook, and our lunches are really basic - but I generally send:

- sandwiches (each kid has their own favorite fixings - one likes a bun, etc. so just ask what they like or ask the parents - my sister always had a chart so that sitters and grandparents, and even her hubby knew who liked what condiments, etc. with whatever went with it for each child).
- applesauces (the kind in those little jars)
- granola bars
- homemade muffins (but store bought are fine)
- crackers and cheese or cheese string (what we do - you can now get lactose free ones too)
- yogurt if they're into that (ours are not but one used to be)
- pretzels sometimes
- there's all kinds of veggie sticks (like chip like things) that one of my kids like
- strawberries in a container
- apples
- raisins
- mini pitas
- grapes
- baby carrots

Those are kind of my go-to's.

Those usually get eaten. My kids are not left over kids. Some kiddos are and will gladly eat them - if so, you're lucky. Some kids will eat cut up veggies and fruit.
I sometimes give money to buy something at the cafeteria - there's a fruit cup there my child likes and it's a treat (doesn't seem to realize it's fruit). Your school may have something like that too.

Hopefully the parents can assist you with their go-to's. :)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

the best people to ask are your grand kids and their parents.

That's where I would start. Each of my kids likes different things. I wouldn't presume to know what your grandchildren want or would eat.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Ask their parents what they send. You will want to send familiar foods that they eat already. School lunch times are too quick and noisy to introduce new foods. So send usual for lunches at school but feel free to offer new things during other times.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i'm not sure how to answer this, as i have no clue what your grandkids like and therefore will actually eat. so you need to start there.

generally it's a good idea to include a protein of some sort, a fruit of some sort, and maybe a granola bar. so a chicken salad wrap, a banana and a granola bar or yogurt would be great.

but not if your particular grandkids hate those things.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Erie on

My favorite lunches were leftovers from dinner. Don't overthink this. A protein, a veg and/or fruit, a carb. Cold pasta with cut up veggies and dip plus ham roll-ups. Cold fried chicken and cucumber stix. Meatloaf sandwiches.
Kudos to you for doing the right thing here.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

I would ask their parents because every kid is so different, for example my oldest loves PB&J and stuff like that where as my youngest ate nothing for lunch but cottage cheese with peaches for months.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Hard to tell without their ages...but here are some ideas:
-cheese & crackers
-peel & eat fruit leather
-salami on Hawaiian Sweet Rolls
-turkey sandwich
-Gogurt or Yoplait yogurts
-leftover pizza wrapped in foil
-thermos of soup
-prepackaged cheese with crackers grapes & pretzels
-little boxes of raisins or craisins
-boxes of raisins, choc covered raisins
-almonds if no nut allergies
-trail mix
-fruit juice boxes



answers from Denver on

Lunch times at schools are often too brief, and they can be chaotic. Kids sometimes complain about having too little time to eat. So keep that in mind and don't pack a huge sandwich, or things that have to be stirred or mixed.

It's important to feed them a good breakfast with proteins and fats and some carbs. Whole grain toast with a healthy fruit jam and peanut butter, eggs, ham, apple slices, etc. Or healthy smoothies if they will drink those (unflavored Greek yogurt, fresh or frozen berries, some raw local honey, etc). Because unless they go to a really relaxed school, lunch will most likely be rushed.

Then for lunch you can put in things that can be eaten quickly. Cubes of cheese, almonds (if nuts are permitted in their schools), flat bread wraps with sliced turkey and cheese and spinach spread with a little ranch dressing or mayo that you cut up into inch-wide spirals, raisins, grapes - little things that can be picked up quickly and eaten in a bite or two. You can make a healthy trail mix with raisins, dried fruits, little pretzels, a few mini chocolate chips, and Chex cereals that the kids might like.

Resist the cute snack-size bags of chips and cheese-flavored things, and the purple and pink yogurt with too much sugar, and the fruit-ish roll-ups, and fruit cups that are just a tiny bit of fruit in a sugary syrup. Resist the cookies. Resist sending only an organic kiwi and a rice cake. Concentrate on sending food that is fuel for their long day.

When they come home, offer them some protein (yogurt cups, peanut butter on apple slices, milk, etc) while they do homework or play or whatever. That will last them till supper (hopefully). And they may not have had much time to eat during the school lunch time.

Remember to ask your daughter (or call the school) and ask if there are any foods that are not permitted in the lunch area, like any peanut products, nuts, dairy, etc. If peanuts and peanut butter are forbidden because of a child's allergy, there are substitutes in stores now that are clearly labeled "safe for school". They're made without peanuts or common allergens. It just might be easier all around to eliminate sending any peanut butter or peanut-containing items for lunch, and saving the peanut butter snacks for home.

Also ask your daughter if your kids remember (or are permitted to) bring home plastic containers. Sometimes parents pack lunches in complicated or expensive little trays and cute little boxes, and those things rarely make it home due to forgetfulness or simply not having enough time to remember to pack up all the containers that are supposed to go back home. Ask if the kids need to recycle plastic baggies or how the lunches are usually packed.



answers from Boca Raton on

What foods are they used to, and what can you offer that is local and fresh from your market? Perhaps take them shopping so they can pick, and you can monitor for too many junk foods, so they will be happy and healthy during their stay. Blessings to you all.



answers from Dallas on

I agree with asking their parents first, but other than that I would go towards pre-packaged crackers and cookies to make it easy on you. My kids like Babybel cheese, Cheez Its, Goldfish, fruit like cuties or dried strawberries, Oreos, fruit snacks, etc. They also like the Hormel snack tray things that have meet, cheese, and chocolate malt balls. They are free of hormones and nitrates so I will buy them sometimes.

Target and grocery stores sell packages with like 10-12 pre bagged crackers and cookies. They will like that for after school as well and it's easier on you for the short term.



answers from San Antonio on

Currently my kids take croissants, a pack of gummy snacks, a granola bar, (one takes an apple and one a cutie tangerine), a small pack of goldfish and a juice pouch.

My kids are no longer into a sandwich after they loved PB&J or turkey meat sandwiches for years. I could pack cut up veggies until the cows come home and the veg would come back home or go in the trash.

Like other posters said ask the kids or take them to the store. I personally hate washing leftover containers every night and half the time they would get lost or left at school. So, if it isn't disposable I don't send it. Good luck!!

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