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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

School Lunch Suggestions?

The Pirate takes his lunch to school every day. He'd be completely happy to eat the hot lunch, but so far he hasn't really complained about having to take it from home, so I continue to pack a lunch. I feel like it saves us so much money compared to the $2.10 a day at school, plus you know he's not going to even touch half of the food on the school tray. The problem is, I'm already running out of original ideas for his lunch. The Pirate doesn't seem to care, but I feel like the more I mix things up, the longer he'll be happy to take my lunches.

We are limited by a couple of factors. First, his school is a nut-free school, and that means ALL nuts. Not all the schools in our system are, just ours. I gather we have at least one severely allergic child in attendance. So, no peanut butter, which is about 75% of his at home diet. Secondly, the Pirate doesn't like crackers. NO crackers, not graham crackers, not Goldfish, not saltines, not Ritz cheese ones, none. No crackers. (He also doesn't like frosting, but I don't often try to send frosting to school.)

They do have a microwave in the lunchroom, and I suppose they must have help with it, because we don't have a microwave at home and I can just see him nuking something for WAY too long.

On a typical day I will send either a ham and cheese sandwich or a cut up hotdog and cheese stick, some kind of fruit of veggie (typically applesauce, apples, grapes or carrots), a carb like chips or dry cereal or pretzels, and a dessert (usually an Oreo.) I do have a little bowl with an icepack and sometimes will send leftovers with him- steak cut into bits or spaghetti or mac n cheese. I've sent bagels with pizza sauce to dip. I think he'd eat a hardboiled egg if I sent one and if we ever have muffins for breakfast I'd send those. I think chicken nuggets would be ok.

What else should I be sending? His palate is fairly limited. He prefers meat to veggies and isn't a giant noodle lover (the Bug would eat noodles at every single meal, given the option.) He doesn't enjoy things with a lot of sauce or gravy.  It can't be too complicated because they only get 20 minutes ( I think), but it doesn't have to stay completely cold either, because they eat at 11. What do your kids do for school lunch? Do they take theirs? Eat at school? What has been a hit for you?


  1. My oldest daughter ate hot lunch approximately twice in preschool and vowed to never eat it again. She's in fourth grade now and coming up with original ideas is very hard! I send pasta salad with olives for something different (she doesn't eat sandwiches!), spaghettios in a thermos and sometimes make a frozen pizza and put a few slices in a baggie. I'm looking forward to reading other suggestions, because it's only September and I'm already bored with the lunches.

  2. My kids eat hot lunch once a week, pizza day. They will also eat hot lunch if I need them to when I get in a bind. My boys don't really get bored, but I try to mix it up a bit on the entree.

    Our Lunchbox:

    Chips or something crunchy
    Applesauce or mandarin oranges
    Dessert (pudding, cookie, leftover cake, etc)
    String cheese (if I have any)
    Drink (tea, milk, juice, kool-ade)

    Our Entree Options:

    Homemade lunchables (not good for you)
    Hot Dog w/bun
    Tomato Soup
    Mac n Cheese
    Hamburger w/bun
    Anything else that is in my fridge that they will eat...

  3. Will Pirate eat/drink soup? If he will, consider investing in an unbreakable Thermos or two. And, now with these wonderful new lunch boxes with ice packs...

    Probably some duplications from other comments here:

    -Tuna fish
    -egg salad
    -chicken salad
    The above on bread or not
    -bread and butter sandwiches
    -bread and jelly/jam sandwiches
    -any leftover meat - be sure to slice it into finger food (except maybe fried chicken or a hamburger patty)
    -homemade pizza
    -orange slices or segments or other fruit like you've been doing
    -slivers of raw vegetables with some ranch dressing for dipping
    -thin slices of cheese
    -dried fruit

    Takes some planning if you can't do peanut butter or other nuts. We often fixed certain dinners just so there'd be leftovers for the next day.

  4. My kids liked waffles, pancakes, English muffin pizza, eggncheese sandwiches, cereal( one brought this every day for weeks) you could send milk, or sometimes he would buy milk. to this day he eats a huge amount of Cheerios and he is 29!


    Makes me want to pack my lunch.

  6. Lisa, I feel your pain!
    My oldest didn't eat ANY kind of sandwich until she was in 4th grade. My youngest is now in 7th grade and STILL doesn't eat ANY kind of sandwich. Neither of my girls EVER liked peanut butter on a sandwich. NEVER. Drove me NUTS. Heh. ; )

    Now my high schooler eats turkey and tuna sandwiches, thank goodness. The first year she ate sandwiches it was turkey, lettuce and ranch dressing rolled up in a tortilla. A year later she branched out to whole wheat bread or rolls.

    My youngest is a tough one. I try to rotate her choices between the following:

    -hard boiled egg
    -deli ham, rolled up [she only eats one slice, though]
    -yogurt with a baggie of granola
    -whole wheat crackers
    -carrot + celery sticks with ranch dressing
    -cheese sticks
    -sliced cheese
    -soup in a termos
    -a cookie
    -homemade snack mix [cereal, pretzels, dried fruit]
    In every lunch:
    -milk [I buy the Horizon organic milk in the Tetra-Pak container so I don't worry about spoilage]

    Good luck! :)


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