Packin' Lunches

Even with an 8th grader I have almost never packed a lunch in all these years with 3 kiddos.  But with all the new government mandated school lunch regulations regarding portion sizes and food changes this school year, my kids have gone off cafeteria lunches cold turkey!

Well, that left me in a lurch and for a month straight my kids had the same lunch and I was irritated every morning.

I decided I really needed to put more thought and planning into this new project...lunch packing.

I talked to my boys, researched online, talked to friends and came up with a list of lunch ideas to work from so I had a game plan for shopping and planning each week.  I thought this would be a good place for me to share my ideas and ask you to share yours so I can add more variety to my list.

A few thermoses and plastic containers (with built-in ice packs, wheee!!) later, I have this list of lunch ideas:

*Lunch meat roll-ups
*Rotisserie chicken slices
*Chicken drumsticks
*Cooked and chilled chicken nuggets
*Buttered Noodles
*Mac & cheese
*Pepperoni roll
*Ham and cheese roll
*Cold pizza
*Cheese and crackers
*Hot dog in thermos
*Cold cereal
*Mini corn dogs
*Hard boiled eggs

For sides and snacks I made another list to refer to:

*gold fish
*mini toasts from the deli
*carrot coins
*apple slices with caramel sauce
*fruit cups
*dry cereal
*shelled peanuts
*apples rings with peanut butter

So, let me have your list of lunch ideas!  We can help each other make yummy lunches our kids will eat!


  1. I despised packing lunches for all those year's my boys' were in school. They refused to eat cafeteria lunches & working at the school, I can see why - I don't eat them often myself.
    So I'm sorry to say that I've been doing a happy dance for over 4 years now that I'm not having to figure out the lunch thingy every day.
    Have fun with that Jen..... :)

    1. I guess I can't complain, I got off easy all these years until now!

  2. I've been packing my son's lunch for the most part for the past two years. The school lunches last year were too small for my grade school kid and I can't imagine that trying to hold over a 5th grader or a high school kid. So I've been lucky enough that my kid is like his dad in that they both will eat the same thing every freaking day without complaint. I do try to vary the cracker / chip / pretzel bit with homemade Chex Mix, or the oyster cracker mix stuff. I usually eat it all when its right out of the oven though...the kid likes it when he's able to get some. :)


    1. I love the idea of the homemade Chex mix and I forgot about those oyster crackers!

  3. Our school lunches have gotten so much better over the last couple years. There are days I'd like to walk over to the school and get a lunch :) My daughter eats the hot lunch all but maybe a day or two a month. She makes her own lunch though, usually a ham/cheese sandwich, juice box, apple, and chips or pretzels.

    My son has Autism, and has eaten the exact same thing for lunch for the last 4 years: peanut butter sandwich, apple, juice box, snack size pringles. We tried to send in a different sandwich once, and his meltdown was so bad that I had to go pick him up because his day was ruined.

    Here's a site with a bazillion ideas though: http://michellesjournalcorner.blogspot.com/search/label/Muffin%20Tin%20Monday

    1. Thanks for the website! Our lunches have gotten so small they weren't filling the kids up. Only 2 oz. of protein allowed! So crazy!

  4. One of my boys likes the same thing, every day. Which is PB&J. (I know, so healthy!) But, my tip is to make a loaf or two worth of PB&J's, put them back in the bag with a square of wax paper between the sandwiches, and freeze them! I always have a PBJ ready to go this way. My other boy eats the PBJ like twice a week and is fine with it. His favorite non-PBJ is a Cucumber Sandwich! Cream cheese on both sides of bread, sprinkle with pepper and dried salad herbs, a layer of thin sliced cucumber-- pretty easy!

  5. Wow - this sounds like an impressive list of choices! My kids refuse cafeteria food and since it has gone up so much in price, I'm OK with it. However, THEY have to pack a lunch based on what I have packaged up and ready to go. lots of time that is fruit or veggies, cookies or puddings or yogurts, cheese...you get the idea. Our new fav thing is sammies made with those Hawaiian rolls and deli meat. I wrap in foil and freeze them so their lunch will stay cold a while. (My 11th grader doesn't eat until 2 p.m. Yikes.) At the end of the week, whatever fresh stuff is left usually travels to work with me in my lunch.

  6. Umm, your amazing. I think I will pin this so I can help my kids have better variety lunches! Thanks!

  7. my little guy always wants me to make him a lunch. friday is always cold pizza day but the rest of the week is a toss up. he likes: pita pockets with cream cheese and strawberries, salami and cheese rolls, buscuit sandwiches (for these i buy buttermilk buscuits and push them in a muffin pan and then fill with ham and cheese or sometimes i make a breakfast one with eggs.) chicken fingers and carrots with dip, quiche, and of course mac and cheese. hope that helps. this is tough some times:)

  8. Looks like you have it pretty well under control. Your choices look great! For younger kids my daughter always liked cold cuts cut out with a cookie cutter for a lunchable knock-off. :-)


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