What's For Lunch?

Perhaps one of the questions I dread more than "Hey mom, what's for dinner?" is the daily dilemma of what to pack my kids for lunch. With back to school in full swing I thought I would share some of the ideas I have stumbled on along the way and see if you have any go-to items of your own.

As I have mentioned, my kids are "selective" eaters. They eat a variety of foods, but are particular in how they are prepared and of course their palettes are polar opposite. That adds to my morning struggle.

Here is the list negotiated and aligned by my children and I for lunch items:
  • any form of bun, roll or bagel is preferred over bread
  • bread must be white but Smart White is permitted
  • peanut butter and jelly must be on a bun because bread gets mushy
  • turkey and cheese
  • pre-peeled hard boiled egg
  • cold left-over pizza
  • cold left-over chicken nuggets or tenders (yes they are eating nuggets again)
  • cold left-over grilled chicken pieces (Alex only)
  • cold left-over grilled steak/pork tenderloin pieces
  • salami roll-ups (Anna only)
  • yogurt (put in frozen and will thaw by lunch)
  • pudding
  • cottage cheese (Anna only)
  • cold left over mac-n-cheese (Anna only)
  • chicken patty on a bun (frozen will thaw by lunch)
  • cold left over grilled cheese (I make extra when I make them for this reason)
  • tuna
  • pickles (Anna only)
  • fruits: pre-sliced apples (love the big bag from Sam's), grapes, banana (Alex only), lemons (I know), melon
  • veggies: baby carrots, cucumber (Alex only), mushroom slices (Anna only), broccoli (raw-Anna, steamed-Alex)
  • nuts: almonds, cashews, pistachios
  • trail mix if there are limited quantities of dried fruit which will go in the garbage unless mistakenly eaten
  • granola bars
  • cereal bars
  • cheese sticks (Anna only)
  • dry cereal (desperate times call for creativity)
  • snack crackers, chips, pretzels (all kid approved, mom aligned on a limited basis)
  • cookies, treats, desserts (all kid approved, mom aligned on a limited basis)
If using a thermos for hot items:
  • soup (chicken noodle -both, tomato -Anna only)
  • ravioli
  • left over spaghetti (with sauce - Alex, plain noodles- Anna)
  • left over 3 way (Alex only)
  • spaghetti-o's (Anna only)
  • left over mac-n-cheese
Items removed from the approved list:
  • fruits that get mushy: strawberries, black berries, raspberries, anything too ripe
  • for awhile peanut butter & jelly until we aligned on the bun solution
  • anything on the approved list which they do not feel like or have decided they no longer like
A few additional tips
  • I invested in 2 sets of ice packs that way one is in the freezer and ready so when I do not get their lunchboxes until the next morning, I still have a cold one on hand
  • I find they are more likely to eat what is packed if they help pack it or at least have input on what goes in it
That's all I got. Please share any of your favorites. I am always looking to try new things.


JackJack said…
Applesauce is a big favorite here...and dinosaur cut-out sandwiches. Also, the PBK bento box is awesome---for all of us. Thanks for the tips! Always looking for new ideas :)
Greg said…
That is an extensive and very interesting list!

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