we are in our second full week of school and I have been having fun meal planning my girls’ lunch box ideas for the last week or so. my dietitian brain starts working and I push the limits to see what combinations my girls will actually eat when I send it. its among the first two questions I ask when they get in the car after school..
“how was your day??! did you eat your lunch??”
when meal planning for the girls I always send things they have tried before (at home with me) and I tend to include them when I am making their lunches. I make lunches in the morning while they are eating breakfast so I can talk through what I’m packing so they aren’t completely surprised when they open up their boxes at lunch. they know what to expect! the one condition they requested for ALL their lunches is for me to include fruit snacks 🙂
the girls have been using bento boxes from Stuck on You and we also have the bento cooler bags that fit these boxes specifically. I keep their lunches cool with ice packs- the bottom of the Stuck on You lunch box has a zipper pouch to fit your own slim freezer pack. I got a set of 4 ice packs on amazon HERE.
- plain hummus, baby carrots, naan dippers, blueberries, yogurt drink
- chicken salad (mayo + canned chicken), raspberries, pretzel sticks, snap peas, cheese cubes
- honeydew melon, hard-boiled egg x 2, cottage cheese, pretzel sticks
- sliced apples, grilled chicken, peach greek yogurt, string cheese
- buttered noodles (macaroni noodles + butter), grapes, rotisserie chicken, yogurt drink, snap pea crisps
- deli turkey, bell pepper strips, strawberry greek yogurt, strawberries, ranch dressing
- naan, clementines, rotisserie chicken, sliced zucchini, plain hummus
- turkey pepperoni, baby carrots, palmier cookie, popcorn, yogurt drink
- corn tortilla, chicken meatballs, cucumber slices, baby carrots, cantaloupe
- corn chips, salsa, grilled chicken, shredded mozzarella, guacamole
- clementines, deli turkey, applesauce pouch, cheddar puffs (baked cheetos)
- dry roasted almonds, raisins, string cheese, rice cakes, sliced apples
- graham crackers + peanut butter stacks, greek yogurt, strawberries, crackers
- deli turkey, saltine crackers, string cheese, sliced sweet pepper, raspberries
- chicken burger patty, black bean hummus, corn tortilla, sliced zucchini + squash
- protein waffle + almond butter sandwich (Van’s frozen brand), greek yogurt, cottage cheese, clementines
- quinoa pasta salad (quinoa pasta, corn, peas, red pepper, Italian dressing), baby carrots, celery, pineapple
- turkey + cheese on hawaiian roll, baked chips, strawberries, celery sticks
- peanut butter, nilla wafers, applesauce pouch, raisins + almonds
- snap peas, chicken burger patty, ranch dressing, fruit leather, baked goldfish crackers
- turkey and cheese roll ups, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, ranch dressing, baked chips
- grilled cheese, blackberries, snap peas, yogurt drink, pretzel sticks
- chicken meatballs, corn tortilla, shredded mozzarella, shelled edamame
- peanut butter, sliced apples, pretzels, celery sticks, yogurt drink, string cheese
- grilled chicken, cheese cubes, crackers, sliced cucumber, carrots, ranch dressing
as far as what brand items I buy- I usually buy boar’s head turkey pepperoni and deli meat and stick to our grocery store brand cheese! I buy Danimals (yogurt drink) in bulk at Costco. the chicken burgers and chicken meatballs also come from Costco- my girls LOVE them and I usually each something similar for lunch, too! canned chicken is Costco brand (another bulk purchase option because Jordan and I eat this often, too!) the naan dippers I can find in the bakery section of my grocery store. fruit snacks come in a big box from Costco- its the Mott’s brand.
This post is forever my holy grail. I NEVER know what to pack for school lunches. Love the detail in this, thank you!
Love this post! My 10 year old is a picky eater, and so hard to pack a lunch for. This box would be great for him, he’d like more options, and less of one big item! Thanks!
Mine also always ask for the gummies for dessert! =D
Thanks for all of the great ideas. For the stuff that starts out frozen (e.g. chicken meatballs) – are you warming them up in the morning or do you just let them thaw out in the lunchbox?
Hey Erin! The meatballs we buy are refrigerated and I warm them in the morning before school.
Love these ideas! I was wondering if you have any tricks to keep apple slices from going brown?
Hey Kristina! The lunchbox seals pretty tight and doesnt let the air get to them, but if you have trouble you could sprinkle a little lemon juice on them.
I am living for this!!!!! My Parker just started kindergarten and she’s having a heck of a time with lunch. I try to have her help me choose the things she wants and then pack her lunch herself but sometimes it’s meltdown mode if I add something she’s not too keen on.
Thanks so much for the awesome lunch ideas!! Huge help! Does your bento box keep the warmed meatballs warm and the rest of the sections cold at the same time?
Hey Amanda! The meatballs are eaten chilled, like chicken on a salad. My girls don’t mind it as we eat chicken on salad a couple times a week! so its a great option for them at lunch!
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