Thursday, September 29, 2011

beyond pb&j

School lunch. 

The second hardest part of sending the boy to school each day (the first being that we MISS him!!), is the fact that I am not there when he eats lunch--I feel like I am sloooooowly loosing control.

At home I know exactly what my kids are eating, and call me a control freak, but I like it that way.

I have had a hard time trying to come up with new ideas for lunches each day.....we use lunch time at home to eat up a lot of dinner leftovers, most of which are hard to send in a lunch box.

My goal is to keep the boy's school lunch healthy, filling, with some "cool" stuff in there too, 
so he's only 85% weird:)

Here are a few of the things that we have tried out so far:

-pb&j of course! Unless your school is one of the few that can't have peanut butter.....I would die. 
We love pb over here, but there's also the option of almond butter.
-turkey/ham/tuna sandwich 
-turkey+cheese+spinach+ranch/hummus rolled up in a tortilla
-yesterday's tabouleh recipe
-cold pizza
-tortellini (or any kind of pasta)+tomatoes+mozzarella cheese+spinach+zucchini+a little bit of your favorite vinaigrette

-peas/carrots/cherry tomatoes + hummus
-cheese + crackers
-fruit.....whatever we have around
-hard boiled egg
-veggie chips

-fruit leather
-dried fruit
-a cookie! (when I make cookies I keep the extras in the freezer so I can send them away with my family instead of eating them all)
-yogurt. or "Gogurt" if I'm feeling like a cool mom. I have found organic options that are just regular yogurt in a tube, rather than crazy dyed and syrup laden slop.
-clif Z bars 

I mostly send milk money-- he gets to have chocolate milk on Fridays, and some days he gets a 100% juice, juice box.

I would LOVE to hear what you are packing in your lunches.....we would like to increase our options!

What are YOU eating?


Lyndsey Crose said...

When I read this post, I automatically thought of this. Thought you might find it


It is awesome to see.. Definitely take a look!

Anonymous said...

my younger son is allergic to both peanuts AND almonds, so nut butters are out. (SAD. i LOVE PB!!) and neither of my kids are big on meats of any sort, so i don't really make sandwiches much. it makes their lunches interesting...

here are some things we do-
Main: pasta with parmesan, cheese sandwich, mini pizzas, waffles, cheese and crackers, quesadillas.

sides: raw veggies, fruit, tri-color "veggie" chips (from trader joe's), raisins, etc

drink - i always send a 100% juice box.

i usually don't send dessert, and for my kinder-kid, they get a snack as well. that's goldfish, a string cheese and water.

i'll be lurking for more ideas!! :)

Burk Family said...

PB&J would be a blessing but unfortunately, Carter doesn't like them. It's SUCH an inconvenience! He loves chicken salad sandwiches so I'll make a batch of them one night (usually sunday) and throw the 1/2s in snack ziplocks and chuck 'em in the freezer. Just pull them out in the morning and they're good to go! Frozen pizza works, too. Pigs in a blanket is something we tried this week. I also found individual peanut butter tubs at the store so I'll send celery or apple slices with some pb and he loves that. Thanks for the great ideas!!

Shannon said...

Good ideas! I forgot about popcorn. Weston so far has wanted pretty much the same thing every day. He gets half a turkey and cheese sandwich plain (he doesn't like mayo or mustard), fruit or a gogurt, and some kind of treat (whatever we have in the house/I have baked) with a 100% juice juice box. He has bought school lunch a couple of times, but he always comes home and says he likes the lunches I make for him better. Yay! Some days he wants a snack for at recess so I usually give him wheat thins or veggie chips. I am finding school lunches easier than I imagined. We'll see if Weston gets bored with them by June.

Natalie said...

My older kids love PB&J everyday. However, my littlest doesn't like she keeps me on my toes. Her favorite lately has been a couple of wedges of Laughing Cow rf cheese and a handful of multigrain crackers with a side of fresh fruit or veggie. Usually grapes or baby carrots. For snacks I like to pack Smart Pop or Pirates Booty in a ziploc baggie.

Margaret said...

My revelation with this whole packing-a-school-lunch thing? I've gotten my PreK girl a little wide-mouth Thermos. Just this morning I warmed up some spaghetti leftovers, cut it all up and put it into the Thermos still steaming. It'll still be nice and warm for her at lunch :) Many leftover dinners will work.

Ang said...

we eat mostly the same as what you've mentioned... here are a couple our our faves that might mix your routine up a bit:


mashed up avocado/guac + beans spread on toast or in a wrap with cheese and S+P ...sometimes i add veggies like carrots or bean sprouts to add some texture

veggie wrap: hummus + bean sprouts + cilantro + shredded carrots + a squirt or two of lemon or lime juice. sprinkle with S+P and wrap up in lettuce or a tortilla


homemade trail mix: a hand full of almonds + about a tbsp each of dark chocolate chips & dried fruit (usually raisins, blueberries, craisins, etc)

air popped popcorn

p.s. when you freeze your cookies, are you talking cookie dough or actually post-baked cookie? (and if it's the latter, do you need to thaw it out beforehand or does it thaw by lunch?)

Brinn said...

my little guy doesn't like sandwiches which makes things a bit more difficult. He will, however eat a pepperoni (nitrate free) sandwich so that is progress.
I usually grill up some turkey burgers or leftover soup in a thermos works great. I also put leftover quinoa or rice in the thermos, that seems to work really well. Cold pizza seems to be his favorite though!

Carey said...

First time reader- found you on tastespotting. I'm glad I'm not the only mom who doesn't want to send junk food for lunch! These are great ideas! I like to send tuna salad sometimes. I always send either carrots or cherry tomatoes as a side, along with pretzels, peanut butter crackers, or sometimes baked chips. Always a water bottle. I've tried warming up leftovers and putting them in a thermos, but they don't seem to stay warm. :(

shutterbean said...

sunflower seed butter!
have you boarded that train? It's awesome and totally addictive aaaaaaand good for kids with nut allergies since they're seeds, not nuts!

thanks for this- My son Cooper is in preschool right now and JUST this morning I was feeling like I've been in somewhat of a lunch rut with him.

I usually pack him some type of trailmix (He helps me mix them from what we have left in the pantry)

pretzels, a jam & cream cheese sandwich (or turkey & mustard), applesauce or yogurt, a banana and some red pepper slices.

I always make sure I hide a Z bar in my purse when we're out & about.

Thanks for the tips!

Lana said...

I second the Sunbutter (sunflower seed butter) recommendation in lieu of PB. My little guy has a peanut/nut allergy and LOOOOVES this stuff. It is amazing... even if you don't need to avoid nuts.

Tracy said...

Love the frozen cookie idea! I think I'll start the wide-mouth thermos thing too.

No nuts allowed at our school, so it's usually sunbutter or cream cheese and jelly. My kids also love hummus (chickpea dip) - either in a sandwich, or with veggies and pretzels for dipping. Cold pasta/quinoa/cous cous salads seem to keep well. Home-made trail mixes (granola, raisins, banana chips, cereal) are a pretty big hit in our house too. :)

Happy packing, everyone!

Kimmie said...

I love that there are other moms like me! It is hard sending your kids to school when they eat MUCH different (in a good way), then everyone else.

What I feel SO grateful for, is having kids that are NOT picky eaters and that joyfully eat whatever they are fixed. The other day it was a hectic morning and I was only going to have time to make a batch of Buttermilk Biscuits from scratch and send it as a Tuna was either eat that, OR, the option of school son was thrilled to take the Tuna Biscuit sandwich! He would much rather take a lunch from home than eat school lunch.

My son will never have a "gusher" either. A few years ago, he came home and told me about the coolest thing his friend had in his lunch "pudding snack pack". SO, I ventured out and made my own pudding from scratch and bought 4 oz. containers to put the pudding in so he could feel "cool" like the other kids.

I have sent a container with granola cereal and filled a drink container with milk and he has taken that for lunch and LOVED it.

I also make a variety of muffins and freeze them and then if we don't have leftovers or sandwich fixins', I pull out a muffin from the freezer throw in some carrots sticks, apple, and either a boiled egg, OR, cheese stick and they have a great lunch.

I bought the "Powerade" individual drink containers and I keep recycling them for a drink. I send them with the container filled with water and an "Emergen-C" packet and that is what they have to drink and they love it and it isn't too sugar laden, but it gives them a boost of Vitamin C.

Love seeing everyone's ideas!

Kimmie said...

Sorry to comment again, but any kind of SALAD is always a welcome lunch to my kiddos! Whether it be Potato Salad, Pasta Salad, some kind of a yummy green salad...those are always a big hit!

My kiddos also enjoy homemade Crab Dip, or homemade Smoked Salmon and Artichoke heart dip, with some homemade Artisan Bread to put it on. (I don't buy lunch meat and so turkey or ham sandwiches are never an option for my kids).

The sky is the limit to what yummy things you can put in kids/adults lunches. I have even taken leftover pancakes and made "peanut butter and jam PANCAKE sandwiches". Funny that you posted this as I have been taking photos in preparation of a "Think outside the Lunch Box" post that I am going to be doing in the next week or so. I swear you and I truly think so much alike. I read your posts and we say so many things in the similar ways (only you have SUCH a better way with words than I do).

Anywho, you inspire us greatly...keep up being the wonderful person that you are. It truly is a JOY to visit your blog! Have a great day!

PS...a fun snack I send that is always a hit, are "peanut butter energy balls" which are made out of raw honey, peanut butter and dry milk powder. They give great energy and the kids really love them. (here is a link:

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