2 Weeks of School Lunch Ideas

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I’m a feeder by nature. When my family eats a healthy, nutritious meal, I’m at my happiest. When my children were younger, before school began, I had meals planned out from breakfast, to snacks, to lunch, to dinner. I knew exactly what they were eating when they were home.

Once school started, I struggled with what to pack for them. Would they eat enough? Would they be hungry all day? I knew they were both noshers and liked a little bit of everything they liked to eat. Through trial and error, I’ve tried many bento-style containers, our favorite being Planetbox.

With Planetbox, I’m able to give them the little bit of everything that they like. For a little guy, my son has a big appetite and I’m able to give him enough to fill him up. My daughter doesn’t like sandwiches and filling Planetbox allows me many lunch options. There are different style boxes, we have the Rover. The Rover comes with a big dipper and a little dipper. I fill the little dipper with spreadables (cream cheese, sunbutter, peanut butter, hummus), the big dipper with fruit, pasta salad, salsa.

Here are some ideas of what I like to pack:

- Crackers with a side of cream cheese, fruit, veggie sticks, a cookie
- Brown rice cake with a side of sunbutter, fruit, veggie sticks, a few chocolate chips
- Banana bread slice, organic yogurt squisher (Chobani or Trader Joes), apple slices, raisins
- Applegate ham with fresh mozzarella balls on a kabob, pita chips, hummus, pear slices, oatmeal cookies

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- Applegate turkey roll ups, baby bell cheese, pita chips, tomatoes, carrot slices, oatmeal cookies
- fruit kabob, PB&J sammy on quinoa bread, apple slices, grapes
- Applegate ham sammy on whole grain bread, veggie straws, banana chips, grapes
- Homemade oatmeal bites, fruit in big dipper, laughing cow cheese, pita chips
- Pasta salad, black bean and quinoa infused tortilla chips (Trader Joes) with salsa, fruit slices
- Whole grain wrap filled with shredded chicken and lettuce (PB&J, turkey and cheese, ham, BLT, cream cheese and jelly…whatever your child likes!)
- Pancakes…yes, pancakes! side of syrup, mango slices, pretzel sticks

I also use a thermos and pack:

- Soup
- Pasta with sauce and meatballs
- Aunt Annie’s mac 'n' cheese

A friend told me to fill a pot with water and boil the thermos before putting the food in. It works! My kids say the food is warm when they eat lunch 3 1/2 to 4 hours after packing.

lunch tips I use plastic drink stirrers like these for kebabs. They fit perfectly in the Planetbox!

If I decide not to use either Planetbox or the thermos, I sometimes pack a simple homemade muffin with a yogurt and a piece of fruit.

If you get the right container for your child, the possibilities can be endless. I actually enjoy packing their lunches using our containers!

 

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Picture of Tara Lotufo

Author: Tara Lotufo

Tara lives in New York with her husband David and children, Chloe and Max. Being a New Yorker can be difficult come winter, so Tara spends a lot of time in the kitchen with her kids, who have become her little sous chefs. They enjoy mixing and measuring, pouring and prepping, and eating! They’re her inspiration for creative meals and the reason she’s such a happy mommy. Tara blogs about food, cooking and all things delicious.

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