Planning school lunches isn’t always easy. There is nothing more frustrating than to discover that the lunch you packed for your child went straight into the trash instead of their tummy. A typical brown bag lunch consists of a sandwich, a bag of chips, and an apple. It is so boring! And for kids like my Haylee, boring means one thing: not eaten. This year, make sure the meal you pack makes it into your child’s tummy with the following tips.
Tips for Planning School Lunches
Plan School Lunches Around Leftovers
If it was a winner for dinner, then you know it will be a winner for lunch. Leftover dinners like spaghetti and meatballs can be quartered. If you have grilled chicken, it can be shredded and added into a sandwich. Baked potatoes can be chopped up and served with a side of ranch for dipping. You can even use leftover pancakes and sausage to make one heck of a sandwich for lunch. With leftovers, your possibilities are endless.
- Southwest Turkey Wrap Recipe | Thrifty Jinxy
- Leftover Quesadillas | Mom’s Messy Miracles
- Turn taco Tuesdays into Nacho Wednesday for a quick and easy school lunch.
Make It Hot
My meal choices totally opened up when I bought a child size thermos to send hot items. I can heat up leftovers in the morning, place them in the thermos, and it is cool enough to eat by lunchtime. Soups are also a great choice, and the occasional Spaghetti-Os go over well with my kids.
- Chicken Nuggets
- Mac & Cheese
- Teriyaki Chicken and Rice | Today’s Creative Life
- Fried Rice | Teaspoon of Goodness
Or Make It Cold
If I don’t pack something hot, I like to keep everything inside the lunch box cold. This allows me to send yogurt, milk, fresh fruit, salads, and cold pasta dishes. On cold lunch days, I use a freezable lunch box. Its gel-lined walls will chill a meal and a 12-oz drink for up to 10 hours without me having to worry about ice packs!
- Simple Fruit Salad
- Create your own “Lunchables” using ritz crackers, cheese, and meat slices or cubed chicken.
- Make a bagel or pita kit with fixings that they can add.
Incorporate School Lunches in Your Weekly Meal Plan
I typically plan out all our meals using a weekly meal planner. Planning lunch for me at home and lunch for the kids at school has been a bit of a struggle. Now I make sure to include “school lunches” in my monthly meal plan. I buy drinks, pantry snacks, and canned goods at the beginning of the month and shop for dairy, fresh fruits, and other perishables on the weekend for the entire week.
All-natural foods such as carrots, raspberries, blueberries, tomatoes, and strawberries pack the most color into a lunch box and really add that “wow” factor. Provide kids with something to dip that colorful food in. When I provide something the kids can dip in, it almost always guarantees that my Haylee will gobble it all up.