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Moms Talk: Brown Bagging it

What do you pack in your child's lunch box?

It is hard to believe the school year is here, and I am packing lunches once again. One of my favorite things about summer is not having to worry about "packing lunch" for 12 weeks.

On occasion my kids buy the hot lunch, but more often than not, I find myself making packed lunches. Both my kids have very different tastes when it comes to lunch. I have one child who could live on PBJ, while my other child is not a big fan of bread. I always tell my children that I am not a “short-order cook,” but I find myself catering to my children’s individual tastes when packing lunch. With the school year underway, I thought we all could benefit from some suggestions to spice up our children’s lunch boxes.

What are some tried and true lunch items?

What sort of containers do you use?

Are you more considered with healthy lunches or just ensuring you pack something your kids will eat?

What sort of beverages?

How many items do you pack in the lunch (Do you cover all the food groups?)

Does your child buy the hot lunch? How often?

Any suggestions for lunches that don’t require bread?

Does your child pack his/her own lunch? At what age can children pack their own lunches?

Amy Simmons September 12, 2011 at 01:38 PM
I swear by the Bento idea for kids' lunches. I, personally, use this one: www.laptoplunches.com. I've invested in some of their non-standard inserts, and have had to replace a few tops or bags here and there, but these boxes hold up. They allow me to give my kids several options at lunchtime. The website, itself, has tons of great ideas (with pictures in many cases!), and the boxes themselves come with an extensive idea book. I have one child who won't eat sandwiches, so this is perfect--she gets a mini-bagel, cream cheese to dip it in, some fruit pieces or veggie sticks, maybe some yogurt and a little container of maple syrup to stir into it. I've done some fun ideas like cutting bread or cheese or fruit slices into fun shapes for her (NOT on a daily basis--it's way too much work--but for an occasional surprise or treat), and I bought rice molds and hard boiled egg molds on Amazon (just search for Bento on Amazon and you find all sorts of neat ideas) because my daughter likes both of those, but now her eggs are shaped like a fish or a bunny or something equally fun, and I can make brown rice with a little melted cheddar in it once a week and mold it into stars or hearts and pop them in the lunch box during the week. This is a great way to make a homemade lunchable-type meal for your kids! I also do finger sandwiches or cracker sandwiches. My goal is to get some protein, carbs, and fruit into them in some shaper or form at lunch, and this makes that fun!
Brooklyn Lowery September 12, 2011 at 11:56 PM
@Amy. Can you come pack my lunch? This sounds like way too much fun.
Amy Simmons September 13, 2011 at 10:40 AM
Anytime! I'll admit...the first few times it feels like a LOT more work, but once you find a few ideas that go over well with your kids, you get a system down and it's no harder than packing a PB&J!
Jeanne Brown September 13, 2011 at 08:02 PM
wow you guys are way too creative and I'm sure my kids would rather have you pack their lunches than me. The best I get is a PB&J on goldfish bread. I sometimes do the make your own lunchables or pasta in a thermos, but that's about as gourmet as I get. Thanks for the inspiration!
Jenny Harding September 28, 2011 at 06:53 PM
Okay, I just remembered something I saw last year in my classroom. One of the kids always came in with great ideas in her lunch box. One of my favorites was putting cupcake tins in a tupperware and filling each one with something different; peas, ham, cheese, grapes, etc. Clever Mom!

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