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School lunch & lunchbox ideas for a kindergartener?

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by skateycat, Aug 22, 2011.

  1. skateycat

    skateycat Minecraft Widow

    Little skateycat starts kindergarten next week, and it is a very exciting time!

    The school lunches do not look awesome, unlike the ones at his preschool. So, most days we are going to send him with a lunch.

    So - we will be shopping for a lunchbox of some sort. The only restriction is that it must not have superheroes or other representations of popular culture.

    I am also looking for good ideas for lunches. What keeps well with maybe just a little ice pack?
  2. Cupid

    Cupid Well-Known Member

    I used to freeze juice boxes and put those in the lunch box instead of an icepack. I would make sure I ran it under water warm water a little so it would not still be frozen at lunchtime.

    My kids loved peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat bread with the crusts trimmed off, a seasonal fruit (whole apple in the fall, banana sliced in half but not peeled, or a seedless Clementine in the winter), and a tiny mini-chocolate bar/cookie for dessert, with a couple of paper napkins. I would roll up the juice box in one of the napkins.

    God, I miss those day!:)
  3. LisaS

    LisaS Member

    How long ago were you able to send Peanut Butter to school? I thought most schools outlawed it eons ago?
  4. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

    If you go to a school that no longer allows peanut butter, one of my favorite sandwiches in grade school was cream cheese and jelly. I also liked to get a piece of bread cut up into squares with mustard and peperoni.

    Always got an apple cut into wedges (cut fruit is key to getting kids to eat it. So many schools serve whole fruit and it gets thrown away, when they serve cut fruit, it gets eaten. I imagine the same for packed lunches.)

    I liked carrots with ranch dressing too.

    My Mom also did the frozen juice box- but check when your kid eats lunch. Some are absurdly early (I've seen as early as 10), and there won't be time to unfreeze. Leave one out on the counter in the chosen lunchbox on a weekend to "test" how long it takes to unfreeze. If there isn't time to unfreeze, my Mom would send a thermos.

    Always got a cookie. Maybe a pre-packaged snack. Since I was bringing a lunchbox that I had to remember anyway, my Mom would give me a cloth napkin that had to come home. If you do a paperbag that is thrown away, give a paper napkin.

    It may be tough to find a non-pop culture lunchbox designed for kids, but it shouldn't be too hard to find one for adults. Both my husband and I bring lunchboxes to work, they are just insulated bags with compartments.

    I'm also a big fan of reusable containers rather than plastic bags, but make sure your child can open them by themselves- there isn't always someone to help.
  5. Twizzler

    Twizzler Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately, more and more schools are becoming nut-free because of high numbers of kids with allergies.

    How about yogurt, string cheese, crackers, fruit, other kinds of sandwiches, pasta salads?

    Enjoy this time! Very exciting!!!
  6. Twizzler

    Twizzler Well-Known Member

    Target generally has a large selection of lunch boxes/thermoses.
  7. Grannyfan

    Grannyfan Active Member

    I remember being almost as happy when my kids quit carrying their lunches to school as when they were out of diapers. Most of their lunch boxes were metal, the thermos would leak, the leftovers were soggy, and things got very smelly and eventually rusty. But it was fun at first. :) And I do see lots of cute lunchboxes these days. Shouldn't be hard to find one for your kindergartner.

    Wishing you both a happy year!
  8. Flatfoote

    Flatfoote Active Member

    Lunch boxes can't have super heroes or popular culture? Why? If not those, then what's left to decorate a lunch box with?
  9. allezfred

    allezfred Master/Mistress of Sneer Staff Member

  10. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

  11. DarrellH

    DarrellH New Member

    Get a plain one, and let it be a craft project for you and your child to decorate it. Paints, stickers, and even pictures of family and friends (2 and 4 legged ones), things that can be glued on. Or, add a clear piece of plastic to the top of the box, leave one side open, so that pictures, notes, or drawings can be placed in, and changed out as needed.
  12. LilJen

    LilJen Reaching out with my hand sensitively

    I'm also a fan of reusable, but as Skittl mentions, kids might not always have help opening plasticware. Big fan of healthy here, too, and we allow dd to have school lunch just once a week, because despite the school's attempts to make healthier food, most of it just.plain.isn't.healthy.

    applesauce (well, okay, these two can be messy for a kindergartener, depending on your kid)
    cheese sticks or slices
    PB&J is always great
    any kind of fruit
    fruit leather
    slices of pepperoni or ham
    any kind of nuts--peanuts, almonds, walnuts, etc.
  13. allezfred

    allezfred Master/Mistress of Sneer Staff Member

    What's fruit leather? :shuffle:
  14. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado

    I've discussed this topic here a few times and definitely plan to cut up the fruit for Mini Ice and toss it in lemon juice to prevent browning.

    He likes cheese and wholewheat bread sandwiches, carrots, yogurt so these will be the staple. Lately he's been trying new foods so I am hoping to expand his palate. He likes omelets so may be I could put an omelet between two slices of toast.

    I am a bit hesitant to send meat to school, worried that it will spoil.
  15. mag

    mag Well-Known Member

    It was originally dried fruit that was rolled and packaged in a flat package. Unfortunately now it is often fruit juice, high fructose corn syrup, and other stuff put together and called fruit. They are a great snack as long as you are careful and read the label. So much of it is really just candy.

    My kids eat left overs for lunch. Pasta (spaghetti and meat sauce, macaroni and cheese, tortellini with pesto sauce, etc) in a thermos. They also like apple cut up with a bit of lemon juice and cinnamon to keep it from going brown. One child won't eat sandwiches so she packs everything separately in plastic boxes (chicken breast, cheese, tomatoes etc.) I have now convinced her not to take the bread because she would never eat it and it would come home soggy - a real waste. They both eat chicken wraps. We make them with left over chicken breasts, rice, lettuce, ranch dressing, all in a tortilla.

    My kids usually do their own lunches now, but when they were younger I would often write them a note on their paper napkin. Just something like "hope you're having a great day, love mom" can be a nice pick me up if your child is having a tough day.
  16. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

    Dehydrated flat fruit.

    A fruit roll up without all the added sugar.
  17. skatemommy

    skatemommy Well-Known Member

    Fruit roll-ups, which are dried fruit that is colored and packaged individually.
  18. Ajax

    Ajax Well-Known Member

    Check out this site:
    It's based on the tradition of Japanese lunchboxes but contains a ton of interesting ideas that can also be adapted to Western tastes.
    Also, if I may get on my soapbox for a moment: Please don't send your kids to school with sugar bombs like juice boxes, cookies or cream cheese and jelly sandwiches. That stuff is NOT healthy! Kids need protein and vitamins from fruits and veggies for proper growth, not a buttload of sugar carbs!
    Getting off my soapbox now. Sorry if I offended anyone but childhood nutrition is a topic that I'm very passionate about.
    IceAlisa and (deleted member) like this.
  19. skateycat

    skateycat Minecraft Widow

    The "no pop culture" guideline comes out of a desire to keep things more even for haves and have nots, to let kids be kids for as long as possible, to teach them a little discernment when it comes to advertising directed at kids, and to let them figure out who they are rather than copying what is most popular.

    We are in a crunchy granola corner of northwest California. It will be interesting to see how this works in real life. :)

    As for what I'd decorate it with, it depends. If it has a microfiber surface, then probably nothing. If it's a hard plastic shell, then probably the stickers and decals we ask family to bring us back from trips instead of space-taking dust collecting souvenirs.
  20. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

    :rolleyes: Because the Snoopy lunchbox I got in first grade left me unable to see advertising with discernment or to develop a sense of self and certainly marked the end of my childhood.

    Seriously, I think adults sometimes over-analyze these things.
    Rob and (deleted member) like this.
  21. dbell1

    dbell1 Well-Known Member

    When my son started KG, he refused to eat school lunches and wasn't a fan of sandwiches (that's now changed big time). :lol: What saved me was buying a thermos and making spaghettios every morning (or reheated leftover dinner). Middle school lunch lines were so hectic & long that he wound up packing sandwiches every day. Now he's addicted to the high school chicken sandwiches. I miss the spaghettios days. :lol:
  22. acraven

    acraven Well-Known Member

    Thinking about the portable snacks I take to skating events:

    An adventurous child might like hummos with whole wheat pita, carrots, or some other veggie for dipping.

    You could try freezing yogurt (child's favorite types) and see whether the consistency is OK when it defrosts. I suspect this varies by flavor and brand.

    Shelled hardboiled egg.

    Cottage cheese and cut-up fruit.

    I liked pimento cheese sandwiches as a child, but that's probably because southern kids tend to get exposed to pimento cheese very early.

    Small homemade, low-sugar muffins would be a nice treat.
  23. manleywoman

    manleywoman podcast mistress

  24. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado

    I will also add hardboiled egg, carrots and corn to his bento box choices. I think I will make a list of Mini Ice-approved foods and hang it on the fridge, with hopes that the list will keep growing.
  25. Prancer

    Prancer Strong and stable Staff Member

    What does your child eat at home? That's pretty much what you should pack. Keep an eye on how much your child eats at home, too, because most parents pack too much for lunches and a lot of food goes to waste.

    Kindergartners usually like assorted nibbles instead of sandwiches (but it does depend on the kindergartner). Definitely go with cut up fruit instead of whole, and little fruits like grapes and mandarin orange slices, and sliced up veggies with or without dip. Think in terms of very, very simple eating--finger foods are good; the more utensil use and unpacking that is required, the less likely it is the food will be eaten. One of the things my kids really liked when they were little was pretzel kabobs--little cubes of cheese or meat or both stuck on pretzel sticks. I'd skewer the cubes first to keep the pretzel from snapping. They still like these even now.

    My daughter loved tortilla rollups and half wraps (a whole one was always too much) instead of sandwiches. My son liked half sandwiches better.

    One way around that issue is to freeze sandwiches. When my kids were in elementary school, their lunches would get so warm that peanut butter would melt, so I froze peanut butter sandwiches for them. That works out well as long as the sandwiches thaw by lunch. I always fretted about meat because of that and would pack frozen meat or frozen everything else.

    That was one of the reason I loved those laptop lunchboxes--I could fill that net in the top with freezer gel packs and that would keep everything cold enough until lunch. Other lunchboxes all had the net, too, but I could put two in the laptop lunchbox and they would sit flat on top if the shallow box instead of being somewhere in the general vicinity of the lunch, and so everything actually stayed cold.

    Since you have one, though, be wary of that drink bottle--ours leaked. I just left them out and had the kids buy milk.
  26. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

    "Chicken" nuggets that are made from Tofu. They're really good. Just don't tell the kids that they're tofu though, LOL.

    Baby carrots.
    A handful of raw almonds.
    Maybe a box of raisins also.
  27. Bev Johnston

    Bev Johnston Well-Known Member

    Maybe I'm a bad parent, but my son has always taken turkey and cheese sandwiches for lunch. He is a junior in high school, still takes a lunch every day, and has yet to get sick from taking meat to school.

    Another thing to consider when it comes to quantity is how long their lunch period lasts. Lunch time at my kids' school was only 15 minutes. Because of this, my kids always wanted to bring lunch, otherwise they wasted a lot of time standing in line. They also requested that I not pack certain things, such as whole apples or unpeeled oranges, because they simply did not have the time to eat them.
  28. Habs

    Habs Well-Known Member

    My mom left notes in our lunches too... I loved it!
  29. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado

    I wouldn't feed tofu regularly.
  30. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

    I saw a thing today about writing a note on a banana peel...just lightly into the skin, not to the fruit. It will brown by lunch and show up.readable.