You need a good lunchbox, one that works well with YOUR system. I like to use lunchboxes with a divider in the middle so you can separate elements in the one box. Make sure you can fit a small cooler block into the lunchbox bag for the rest of the summertime (a frozen juice box or water bottle serves this purpose too). A lot of people like to use a series of containers, as I mentioned, whatever works within your system.
- Sandwiches are a timeless classic, for ideas check my sandwich fillings page. There are also great options for non-bread sandwiches such as rolls, wraps, rice or corn thins, pita and Lebanese breads.
- Vegetables such as thinly sliced carrot and cucumber are winners for my kids, maybe your kids like tomato, avocado (can be a messy one), corn on the cob boiled the night before, or even a kid-friendly salad.
- Protein Snacks like cheese slices, ham (or other cold meat) slices, pieces of chicken, a meatball or rissole, small tub of tuna (don’t forget a fork if needed), hard boiled eggs, tofu cubes, and bean/pea/seed mixes. If adding nuts, be wary of the ever present allergy situation.
- Morning Tea should be fruit, it’s a good sugar boost to get through the morning. Add a plain biscuit if a piece of fruit isn’t enough.
- Leftovers can be used if easy enough to eat with fingers or a spoon.
Things to Avoid:
- I hate food coming back to me, so I never overload the packed lunch. I know none of us want the kids to starve, but overdoing it is not a good habit to get into. You know your kids best, you know what they will eat. And keep in mind for the first few days they might not eat much if too excited.
- Avoid trying to make something new everyday. Kids aren’t as bothered about variety as adults are, so as long as it’s healthy, you know you’re doing the right thing. And there’s no need to add extra stress in the mornings.
- Messy foods are just asking for trouble – and dirty uniforms, so to keep the kiddies as ‘school tidy’ as possible give them less-mess foods.
- To avoid stress, some things can be prepared the night before. I am generally unmovable on the couch at the end of the evening, so it’s not something I can report on.
Keep it healthy guys. Fruit for morning tea, wholesome food for lunchtime. Let’s stamp out childhood obesity right here right now! Also the bonus of this is when they come home, you can bribe them with a sweet biscuit or other treat in return for a report on the events of the day.
Bubblers (water coolers) can be a novelty for kids, and I am often left wondering if my child has had anything to drink at all during the day because their water bottle has come back full. So ask your child to drink at least a half of the bottle so that we know they are keeping hydrated.
In stating the obvious, stick to what you KNOW the kids will eat. Don’t try any experiments on school days, we don’t want kids to come back starving because of a failed new food.