School lunches can be hard to figure out. When it comes to school lunch ideas I have done it all from buying sandwiches, to cooking full meals and putting them in a thermos. The tricky part is that my kids tend to get over certain foods really fast and I can understand that because I am honestly the same way. Today I am sharing 5 delicious school lunch ideas for kids that will satisfy even the most picky eater.
Personally, I was the worst picky eater in elementary school. My mom used to give me a dollar a day and that would buy me a slice of pizza and a drink. Those days are long gone, and kids in elementary school can simply no longer go out on their own for lunch. We as parents have to make sure that we provide awesome, nutritious and most importantly lunches that they love to eat. Today I’m give you some options as well as talking chatting all of the school lunch options you have at your disposal this school year.
What type of school lunch should you send?
It’s really about finding a happy medium between something you can manage to prepare and something that your kids really like. It can be so frustrating when your kid comes home and lets you know in no uncertain terms that they didn’t like lunch so they didn’t eat. Trust me, it’s happened to me many times.
Makes sure you have a discussion about what they might like, SHOW them how their lunch would look and make sure they are excited about it.
Get the school lunch menu
I learned really quickly with my sons that they will choose school lunch over the lunch that I send them if the school lunch looks more appealing. This was a pain point for me because I’d spend time making them lunch, just for them to not eat it, or for them to eat the lunch I prepared PLUS a second lunch from the school.
I make sure to print the school lunch meals every month so that we can mark off the days they will eat lunch at school and the days that I’d send lunch with them. This system worked brilliantly during the school year and there were no surprises.
Give kids authority on lunch ideas
I save a lot of lunch ideas to my school lunch Pinterest board and I let the kids navigate what looks appealing to them. Sometimes they even give me ideas about what they see their friends eat–some of the options are terrible but it’s good to hear them nonetheless.
I let them scroll my board and make notes of what they like and don’t like. It makes the guessing game a lot easier and I can tweak the ideas to something that is easy for me.
Invest in a high quality Thermos
My eldest child was very nervous about eating school lunch in a new school last year so he asked me to send hot lunch with him everyday. Some days I made this beef a roni recipe and some day I made him stew chicken with rice and peas. Once he got more comfortable with eating lunch at school I started freezing cooked options for him to take to school so I could grab and microwave in the morning in a pinch.
Having a thermos around definitely increases the options for school lunch ideas. Just make sure you have a back up, because my son has absolutely left the thermos at school more than once! This the one that we have, and I made sure to put a big label on it so no one else accidentally goes home with it!
When in a pinch go to the deli
There have been many times when we have stopped at the bodega on the way to school. We can get a sandwich made and use half for one day and half for the other. Or even better, when I know I don’t have any lunch options in the fridgeI ask my husband to buy a sandwich on the way home.
5 Delicious School Lunch Ideas
Lunches can be just as fun as they are yummy. Here are 5 delicious lunches that kids will be begging for. The best part about these options is that you can interchange ideas and keep it new and fresh every week!
Don’t forget to adjust the portions to the appetite of your child. I know my son eats more than I do for example so I’d have to pack accordingly to make sure he still isn’t hungry when he is finished!
- Cereal, string cheese, fruit salad. Need a fast lunch to pack? Pour in your child’s favorite cereal and grab some fruit salad and a cheese stick. Tada! Kids will be happy and you will be too! If your child needs a special milk or you don’t want them to buy one, you can pack your milk separate in a thermos.
- Club pinwheels, gold fish, caramel apples. To make a club pinwheel, on a tortilla layer on turkey, ham, cheese and bacon. If your child likes mayo or mustard you can add those too! Roll the tortilla tightly and slice. Secure with pretzel sticks. This makes the pinwheels super fun or kids to eat! Also add goldfish, apple slices and a caramel sauce for a delicious lunch.
- Pizza bagel, applesauce, grapes. Bagels make a great ‘deep dish’ pizza for lunches. They make for easy lunches to make and delicious lunches to eat!
- Tuna salad, cheese cubes, crackers, celery sticks, carrots. This protein style box is full of finger foods for kids to dunk, grab and munch. Many schools have things like ranch available for kids, but if your child’s school doesn’t, these containers are perfect. The Sistema lunch boxes are truly my favorite.
- Hard boiled egg, cottage cheese, applesauce, pretzel. This lunch is all of my son’s favorite foods! Moms will love that it is healthy and easy to pack. Kids will love how yummy it all is.