Wanted: Ideas for school lunches

Wanted: Ideas for school lunches

It’s the end of the year and I have no clue what to pack my kids for lunch. I’ve spent nine months trying to send them to school with exciting homemade lunches and now I’ve run out of ideas.

Early in the year, I started out with thrilling plans to pack cute lunches in bento boxes. Parenting magazines make it look fun and easy. Sure, with all the allergy and dietary restrictions it seemed challenging at first, but I got the hang of things.

I packed pasta and meatballs in a thermos. I sent them to school with yogurt and nut-free granola some days, chicken and rice on others.

In addition to packing delicious lunches and snacks in shiny new lunch bags, I’d even enclose a note for my boys. “I love you! Have a good day!”

Now, their lunch bags are mucked up with remnants from yogurt tubes and apple sauce containers that somehow exploded in their lunch bags throughout the day. I’ve scrubbed and scrubbed and finally gave up. They’ve been eating a bagel and cream cheese every day for several weeks at least and most of their lunch containers are broken. I’d replace them but it’s the end of the year and I’m uninspired—there are no enticing sales or parenting articles to motivate me.

The school’s twice-monthly pizza lunch has become my saving grace as far as variety goes. I’ve started to order more and more from the Lunch Lady’s hot lunch program. My kids are pretty excited about that, but I feel guilty. Now there are only a handful of weeks left and I’d like to get back into the swing of things.

Does anyone have any ideas I can try? Are you feeling like you’re in a rut too?


Reply to

    Yes that's funny you post this because I have been feeling the same way. Neat packed lunches with  sweet notes back in Sept til maybe Jan/Feb. And now I'm trying to throw together what I can in the 5min I have to get lunches together. I had a loaf of bread that was squashed under some fruit that I still managed to put some ham in between and send it packed in a lunch container. I too look forward to those hot lunch orders. How many more weeks for this until Sept again???

    • Spetten

      These are my easy go-to lunches for my girls (5 and 9):

      - hummus, veggies, mini pitas

      - thermos of soup and a roll

      - leftover pasta in a thermos 

      - wrap with cream cheese or hummus and veggies/meat

      - salad with cheese/meat and a container of dressing 

      - mini pizzas heated in the morning and wrapped in foil

      - pasta salad (bow tie pasta, pesto, sliced olives, grape tomatoes, cucumber)

      Snacks are fruit, string cheese, grape tomatoes, mini cucumbers, yogurt tubes, homemade muffins, pretzels 

      • Astrogal

        This is what I give my daughter week after week: sandwich, wrap, thermos soup, Stouffers chicken pot pie baked in the morning and put in a thermos, canned ravioli in a thermos. It's just what she likes and it's hard to find hot lunch options. 

        • Joe71

          I give my daughter soup or noodles in a thermos probably 3 times a  week. Other days it's leftover pizza or a sandwich. But  now she doesn't like sandwiches!!