Thursday, October 3, 2019

All things school lunch

Today I'm hoping to provide a little school lunch inspiration :)  I've talked on several occasions that my kids much prefer "little bits of lots of things" and we keep that same mentality when packing school lunches.  A couple of things before I dive in...

- Some days my kids pack their own lunches and other days Dave or I do

- We don't usually do veggies at lunch because 1) they never eat them and 2) they never eat them :)  My kids eat lots of veggies in smoothies and dinner but I'm the first to admit we could be better on the vegetable front.  #workingonit

- There are a couple of different allergy issues in some of my kids classes and there are certain restrictions on snacks that are eaten in the classroom but not what they can take to lunch.

Lunch Idea One
- apple sauce pouch - grilled turkey and cheese - mini chocolate chip cookies - pistachios - chompz turkey stick - apple slices

We'll sometimes make grilled cheese sandwiches on mornings where we have the griddle out for pancakes or eggs and while they're not hot when the kids get to school they still enjoy them.

Lunch Idea Two
- strawberry apple sauce pouch - homemade pb&j uncrustable - mozzarella stick - pistachios - fruit - apple cinnamon sticks

Lunch Idea Three
- cheese quesadilla - ham roll up - mini chocolate chip cookies - fruit - yogurt -

One of our favorite things about the Yumbox lunch boxes are the fact that they're leak proof in between the sections.  We can put things like yogurt and ranch or marinara sauce in the compartments and they don't leak into other sections

Lunch Idea Four
- Pimento cheese uncrustable - yogurt - Babybel cheese - ham rollup - tomatoes (see, trying!) - pretzel chips - hummus -

Lunch Idea Five
- grilled cheese - strawberry apple sauce - mini pepperonis - gummies - fruit - graham cookies (Trader Joes) -

Lunch Idea Six
- turkey and cheese sandwich - fruit leather - fruit - white cheddar cheetos - mini snickers -

Each of my kids has to bring a snack to school every day and since they go to ESS after school I like to pack a larger snack so they can eat what they feel like during snack time in class and then finish what's left after school. I'll also pack larger snacks like this on days where there's dance, football practice, golf, etc. and I know we'll be out and home late for dinner.  On other days their snack may be an apple, bag of crackers, etc.

Snack Idea One
- fruit leather - salami - Babybel - pineapple - cheese crackers (Trader Joe's) 

Snack Idea Two
- PB & J sandwich - Babybel - chocolate chips -  fruit snacks -

Snack Idea Three
- potato chip ghosts (Trader Joe's) - M&Ms - grapes - cheese -

Snack Idea Four
- PB & J sandwich - cheese crackers - chocolate chips - pistachios

We also use thermoses often and will fill them with leftovers on days that we may have had one of their favorite meals the night before. Mason ALWAYS asks to take pulled pork to school in his thermos the next day and pretty much any time I make anything with marinara Luke is packing a hot lunch.  Options have opened up a bit for Luke this year as well since he has access to a microwave in the lunch room so he can take a tupperware with pretty much a full meal in it and reheat it for lunch.  

Generally, when I send a thermos for lunch I'll also include the snack box with yogurt, fruit, etc. to go along with it.

So here are a few of their favorite hot lunch ideas...

- Pulled pork in a thermos with hawaiian rolls, yogurt and fruit in the snack box

- Leftover meatballs in a thermos with a sub roll to put them on

- Any pasta dish from the night before in a thermos with a snack box with fruit and yogurt

- Taco meat in the thermos with chips or tortillas and shredded cheese in the yumbox

- Chili in the thermos with cornbread and fruit in the snack box

- Mac and cheese in the thermos (this is one of their FAVES!) with rolled up turkey, yogurt and fruit in the snack box

- Oatmeal in the thermos for their morning snack in the winter time

- Warm (dry) raviolis in the thermos that they can dip in marinara in the snack box

- hot chicken nuggets in the thermos with sides in the snack box

- scrambled eggs with cheese and sausage in the thermos with yogurt and fruit in the snack box

When we use thermoses we fill them with boiling water, put the lid on them and let them sit on the kitchen counter for 15 minutes or so.  Then we dump the water back into the kettle, dry the thermoses out and put in the hot food.  Pre-heating the thermos this way keeps things much warmer throughout the day.

So now onto my very favorite part of packing lunches - lunchbox notes.  Keep in mind that some days it's a smiley face written on a napkin but I do love a special little note as well.

I absolutely love  these little cards that come in a variety of colors and when you fold them they look like a real envelope.  You seal them with a sticker and you're done.

I've also been using  these Indescribable lunchbox cards and, according to my boys, they've been a hit at the lunch table.  We love the devotion book that these are based on and I'll just tear them out and write a quick note on the back and put it into their lunchbox.

Here are a few of my other favorite sets that I've talked about before.  Two of them are scratch off which are super fun.

And last, but not least - I'm totally that mom who throws in a themed napkin as well because FUN ;)

I've shared about school lunches before and you can read that post HERE  if you're interested.

And you can shop all of our lunch gear below...

Happy Thursday, friends!!!

PS - this post contained affiliate links... thank you so much for reading and supporting my blog!


  1. WOW! I wish Carter ate such a great variety of foods! Good job, mama!

    1. Exactly what I was thinking with my 9 year old. He wants the same thing

    2. Thanks, friend! My kids definitely eat better/more if there are a variety of things!

  2. Our oldest has always loved a hot, leftover lunch as well. The other 2 would prefer the types of lunches you pictured-thank you for some fresh ideas!

  3. Great ideas! Yumboxes are my favorite for packing my own lunch!

  4. Just today we packed a "cold lunch" in a Yumbox for my youngest's field trip. She was so excited about the variety of foods she was taking :) (green peppers, pico de gallo, crackers for the pico, cheese sticks, grapes and spanish tortilla).

  5. How do you make the uncrustables?

    1. I use a pampered chef sandwich cutter - I'll go back in and add the link this afternoon ;)

  6. im sorry, i got stuck on pimento cheese uncrustable. i want, no, neeeeeeed one.

  7. I have bought several of your recommendations throughout the years and the yumbox has to be one of my all time favorites!
    I love to see what others are packing for lunch and getting new ideas. Thanks for the update!

  8. Love this! Thank you Andrea! My kids also do baby pancakes (frozen from Walmart) in the thermos, mini tacos, flautas (cut in half) from Costco, baby corndogs...hmmm...that's all I can think of that you haven't already listed! My daughter also loves to take oatmeal on a cold snowy day (we live in CO).

  9. I used to wrap corn dogs, grilled cheese etc in foil and then put in their lunch boxes... they were still warm at lunch


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