Wednesday, August 16, 2017

School lunch ideas

When my daughter started school two years ago  I struggled to think of different meal ideas as I was lucky if she wanted sandwiches twice a week.

school lunch ideas


I bought her a Shopkins food thermos, but you can purchase your own child's favourite character - initially I thought it was expensive costing around $15 to $20 but it gave me so many different hot lunch meal ideas, as they don't have access to microwaves in grade school.

kids thermos



Hot Lunches:


I usually make extra when I am cooking dinner and freeze them in individual size containers so I can defrost them the night before and heat them up in the morning as needed.

Some meal ideas you can pack in a thermos are:

- chilli
- chicken noodle soup (or any variety of soup)
- shephards pie
- chicken stir fry
- chicken fried rice
- pasta and meatballs
- brown beans (and hot dogs)
- Zoodles or Kraft Dinner
- chicken nuggets
- perogies and ham or bacon
- ravioli
- chicken or beef stew
- leftover casseroles

You can also purchase a custom set of cutlery for kids, as you probably don't want to misplace that one silver utensil out of your set of 16... she says from experience.

kids utensils


I also tried to come up with different varieties of sandwiches as Lily didn't like to eat the same lunch two days in a row.


Sandwiches: 


You can create a lot of different varieties of sandwiches by mixing it up a little: choosing a different grain, protein, topping and sauce/ condiment.


sandwich options


There are lots of different styles of sandwiches if you are a little creative you can make, chicken ceaser wraps, meatball sub, pizza bagel, ham and cheese pin wheels, diy lunchables with crackers, meat and cheese, etc.

And you can make things more fun by using sandwich cutters, and fun sandwich containers.

school lunch containters

Healthy Snacks:


I have two send two snacks for morning and afternoon and my daughter who has an amazing appetite started asking for more as she would eat everything I packed for her. Coming up with snack ideas can take a little effort especially if your a mom who's new to packing lunches, I feel so spoiled when my kids went to daycare and I didn't have to worry about it.

I tried to pack mainly healthy snacks including tons of fruit including:
- strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, apples (with lemon juice), peeled oranges, bananas, pears, cantalope, honey dew, watermelon, peaches, kiwi, pineapple, cherries, grapes, and mangos.

healthy school snacks



I will peel and cut the fruit, or pack a container of mixed berries or grapes off the vine. When purchasing pre-packaged fruit cups get them packed in water or juice, syrup is just unnecessary sugar. You can also get apple sauce and dried fruit like raisins, cranberries, banana chips, etc.

I also like to pack fresh vegetables and you can include ranch, hummus or even cheez whiz for dipping including:
baby carrots, cucumbers, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, snap peas, pepper slices, or cherry tomatoes.

Unfortunately most schools don't allow nuts due to allergies as my kids love peanuts, almonds and especially pistachios. But you can buy a school friendly peanut butter alternative which you can substitute if you pack apple slices and PB or ants on a log (celery topped with PB and raisins)

If we have microwave popcorn in the evening I will put the left overs in snack bags for tomorrows school lunch.

I also like to buy a large container of yogurt, add some sliced fruit liked strawberries and add a Ziploc bag with granola you can add to it once you are going to eat it so it doesn't get soggy. This is also one of my favourite work snacks.

yogurt, berries and granola

Other snacks I pack are: pretzels, yogurt tubes, granola bars, trail mix, muffins, cheese strings, crackers and cheese, healthy fruit roll ups or fruit snacks, cereal snacks (like rice krispies), baked goods - like no bake oatmeal balls.

I created a printable version for quick reference, as I find I sometimes run out of ideas myself and dislike thinking of what to make for dinner or am standing dumbfounded at the grocery store trying to think of lunch ideas.

School Lunch Ideas: Hot lunch ideas and various sandwich options

school lunch ideas


And here is a healthy snack ideas reference you can print

school snack ideas

Don't have time to print out the reference now? Pin it for later:

school lunch and healthy snack ideas


Do you have any school lunch or healthy snack ideas?? Please leave a comment as I would love to get more ideas, and update my list eventually.

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