What Do You Pack for School Lunches?

Yes, I know this is the Green Baby Guide, but I hope you will allow me to indulge in just one or two more back-to-school posts as we approach kindergarten. Last week I wrote about BPA-free lunch boxes, and now I’m left wondering what to pack inside them. What are some nutritious, packable foods that don’t come with a lot of packaging waste? Those of you with experience packing lunch for a picky kid, please chime in!

Stay tuned tomorrow for more school and daycare lunch ideas from Joy!


  1. I try to pack whole foods as much as possible. Fruits, nuts (if allowed @ your school), veggies with dip or hummus, cheese, yogurt. Leftovers from breakfast (pancakes, waffles) or from dinner (pasta is always a hit and tastes good cold.) I’ve been using fruit that’s past its prime to make homemade fruit leather (recipe from weelicious.com) — everyone in my family LOVES that and it packs well. Homemade muffins and quick breads–I try to keep a bunch in the freezer to throw into a lunchbox.

    In my experience, kids don’t seem to mind repetition in their lunches, so don’t put too much effort into trying to come up with a ton of ideas, they’ll be happy with a small rotation of old standbys!

  2. Since my son is also a picky eater (no sandwiches or carrot sticks for him!) who’s starting kindergarten next week–where I think they only have 20 minutes to eat lunch–I’m planning to pack a small hot lunch and some apple slices for him every day. I bought a Thermos food jar already but now Lunchbots has come out with one that’s shorter and wider (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005E4VIO4/) and I think that will work better for him.

    In this jar I plan to put one of the following combinations on a rotating basis: beans and brown rice; quinoa and peas; whole wheat pasta and tofu. Maybe once in a while I’ll surprise him with banana waffles. 🙂

  3. Lori, I really like the idea of homemade fruit leather! I am going to try that soon. I also like the reminder that repetition is okay. In high school I probably ate the same lunch every single day.

    Larisa, I’m impressed by your plans to feed your child a homemade hot lunch! My daughter is picky, too, but I feel like it’s safer to offer her snack-type foods. If I made her a hot lunch I am not sure she’d eat it. Sometimes she’ll stuff herself with beans and rice, but other times she won’t take a bite.

  4. My son is starting preschool soon and I’m planning to do mostly whole foods, like cut up fruit, and homemade muffins. I have a ton of whole wheat zucchini muffins, banana nut, etc. He also loves hummus. Then I’ll throw in leftovers from dinner like pasta or rice, which he loves, and a tiny treat (think 1 hello panda cookie lol)

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