Thursday, September 1, 2011

What time is it? It's time for lunch?

For all of you with fans of "Bubble Guppies" you'll appreciate me putting that song in your head now.  And for those of you that have no clue what I'm talking about, check this out and then you too will have it in your head.

I digress as usual.....

I have some really fun ideas for school lunches and/or snack time for those that are not yet in school or in school only half of the day.   I am all about quick, healthy lunch options that are neat and easy for my children.  I know that they don't get a great deal of time to eat at school and are on a timeline unlike the leisurely days of summer where we're lucky if lunch falls before 2pm so... I want to simplify as much as possible in their lunchboxes.

In addition to the desire for healthy lunch and snack options, I have a child with SEVERE food allergies to many foods include milk, peanut, tree nuts, eggs, soy, mango, avocado, beans, coconut and avocado.  So...that being said, I have done my fair share of research on food choices that are fun and easy for kids.

I am, however, only going to focus on some ideas for a child without restrictions in this post and I will devote an entire post to food allergic lunches another day!  That can easily be its own post.
 (and if you have a child with food allergies and have some great ideas to share, please email me so I can put them in the post and share)

Here are some of my favs for lunchbox ideas:

1. small sandwich in a fun shape for the younger kids (the older they get, the more inappropriate they find I make smaller basic shapes)
2.  a small bagel sandwich with cream cheese or jelly
3.  fresh fruit cut up
4.  baby carrots and ranch or other dressing of choice
5.  crackers and cut up cheese for them to make their own sandwiches
6.  apples and a dip (peanut butter, yogurt)
7.  cous cous and peas (healthy and yummy...try it, they might like Yo Gabba Gabba plug)
8.  pasta and sauce with a side of fun shaped bread to dip
9.  yogurt and a side of granola or other small topping
10.  chicken nuggets and homemade fries (sweet potato preferably)

I know some will say that their children are picky or only want to eat junk, but I do personally believe 2 things:

1.  Kids will eat what you buy...they don't buy it themselves and won't go starving so you can try to introduce healthy and tasty together.
2.  Kids want to eat healthy. Unlike us...the idea of a healthy lifestyle is all around them growing up and the days of the sugared cereals commercials and soda commercials are gone. 

I really try to make them smaller portions and give variety.  I find that my kids will pick at all of it and get a better variety. They seem to get bored with a whole sandwich or anything big that requires wrappers or any kind of work to eat.  The last thing you want is the whole lunch to end up in the garbage...
make it fun, make their friends wish you were packing their lunch too :)

You can really get creative and have fun like in these great ideas taken from

Or these fun ideas from Lisa Storms who is incredibly creative...

How fun for Halloween...

Love the silly face...
So cute and a fun creative trail mix...

Dinosaurs, grape boulders and dirt...
                                                            what more would a boy ask for ?

I also found some great ideas at Cooking Light.  Check these out...  they even give you the caloric info.

For your meat eater....I personally LOVE the fruit kabob idea.  As long as it doesn't become a lunch table weapon.  Can you tell I have a little boy?

A healthy, homemade pizza...looks like a cross between pizza and quesadilla.

And the cous cous I mentioned earlier....very healthy and fun to eat!

A few more I thought were great ideas taken from

I love that all of these ideas are varied, fun and COLORFUL!  It really makes the food look yummy!

If you're really stumped, try visiting Wendolonia where she has a printable list of school lunch ideas. How handy!   Click here for her list.

If you're wondering about these fun containers you're seeing in some of the pictures, they are these....
and you can find them on or directly from their website at

There are also the bento boxes which are oh so popular for kids.

 I found these at Toysrus believe it or not on sale for $4 each in purple and green and my kids are very excited about the part where you can write a message on them.    I plan on putting a few things on the left and then something like fruit on the right.

Snack time, whether at home or in school, is as important as lunch.  From what I'm hearing on the news these days, children need nutrition throughout the day for energy and to keep their brains working.   They too should follow the many small meals theory.  Here are some of our family's favorites.

1. my own trail mix- cheerios, rice chex, small pretzels, chocolate chips and raisins
2.  cut up fruit
3. cheese sticks
4. pretzels, pita chips, etc.
5.  cut up veggies- my daughter loves cucumbers and green peppers

 And I LOVE this idea for pre-made snacks.  For those of you who don't know me yet, I have MAJOR obsessive compulsive tendencies and love all things organized. This epitomizes organization for me when it comes to getting lunches and snacks together.  I love the time saving element...another genius idea from Real Simple Magazine.

Lastly, I wanted to share some really cute ideas to let your child know that you are thinking of them while they are at school.    Most days I can't wait for them to head to school for some time to myself and then I find myself wondering what they're doing and missing them like crazy.   I love these fun ideas for kids of all ages. 

Check out these cute food related jokes for their lunchboxes from Cap Creations...

And these from The Gunny Sack...

Or how about these sweet notes to attach to fruit with a love note from you...

These come from Cindy at AlphaMom.   She also has free printable notes you can find here.

Have fun with these as much as one can enjoy packing school lunches.   I don't know why this is such a painful task, but I hope these ideas might ease your pain....just a little!

Poshed Up

1 comment:

  1. This was a HUGE help! I just got back from shopping and took on some of your great ideas. I even made my own peanut free trail mix! I am also printing the lunch box idea list to keep handy!

    Thank you.