Back to School: Homemade Lunchbox Fare




For the first time, I am going to have to pack a lunch for my daughter this year where the teachers won’t heat up food for her. (I know, I’ve been spoiled.) So I’m soliciting advice: what are the best thermos-type containers for lunchboxes? She’s just a preschooler, so she doesn’t have a huge appetite. I’m supposed to try to send milk, too! Help!

Meanwhile, here are some great lunchbox ideas in addition to the prepackaged goodies we shared last week.

Homemade Spaghetti-Os with Sliced Franks are a great, homemade alternative to the canned version. This recipe freezes easily, so make a big batch and freeze in small portions. Then heat one portion the morning you’re packing the lunchbox and put in a thermos container to keep warm until lunchtime.


Likewise, these Toddler Thai Noodles, with kid-friendly peanut-butter sauce, freeze well. This is an excellent meal for kids with dairy intolerance or allergies. And to make it gluten-free, simply use rice or a gluten-free pasta.


If you don’t want to send a hot meal, these Ham and Cheese Muffins might fit the bill! They have protein and dairy all wrapped up in a whole wheat muffin for small hands. I’ve even added a little pureed corn for a vegetable component. My kids won’t eat corn kernels … but I don’t mind hiding a little nutrition now and then.



Homemade granola bars are a good way to think outside the sandwich box for lunchtime. Some of our favorites are these Crunchy Granola Bars, Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chips bars, and Chocolate Coconut Oat Bars.


What do you like to pack in your kids’ lunches?


School Lunch Brings Controversy

Despite the fact that it is a practice that’s been going on for the last 6 years, there was an uproar in mid-April when a news story broke about a public Chicago school that requires students to buy their lunches in the cafeteria.

The principal claims the rule is to keep students from making unhealthy choices and parents from packing unhealthy lunches. Unless there are health restrictions, parents must send $2.25 for their children to buy the school lunch.

Superman Lunch Boxes

I have to assume that these school lunches must be better than what they were serving when I was in elementary school: your general rotation of square pizzas, chicken patties, and tasteless hamburgers.

Is keeping the students "safe" from sugary sodas and bags of chips reason enough to mandate a parent can’t send food from home? People have such a wide range of what they consider healthy.

It’s still the same controversy that’s been spinning for years: should the government be able to outlaw trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, genetically modified organisms? Or should people be responsible for their own nutrition?

Where do you stand on this? We’d love to hear your (respectful) thoughts in the comments.

Photo used with permission of Flickr Creative Commons. Click on photo for source.