Lunch Box Envy

February 7, 2011

capsicum

I have lunch box envy.

I suspect I am doomed to relapse into this disease each year around this time. When school goes back and my thoughts are once again punctuated by the ever more difficult question …

“What on earth and I going to put in the girl’s lunch boxes?”

If only they would eat sandwiches!?
What 7 year old doesn’t eat sandwiches?? Mine.
My life would be so much easier if I could just send them with a sandwich or two.

But it aint gonna happen people. They have been ‘off sandwiches’ for the better part of four years so I can’t imagine that is going to change any time soon. So I just need to suck it up, build a bridge and get on with it.

So what do put in their lunch boxes then?

Before they started school last year I made this optimistic list of food ideas. I did have some success with these ideas, pizza rolls have been a big hit and tuna wraps were top of the list for a while. But other items on that list were a complete flop. Biscuits and dip are just too messy and time consuming for my girls to manage and other things that we had in high rotation they got sick off and now don’t eat.

So here I am, back again, looking for some lunch box ideas.

What do you make for your kids school lunches?
What do you send that is always eaten?
What alternatives to sandwiches can you come up with?
What lunch containers work really well for you?
What are you favourite blogs for lunch box inspiration?

(Image by psyberartist via flickr)

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

jenny @ let the children play February 7, 2011 at 1:19 pm

I feel your pain – my 7 year old leaves sandwiches untouched in his lunch box too. Sushi is always a winner for him, as are mini ham and cheese quiches. Luckily they are able to heat foods at school, so I often just send him with left overs from dinner the night before.

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katef February 7, 2011 at 9:56 pm

oh being able to heat food at school is rather cool! Some of the lovely ladies I follow in twitter clued me in with small thermos containers so going to try them for some left overs!

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nic February 7, 2011 at 1:23 pm

I wish my son would just eat fruit. He eats it at home, wont take it to school cos hed be “too embarrased”, yes thats what its come too, healthy is embarrasing at his school *roll eyes*. So Im constantly stuck too.

What about wraps, will they eat them? Or Cruskits, or Vita Weets?

I usually give him a sandwhich. Stringers cheese, and some kind of homemade muffin, or biccie. If its really hot I buy the Heinz Splatz cos they stay cold and icy a long time. Pikelets and Bananna Bread always get eaten.

This is a family recipe, call them Blowfly cookies:

3 cups of SR Flour
pinch salt
125g of butter
1 cup of sugar
250gr of sultanas
2 eggs
1/2 cup of milk

Sift flour and salt together, rub in the butter and sugar.
Add sultanas, beat eggs and milk together and add to the mix,
to form a scone dough.

Put blobs on to a tray, sprinkle with a little extra sugar,
bake for 10mins on 180.

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katef February 7, 2011 at 9:57 pm

yum those cookies sound delish.. going to make them for me because of course the girls don’t like sultanas any more! arrrghh!

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Kristie February 7, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Hi Kate. I have the same problem – Tara hates sandwiches, she will not eat food if it is a sandwich (well, rarely!)

I had a similar post on my blog the other day :) http://hesperasgarden.com/2011/02/first-day-of-school-part-one/

Today I did similar – morning tea was the same, except she had cupcakes for her treats. Though I must admit I might have to cull her lunch down a bit as the school suggests not sending too much food. However, I must admit, it’s all stuff she can eat with her fingers and really quickly (except for the yoghurt).

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katef February 7, 2011 at 9:58 pm

I always tell my girls that they don’t have to eat everything, made a point of telling their teacher last year too. I figure it’s better to have too much food than too little…. But so much of it is coming home lately I’ve gone back to one main thing and only two other snacky type things.

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Pixie February 7, 2011 at 1:32 pm

mine are very easy to feed as food is their fave thing……LOL
Mine have sandwiches,a piece of fruit,crackers and cheese and a treat….be it a muffin,muesli bar,chips.
I make a vegie slice that they love and like to take to school the next day..http://channelnine.ninemsn.com.au/blog.aspx?blogentryid=685284&showcomments=true

mini quiches are also a big hit.I make them in muffin tins and they are easy to eat.

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Shae February 7, 2011 at 1:37 pm

I saw a quiche type slice the other day that had unflavored 2 min noodles through it. It looked ace!

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katef February 8, 2011 at 4:33 pm

I wonder if my girls would be swayed? They love noodles but don’t eat quiche because they don’t like eggs!

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Deb February 7, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Our standard is yoghurt, fruit, cold meat, cherry tomatoes/cucumber then something bigger.

Boiled eggs in bento moulds go down well, same with rice – I do brown rice in chicken stock then a drip of soy sauce in the mould. Mini pizzas made on tortillas then stuck together so they don’t go everywhere and cut into wedges. Chicken nuggets she’ll eat cold, avocado dip. She’ll also eat bread and butter separately.

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Katy February 7, 2011 at 1:56 pm

I can imagine your frustration!! Oddly, I get sick of making sandwiches, so I do try to look for alternatives anyway.

“pick at boxes” work well – so just a small box with a selection of various yummy things, like grapes, rice crackers, sultanas, berries, scone, whatever you have leftover, so it can just be grazed over and they eat what they like.

Corn thins.

Leftovers from the night before – I know, but my 6yo loves leftover (cold!) spag bol.

Crackers and cheese with some cold meat.

Scones – savoury.

Spinach muffins.

Mini-quiches (freeze well after cooking).

Cereal – like the Sultana Buds or similar, to eat dry and just some milk in a little drink bottle.

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katef February 8, 2011 at 4:35 pm

I think my girls would go for a ‘pick at’ box, love the name too! I think I need a small sectioned box perhaps?
Something like a tuppware big sectioned box but small… I wonder if they exist?

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Jo-anne February 7, 2011 at 3:16 pm

My 14yo wont eat sandwiches and my 17yo refuses to eat food from home at school and would rather go hungry or buy stuff from the canteen.
A few years ago I bought a recipe book called School day lunches by Company’s Coming. It has all sorts of foods in it from wraps, salads, pastas, pizzas to muffins. It got my now 14 yo into the kitchen making his own food for school. Life would be so much easier if he just ate a sandwich but he wont unless it is toasted & we all know cold toast can go soggy so he wastes it. I drives me mad.

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katef February 8, 2011 at 4:38 pm

AH see… you totally feel my pain!

I am so going to get my girls to make their own lunches when they get a bit older!

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Linda Woodrow February 7, 2011 at 3:25 pm

We take these flatbread mini-quiches for lunch often. They’re quick and easy and healthy as well as yummy.

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RachM February 7, 2011 at 5:31 pm

How would they go with bircher museli? My boy is having it for breakfast these days but I reckon providing the lunchbox is well chilled it would make an awesome snack or lunch!

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Catherine February 7, 2011 at 6:29 pm

my son will eat sandwiches but isn’t too keen on them. Luckily he will eat crackers (rice cakes, Saladas or Cruskits) with a spread. Otherwise I often send just the inside of sandwiches – eg. ham and cheese slices but not in bread. Also, sausages and meatballs are popular.

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keepcatebusy (Cate) February 7, 2011 at 7:17 pm

I make banana bran muffins that are always popular (you can get the recipe off my Day 90 post if you’re interested). Scones are a hit with my eldest too.
Oooo, I just remembered I made some super yummy banana pumpkin muffins on Day 36 as well – yum :-)
xxxCate

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Inner Pickle February 7, 2011 at 10:41 pm

Henry’s announcement that he hated bread and never wanted to see another sandwich conveniently corresponded with the start of school. I’ve gone to corn thins with vegemite, fruit (faves are watermelon and rockmelon), some dried fruit and a baked item (bikky or muffin). I have one of those segmented boxes from Officeworks which you can put a handful of this and that in. Perfect for a grazer. The carrot sticks always come home untouched by human hand. xx

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katef February 8, 2011 at 4:40 pm

How big is your segmented box? I need a small one I reckon but have never thought to look at officeworks!

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Christie February 8, 2011 at 12:38 am

I don’t know if this will help (as we haven’t had to do lunchboxes yet) but I saw this series of posts on a blog recently and thought her ideas looked super simple but bright and colourful – might be a few ideas you can borrow?
http://www.mommymoment.ca/search/label/Lovable%20Lunches

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Christie February 8, 2011 at 12:39 am

Can I clarify that I cannot imagine going to quite this much effort presentation wise but the mix of items seems to be varied and interesting!

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katef February 8, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Oh my that fancy cut up stuff…looks awesome, but yeah, not going to happen in our house in the mornings, or even the night before! LOL

And is it just me or does the waste part of cutting bread etc into shapes bother anyone else?? I guess I could eat the left over bits when I made them, but still… it bothers me

But her containers are awesome!!

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Christie February 8, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Immy used to only eat sandwiches cut into shapes so I put up with a lil waste just for the simplicity of having a child eat sandwiches! LOL

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Kelly B February 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Ah, lunch boxes. Drives. Me Nuts.

If only my daughter liked jam sandwiches instead of avocado, fetta cheese and cucumber…what is WRONG with her?

Here are some of my lunch box tips…
http://blog.colesonline.com.au/2010/10/12/the-lunchbox-monster/

Good luck…

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katef February 8, 2011 at 4:40 pm

oh thanks… they are great ideas!

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