Lunch Box Envy

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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Read the comments or scroll down to add your own:

  1. says

    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.

    • katef says

      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!

  2. nic says

    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.

    • katef says

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

  3. Kristie says

    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 :)

    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).

    • katef says

      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.

    • katef says

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

  4. says

    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.

  5. says

    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.

    • katef says

      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?

  6. says

    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.

    • katef says

      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!

    • RachM says

      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!

  7. says

    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.

  8. says

    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 :-)

  9. says

    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

    • katef says

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

    • says

      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!

      • katef says

        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!!

        • says

          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