Real Food School Lunches III

With less than a month left of school I am trying hard not to give in to the simplicity and ease of having my daughter buy her lunch. While slacking off at the bitter end is tempting, these thoughts are thankfully short-lived. So my hope is that one more lunch post will help rejuvenate us all so even during these last few weeks we can continue to send our kids to school with healthy, creative, homemade school lunches that contain nothing other than real food!

In my first two posts about school lunch ideas (post I and post II) I shared that my daughter goes to a peanut/tree-nut free school. As a result the school has an “approved” snack list that shows what food products parents are allowed to send into the school. To me their little snack list not only shows what is approved, but it also serves as kind of a suggested list of items that you could and should send for your 6-year-old to eat at nine in the morning. Some of the items on their list that immediately jump out at me are Wendy’s frosties, skittles, oreos, fritos, airheads, cheese puffs, twizzlers, chips ahoy, and gummy bears. In fact, only 17 out of the 200 hundred items (8.5%) are what I would consider to be “real food” approved. And you know I pay attention to what the kids are eating when I volunteer in my daughter’s class (which happens to be during snack time!), and I see that some parents are unfortunately taking these snack “suggestions” to heart.

So rather than sitting here and complaining about it what better thing to do than to try to fix the list? I am admittedly not fixing things as fast as I would like, but I am definitely making progress (thanks to the help of another mom!). The principal of the school said I could add whatever I wanted to the snack list, but that I could not remove anything. He said if they don’t specify a certain brand of nut-free donuts a parent will surely send in the wrong kind. So without further ado, this is my plan for the snack list addendum (which I hope will be the first page!)…

“Food impacts how well a child’s brain works, affecting their moods and abilities … In a child’s brain junk food can cause neurotransmitters, which pass along information, to function improperly.  Smart foods, however, allow information to be processed correctly and help the child function at their optimal level.”  – Dr. Sears, one of America’s most renowned pediatricians and author of over 40 books

LET’S HELP OUR CHILDREN DO THEIR BEST AT SCHOOL
BY SENDING IN SMART “REAL FOOD” SNACKS.

REAL FOOD IS…

  • 100% whole grain
  • Made with very little (or no) refined sweeteners like white sugar and corn syrup
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables (preferably organic), dairy products, seeds, dried fruit, and humanely raised animal products
  • More a product of nature than a product of industry

REAL FOOD IS NOT

  • “Low fat” or “low carb” or “low calorie” products (in most cases)
  • Made with artificial sweeteners like Splenda
  • Deep fried in oil
  • 100-calorie packs made with refined grains like white flour (labeled as “wheat flour”)
  • Something out of a package containing ingredients you cannot pronounce
  • Highly processed food that is labeled as organic

After this intro, which will hopefully get everyone on the same page, I will list out suggested “real food” snack options that will be divided into the following categories: 100% whole grain, fresh fruits and vegetables, dried and canned fruits, and other real food snacks. I can’t wait to see the response once it is finished and can only hope it will lead to at least some changes!

In the meantime let’s talk about a few more lunch ideas to get us through these last few weeks. I admit that I struggle almost every night to come up with something exciting and creative for my daughter’s lunch, but I will share what I have been sending in with her (along with some photos) just to get the discussion started. I encourage everyone to please share your ideas as well in the comments below!

  • Leftover cold whole-wheat pasta noodles drizzled with olive oil and grated parmesan cheese, carrots, melon and frozen blueberries

  • Egg salad sandwich on whole-wheat bread, apples, plain yogurt with a little honey and homemade nut-free granola (extra seeds were added instead of nuts)

  • Homemade whole-wheat raisin bread and cream cheese sandwich, applesauce, local carrots and hummus

  • Whole-wheat banana bread topped with cream cheese, hard-boiled egg, leftover strip of local bacon, and local strawberries

 

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132 thoughts on “Real Food School Lunches III”

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  1. What about the lunch containers from laptoplunches.com? They are the best for keeping things cold and organized. They last forever and keeps everything separate and nice. My kids love them. We have even brought them to Seaworld when I wanted them to have a healthy lunch from home.

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      I only wanted my daughter to have to open one lid and I believe those are separate containers, right? It was a while ago when I looked into it.

  2. While I could do better on what foods my kids are taking, all of their food containers are no waste/no plastic. They use a small Klean Kanteen for their drink, and for food storage: To-Go Ware small stainless container, LunchBots divided stainless container (love it!), snacktaxi and reusies reuseable baggies, and wrap-n-mat for sandwiches (and placemat). I hope that helps!

  3. For the mom who needs an idea of something special to take on a Friday – Knudsens makes a sparkler drink that is juice and sparkling water. Ocean Spray also does one as well – label and ingredients approved by you of course. :)

    Does it have to be a sealed bottle of soda? I was thinking you could have fun with sparkling water and a 100% juice of your choice and pack it in a water bottle… or sparkling water with lemon in it.

  4. Hi!

    Your website is so inspiring! With the help of my boyfriend (who has cured himself of allergies and bipolar disorder!) through eating real food, I have given up sugar (I used to put buckets in my coffee every morning and subsist largely on Coca-cola) and am committed to eating local, organic produce and meat. I feel amazing! I am also an AmeriCorps volunteer, and I work in a low-income elementary school. It is CRIMINAL the way processed, sugary snacks are handed out to kids as rewards for anything and everything and as bribes to “focus” (when their hyperactivity is no doubt exacerbated by the constant sugar that is being funneled into their mouths!). It’s difficult working with students who do not have the parental support (and funds!) to eat wholesome foods, but I have found that organic apples (can be bought at Costco!) work just as well as a reward–fresh fruit is such an rarity in these kids’ lives. UGH! And even kids I know in better economic situations still have parents that feed them “Reduced Fat Sour Cream Pringles”! The horror! Anyway, thanks for all the information. I think I might pack myself some of these lunches! Yum! :)

  5. Great lunch ideas! We also pack real food, whether its for the school day or for a day at the museum – it’s so difficult to eat well anywhere but home. Here are some of my packable lunches:
    http://rosemaryevergreen.blogspot.com/2009/07/packable-lunch-ideas.html

    I estimate that it costs, on average, about $0.80 to pack my daughter’s lunch – with organic fruit. Compare that to the $2.40 school lunch that contains too much wheat, salt, and sugar every day!

    On the plastic – I recently read a peer-reviewed article about chemical infiltration from BPA- and phthalate-free plastics into food. The researchers artificially aged the plastics but also measured some compounds in the food from unaged plastics. This is a problem that I hope will get more attention, but given how long it took the U.S. to pay attention to BPA, I’m not optimistic. We pack cold food in plastic, but have a stainless steel food jar for hot foods.

  6. Shari, Your daughter might enjoy taking juice instead of soda. My daughter loves pineapple juice. We can buy it in individual sized cans here. She loves to feel like she has a special beverage too. (She doesn’t like soda, or most other juices)

  7. I’m just saw this post and it’s one of my biggest hot buttons for our school. All of the junk that not only kids bring from home, but that is also allowed for classroom parties as well. In addition a lot of the rewards for various things are food based (ie ice cream parties, popsicle parties). My daughter will be in 4th grade next year. The kids are allowed to bring a soda from home on Fridays if they do certain things during the week. The fact that they are allowed to bring sodas from home to begin with just really makes me sick. I plan to talk to the principal about this, but it’s been a long standing tradition from what I understand. So, I’m looking for an alternative for my daughter so she doesn’t feel left out. Because most likely most of the kids will bring a soda in. Anyone have any ideas about a ‘special’ drink my daughter could take instead of soda?

    1. I recently saw cans of carbonated 100% apple juice at the grocery store. It would still be a fizzy drink and a special treat for her!

  8. Kim in Phoenix

    I love your ideas! My three boys eat like this and it’s so weird! In our world, I mean. The world of food that’s not food. I home educate my kids so this stuff is easy for me but you gave me some fresh ideas. I’m not sure of the plastic, though? Are they non-BPA? I am switching everything back over to glass. What was old is new again. Even if it’s BPA-free, we never know that the new plastic is any better than the old until it’s too late. So for me I’d use they containers for picnics and when we eat outdoors (a lot) and I’m concerned about the weight of the containers. Hmmm. Better get to work on that. Maybe they make light metal Bento boxes….

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      I agree…people think we are the weird ones too! We are also slowly getting rid of plastic, but I don’t think I can send a glass container to school with my kindergartner. I’ve seen her drop her lunchbox many times! I haven’t researched other alternatives yet, but I am sure some are out there.

  9. I absolutely love your lunch ideas! I, like some other moms however, have children that would not like most of them at all. I’m really tired of making the same lunch for them every day. I’ve been fighting this battle for years now. This is how we currently operate: At dinner I make whatever I want to make, and the family has to all eat at least some of it. My son used to throw up whenever he had to eat something that he didn’t like, but I found that if I sat next to him and talked calmly saying things like “You can do it” and “You’re doing a good job” and such that he would be able to make it through. Now he likes more things, but we are far from where I want to be. He still won’t touch a carrot with a ten foot pole. (And they are so perfect for packed lunches!)

    So that’s dinner. For lunch, at the beginning of the school year, I packed what I thought was a good lunch regardless of their opinion. But their lunch boxes came home with the food untouched. So now at lunch (and breakfast & afterschool snack) I pretty much fix them what they want. But like I said, I love your lunch ideas and really think they could benefit from branching out a bit. So I’m wondering, when you started your “100 days of real food” journey, were your kids willing to eat the variety of fruits and vegetables you were serving right off the bat, or did it take some time for them to adjust? Should I just make the lunches that I want my children to eat, no matter how they feel about it and hope that at some point they will start eating it?

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      It sounds like you have your hands full! When we started our “100 Days of Real Food” pledge we had one child that was extremely picky and limited in what she would eat and another child that would eat almost anything. So I really got to see their response from two very different angles. The biggest piece of advice that I can give any parent is to never give up! After offering my picky child green bell peppers more than two dozen times she finally decided she liked them! It came out of nowhere. I do recommend only giving them one “new” thing on their plate at a time so they don’t get too discouraged and also try to place more focus on the “real food” items they love as opposed to the processed stuff. My picky child loves cheese so I will say if you take one more bite of your broccoli I will give you more cheese. That usually works with her, but she has the whole gagging reflex down and has thrown up on her plate before too :) Here are a couple more posts that might be helpful…and good luck!
      https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2010/08/19/winning-over-your-picky-eater/
      https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2011/03/01/real-food-and-children/

      1. Hello! I just wanted to give you a report on our progress! I am much happier this school year with the lunches I pack for my kids! I’ve been trying to do it more like yours are and we have actually found a number of healthy things to pack that they enjoy! And I think they are relieved at the increase in variety as much as I am. They love your banana bread, and I think it’s great too! So I just wanted to thank you for helping me!

  10. My children are in Middle and High School, but they all have to pack their lunches every day. The only choices at the High School are “Pizza Hut” or “Taco Bell”. They usually take leftovers from dinner or a quesadilla with local cheese. I also require that there be at least one veggie and at least one fruit. We use washable containers, mostly, to get away from those awful plastic baggies. Breakfast burritos or bean and cheese burritos, heated and wrapped in several kitchen towels and tucked in a small cooler stay warm. Also, they all love peach/berry/apple cobbler made with homegrown/homecanned fruit for breakfast or snack or dessert. We talk a lot about my beliefs surrounding food and our foodshed, but they make up their own minds… something I encourage completely! I don’t always agree with their choices (kind-of the flip side of the parents/ inlaws discussion above) but they know the alternatives and they often teach their friends.

  11. I just have to say God bless you for taking on the “snack suggestions list” at your child’s school. This is going to be a major battle for us and for many parents at schools all over the country. The things they are serving our children are making them fat, unproductive, and unhealthy. It is a great opportunity to teach children and parents REAL healthy eating habits. I hope your efforts are fruitful! I know I will not ever allow my children to eat school lunches until there are major changes! YUCK!

    1. Claire, it isn’t schools alone making kids fat. There are a lot of other factors, There are a lot of pressures on schools to cut costs. You and I know it is possible to feed a family real food cheaply, because we are willing to put in the extra hours cooking and shopping for real fresh food, but on an institutional level, it’s more difficult. Fresh food has to be prepared and that takes manpower, which costs money. I’m a teacher and see kids come to school with an energy drink and a Pop Tart from home. This is breakfast AND lunch! Hopefully, educating people and teaching them what is healthy and easy will help! Many people are just at a loss as to what is and isn’t healthy because they believe the advertising. Having a snack list will hopefully help people make good choices for their kids.

  12. How do you keep the lunches cold until they eat? My daughter’s school serves frozen Tony’s pizza every day (ick). I called the principal and he said next year they are switching to whole wheat frozen Tony’s pizza- yeah great…

  13. Love these ideas! My kids have multiple food allergies so I pack my son’s lunch every day and will next year for my daughter as well. Their food allergies are what made me learn to really cook and get away from convenience foods. My son is really picky which stinks but thankfully my daughter will eat almost anything she’s not allergic to. I’ll definitely have more fun packing her lunches (my son wants the SAME THING EVERY DAY) and these are great ideas (minus the egg and dairy products which we have to avoid).

  14. I make avocado and hummus sandwiches. Spread the hummus on one side and avocado on the other. They taste great. Also, cream cheese and strawberry sandwiches. Roll ups are good too. I will often make them with beans, cheese and spinach leaves. I microwave them for about a minute just to soften the cheese and make the whole thing stick together. Then I slice. You can pack some mild salsa for dipping. Or, cheese and spinach and pack a little tomato sauce for dipping. Thanks for your post and sharing ideas. I also agree with many of the posters. I’ve been at my child’s school many times and was horrified at the quality of food parents send. I wish the schools would understand what an opportunity to teach good eating habits they have. In the grand scheme of things good eating habits affect ones life more than just about anything else because it allows you to be healthy, productive and happy.

  15. I love these lunch ideas! I’m no longer packing my kids lunches, simply my own…and then taking them off to my classroom at school. My kids (particularly the boys) were not the easiest, but now they’re so much more tuned-in, and tend to make health a priority these days. So…I guess the message is ‘if you build it, they will come!’ I think about what was packed for us in the 60’s and it was all whole, unboxed, unpackaged and wrapped in waxed paper usually. Even the school lunches were made right at school. Today, on the odd occasion that I have to buy at school, I’m horrified to see the offerings there. Pizza…french fries, oh, and yes, there is a salad bar…but the germie factor is always something to consider there! In the past, we’ve told our parents that students may bring a snack, but it must be a fruit, a vegetable or some type of cheese or nuts for protein. I’m not a big fan of the string cheese and processed cheese that I see. I’ll have to revisit this next year for sure! Thank you!

  16. What about those little packs of edamame? I would like those for my own lunches when I go to work, or when I take food with me out. Where can I get them? I have Publix, Winn-Dixie, Albertsons, and Target (I don’t shop at Wal-mart), but no Earth Fare or Whole Foods nearby.

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      I would think Publix would have them in the freezer section…at least a big bag of them.

  17. I hope that you will share your “real food” snack list, and perhaps the final cover letter as well – maybe via Google docs or similar? I would LOVE to use this info to send home to the parents of my first grade students at the beginning of the next school year!

  18. My kids have been eating fruits and veggies since the day they could chew them! I was so blessed to have a part-time daycare owner only serve fresh, clean food. The had a farm and grew or raised their own food. Even with only being in day-care for a year, I knew once I stayed home with them they were accustomed to eating what was served and they never once questioned what was on their plate. Sadly, when they went to school and saw all the unhealthy snacks, we started having meltdowns here at home. My biggest complaint in school was rewarding good behavior with food, chicken nuggets or fries 3-4 days a week and a treasure box full of candy. My kids are now mid-teens and have chosen to eat healthier lunch choices. My son now works in the evening and takes a home made dinner with him every night. My youngest has been packing her lunch for 3 years. Mostly salads or wraps. Hard boiled eggs, hummus and veggies. Thank you for more great ideas~

  19. Great post again! It is amazing what food choices are being reinforced at school. My son came home with a writer’s workshop board and the food choices listed to write about were: chicken nuggets, pizza, milk, pop, hamburger, French fries (with a McDonald’s logo), hot dog, popcorn and candy.
    I was so upset. This is what sits at his desk everyday during the year to inspire him to write about things. This even came from a teacher whom I have had many discussions with about food.
    However, I am still encouraged by the growing communities of food conscious families!

  20. I have found that if thats all there is to eat, eventually they eat. Dont worry about them starving. I can just see social services comming to your home. How dare you feed your children REAL FOOD!

    Its a slow process but hey, it will work. I have two of the biggest kids around, my husband and son and little by little they are changing. Most important is to be persistant.

    As for Granny…….ask her how she liked having her mother or mother in law butt in or how she raised her kids? Its amazing the look you get when you put it that way.

    Good Luck!

  21. I am wondering about the frozen smoothie pop. My son leaves for school @ 7:45 & has lunch around 11:30. Is there any way the pop would stay frozen/cold? We use also use laptop lunchboxes.

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      I pack my daughter’s lunch at 6:30 A.M. with 3 or 4 ice packs and it is half melted/half frozen by lunch time at 10:30 and she loves it! It’s like there is still a frozen chunk in the middle and the rest is a yogurt consistency.

  22. Have you thought about making pasta/rice/quinoa salads? You could toss some sauteed veggies, corn, They hold pretty well and make some good meals too.

    I love your lunch boxes and content, it’s kind of what I aim for to take to work, except that I have more of the savory stuff.

  23. My kindergartner’s lunch today was a hard boiled organic free range egg, kale chips, a huge bowl of strawberries (the kid eats them like they are going out of style!) and a slice of homemade zucchini bread for a sweet treat.

    She is the best eater! :) I’ve been with her class for lunch and it just kills me what the other kids eat. That’s not brain food! At least the kids ask her about her food at lunch everyday. If they aren’t exposed at home, at least Sydney is teaching them about healthy food! LOL

  24. I had missed those homemade freeze pop containers–brilliant! I’ve started sending salads and just putting the dresser in one corner of the container to avoid the small dip container mess. My daughter reports that the greens don’t get all that soggy. Toss in chickpeas and she loves it. We use laptop lunches and I just wrap a cold pack around it. She’s also a fan of boiled eggs w/ the bento egg shapers.

  25. i think all of these are great. however (and, sadly)… my kids woudn’t touch ANY of this. the oldest has been brainwashed by the whole fast food/convenience food thing — with NO HELP from a grandmother who indulges on every level. beyond frustrated. :-( keep up the good work!

    1. I am in the same boat as you. I try and try to get my kids to eat real foods and feel like everyone else especially my mother is against me. She will bring home rice crispy treats for them to eat for breakfast and goldfish crackers for them to take to lunch. When I get home from work, she is baking them french fries and giving them koolaid. Granted I’m not perfect but I’m trying to pack that best lunch I can for my picky son but her putting fritos after I’ve packed his lunch makes me extremely angry! I don’t know what I’m going to do this summer since they spend the day with her.

      1. Jennifer,
        It must be an AWFULLY big boat! I get frustrated with the elder generation as well. I get frustrated with the artificial sweeteners, crazy candy with all the HFCS and colors and flavors, and the “thoughtful” gifts of fruit chewy things packed in the kids’ favorite cartoon character packets. All I can suggest is that if they’re going to spend time with G’ma, then buy healthier versions of what she wants to give them for her to keep at her house. I got organic suckers and licorice for my in-laws’ house, but I haven’t gone much further than that. It kind of works, but we’re only there for a few hours. If yours have to spend all day, then you could buy a week’s worth of better versions of junk food for g’ma to serve. It might not be 100% “real” but at least it would be way better than koolaid and rice krispie treats! I’m sure you know there are 100% fruit juice boxes, fresh fruits, organic chips and crackers, granola bars, and frozen organic “dinners” and frenchfries…I think the generation above ours is used to that pre-fab convenience and not thinking much about where it comes from. If you do the thinking and purchasing for her, maybe she’ll go with it. If she thinks she will only be the cool g’ma if she gives the kids junk, then provide the junk for her with a compromise you would feel better about than what she’s giving. I get a lot of blow back from my mom, and I’m not even that far along on the spectrum of healthy eating yet. She says it’s too much trouble and she’s surprised I’d buy eggs not knowing what color the chicken was… Good luck! It’s hard to put your foot down with your own mother…I know that!!!

      2. You have to simply begin the adjustment… I have been doing this for awhile and simply reconciled myself that I can’t be with them 100% of the time. But when I am with them, or what we have in our home will be the best “real food” I can provide. My kids have slowly gotten used the idea that their lunches are from home, contain real food (as much as I can)…

        You can try showing their grandparents the reasons why you feed them the way you do. Simply put, the food they ate is NOT the same as today. You want your kids to be healthy and fit and it starts with their food. As they other reader wrote — bring what you want them to eat to her house and explain that she doesn’t need to agree with you, but she should respect your wishes for their well being.

  26. I would like to know where to get the trays too. They would be great for my 3-year old to take to daycare!

  27. If I might just say something about the label “organic”–many, well, actually MOST people dont realize what is necessary for a grower to be Certified Organic. Its an expensive, grueling, multi year process. For instance, land must have been prepared and used in a particular way for FIVE YEARS prior to the first crop being planted for consideration.
    Many local growers and farmers use methods that would be considered organic, or if pesticides are used, they use only the few that are approved for organic use. (And yes, organic growers DO use some chemical pesticides and fertilizers.) My teen-age son has surveyed the local summer job scene and decided he would be better off raising tomatoes, peppers, melons and some herbs for sale. So many people have asked him, “are you “doing organic”?” but when he explains what that really means and what it entails, they are always shocked and never had the slightest idea what that label means.

    So, moral of my story–dont be afraid to buy local food from local growers regardless of the “organic” certification of lack of it–as my brother in law the enviromental chemist says, anything containing carbon is “organic” and if big business is using the label, you may be SURE people are not always getting what they think they are buying. Local growers and producers can always tell you how the food was grown and what, if anything, was used on it. Just ask them.

  28. These look great. How do you keep the cold stuff cold and the hot stuff hot? Are they allowed to use a microwave? Or do they eat them cold? My 3rd grader packs her lunch around 7:30 but doesn’t eat until 12:15 so we have to either pack foods that won’t spoil at room temperature, or use an ice pack. A smoothie pop would surely melt by then… I would love to pack lunches like this, but I don’t know how I could keep them from spoiling (unless I deliver them at lunch time, which would be difficult since my girls go to different schools). Any ideas?

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      I mostly send her cold stuff (the noodles are cold) and I use several ice packs in her lunch bag. I put two little ice pack strips under her lunch tupperware and two on top. If I send something hot I put it in a thermos that keeps it warm. I pack her lunch at 6:30 in the morning and she eats at 10:30 and the ice packs do the trick! Her smoothie pops are usually about halfway melted (like yogurt) with a chunk that is still frozen in the middle.

  29. Tiff @ love, sweat, and beers

    Thanks! I’m going to use some of these for myself, and I’ll super-size some for the hubby. Hummus = Yummus

  30. This is my 2nd year as an assistant preschool teacher. Our kids take turns bringing snacks for the class each day. During my first year I was APPALLED at the snacks they brought in and we dished out: HFCS-sweetened drink pouches, chocolate-covered snack bars, fluorescent-orange chips! I asked the preschool director what directions the parents were given, and the answer was “we ask for healthy snacks at the beginning of the year parent talk, but it degenerates over the year.”

    I asked and was given permission to create a snack guideline booklet that each classroom attached to their “snack basket” which the kids bring home to fill. I gave suggestions what to bring and what not to bring in each food group page of the booklet. Yes to apples, applesauce with no added sweeteners, berries. No to fruit roll-ups or fruit gummy candy. I think it has been a great success. MOST of the parents have respected the guidelines throughout this whole school year, and the sugary processed treats only show up for birthday treats and party days, but that is a huge improvement!

    1. Katie – I actually use the same thing for our lunch boxes. I found them in the “tupperware” or plastic container section of my grocery store.

      1. Thanks! We school at home but I like the thoughts it will bring to my head for getting small amounts of different items.

        I showed my midwife my menu, which is based on healthy/homemade and CHEAP. That she pointed out some obvious things, like where were our vegetables? Or even more fruit. I felt pretty silly. She had me so focused on fiber, iron, and protein. (beans, grains, and dairy) LOL

        (for example we do oatmeal in the morning, and bean/rice burritos for lunch)

    2. 100 Days of Real Food

      They are Ziploc brand divided storage containers (like Tupperware) from Target…much cheaper than all those fancy lunch systems!

      1. Thank you! I think this and your ideas will be a HUGE help!!!!! I am so different already from everyone I know it is great to find someone to get new ideas from.

        (Don’t know about you but my folks and in laws think I am nuts! They still argue fruit snacks are fruit.)

  31. I bring the sliced & bagged apple slices and individual cheddar cheese sticks when I’m asked to bring a snack. Snacks have to be “store bought” (i.e., in some kind of wrapping with the ingredients on it). It’s a liability issue in my school district, I’ve heard.

    And your daughter’s lunches look so good. I asked my 6 year old what he thought of the lunches He said they “looked good but Mom, please pack me more food. I have to have energy to play Dinosaurs vs. Robots at recess.”

  32. Thanks for sharing these meal ideas! I use the same containers for my kids’ lunches, and love them. The “suggested” snack foods from DD’s school are not so bad as what you listed above, but I did notice animal crackers and Jello both listed as “healthy choices”.

    1. My son is not old enough for school so I do not have to worry about that, but I get (from grandparents especially) all the time about how healthy things like animal (and graham) crackers are really healthy. Um? They may say “low fat” and “low salt” on the package, but have they read the ingredients?

  33. I love all the lunch ideas!!! I’m not imaginative at all… maybe I’ll have my daughter review this and see what she might like to eat!

    I like your snack list addendum – you’ll have to let us know how it’s received.