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Lunch boxes - what to send?
Clueless preppie mum


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#1 ~*Lou*~

Posted 24 February 2013 - 12:09 PM

DD has started Prep. I feel like maybe I'm not sending the right stuff in her lunchbox.

The school does a  "bite and write" at 10am so I have to send a piece of fruit (or vegetable) for that - I send an apple as she doesn't like many fruits.

Recess is 10.55am and they suggest a "substantial healthy snack". I have been alternating between a home-made fruit muffin which I have in the freezer, a piece of fruit bread with a smear of jam made into a mini-sandwich, or a tub of fruit puree (apple and raspberry etc). What should I be sending?

For lunch I send either a bagel, wrap, sandwich or rolls (wholemeal or wholegrain or low-GI white), with either ham and cheese or cheese and vegemite, i try to mix it up across the week so she doesn't get bored. I often add a couple of carrot sticks or pieces of cucumber, which she usually leaves.

It varies as to how much gets eaten, often quarter of the sandwich is left for example.

When we get home she's hungry. What are sensible afternoon tea suggestions, obviously I don't want to give her treats all the time, she asks for chocolate milk, I usually try to stick to fruit or pieces of salad vegies, plus vita-wheat crackers with smear of vegemite. Maybe I'm not getting enough protein into her? She's always been a fussy eater.

Someone told me I should include "brain food" but I'm not sure what that is?

Many thanks for any suggestions!
Lou original.gif


#2 Feral timtam

Posted 24 February 2013 - 12:24 PM

I've never been clear on brain food either- it seems to change from week to week.

For my 4yo DS I put in his kindy lunch box a tub of yoghurt with berries or diced mango, a sandwich (usually cheese) and I fill the rest of the lunch box with fruit. He's only got a very small lunch box this year but I find that's a good amount and combination to send for him. He's certainly not complaining of hunger when he gets home.

Maybe try tanking her up with a milk drink or muffin just before dropping her off? I find a high protein, high fat snack just before dropping DS off helps him cope with the day better. Schools with those meal times are assuming the children are eating breakfast at 8am or later, if you're a household that breakfasts at 7am or earlier that is a long time for a child to go without food.

#3 BronR

Posted 24 February 2013 - 12:28 PM

I have one child who doesn't eat fruit at all and i find lunch boxes really tricky once you get past the sandwich/roll whatever.

As well as the things on your list, I often send a hard boiled egg. Some water crackers with cheese. For a "treat" I might include some homemade pikelets with a smear of butter. Not only does this child not eat fruit but she won't touch even a muffin if it has fruit in it, or say banana bread, a real pain as my other child is part fruit bat and loves homemade baked treats with fruit in them as well. Left over pasta or meat (sausages, chicken schnitzel that type of thing) is always asked for from both my kids for their lunch boxes so I tend to cook extra of any lunchbox suitable evening meals.

#4 ubermum

Posted 24 February 2013 - 12:36 PM

My prep gets a sandwich, a banana, a second piece of fruit (grapes in a container, slinky apple in a container, chopped watermelon) and sometimes a home made baked good (muesli bar, muffin) or a piece of laughing cow cheese. I only send the extra item if her lunchbox has been coming home empty which doesn't happen a lot.

She eats one serve of fruit at 10am, the second at recess at 11 and the sanwich at lunch. She doesn't really have time to eat more and often doesn't eat all that because she is busy playing.

#5 ThatsNotMyName

Posted 24 February 2013 - 12:38 PM

It's hard isn't it? Things I've given to DS (just started yr1) are:

fruit break - cut up apple or small whole apple/pear, small banana, grapes, strawberries, vegie sticks, cherry tomatoes

recess & lunch - yogurt with a few berries mixed in (mine eat natural yogurt), cheese & crackers, home baked muffin/pikelet/fruit or cheese scone/vegie sticks & cheese, boiled eggs, sandwiches/wraps, left over pizza, cold sausage, salad, twiggy sticks with olives & salad & crackers, corn/zucchini/ham fritters, mini quiches

I don't send too much as he's often finishing brekky around 8.30, is a slow eater & gets afternoon tea around 3.30.

#6 we~are~family

Posted 24 February 2013 - 01:11 PM

I pack 5 things inc a sandwich, 3 pieces of fruit &/or veg (container of grapes, watermelon, cut of beans, carrots etc) & something "snack-y" usually baked things like biscuits, pizza scrolls, mini muffins. This summer I've also been including a small frozen yogurt thingy. On hot days I pack it all with a Nude Food ice brick (the ones with the fabric type covers), that they can drink as it defrosts. And a drink bottle that they can easily refill if need be.

Now and then I pop in an LCM or similar, but I'm lucky, both my kids usually eat all that, and in 3 years I've never had any complaints that's its boring or there's not enough sweet snack type foods.

#7 MaggieL79

Posted 24 February 2013 - 01:26 PM

Ubermum how do you keep a slinky apple fresh? My kids love slinky apples, but they turn brown in their lunch boxes so they won't eat them.

#8 intrigued

Posted 24 February 2013 - 01:29 PM

Regarding the sensible afternoon snack - if she asks for chocolate milk you could make her a smoothie with milk, 1/2 banana and a spoon of cocoa powder (the pure stuff, no sugar etc), it's close enough to chocolate milk and healthy..
or experiment with whatever you have at home - berries, mango, a bit of yoghurt to make it thicker etc.

#9 WhatWouldBuffyDo

Posted 24 February 2013 - 01:55 PM

Mine generally take 6 things.
2 x sandwiches
2 x pieces of fruit
2 x "snacks" (ranges from cake, muesli bars to yoghurt and frozen berries)

Most days the lunch boxes come home empty and they have one more snack at 4pm (then dinner at 6). Breakfast is done by 0715 at the latest.

ETA: They are year one and two.

Edited by WhatWouldBuffyDo, 24 February 2013 - 02:22 PM.


#10 Freddie'sMum

Posted 24 February 2013 - 02:01 PM

Hi OP

I have 2 at school now - Miss-Year-2 and Miss-Kindy

In their lunchboxes I tend to have the following:

A cut up apple (they have a "Fruit / Vege break" around 10am)
Then a sandwich - the favourite at the moment is ham
Then either cut up carrot / or grapes / or cherry tomates / or lebanese cucumber (if I find a fruit or a vege that they will actually eat - I put it in the lunchbox !!)
Then - either a mini muffin / pikelet / cheese stick / even good old Arrowroot biscuit.

They are hungry by the time school ends - but I was sick of putting too much food in the lunchboxes and then throwing it away at the end of the day.



#11 ComradeBob

Posted 24 February 2013 - 02:09 PM

I generally send DD (year 1) a few grapes, blueberries, or a quarter of an apple cut up and dunked in orange juice for fruit break, more grapes, or 4 crackers and a slice of cheese cut into quarters, or a home made muffin for recess, and a sandwich for lunch, sometimes with more fruit. She's also got a water bottle.

#12 *LucyE*

Posted 24 February 2013 - 02:18 PM

My kids have gone through phases of being really hungry or not hungry or too busy. Each phase never lasts long and it has very little to do with me so I don't get emotionally vested in it.

If they're hungry, I send more food in. If they're not, I send a base amount and we have chooks who eat the scraps. I don't make a big deal about it.

I usually have a filling after school snack for them. Between a healthy breakfast, after school snack and dinner, I don't care what they eat during school hours.

Our afternoon teas are often small portions of left over dinner or lunch foods. Things like noodles or lamb cutlets or pasta. Sometimes we'll do healthy shakes full of fruit, nuts and yoghurt. Sometimes it's blended frozen yoghurt with fruit. It depends on what we are doing (home or in car) and phase they are in.

#13 Juki

Posted 24 February 2013 - 02:37 PM

In the chance that you have time to be creative with lunches, I find there are some good ideas on easylunchboxes.com

I follow them on pinterest and love seeing what ideas people come up with.

#14 ChunkyChook

Posted 24 February 2013 - 02:38 PM

DD is almost 7 and each day I send:

Multigrain roll or sandwich
Fresh fruit or veg for brain food
Box of sultanas
Muesli bar
Air popped popcorn or shapes/flavoured bikkies
Multigrain rice thins or saladas
Rice snacks/crackers
Sometimes (once a week/fortnight) a finger lamington or donut.

She never eats it all but I like her to have choice and not have to eat the same stuff everyday. I never comment on how much she has or hasn't eaten as I don't want her throwing away food.



#15 redmum77

Posted 24 February 2013 - 03:36 PM

Great thread! It's hard sometimes..

Mine get similar to Chunky Chooks - healthy pop corn is a favourite, we air pop it then I put olive oil on and a small small amount of salt. We generally have a low salt diet so I think it's fine, and olive oil makes it go down easy original.gif

Slinky - our school will slinky an apple for 10c if you send one in, did that for a bit with dd. then just cut it into chunks instead.

My trouble with DS (just started prep) is that he doesn't eat bread etc much during the day unless it's cheese on toast or something that he can't have at school. He doesnt like meat cold either. So he has -

Fruit break, cut up apple

Morning tea, celery and carrot sticks and a choc Wheaton biscuit, or fruit pillows.

Lunch - cheese and crisp bread things (Urgh, all I can do to get the protein/cheese into him). Another salad, carrot, celery, capsicum sticks. Some sugar plums if they are around. Sometimes he will agree to a hot cross bun with a bit of butter. Sultanas.

DD has protein balls (mostly sultanas, dates, coconut, chia seeds, cocoa, milk powder and/almond meal - we have no tree nut allergies at the school). Sometimes a Milo oaties bar if i havent made the balls yet. DS asks for all the salad stuff, strange kids lol. dd eats most of her food at morning tea, but at her age they get more control over their food.

I've bought reusable, green pouches that I'm going to fill with baby food, lol, they love oats/apples and sultanas all cooked and whizzed. I thought the oats would be the carbs they are missing? Novelty pouch things might help lol!

So it's hard to fill them up without many carbs or meat or anything. But they seem fine, finish breaky by 7.30, and don't eat heaps at afternoon tea. They love dinner and eat all of it, veg and meat etc so I know they are ok nutritionally, I just worry about their energy in the day.

#16 katrina24

Posted 24 February 2013 - 03:48 PM

Hi, my two girls are huge eaters so I find that they need some protein at school or they are starving.  I use leftover meats (e.g., meatloaf, steak sliced thinly, chicken) in wraps, rolls, sandwiches etc with salad (usually shredded lettuce, carrot and cucumber for school).  I also make a lot of little quiches, frittata or zucchini slice and keep portions in the freezer.  If they are having a lower protein lunch I often throw in a hard boiled egg for them.  One has yoghurt portions or cheese portions but the other is allergic to dairy.  She will eat hommus with crackers or little bags of mixed seeds (e.g., pumpkin, sunflower) with dried fruit and a couple of dark choc bits (dairy free).  I fill up their lunch boxes with a home made muffin and two pieces of fruit each day. But, like I said, they are huge eaters.  After school they  usually have fruit, toast, crackers, a roll from the bakery, a tin of baked beans or spaghetti, chopped veges, rice crackers etc.  If one wasn't allergic to dairy I would go for a glass of milk and a piece of toast or something but sadly not possible (and rice milk just doesn't fill you up like milk does).

#17 Jaffacakes

Posted 24 February 2013 - 04:04 PM

We've just started full-time school here. I pretty much send a variation of the following:

- Sandwich or wrap (vegemite or cheese or cold meat or salad - would like to send sunflower seed paste but need to check with school first for allergies. Peanut butter not allowed)

- Fruit: either fresh or occasionally fruit salad in a tub

- Carbohydrate snack: home made muffins, crackers (with vegemite or cheese or just margarine), rice cakes, pop corn, pikelets, will be trying homemade muesli bars this week.

- Dairy snack: Usually a yoghurt or cheese stick. Would like to try homemade mini-quiches too.

- Pot luck: Which is usually whatever I can find in the cupboard  laugh.gif Sultanas, dried fruit, freeze-dried apples, tiny teddies occasionally, possibly more fruit or more crackers.

My DD (depsite her diminutive frame) has a huge appetite and gets upset/teary if she doesn't get to eat it all.

When the weather cools down I might try sending leftovers (e.g. risottos, rice etc.) I have bought a thermos type thing for this.

I also want to try to introduce more veges (I am thinking veges and dip or vege muffins).

#18 Funnington

Posted 24 February 2013 - 07:33 PM

My son is in Year 1 and I still find it difficult to run with his periodical likes/dislikes, 'fuelling up' or basically living on a lick of a sandwich for the entire day!  I generally just make sure there's around five - six items in his lunchbox (which includes an extra snack for after school).

I basically send him with:

- 1 or 2 sandwiches or rolls (the school stipulate two but myself and most other parents find our kids don't eat 2) .  Depending on what his particular 'flavour' is at the time - it could be cheese and vegemite, ham and cheese, jam, peanut butter, chicken and mayo (this is the extent of his filling repetoire unfortunately).

- a couple of homebaked goods - muffins, cookies, slices

- Cut up cheese & biscuits, sultanas, rice cakes with jam, air popped popcorn, trail mix, yoghurt, tinned fruit, tinned baked beans, tinned corn, pureed fruit containers

- 2 pieces of fruit

I really wish Australian schools operated like UK schools with a hot lunch - I would gladly pay.

#19 Orangedrops

Posted 24 February 2013 - 07:41 PM

A lot of the things in her lunchbox and a lot of the suggestions are very low in fat, fat, especially saturated fat is really important nutrition for children in my view, my dds often have pieces of raw organic cheese, salami, hard boiled eggs, any crackers or sandwiches always have plenty of grass fed butter. I'd be upping the fat and protein, our school doesn't allow nuts but if yours does then nuts and nut butters are also great. After school my girls often eat celery sicks spread thickly with nut butter sometimes topped with sultanas.

My girls also often take olives and pickles in their lunchbox eps or mini frittata .




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