Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Packed Lunches: The New Frontier

As the start of Micah's school year drew close this summer, one of the less important things I was concerned about is how I'd do packed lunches. Lunches at our house, even mid-meal, are a work in progress. We may start with frozen peas and carrots with peanut butter, work our way to some raisins and sunflower seeds, and finally get the sandwich about halfway through the meal. I say "we," but really this is my kids I'm describing, I don't usually get to eat until lunch is over (I know I'm not alone here, moms). So I had three concerns:

1) I'd actually have to plan the meal beforehand,
2) I'd have to package all of these little portions of things somehow, and
3) Micah's friends would think his lunches were weird.

So a few things really helped, and, so far, I'm still pretty excited about how it's going. (It is still September, so check back with me in a few months.)

The first thing that really helped was a ridiculously expensive lunch bag/bento box system from They have a bag that holds a plastic box (BPA free) with nested containers (some with, some without, lids). Here's Micah's lunch for tomorrow, with the lovely little containers to fill that I just knew would inspire me to pack healthy sides (for the simple fact that I can't send three things, it looks like I forgot something).

As I hoped, Micah thinks his lunch bag is super-cool, which I hope balances out the fact that his lunches are healthy-dorky. Twinkies may have more street cred than broccoli (they used that term on a sitcom tonight, not an original idea).

Also, I didn't have to search wildly for lids (what on earth happens to all of them??????) like I do when I use our regular plastic containers. I mean, you can't miss the neon green.

The other thing that is helping is that the kids and I brainstormed a list of foods for lunch, and that has helped keep me from doing the same thing every day. Here's some of our list ideas:
broccoli salad
carrots with peanut butter
crackers with hummus
leftover pizza
chips with salsa
soy beans in shells
peas in shell
chick peas or black beans
sunflower seeds with raisins
pumpkin seeds
avocado slices
tomato, basil, mozzarella
fruit roll-up
I don't know why, but I really think the actual lunch box frees me up from wanting to just do sandwich, apple, carrots every day . . .

. . . "not that there's anything wrong with that." --Seinfeld

What are your favorite foods to put in a kid's lunchbox--or your own? :)


  1. The list is a really good idea. We are a pb&j kind of family, but sometimes we mix in the nutella and banana combo. Also the Trader Joe's yogurt squeezers are a fun treat - freeze them and then they are cold for lunch time. You are super mom!

  2. Rachel, you are such the ego-boosting friend! We are no stranger to the pbj, or the abj (almond butter). :) Micah tells me the frozen yogurt squeezers are making regular appearances for parent-provided snacks at his school. You're right, they are a fun treat!