I am a proud MOM of a tween and teen. Most of the time they make their own lunches. Most of the time. Not always. The youngest is still bit hit and miss, but that’s okay. They are both pretty good at packing a balanced lunch, but on occasion we have all been guilty of packing boring school lunches.
Anyways, a decade of packing lunches, or supervising kids packing lunches, I have learned a few pointers to pass on and motivate them to build some good habits. Let’s face it lunch can be a totally boring meal. It’s the one I am most likely to skip (and I know that’s terrible believe me!) Sandwiches, soup, meh. Here are some ways to help your older kids have less boring school lunches.
- IT’S A WRAP – keep wrap supplies on hand and they can build their own wraps. My kids love wraps. It’s our go to lunch when sandwiches are getting too boring and you can hear them starting to argue about taking lunch at all…be sure to keep flatbread around and they can easily build a more tasty protein filled wrap that’s just the right size. Both of my girls light up when they realize there are wrap supplies available. They rarely light up when it’s just a sandwich day.
- Leftovers: Why Not? – Make extra food the night before with an eye to sending some for lunch the next day. Keep a thermos around and tell them they are free to take the leftover noodles or chicken leg. My kids LOVE leftover noodles and will take them anytime they are available.
- Flat Breads and Dips – Although this is rarely my first choice, flatbreads and dips can be tasty and once in awhile why not? We keep TZATZIKI and RED Pepper Dip sometimes and if there’s flat bread around and the right containers then the kids can grab flatbread and some dip for lunch.
- Rollups – the cutest rollups I have seen are the little fake sushi ones with peanut butter and jelly. But I am aware you cannot take peanut butter to most schools. However there are great peanut butter substitutes for kids at school. You can use Wowbutter or any other yummy substitute. You can also use ham and cheese, if the cheese is cream cheese and roll them up and the kids can cut them to size and take in their lunches for a change of pace.
- FUN NOTES – see below for the PDF and the printable document so you can print these off for children of any age and tuck them inside their school lunches. I still occasionally do this when the kids do not expect it. They find them and still love having a little note in their lunch that reminds them of home. They typically find them before the other kids see so no big embarrassing moment there at all. Also my kids will occasionally take initiative and make a sibling’s lunch too, when making their own. I have seen my daughter make her sister’s lunch and pop a cute note inside. So print these out and they can use them to surprise each other occasionally.
See this school lunches printables link below to generate the full sized printable lunch notes.