Kids Lunch box dilemma

So the school year is only just back but the never ending dilemma of the school lunch box has already begun.

You hear it all the time, the worries about good food wasted, the “my kid won’t eat sandwiches”, or the fear that they will starve at school.
In reality, they won’t starve, but the mother guilt is always going to nag at us to make sure they are fed well.

We must remember, children will only eat until they are full, once we become adults that fabulous thing, unfortunately, turns itself off and we forget to stop when we are full and just eat something because we want to.
So don’t worry mums out there, our children will not starve, we just have to find what works for them.

If it’s Vegemite sandwiches every day, then go with it.


Here are a few tips I have found along the way having a sometimes fussy, vegetarian child who absolutely does not like soggy sandwiches.
  • Soggy sandwiches are not a good choice as they always
    come back home, instead of a cucumber or tomato sandwich try two pieces of
    wholegrain/wholemeal bread with cream cheese, Vegemite, mustard or any other
    spread and put cucumbers & tomato in a separate container in the lunch box
  • Pitta bread or mountain bread toasted cheese sandwiches
  • Slices of cheese or a cheaper alternative to pre-cut cheese shapes is to buy a block of cheese and using small cookie cutters cut out shapes
  • Variety of vegetables cut into circles or thin sticks, cucumber, carrot, bean shoots, thinly cut red capsicum slices
  • Variety of seasonal fruit freshly cut or frozen in a little container, watermelon, berries, kiwi fruit etc or some tinned fruit
  • Dried fruit mix, dates, mango, cranberries, sultanas, pawpaw, pineapple jelly with fruit
  • homemade custard in a tub
  • homemade rice pudding
  • Mini savoury muffins or vegetable patties
  • Dinner leftovers in a Thermos
  • Rice Cakes
  • Ryvita crackers
  • Water is a must, in the hotter months use a bottle
    that can be put in the freezer and they will enjoy cold water all day long
  • Mini Muffins,Mini Pancakes or Breakfast bars
  • Muesli or mini fruity weet bix in a little container makes a great sweet snack
  • Homemade Granola (without nuts) in a little tub with a mini long-life milk they can later add to it
  • Homemade oat cookies
  • Homemade muesli bars
Remember to keep things chilled with an ice pack, especially anything with milk, egg or rice and ask them to eat that at snack time.
Even though I do a lot of baking I do not tend to add sweets into the lunch box as I try to keep it as healthy as possible, if a baked treat is included it will be a wholegrain biscuit or homemade muesli bar.
These are just a few ideas which may help you through
the school year.
If you are still worried about them, have a chat to their teacher to keep an eye on their eating, maybe they are distracted or eat very slowly.

What about you, what’s in your child’s lunch box, what do they love and what comes back home every single time?
I’d love to hear.
Good luck mums for the new school year.
I am still pinching myself to believe I have a 6 year old grade one child…eeekk!! thanks for the sweet wishes!
  • Zucchini slice with salad on the side in a separate container is always a winner.
    Fruit salad too. Thanks for the tips! I can't believe I've got a 6yr old in year 1 either!

  • Lovely ideas there Cathie, thanks for sharing! My boys tend to have the same things all the time, tuna or ham wrap, leftovers are often good, plain pasta with grated cheese is a fav at the moment. Always fruit, but the all like different types so a bit tricky, & always a treat.. Hope yr grade 1 girl is off to a great start! X

  • Gosh love that John Deere lunch box!
    I would love it if my son ate the same thing each day. The trouble is he gets bored so easily ,or simply his tastes change every week.So I have to come up with new healthy snacks each week. Popcorn is a winner right now.

  • It's always good inspiration to read someone else's list. Thanks.

    Today my boy had a salmon and lettuce sandwich on wholemeal bread. Some cashews (our school is not nut-free). Some cucumber pieces. A nutty muesli bar. A few seaweed rice crackers and an apple. He's off to Grandma's after school so he's got a few extras.

    My problem is he doesn't like my home baking unless it's drenched in icing! Everyone else does so I know it's not my cooking 😉

  • I have a 6 yr old grade 1 kid also, and he tends to want the same thing each time. Spelt sandwiches with ham and cheese or a wrap with the same. And fresh fruit. Snack is homemade fruit leather, rice crackers with sliced cheese, fresh fruit and maybe a homemade cookie. And then they have brain food. And NOTHING comes back! That's after a breakfast of fried egg, toast, a homemade 'milkshake' (raw milk, avocado, raw egg yolk, soaked almonds, cocoa powder and a touch of rapadura) and berries. I can just imagine when he's older, him and his brother will eat us out of house and home…

  • My blog has my a muffin recipe on it, which you can sweeten up with chopped pears, and use the syrup instead of milk….
    Im wondering how long my muffin stage will last before the kids say, 'no muffins today mum'…

  • Yum ~ all good stuff! Thanks for the link!

  • Great tips Cathie!!
    E's favourites are seeded rolls, salady stuff, and a huge tomato.
    G is happy with a cheese and vegemite sandwich, and salady bits chopped up. And lots of fruit – loving the grapes at the moment.XX

  • bec

    Loving all the tips! Mine loves a small tin of corn kernals or tuna as well, I usually put it in a small tupperware container. Frozen yogurt too is good, it defrosts by snack time! but mine is always happy with sliced cold meat (not an option for you tho!)

  • You are a legend Cathie. I am a babe in the woods when it comes to preparing lunches, as this is the first year I've had to… and it's only 2 days a week for preschool. But it doesn't stop me wanting to provide a wholesome, enjoyable lunch for my little guy, so all of these ideas are just fantastic. Loving the idea of using cookie cutters to make cheese shapes. Thank you so much, now maybe I won't have to send boring old vegemite sandwiches every week… not that I've had any complaints as yet ;o) xo

  • I have been doing home-made hamburger rolls…. A nice bread roll with cold mean patties I have cooked on a Sunday afternoon with sauce, cheese and a slice of pineapple. It fills up my growing Master S…. Miss G like rice dishes… can't go past fresh fruit, cut up cheese, crackers and hummus in a container!

  • great ideas, thanks Cathie. Anything put into that cute lunch box in your first picture would have to taste great!

  • I must admit ~ I do not miss the days of packing school lunches! My 'baby' goes to collage and he just drives home for lunch and makes it himself. Yup ~ I like it.

    Adorable lunch pails!
    xo Catherine

  • Peanut butter and banana sandwiches, carrots, yogurt and fruit with a canteen of water, and sometimes dried fruit. We have it down to a science now 🙂

    Great ideas you have given us and love the tractor lunch box!

  • Anonymous

    Leftovers, leftovers leftovers…no sandwhichs tolerated in our house, oh and with teen girls, low sugar everything, water.
    Can I just say sporty teen girls eat as much as sporty teen boys but are more conscious of what they eat.
    Thanks for inspiration, you made me reflect on my sweet innocent grade 1 days, enjoy them before hormones kick in!

  • gosh i wish you'd been packing my lunches when i was a kid. i haven't packed a lunch yet for my boy. still trying to decide on traditional vs. homeschool for the upcoming school year. i fear he'll starve for sure.

  • I'm always looking for hints for the lunchbox. I'm not sure why as we pretty much do a sambo, fruit, veggie sticks, cheese / yoghurt combo every single day. Sushi some days. Mini quiches others. Otherwise, the regular. x

  • Oh i just featured a stacking picnic set on my blog too. I covet the metal ones, but was thrilled to find a melamine one.
    I find my 4 are so keen to throw their school lunches down their necks so they can get out & play with their friends (even in high school) it doesn't matter too much what i give them, all homebaked, homemade & healthy though, it's cheaper & less packaging etc, feels better.
    We do something homebaked, fruit, sandwich, anything more gets brought home. My high schooler takes cute things in Bento boxes though, her friends think she has the coolest mum, glee, love Posie

  • Thanks Cathie for a unique lunch box picture & post. I like the comments of all guys written above. I also agree that the children's are always happy with a change in the lunch boxes as well as the stuff inside. My small little daughter is always demanding unique dishes and yes i have to fulfill her needs as i want her to be healthy without leaving the eating stuff.
    Metal Tin Boxes

  • I've been trying to make the kids' lunchboxes exciting and have even posted about it too. I can't believe our boys are at school! Scary