Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Quick and Easy School Lunch Ideas

It is that time again, kids are going back to school (or already in school like mine) and with it comes the need to make school lunches.  Over a year ago I showed you some of our Easy school lunch ideas, which is actually my most popular post ever, and now I have even more Quick and Easy School Lunch Ideas to Share.
Easylunch ideas

My Guide and Tips for Making Lunch

--Balance-
  I believe in my kids eating a balanced meal over the entire day- meaning if lunch is fruit heavy, than dinner will feature more vegetables.  While in the ideal world every meal would be perfectly balanced, I know my kids and what they will and won't eat and so do my best for the entire day.  My son, for example, does not like that many raw vegetables, he will eat lots of cooked vegetables though.  So his lunches do not usually have too many vegetables as let's be honest, cooked vegetables in the morning will be yucky cold vegetables by lunch.

--EASY is Best
  We have all seen those lunches with everything cut into a cute shapes and gold fish crackers "swimming" in blue jello; but my question is what do those lunches look/taste like by the time they are shoved into a backpack, transported to school and sitting there until lunch?  Yes, I want something my kids will enjoy but I also want it to survive the trip.  Plus I am just not going to take the time to make lunches like that.

--The Lunch Box
  I use a divided Ziploc Container to put the lunches in, so I had to find a lunch box big enough to fit it.
Lunchboxes

 I found both of these lunch boxes at Target both of which are Embark brand.  In my son's lunchbox the container is able to sit in it flat where as my daughter's it is turned sideways; but we have not had any food leakage problems with the Ziploc Containers even sideways.
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The container fits in nicely and then I place a couple of ice packs and the drink box on top of the container.  I have packed lunches this way for two years now and my son has never complained of warm or mushed food.
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I bought the Ziploc Divided Rectangular Container at Target, they come in a 2 pack.
Image from here
I bought about 6 of them and have used the same 6 for two years now and am only now starting to get a few cracks in some of the lids; so they work great and are very inexpensive.

Now what you have all been waiting for-

The Lunches: 
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To make the rolls- spread cream cheese on tortilla, place ham/lunch meat down, roll up then cut into 1-inch pieces.
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I cooked that Ramen that morning, I boil the noodles without the seasoning, drain the water then add just some of the seasoning packet and a little butter.  The noodles were not hot by the time school came around but he said he absolutely loved it.  (Make sure to include silverware)  The Ramen is inside a smaller Tupperware to keep everything a little more separate.
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Something about eating food on a stick is just so fun; these mini kabobs are made on toothpicks!
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Carrots are one of the few vegetables my son likes raw, so it is a repeated choice for our lunches. Feel free to mix it up with whatever vegetables your kids like.  I also love using cupcake wrappers to give each food it's own section.
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Wraps are a great alternative to a sandwich and the veggie sticks sort of count as  vegetable right?
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I will hard boil the eggs the night before (most of my lunch preparation is done the morning of... if I were smart I would do it all the night before!)
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To help this post not be too incredibly long you can click through 22 more lunch ideas below; just click on the lunch you want to see and it will enlarge, you can then scroll through.
What is your favorite thing for lunch?

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I am linking this post up at the following crafting blogs
Inspiring Creative Moments
Todays Creative BlogIt's Overflowing

Since it is Tuesday I am linking up with some other great Tuesday meme's.  IA and Shawn's Talk to Us Tuesday and Stacy Uncorked's Random Tuesday

Stacy

57 comments:

  1. Jill of The O.W.L.August 13, 2013 at 7:40 AM

    Thank you for these!!! And thank you that they look simple and I don't have to cut up tons of stuff. Love them. Will use them for both my lunches and my son's!

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  2. Wow, what great ideas! I'm going to save this post to favorites! The only thing is I'm always nervous about using mayo or cream cheese because the boys' lunch times are not until almost 1pm. But it sounds like it's worked out fine for you.

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  3. Yea, I always try and make sure the icepacks are right over the sandwiches or any part that may need to stay cold. When the kids get home the icepacks and their lunchbox still feel cold so it definitely seems to be okay.

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  4. Yes! While all those cut up lunches sure are cute I just am not going to to take the time to do that everyday.

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  5. These are all AWESOME ideas! I love the idea of using muffin cups to hold snacks as well! So fun :)

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  6. I love these ideas! In fact, I may just steal some for my college lunches!
    www.theadoredlife.com

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  7. My son takes lunch about twice a week. He loves to take ramen--but he can cook it at the lunch room--they have a microwave and the other kids often cook lunch there. We also do good old sandwiches and I love the fruit snack packs. Mandrin oranges are a favorite.

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  8. That is so lucky that they have a microwave they can use, it would definitely increase the options. My kids buy a couple of times a week.

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  9. Thank you!! I have some washable muffin cups that I should start using I just often forget and grab the disposable ones first

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  10. Dang girl, you're impressive. My home lunches include about two ideas that I alternate, and usually it's about the same every day. The wraps are a good idea...I wonder if my kids would eat them...maybe we should try them at dinner once and see! Thanks for the fun ideas!

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  11. Woah....awesome!! Thanks for all the good ideas. Just pinned this! You are WAY more creative with school lunches than I am!

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  12. Fantastic ideas!! I'm inspired!

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  13. I send lunch with my almost two-year-old. I've started cutting his cheese (and sometimes other food) into shapes because he thinks they're fun and I really just want him to eat. :) I love all of the ideas you posted! Once he's a little older, I definitely see us putting more of his food on "sticks"!

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  14. Um wow! Talk about an awesome resource!!! Thanks for this!

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  15. These are some really great ideas, even for grown ups!

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  16. Thank! Yes, somedays as I am making their lunches I totally end up making the same thing for myself later that day

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  17. Yes, it is fun for little kids to do a little extra and I sometimes will use a cookie cutter to cut their sandwich into fun shapes, but that really is the extent of it as otherwise it would be taking so much time.

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  18. Thanks! About halfway through the year I always come check my own post as I seem to get into a rut and it helps keep me going.

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  19. Awe thanks! They do buy lunches about two days a week so it helps me feel a little more inspired to be creative when I know I will get a least a couple of days break.

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  20. That is how I felt like I was at first, just doing the same things over and over- so one night I sat down and wrote a list of possibilities and would refer to that a lot at first until it became more second nature.

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  21. Hello you are the master of school lunches! I am taking notes ;)

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  22. Great lunch ideas! Did you actually pack all of those too?

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  23. Those are some awesome lunch ideas =) Great post!!

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  24. Thank you! It helps it be more enjoyable for me too not making the same thing all the time

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  25. I did-- these are actually all pictures of Lucas lunches, or some of them from last year. So yep--one of these days I might make my own kids pack their lunches but for now I do it

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  26. Awe thanks! I try and have them fun and balanced but also things I know my kids will actually eat and not just throw away since I am not there to make them eat them

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  27. Great ideas! Love it. Thanks for sharing.

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  28. You just totally opened my eyes to the pepperoni idea. Surely if my kids loves it on pizza so much he'll take it cold in his lunch, right? Why did I not ever think of this! Great lunch ideas, girl! Thanks!

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  29. Oh my gosh you are amazing!!! You could market those lunch ideas. I had such a finicky eater that making lunches for him was a huge challenge. I should have known you years ago!! Hey, so I started following you on instagram!

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  30. So many great ideas. I'll be referencing this when I get frustrated with the monotony of lunch making. Thank you!

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  31. I just posted this on my facebook business page. Thanks!


    www.facebook.com/momslittlesecrets

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  32. Yes, I often go back and reference my own posts as I will start to get in a rut and be like, oh yea I forgot about that idea

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  33. Awe thanks! I do definitely have repeats, these are just some of the best ideas I did last year for Lucas' lunch

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  34. I know! I would have never thought of it either but a couple of years ago my son asked if we could buy some as he just wanted to eat it and a lightbulb went off

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  35. Thank you! Always makes me hungry looking at this post

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  36. You have no idea how glad I am that you posted this! I always have a terrible time deciding what to bring for lunch at school! I cut my schedule into three days, and so I'm there from 10-8 - hence the reason I need a few ideas!

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  37. You are a good mom. My kids get PBJs pretty much every day. They would love living at your house!
    Sandy

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  38. Totally awesome ideas!

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  39. Brilliant! This is DIY I can do! I'm going to Target to find those containers tomorrow. Just in time for start of school.

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  40. Yea! Yes they really are great and lasted way longer than I thought they would

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  41. Caryn/The Mid Life GuruAugust 20, 2013 at 8:32 PM

    This is adorable--and informative too. Makes me wish I had kids lunches to pack.

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  42. I just want to let you know that I think this is really great! Most blogs I see include items that I know my kids would never eat or unrealistically complicated things to make and yours is simple and done with things I actually have on hand! AND things that don't cost an arm and leg to do! Thank you!

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  43. I've gotten more practical ideas from your blog than from any of those other lunch ideas on Pinterest! Thank you!!!

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  44. Thank you so much that truly means a lot as yes, let's face it I am never going to make a lot of those lunches you see out there on pinterest.

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  45. Yes! Totally! I would love to be able to pack more vegetables or more "exotic" things but I know in the end my kids would not eat it, so why pack it?? I figure when they are home for dinner or breakfast when I am there to see that they are actually trying is when I will introduce new foods.

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  46. The Ziplock containers seem to be the most popular for kid-size portions. I wrote a post called "30+ days of lunches" you might like. I pack for my husband, but many ideas work for kids too. Here's the link, if you're interested: http://adventuresintheballpark.blogspot.com/p/whats-for-lunch.html

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  47. Oh awesome! Off to check it out.

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  48. Love these ideas and that fact that they are foods my kids will actually eat! I was wondering where you purchased the mini pitas? Thank you!

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  49. I got them at Costco- but I haven't always seen them, seems to be hit and miss

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  51. Love these! My kids love lunchables but they are pricey and not my favorite thing to feed the kiddos. I love these for making our own!!

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    Replies
    1. Yes! They definitely are expensive and you can easily make your own for a lot less; though my kids love the times when I do buy them an actual one.

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