The Mommy Files: Opting Out of School Lunch

by stacie on March 2, 2021

When I was in elementary school, I can remember my hot lunch being delivered in a Styrofoam container. In middle school, we graduated to the a la carte lunch line where we could stock up on chicken nuggets and french fries. Every. Day.

High school was an open campus, so it was a free for all…Pizza Hut, Burger King…whatever.

What on Earth were our parents thinking?

Over time, school lunch has apparently gotten worse, as evidenced by “Mrs. Q.” who penned the blog Fed Up with Lunch, which gained national attention. Couple that with the overwhelming number of children who are obese in this country and I have to wonder, should we be ditching school lunch all together?

And while Mrs. Obama is trying to get school lunch up to snuff, it seems as though that policy has a long way to go as well…especially considering the brouhaha over this preschooler’s lunch.

But, as parents, it can sometimes be hard to pack a lunch that we know our kids will eat. So…what’s a parent to do? First, it’s a good idea to involve your kiddo in the decision making. Next, you need to find some new lunchbox ammo. I started digging around for some fabulous (and creative) kid lunches that might just make your brown-bagger the envy of the school cafeteria. Check it.

Start with an awesome lunch box (like this bento box) or one of these cool picks from Parenting magazine. Then, fill it with an irresistible lunch.

Here’s some fab recipes to get you started:

13 Toddler Lunch Ideas

20 Easy Bento Lunches (be prepared, some of these are so cute, they’re obnoxious and leave you feeling like a completely inadequate lunch-packer)

5 Sack Lunches Kids Love (so easy to put together, I could do it without my morning coffee. Woot!!)

photo credit: laptop lunches

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm March 2, 2021 at 7:51 am

I pack my son’s lunch. I do bentos sometimes for him. I just think it’s healthier choices - fresh fruits instead of canned, whole wheat sandwiches, organic milk. I like knowing he’s getting well balanced foods.

Penny W. March 2, 2021 at 8:20 am

I’ve given up on packing a regular lunch for my youngest. So now he a combo which usually includes half a sandwich and the rest is cut up fresh fruit or veggies that he likes, along with a cookie. There’s no sense in making them eat something that just comes back time and time again; a few small portions of healthy things they’ll actually eat is a much better idea.

JDaniel4's Mom March 2, 2021 at 3:05 pm

JDaniel will take a packed lunch to school. We try to stick fresh veggies, fruit and sandwiches for lunch. I think he will eat that more than the school food.

Jenny L March 4, 2021 at 1:59 am

My son’s pretty happy with the lunch i pack. Is that an excuse not to spruce it up?

Adventures In Babywearing March 4, 2021 at 7:56 am

I’m trying to pack lunches more and I think we do pretty well- my youngest son has food allergies so we have to get creative - it’s usually hummus or almond butter sandwiches with veggies and fruit.


Joquena March 5, 2021 at 6:58 am

I went out and got fun fabric that matches my kids unique personalities (dinosaurs, princesses, buzz lightyear etc.) to sew into fun reusable baggies. I also let each kid pick out their lunchbox. They are more willing to eat carrot sticks, veggie sandwiches, and muffins hiding veggie purees when it’s a cute package haha! It takes a lot of time to make my kids lunches, but it’s worth it to KNOW what they’re eating!

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