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NOW CLOSED: Walkers Baked Stars would love you to share your top tips for tasty lunchbox fillers and snacks - you could win a £100 Amazon voucher

(165 Posts)
TheOtherHelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 02-Aug-12 10:48:35

Launched earlier this year, Walkers Baked Stars were designed with lunchboxes in mind and ”are baked for 70% less fat than potato crisps on average, contain 94 calories a pack and are a source of fibre. Available in 3 great tasting flavours: Cheese & Onion, Salt & Vinegar and Mild Sweet Chilli.”

Now those friendly folk from Walkers are keen to know your top tips for making up great kids lunchboxes which make sure they get eaten! What makes a great packed lunch for your family? How do you keep it interesting and appealing?

We're thinking ahead to back to school and MN are putting together the annual emails which go out to provide tips and advice for parents whose children are moving up school or starting for the first time. Please think about the advice you think would be useful to those parents for lunchboxes and snacks during or after school. Tips posted on this thread may well be used in those emails (MN name will not be used).

We would also love to know what your general advice on snacks for children would be. For example, do you stock up on snacks? Do you let your children choose what they have? What's most popular? What's least popular?

Share your tips and advice here and you would win a £100 Amazon voucher. Everyone who adds a comment will be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win!


ScorpionQueen Thu 02-Aug-12 11:14:12

I make sure I am putting things in the lunchboxes that the children will eat and keep the new foods for home, as I hate the idea of them being hungry during the day just because I wanted them to try something new.

I keep their lunchboxes varied and healthy. although their school must be quite relaxed as apparently I am the only mum who doesn't put cakes and chocolate bars in every day (so my DDs tell me).

Flat peaches and flat nectarines and easy peel satsumas have been by far the most successful fruit for lunchboxes this year, although a pot of strawberries always goes down well too.

DD is still v young so I choose, otherwise she would subsist on berries! She is only 2 so has easy open pots and doesn't need to open anything herself - so sandwiches cut in small triangles, pasta, grapes, cheese cubes, peeled satsuma, the odd treat snack like a fruit-juice sweetened biscuit or rice pudding.

ShatnersBassoon Thu 02-Aug-12 11:34:00

Something filling, nutritious and well known to my children is the way to go with packed lunches in this house. They don't find surprises and unfamiliar things appealing, predictable is good. New things have to be trialed at home, to make sure they won't come home having had no lunch.

Friday is 'treat' day for packed lunches, so they get something like a cake or biscuit. It makes it easier for me when we've inevitably run out of yogurts at the end of the week grin.

My children don't choose their own snacks. We always have crisps and chocolate biscuits in the house, but these aren't freely available to the children. They're inherently greedy kids and would be scoffing all day and avoiding healthier foods if given free rein on 'empty' calorie snacks. Of the everyday snacks, they most like grain bars, berries and cheese. Of the treat snacks, they like crisps such as Pom Bears (of course) and biscuits.

The kids tried the cheese and onion Walkers Stars last week actually, on a picnic, and really liked them smile.

Pavked lunches usually consist of various combinations of sandwich/pasta/bagel, yogurt, sausage roll, crisps, breadsticks, carrot/cucumber sticks, cherry tomatoes.

I have a cutter that cuts sandwiches into dinosaur shapes, which usually encourages the kids to eat them. Little pots/boxes with a few items in seems to keep them quite entertained too as they think it's like a picnic.

For snacks we tend to have open access to fruit so the kids can help themselves. We also have some biscuits/crisps/breadsticks etc. in the cupboard as they're quite handy (they don't need any prep). We let them have stuff like that but try to keep it in moderation. Dd1 is big on fruit but dd2 is more fussy and likes bagels most.

TheCunningStunt Thu 02-Aug-12 11:40:10

DS is 5 and going into his second year at school. We do a range of wraps and sandwiches which can consist of ham, cheese, tuna etc. he takes fruit for his snack at playtime. We also bake very low or sugar free muffins. They are packed with fruit so you really don't need sugar as it leaches out of the Barry's, banana, raisins etc you put in. I then freeze these and put them forzen in a tub in his lunch box and they defrost by lunchtime. We add carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, a box of raisins, cubed cheese, chopped kiwi, satsuma and so on. We sometimes add a yoghurt but he is not to fussed. I give him quite a lot as he is starving. He always eats his lunch but never drinks his juice. But he drinks lots of water in the daytime so not a worry.

My tips are batch make cakes, flapjacks etc as these freeze really well and can then be thrown in frozen and help keep the lunch bag cool whilst they deforst.

DS has never stated that his friends have this or that, but this may change. If he does, I would let him choose a small selection of what goes in his lunch, he does this already with fruits, fillings etc. I wouldn't feel the need to give into peer pressure for unhealthy items, but would buy him something healthy if he wanted it to match his friends.

To keep it interesting he helps me bake his cake and picks some of his lunch too. As a family we often take a packed lunch on days out. We follow the similar style of bento like eating. Lots of small tubs filled with nuts, cut up fruit, veg, dips, wraps etc. we like this way of eating And everyone gets something they like. Since we are not all generic and like our own things. It also means I don't make individual lunches. We just take a broad array of tubs with food and share it!

TheCunningStunt Thu 02-Aug-12 11:41:29

Barry's??obviously I mean Berries..blush

DS is milk allergic, so we were limited on shop-bought lunchbox fillers. I got imaginative and made things look nice:
-Marmite and peanut butter sandwich spirals (1slice of bread, spread, roll up bread, slice the roll into spirals)
-fresh picked garden fruit kebabs on straws
-oaty banana smoothies
-"sunny" rice with boiled egg and turmeric

My main aim was to get calories into DS, as dairy free foods are often low fat. I have been known to add olive oil to things just to up the calories.

sickofincompetenceandbullshit Thu 02-Aug-12 11:54:52

My son is very fussy. To combat this, he used to have a 'menu' (6 fruit choices, 6 sandwich choices, 6 drink choices, 6 snack choices etc.) which he would tick and choose at the start of the week for each day. This helped with the shopping part of it and meant he had 'chosen' what he wanted to eat, so he was more likely to eat it.

We gradually moved away from this and he would accept a rotation of the same things each day. He also won points if he tried something new in his lunchbox and could 'earn' treats on Fridays if he'd eaten well/ tried something different.

firawla Thu 02-Aug-12 12:16:28

My oldest is not in full time school yet so have only had to do pack lunches here and there not for every day, but he does tend to eat stuff like carrott or cucumber sticks, any fruit, sandwiches, rice cakes or cheese kind of things.

If i put cake or chocolate things in i think he would just eat that and dump the rest, if i wasn't watching him.

Luckily he finds pack lunches quite exciting so that tends to make him eat it but not sure if the novelty would wear off if its a daily thing (probably!)

Think I would find it quite hard getting variety in it every day so hoping he will be alright with school dinners when he starts in sept, otherwise will have to come back here for more ideas

stealthsquiggle Thu 02-Aug-12 12:25:40

My DC are the opposite of most - they have school lunches during term, so packed lunches are holiday club stuff only nowadays, although DD used to have packed lunch every day at nursery. Because of that, I am probably a bit more relaxed about 'treats' than I would be if it were term time (no, there is no logic to that).

Generally they have a sandwich or wrap (they prefer wraps) which I wrap in clingfilm and then pack a savoury snack of some sort in a box with it - cherry tomatoes, or cucumber, or babybel/bits of cheese, or sometimes cocktail sausages (which I cook in bulk and freeze in portions). They will then have some sort of bagged savoury thing (generally crisps blush - but holiday clubs are pretty much the only time they get crisps, but sometimes baked snacks of some sort), some fruit or a yoghurt, and a piece of cake (I will do a tray bake at the beginning of the week and slice it up for the week).

If it were me, I would vary it more. If they were having them all term, maybe they would want to vary it more, but as it is every time I offer them variation they want "the same as yesterday" hmm

bagelmonkey Thu 02-Aug-12 12:32:09

I like lots of small portions of several different things in a lunch box. Cheese, mini sausages, mini breadsticks, cherry tomatoes, pitta bread strips, pasta with pesto, a bit of leftover chicken etc. Small sized fruits - small apples, clementines, a few grapes or berries etc.

I like to include a frontage frais that doesn't need to be eaten with a spoon, because they're always forgotten or, if theyre packed in the first place they don't make it home. So, squashums, frontage frais pouches, frubes etc. in the summer I freeze them to keep the lunchbox cool and they're defrosted by lunchtime.

As a special treat I will also include a fruit smoothie pouch.

cleanandclothed Thu 02-Aug-12 12:42:53

I second Cunnings batch cook and freeze, and then pop in the lunch box frozen. This works with flapjacks and oat biscuits really well. I go for bite sized items - cherry tomatoes, small sandwiches, slices of malt loaf, satsumas etc.

PetiteRaleuse Thu 02-Aug-12 12:43:38

Something different every day, and something new every week (DD is only a toddler so can still do this, and she eats new things better if she is with her CM than with us). So she will have each day, cold salmon or cold meat, a portion of cheese (different types), a yoghurt (different flavours), a vege dish to be heated up (pasta, lentils, beans, or some kind of gratin) and a piece of fruit.

So I guess my tip is variety.

camdancer Thu 02-Aug-12 12:46:10

DS has packed lunch at school most days and DD1 is going to start taking a packed lunch to preschool, but I find it easier to do a packed lunch for all of us each morning so I don't have to worry about what to have at lunch. All our packed lunches include something starch (usually bread or a roll), something protein (ham, cheese, peanut butter, nutella, fromage frais), a piece of fruit and some vegetable (carrot, cucumber, cherry tomato, sugarsnap peas).

Sometimes I'll cut sandwiches into shapes. Sometimes I'll do rolled up sandwiches (use a rolling pin to flatten a piece of bread and then rolled up with either ham or chocolate spread). DS also loves stripey rolls (a finger roll cut up shortwise and sandwiched back together with chocolate spread).

HazeltheMcWitch Thu 02-Aug-12 12:48:43

What works for is making things look nice and appealing, as DD is the type to not really feel that hungry when she really ought to eat. Small portions of quite colourful food seem to appeal to her, so I add things like cherry toms/pepper slices/carrot sticks and mini pots of hoummous (cliche alert), and colourful fruit, along with her sandwich/roll. I try to make the sandwich not too beige, as they don't seem to pique her appetite well. And I know form bitter experience that she wont use cutlery in a packed lunch (?) so anything like pasta salad, yoghurt pots are out.
Flapjacks/traybakes also excellent for adding in some more calories. Obv cooked with raisins/cranberries to make them a bit more colourful.

Lilyloo Thu 02-Aug-12 12:48:58

Frozen yoghurt and frozen grapes / water bottles help to keep lunch boxes cool.
Alternating bread And fillings helps with variation, my dc particularly like mini pittas and tortillas filled then rolled and sliced into bite size pieces.
It works out cheaper to decant your own tubs of raisins, jelly, custard etc from larger bags or portions.

Windsock Thu 02-Aug-12 12:51:01

My tip. Don't put too much in. Just because they aren't at home doesn't mean they'll die of malnutrition.
If they start eating everything bar sandwiches them start removing yogurts etc till they eat the bread

fuzzpig Thu 02-Aug-12 12:53:46

I'm not sure if my contribution can count here, as my DD has school dinners. That's been mostly due to circumstances though as stuff is hectic at home and it was easier to pay for the convenience instead of doing her lunches ourselves. She is desperate for packed lunches like her friends next year though.

The main problem with DD is that she isn't mad about sandwiches! She prefers a sort of salady plate thing - crackers, bits of cheese, veggie sticks, chopped fruit. Getting some of her 5 a day is pretty easy but not as varied as I'd like. She would be happy to eat the same each day which is something I don't understand - I get bored easily!

I totally agree with what was said upthread though - rather give her what I know she will eat than risk an untouched lunchbox coming home.

School seem fairly strict on chocolate etc which I am happy about TBH as it means I don't have to worry about "but my friend Jenny has blah blah every day why can't I" etc!

If we are having picnics or when DD has had a one off packed lunch for a school trip we have used stuff like cheestrings, pepperami etc, but can't afford that for every day. I guess we will be needing lots of little Tupperware pots to chop stuff into...

(I really like the baked stars BTW)

fuzzpig Thu 02-Aug-12 12:56:56

I really fancy getting some of those shaped sandwich cutters grin

Imflabulous Thu 02-Aug-12 13:03:56

Both of mine (7 and 4) eat eat quite a lot and are always hungry so this is what there lunch usually is;
Past/sandwich/wrap etc
2 pieces of fruit
and small treat eg raisens, biscuit, crisps, ritz cracker or wee cup cake etc

If they stop eating the fruit/sandwich too often (but eat the treat) the treat gets stopped.

Mine are quite samey as both quite fussy, my tips are giving them a choice eg which bread, filling or choosing the fruit, little pots and containers for everything so nothing gets squashed inc sandwich.

birdsofshoreandsea Thu 02-Aug-12 13:07:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Ruprekt Thu 02-Aug-12 13:25:09

Despite being SuperMum when they were little and pureeing organic veggies and chicken livers into ice cube trays this has not worked to any advantage now that they are 10 and 7!

They both love ALL raw veg which I should be grateful for. This includes cauliflower, broccoli and mushrooms and they would both sit happily shelling peas out of the shell!

Fruit - they like berries and melon and cherries and squashed peaches. Not keen on apples, bananas and oranges!

For snacks they quite like crisps, pom bears, yoyo bears fruit whirly things, school bars but both hate raisins.

Packed lunches are very boring. DS1 has nutella on brown bread or pepperami and a shed load of veg, drink, yoyo, frube.

DS2 has parmesan on brown bread, small cake, loads veg, frube, drink.

Snacks are in the kitchen if they want something but they do have to ask.

FreckledLeopard Thu 02-Aug-12 14:29:39

DD likes ham or tuna/sweetcorn rolls. She'll eat salad, raw veggies (when I have time to peel and chop them and arrange them nicely in a suitably-sized tupperware). I try to put a smoothie or pure fruit juice in too, as well as a couple of pieces of fruit (apples, berries in a pot are the most popular). Occasionally I'll put in some crisps or biscuits. I often put in a pack of yoghurt-covered raisins or strawberries - they're devoured and I feel that they're 'healthier' than other sweet options, though given their sugar levels they're probably just as bad.

CMOTDibbler Thu 02-Aug-12 14:31:31

DS(6) normally has school dinners, but we are currently on 5 weeks of packed lunches for holiday club.
DS is a v good eater, and likes to pick and choose from the contents of his box as the strange child will happily leave his biscuit or crisps if he doesn't feel like eating them but likes the option.
I use weaning pots to put little fruit jellys in and yogurt from a big pot, or chopped kiwi fruit. He likes a box of salad with cherry toms, chopped raw carrot, and broccoli to pick through.
If I am feeling generous, I'll do cucumber and roast chicken sushi rolls (v easy to make and I like avocado and sweet chilli chicken for my lunch), but generally lunches have to be minimum effort.

We do the shopping list for lunches together, so he gets to choose from what there is - so we have 6 diff fruits in this week, 4 diff sandwich things etc.

Cokeaholic Thu 02-Aug-12 14:47:30

Instead of a whole bag of crisps you can pot up some from a larger family size bag which saves money and doesn't attract so much attention from lunch box policing lunch-time supervisors.

Oh and IKEA cheap plastic cups, you know the sort, everyone has them, you get six different coloured ones for £1, can be made into an airtight and watertight lunch box pots by putting a pringles tube lid on them. I put crisps in or fruit or cheese chunks etc. You can also make your own jellies (with/without fruit in) in them overnight and just take out of the fridge, pop a lid on and bung it in the lunchbox in the morning. I also make packet mix whisk up with milk type mousse and chill it in the cups in the fridge overnight and pop a lid on in the same way. Saves money on ready made mousses and jellies.

For healthy by tasty snacks we have discovered giant flavoured ricecakes as the dc are not allowed to have crisps at snacktime. Oatcakes buttred and stuck together is also a favourite snack along with melba toast thins

RobotHamster Thu 02-Aug-12 15:03:57

Cokeaholic - that's brilliant!


Mine is get some of these

RedWhiteAndBlu Thu 02-Aug-12 15:13:09

Popular lunchbox snacks in our house have included:
Small mild veg samosas
Onion bahji
Dolmades (available in tins in our local turkish shop, more cheaply than the supermarket chiller cabilnet ones).
(all of which are stealth contributors to 5-a-day)

Things to be eaten with a cocktail stick are also popular:
'Cheese lego' - ordinary red leicester cut into lego brick chunks
Chunks of avocado
chunks of pineapple
Slices of cooked fish finger
Slices of cold sausage

I always avoided any specially packaged lunchbox food, such as pepperami or cheese strings (I'm mean / thrifty) and provided a home made version - such as a cold sausage, or the cheese lego.

And based on an old NZ favourite I made 'asparagus rolls' - an asparagus stalk rolled up in thinly cut buttered bread, sometimes with marmite, parma ham or wafer thin ham.

LineRunnerSpartanNaked Thu 02-Aug-12 15:24:25

To be honest, my kids really like Walkers Crisps...

Pitta and hoummous and fresh fruit (juice) can sometimes be forced down, along with a nutella sandwich (stop judging me, they are teenagers....) grin

maples Thu 02-Aug-12 15:29:10

We like sugar free muffins - lots of carrots and chopped dates make them very healthy!

tanfastic Thu 02-Aug-12 15:59:41

My ds is 4 so not at full time school yet but we do picnics and he gets very excited opening his Spiderman lunchbox grin.

I can't go wrong with cheese: cheese sandwiches, cheese strings, babybels, ritz cheese sandwich crackers. He loves the baked stars (as do I as I'm on a diet).

Small yoghurts and mini sausages are also a failsafe.

My dcs only get packed lunches when they go to camp in the school hols - they get very excited about them and I'm probably more treat/snack inclined (normally far too strict about food) as its only for 2 weeks or so.

I suspect I'd be a lot more careful if they had packed lunches more frequently (and less likely to spend lots of ££££s on fun snacks, too....hmm)

I do stock up for the hols, although I still go for pretty healthy items, but sometime just changing the presentation can be great. My dcs are all pretty young, so I'm still keen to make sure items are low salt/sugar and also easy to open.

My dcs always have sandwiches (jam & cream cheese; cheddar cheese; marmite or smoked salmon; chocolate spread on Fridays), a bottle or water, a carton of fruit juice and then a selection of 'other stuff'

Recent big winners are:

Mini vegetarian sausages
Mini breadsticks & mini hummous pots
Yoghurt drinks (sachets, bottles and funny fruit shaped ones)
Fruit-shake sachets (like the Dole/Ellas Kitchen ones)
Mini bags of cheddar cubes / mini sticks of cheddar
Cheese strings
Walkers Baked Salt & Vinegar crisps (although dh and I tend to swipe them)
Easy peel satsumas / small bag of blueberries / mini apple
'Fruit stars' from Humdingers
Fruit winders
Mini milky bar
Mini twix
Mini bag of pretzels
Babybel cheese
Homemade cake/biscuits/flapjacks

StellaAndFries Thu 02-Aug-12 17:17:24

Things that my dd's love in a packed lunch.
Stuffed pitta's (they get bored of plain sandwiches!)
Stuffed wraps,
Seedy crisp breads with either thick real butter or thick cheese spread,
Breadsticks and dip,
Yogurt drinks (only if screw top)
Suck your guts out (yogurt in tubes!)
Varied fruits,
Biscuit or flapjack
The only thing they aren't allowed in a pack up at school is sweets or chocolate and I don't allow them to have Capri sun or similar foil bagged drinks as they make such a mess opening them!

GetKnittedSpeedosForTomDaley Thu 02-Aug-12 17:45:07

The only real 'tip' that I have is to chop apple into sticks and shake it up with a sprinkle of lemon juice to stop them going brown. Ds manages much more of an apple when it is chopped up compared to arranged around an inedible core as prepared by nature.

MerryCosIWonaGold Thu 02-Aug-12 17:49:53

Ricecakes, pistachio nuts, home-made flapjacks, popcorn (home-made)

I don't let kids choose snacks generally as it would always be crisps! But I do get what they like. Their favourite are Carr's Cheese Melts and pretzels. As a treat (weekends) they sometimes get crisps. Chocolate digestives for after school. Chopped up fruit for midmorning snack.

We love making popcorn. It's so easy and cheap - and great fun to watch it pop if you use a glass lidded saucepan! Just make the popcorn, tip it into a bowl, put knob of butter in still-hot pan and melt it then pour over the popcorn. Finally season with a little bit of salt, or caster sugar (tiny quantities really compared to bought snacks).

Taffletics Thu 02-Aug-12 17:49:55

DD ( 6) adores Walkers Stars. Cheese and Onion. She gets them in her lunchbox once a week.

DS(8) has gone off sandwiches and he often wants either cheese and crackers or a few cold sausages instead. He is obsessed with how "cool" his lunch is, ie what his friends think of it, which drives me to distraction.

DD has a little Thermos food pot that I put soup in for the winter, which she loves, with some bread wrapped separately, for dipping grin. She is also a melon fiend, so she often gets cut up melon chunks in a little lock and lock box.

The keys, IMO, are to vary it, and to make sure you have the right containers!

The other thing is the individual packs of things are often the wrong size, either for the container, or more of something than they want or need, so I tend to buy a large pack and just giev them an appropriate helping wrapped in foil or in a little lock and lock box. Inevitably cheaper as well.

CharlotteBronzeySaurus Thu 02-Aug-12 17:58:47

buying lots of those teeny tiny food boxes from IKEA helps you stay in control of the portion size. For example, I think a whole bag of crisps is too much for my 5yo to take with lunch, so we split a bag between two food boxes and take over two days.

the one thing that's omnipresent is a small box of fruit. We buy large amounts of cheaper "boring" fruit (apples, bananas, whatever's on offer), and much smaller amounts of "interesting" (dd1's terminology) fruit like strawberries and blueberries. We slice an apple and add just a few chopped strawberries into the box, and this gets eaten, whereas an apple on its own often doesn't.

iklboo Thu 02-Aug-12 18:13:03

When DS had packed lunches we got some of those fun & unusual shaped cookie cutters & used them to make his sandwiches more interesting. We made sure there was as little waste as possible (crusts for birds, hamster etc). He loved them & still talks about them now.

Boxes of raisins went down well, as did sugar free jellies (the ones on the shelf in supermarkets).

Little pots of strawberries & grapes.

Babybel (moon cheese).

StellaAndFries Thu 02-Aug-12 18:33:18

Oh I forgot to add my tips!

The yogurt tubes keep lunch nice and cool and fresh if they are frozen before putting in the lunch box and by the time it's lunch time they have defrosted enough to eat.

I second the splitting portions up, dp often gets carried away with the packed lunches and puts far too much volume in, small amounts of different foods goes down well in our house.

nextphase Thu 02-Aug-12 19:41:07

Cool the water in the bottle in the fridge overnight to keep everything cool.

Make sure they can open / eat everything in there - ie no yoghurt's for us yet, as the lids can't be removed (3).

Ring the changes - even if its as simple as different bread (pittas, muffins, brown, white), or red leciester cheese rather than cheddar.

The biggest choice mine get is choosing the lunch bag. Food is up to me!

mamij Thu 02-Aug-12 19:50:06

We like sandwiches spread with butter first, then either hummus or avocado and filled with some sort of meat or cheese. These are cut into small triangles.

For snacks, Babybel can be easily peeled, yoghurt goes down a treat. A small pot of grapes or berries, and a cut up apple. A box of raisins, a few pieces of dried apricot or dates. Pombears for a special treat.

I let mine chose what they want. If it's pasta or a few slices of homemade pizza.

I buy the tube yoghurts and freeze them. By the time it gets to lunch time they have defrosted.

Dd also loves those doughnut nectarines ( or is it peaches?)

As a treat i make really small cakes. Like bitesize fairy cakes.

missorinoco Thu 02-Aug-12 20:04:06

Start portions smaller and build up. I also started with savoury sandwiches, then snuck in the occasional jam as a treat, so it wasn't expected all the time.

Small pots containing raisins or carrot sticks (or substitute whatever your child likes) go down a treat and get in a portion of fruit/veg. Grapes in the same wee pot are loved. Look out for cereal bars or dried fruit on offer. (It's usually expensive.)

Mini cheddars aren't crisps, but are a snack bag if you are having an am-I-feeding-my-child-healthily-enough trauma.

Bananas have a tendency to get bashed en route, consider this if you have a no bruises, Mummy, child. Apple cutters make apples novel, and if you don't cut it all the way down you can stop it going brown.

Let them choose a lunch box/ water bottle. Don't buy a cheap water bottle, our phonics book is tatty from spilled water.

All the books said couscous/wrap/pita will be loved by your child. If these tenderly created productions are met with a hmm and a sandwiches tomorrow please, Mummy, you are not alone!

3duracellbunnies Thu 02-Aug-12 20:12:50

Ours tend to have similar things each day, a sandwich with various fillings cut into a shape, then humous and breadsticks, or some similar snack, some fruit/frozen smoothie, and cake/ jelly. A small amount of cheese too for them to eat after their pudding to neutralise the acid and prevent tooth decay. If they are doing a club after school then I will pop some popcorn and add some praprika or a little icing sugar to keep them going for longer.

I make the jelly and cakes in advance and freeze them. In the winter I defrost them in the fridge overnight, in the 'summer' they go in frozen and keep everything fresh.

Malachite Thu 02-Aug-12 20:12:58

You can dye bread (and tortilla wraps, rice, etc...) with food dyes to make lunch more interesting for little kids. I used to do smiley faces in food to tempt an awkward eater.

prettybusymummy Thu 02-Aug-12 20:25:14

I try and keep it healthy, my dd has a sandwich with cheese, ham, dairylea or jam on a Friday. She has 1 - 2 pieces of fruit, either apple, pear, banana, easy peel satsuma, or strawberries. She has 1-2 frube type yogurts and fruit juice.

I also bake, either cupcakes, flapjacks, biscuits or cheesy bites as a treat, and this is my best tip, as we can do it together and she can experiment a bit. She loves crisps and snack food, but our school's policy is strict in writing, although my dd insists it isn't enforced very well, and others have crisps, chocolate, etc.

modernbear Thu 02-Aug-12 20:26:53

Variety is important. I would strongly suggest not getting hooked on one particular brand. I made this mistake in terms of yogurt raisins which my son adores - unfortunately, it is difficult to get the brand he likes (no idea what makes this branded version different to other yogurt raisins.) Small tub of cubed feta cheese, seeded bread and tub of fresh apple slices goes down well. Followed by a fruit smoothie on occasions. Homemade banana cake is a particular favourite with everyone for packed lunches.

BuntCadger Thu 02-Aug-12 20:33:51

Just read that as wankers baked stars

StainlessSteelCat Thu 02-Aug-12 20:43:26

Usually my DS has ham sandwich, drink of squash, tube of yoghurt and a piece of fruit. If he consistently eats all this (he prefers playing at lunch time to eating shock I'll add a "treat" item - home made cake, couple of plain biscuits, raisins, few squares of chocolate, packet of crisps. I keep the basic lunch the same day in day out and vary the treat, so he never expects something in particular. If I'm feeling particularly generous I'll buy a carton of drink. Variations form this are only appreciated if they are chocolatey or cake; hummus, bread sticks, soup ... well, anything else is just not eaten.

When he's being especially resistant to fruit and veg I'll meet him from school with fruit as a snack. I've discovered however much I do or don't give him at lunch, and however much he eats, he is famished at home time and will eat anything.

At home fruit is offered if the DC complain of hunger. They have to ask before they help themselves, but I would only say "no" if it was close to a meal time. I try to pre-empt them asking by having snack times (my DC are 6, 3 and 10 months) where I give a mixture of cut up fresh fruit, dried fruit and something mainly carbohydrate - biscuit, toast - and a drink.

If they had free choice they would eat bananas, biscuits, crisps and chocolate. And doughnuts. I limit these to a couple of times a week or as a pudding.

HannahLI Thu 02-Aug-12 20:43:38

I find the best way is to let my children help pack and choose what they want that way it stays exciting for them and I know that they will eat it. It's also a great way for me to teach about making healthy and good food choices.
Fruit is always a good lunch box choice and I always vary what we have so it doesn't get boring. Chopped up cheese is always a popular extra lunch box item in our house too!
I only tend to stock up on snacks when they are on offer unless a particular favourite is requested. I know that it's much harder work for me to have my kids help to pack lunches and to allow them to make their own decisions but for me that's what makes my life easier in the long run when I know they can do it themselves independently and with the right things packed!

Hopezibah Thu 02-Aug-12 20:45:09

My kids love to get involved in deciding what goes into their lunchboxes to help keep it interesting. If we are pushed for time, then it is usually a basic sandwich with cheese or ham, pack of crisps, bottle of water and a cereal bar.

If I am feeling organised and try to do something for interesting, we add in some fruit of their choice eg grapes, apple, pear or banana (something easy to eat and not too messy or hard to peel etc).

We try to vary the type of 'bread' we use too. So somedays we will have wraps, sometimes pitta pockets, sometimes bagels, sometimes rolls and occassionally crackers and cheese instead of a sandwich.

To get the kids really excited about their packed lunch, they sometimes help to make hoummus (so simple - blend together tin of chickpeas, olive oil, parsley - fresh or dry, garlic powder, tahini, and lemon juice). They LOVE it with pitta bread, breadsticks or crackers. If they need to up their veg intake that day then carrot sticks and cucumber sticks also work well.

I am actually not too happy about them having a pack of crisps on a daily basis - but as it is such a simple thing to include and the kids love them, then it is all too easy to pop a pack in. Usual favourites are hoola hoops or walkers ready salted. So a healthier type of crisp is a big plus - i'll be looking out for those!

Elainey1609 Thu 02-Aug-12 20:55:57

Well we use a range of different sandwich cutters, the children look forward to finding what shape they have each day.

Each have some fruit, different one each day of week when ever possible, they seemt to like finger size pieces so I always try to slice them.up or berries or grapes.

I always give some veg....cherry tomatos carrot, cucumber or peper sticks .

Then a yogurt they seem to prefer the one s that you squeeze, and its better for me as I dont have to keep buying and replacing lost spoons.

All I can say is variety is what is needed to keep them happy

TwoIfBySea Thu 02-Aug-12 20:59:40

My two really liked Baked Stars but I can't find them in the shops anymore. Ah well.

For lunches variety is best. Instead of endless sandwiches try wraps, or grapes, cheese and oatcakes.

Make batch items that can freeze well if time is limited, there are recipes for savoury muffins and scones that are a nice change now and again.

In winter a little flask of soup or stew (you can get food flasks in Aldi so price is not high at all and it means they get something hearty.)

Always include a fresh fruit, my dts love melon, watermelon, tangerines etc. The odd home baked goodie goes down well as a nice surprise.

frillylemons Thu 02-Aug-12 21:08:10

BuntCadger Thu 02-Aug-12 21:14:18

BuntCadger Thu 02-Aug-12 21:14:27


Mintyy Thu 02-Aug-12 21:21:54

My children have a sandwich on white bread, brown bread, pitta bread or in a wrap.

The filling is either ham, cheddar cheese, red leicester cheese, ham & cheese, marmite, peanut butter, tuna mayo, tinned salmon, cooked chicken or turkey from the deli, hummus, hummus + ham or salami or chorizo.

Or they might have crackers with philadelphia or boursin.

Occasionally, if we have any, I'll give them a few olives.

A portion of fruit, can be anything. Lately they've been having a lot of strawberries.

A carton of juicy water.

A frube or a small yogurt.

Sometimes, a packet of mini cheddars or quavers or something similar.

Sometimes, a flapjack or biscuit like a fig roll or sultana cookie.

Once in a blue moon they'll have pasta salad, but only if it is left over from the night before.

I have 10 minutes tops to get packed lunches together in the mornings, so I tend not to go overboard. They have their main meal of the day in the evening.

EllenParsons Thu 02-Aug-12 21:35:34

I love oatcakes to make a change from sandwiches and they are very practical as they usually come in their own self contained wrappers.

Rather than a boring old bruised apple or banana I think it's a nice to make your own pots of fruit salad with different things in it to keep some variety. If there is no time for that, ready cut fresh fruit like the mango fingers from Waitrose are lovely (though a bit of a rip off).

As a treat flapjacks are great!

vic1981 Thu 02-Aug-12 21:53:23

I find variety is key, for instance different fruits and types of bread for sandwiches for keeping lunches interesting.

skyebluesapphire Thu 02-Aug-12 22:07:50

DD usually had a cheese sandwich cut into triangles, a squeezy frontage frais pouch, a fruit smoothie slurper, a banana, pot of strawberries, , a Cadbury brunch bar, box of raisins, (not all these things but a combination )very occasionally a cheese dipper or a pack of mini chedders.

I never put crisps in as I dont want her eating them every day.

For drink she has innocent smoothie, orange juice or squash

Imagination is not a huge requirement with ds as he is very set in his ways food wise. Any packed lunch that didn't contain a ham sandwich, cheese, carrot/cucumber and yoghurt would be met with disdain. I do include crisps but usually keep sending the same pack all week. Apparently they are time consuming to eat and use up too much of your playtime!

I give DS who's 5 almost the same thing every day, because I know the lunch will come back untouched if I don't.

Sandwich of cheddar or cheese spread or jam on Best of Both bread, a carton of orange or apple juice and one of the following:

cubes of cheese or Babybels, and grapes
a packet of cheddars or Walkers squares
a small box of raisins and a cheese string
a small apple and a digestive biscuit

Yes, it looks like a lot of cheese, but he refuses to eat any cold meat or fish, and I won't put yoghurt in his lunchbox as it may curdle before lunch.

Generally everything gets eaten every day, so I'm not too fussed.

lisalisa Thu 02-Aug-12 22:31:31

I shun the sandwiches approach as all my children dislike sandwiches and more often than not they come back uneaten. So the week before school broke up my children had on day one slices of pizza that we'd made at home day before and I heated till really hot in microwave and then wrapped in foil. By time it is eaten is still lukewarm. Served with cherry tomatoes and cucumber chunks.

On day two I did turkey schnitzels cooked fresh in morning - just stuck in oven - nohting fancy or time consuming. Were ready by time kids had finished breakfast and dressed. Added lutkas again cooked in oven and wrapped in little foil dishes and put plastic cutlery and small pots of ketchup and mustard ( mild).

Another fave is flask of pasta sauce and cheese.

Top tip for fruit which is obviousl really but every time I forget the fruit comes back again - put peaches or soft fruit in a box - Asda sell great child friendly range of pots - that way they stay fresh and not bruised etc.
Bananas in a banana keeper = that long plastic thing that keeps them fresh and hard.

Put water bottles in freezer night before and leave in lunch box to defrost so kids get nice cold drink rather than lukewarm water.

I get dd, 20 months, to help make it, even if it's choosing a yoghurt or putting the tomatoes in a Tupperware.

lisad123 Thu 02-Aug-12 23:12:47

Really consider portion size. A portion for a child is palm sized, so 1 slice of bread, 1 small banana, handful of grapes and half a bag of crisps.
Children rarely eat all their lunch box but if what you put in is the right portions they will eat it in time to play grin

janekirk Thu 02-Aug-12 23:36:31

Little one has just discovered wraps and is loving them. We use them for a replacement for sandwiches and also use fruit inside them.

TheQueensDinner Fri 03-Aug-12 00:03:45

Our packed lunches always follow the same format: fruit juice/smoothie, sandwich/roll/pitta, fresh fruit and a treat which is usually something like homemade cake. I want them to have full tummies and lots of energy when they're at school so I consider this when choosing the items to go into their lunch boxes. They understand that they should eat the sandwich and fruit first and if they're too full up, the treat waits until after school.

My tips would be not to put too much in. It's daunting and they just want to eat and get out to play. Also, if I'm not going to be there to jolly them along, I have to rely on other clever tricks so I am very careful with presentation and packaging. I cut off crusts because then I can just remove a tiny sliver at the edges vs the dc coming home having taken a single bite from a sandwich and announcing that they've 'only left the crusts'. I make sure that everything is packed carefully so that nothing gets squashed.

daisybrown Fri 03-Aug-12 00:08:45

I use 50/50 or Best of Both bread. Wholemeal and Granary bread didn't go down well at all. (Can't say I blame them!)
By the time they get home they're 'starving', so some fruit keeps them going until dinner is ready.

devilsadvocaat Fri 03-Aug-12 06:09:10

Frozen frubes keep the lunch box chilled until lunch time.

Left over pasta from tea the night before.

Always put in raisins and 1 fresh fruit.

Give them a packed lunch that you know they'll eat. SAve new ideas for home.

Don't stress about it, it's lunch fgs!

moonbells Fri 03-Aug-12 09:01:18

We found that for our 4-year-old, a good packup was a plain sandwich (cheese, ham, beef) a drinking yoghurt (probiotic type, plus straw!), a tub of low-acid fruit, cucumber sticks, and a cheese brick. He'd also have a banana for mid-morning snack. All fits nicely into a lock&lock.
We have to have low-acid fruit and definitely no raisins as he's got no enamel on some teeth: we have to offset fruit with yoghurts or milk as recommended by the dentist. Not allowed fruit juice!

Sometimes we varied it by having quorn eggballs, or a mini tub of houmous with pittas instead of the cheese blocks.

I also used little refreezable lunchbox coolers and an insulated lunchbag as the nursery didn't have fridges. If it fitted into the lock&lock then it was about the right size lunch. We usually got back the crusts hmm

Not allowed any chocolate or crisps at all.

LeandarBear Fri 03-Aug-12 09:58:06

Mine make their own lunches, so Nutella sandwiches and, err, I think that is it. I do make sure they have a lovely healthy snack and supper in the evening so I am not that awful a Mother

One of ds's favourite sandwich alternatives is filled Yorkshire puddings. You can get them cheap from the freezer at the supermarket (usually less than 50p for 12 value range ones) and they take a couple minutes to cook in the oven. I leave them til they're cold and then fill them with various things such as tuna mayo, egg mayo, cheese and onion etc. His favorite filling for these is left over roast chicken and veg mixed with cheese. I also find that some puff pastry cut into small pieces and covered in cheese then baked always go down a treat.

flamingtoaster Fri 03-Aug-12 10:05:12

My main tip is put in what will be eaten as they need steady blood sugar at school, add some extras in snack packs which don't have to be thrown out if not eaten to avoid waste. Lunchboxes always contain sandwiches with whatever filling is currently being enjoyed, an easy peel fruit such as satsuma or banana, plus a packet of crisps and a snack pack of something like Cheddars as extra calories if they are having a hard day. (The crisps and Cheddars often made several journeys before being eaten.) Occasionally a home-made cupcake or slice of cake. Water is the drink of choice.

ouryve Fri 03-Aug-12 10:27:13

rather than "interesting" I stick with safe foods. Far less likely to be mistrusted and rejected. As interesting as I make it for DS1 is washing a few grapes and putting them in a bag. With any luck, they might get eaten instead of squashed. It's the same odds if i put a piece of cake in. DS2 has his simple sandwich (ham, cheese spread or houmous) and a fruitus bar every single day. If he's hungry, he eats it.

choccyp1g Fri 03-Aug-12 10:40:18

My money saving tip is rather than bicsuit bars, just put a couple of ordinary biscuits in a plastic tub.
My healthy tip is to convince them that it's really difficult to put salad into a sandwich, and then they want it all the time!

BuntCadger Fri 03-Aug-12 10:40:58

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acsec Fri 03-Aug-12 11:03:43

DSS is 8 and loves his packed lunches (so he tells me). He's quite happy to try new things but always tells me if he hasn't liked them.

In his lunch box he gets:
-piece of fruit for playtime, favourites are nectarines, plums, grapes and bananas
-ham and cheese/ egg mayo/ tuna mayo wholemeal roll
-little box of carrot sticks/ cucumber/ cherry tomatoes/ pepper sometimes with houmous to dip in
-probiotic yogurt
-carton of apple juice
-raisins or other dried fruit
-a treat such as a Nutrigrain, cereal bar, Viscount biscuit or if we've baked then whatever we've made
-sometimes some little savoury crispy things (Japanese snacks I discovered and he likes) or a bag of crisps but only ever twice a week at the most.

MegBusset Fri 03-Aug-12 12:11:00

Crisps aren't allowed in DS1's lunchbox (or chocolate, or sweets). He gets a cheese sandwich/roll/bagel, some cucumber or carrot sticks, raisins or grapes and an apple.

aristocat Fri 03-Aug-12 14:02:02

My two are 10 and 8 yo and have packed lunches at school. DD will have a school dinner once a week but only on the Roast Chicken day!

They have a piece of fruit, sandwich, water or juice, savoury snack or crisps and a few biscuits or small cake.

My priority is to give them food that I know they will eat. I love experimenting with new tastes and flavours but school lunch is not the time for this. We try new things at home and that is the best way.

I dont think my lunches are interesting but they appeal to my DCs.

Yes, we do stock up on snacks, however I will buy the ones that I done eat. Their favourites at the moment are quavers, wotsits and french fries. We do like Cheese/Onion Baked Stars but they are very difficult to find in the shops? Will they be more readily available?

mumnosGOLDisbest Fri 03-Aug-12 14:05:48

My dd likes to play with her food and gets bored when eating so packed lunches have to be fun or she 'runs out of time' gets distracted chatting to friends

things that have worked well are: crackers with a tub of grated cheese and ham so she makes her own (kind of homemade/cheaper dairylea lunchable).
Mini fruit kebabs: a tub of mixed fruit and a couple of cocktail sticks, again she makes her own. --wouldnt trust ds with cocktail sticks in his lunchbox though)

mumnosGOLDisbest Fri 03-Aug-12 14:06:23

My dd likes to play with her food and gets bored when eating so packed lunches have to be fun or she 'runs out of time' gets distracted chatting to friends

things that have worked well are: crackers with a tub of grated cheese and ham so she makes her own (kind of homemade/cheaper dairylea lunchable).
Mini fruit kebabs: a tub of mixed fruit and a couple of cocktail sticks, again she makes her own. wouldnt trust ds with cocktail sticks in his lunchbox though)

mumnosGOLDisbest Fri 03-Aug-12 14:07:25

Oops sorry blush

Chulita Fri 03-Aug-12 14:26:28

I have a stock of dried fruit: apples/figs/dates/apricots/cranberries and put some of those in every day. Over the weekend we sometimes make mini muffins together and then DD can have them in her lunch throughout the week. We also make up a jelly packet and put some in those small tubs that chutney comes in with Indian takeaways <cheapskate>

We have a snack box which usually has small cheesy crackers/mini cheddars, dried fruit, breadsticks and mini malted milk packets. The fruit bowl is always full, satsumas, bananas and pears are always favourites. Mine are 3 and under so what's not liked changes by the day.

DD (4yrs) has had a hot meal at nursery on nursery days but we have often gone out for day trips and often take packed lunches and DD will soon be at school and this is what I (do and will) include:
triangle sandwiches of ham and soft cheese, soft cheese or cheddar, if I am accompanying and can keep the lunch cool then chicken mayonaise made out of our fortnightly slow-cooked chicken. If a packed tea then jam sandwiches are added in as well.
crisps - pombears or hoola hoops (sorry walkers!) - before little one was 3 this was organic apple rice-cakes and or bread sticks
fresh veg sticks invariably carrot and/or cucumber accompanied with hummus if I can keep it cool
fresh fruit pieces invariably grape, or stoned cherries (if in season) and/or
whole fruit apple or banana and/or
dried fruit DD not keen on raisins but mango slices are possible but be careful on which brand for levels of sugar
cake - I find flap-jack works well and can be a healthier type of cake??
chocolate biscuit - club or penguin type as I am not against sugar when needed, though this won't be allowed at school
longlife smoothie usually ellas as even though baby food, DD doesn't drink anything other than water and this can be a good alternative/addition
individual cheese portion - babybel or just a chunk of cheddar
fromage frais only if I am there and have remembered to pack a spoon
bottle of water

If I am really organised then I maybe add in a Nigella Lawson Cheesy Feet or other novelty shape, and sometimes cut teddy-bear and/or star shaped sandwiches.

NorbertDentressangle Fri 03-Aug-12 15:37:06

A friend of mine has 2 children who have the same thing every day and are happy with it (ham roll, yoghurt and apple). This has been going on for 3 years!!

OTOH my 2 have always got bored if they have the same thing too often so I find I have to vary the contents eg. for the 'main' part I vary the bread eg. sometimes rolls, sometimes mini pittas, sometimes crackers, sometimes straightforward sandwiches etc

Other items (other than the more straightforward fruit, biscuit, yoghurt etc) can include:

- diced fresh fruit in jelly (made in small individual lidded pots)
- a small pot of pasta with added toms, cheese, olives etc (great if you've cooked too much pasta the night before!)
- mini sweetcorn or pot of tinned sweetcorn

I've also given in and occasionally buy things like Cheesestrings or mini pepperami (only if they're on special offer though!) just to give some variety and for a quick and easy savoury addition.

Bosgrove Fri 03-Aug-12 15:42:14

My children have school dinners, so only have a packed lunch on school trips, so it is a special treat. I try to put in a sandwich (ham or tuna usually), a small cheese, a yogurt or two, two pieces of fruit, a juicy water type drink and a snack of either crisps or a mini pack of biscuits.

I have found that if I put too much in they will leave the fruit and eat it on the way home from school.

Vicky08 Fri 03-Aug-12 15:52:57

My DD loves to help me bake so on a Sunday we often bake something (banana bread, fairy cakes, victoria sponge, carrot cake) which she then takes with her in her lunch box during the week, this way I can control the amount of sugar etc. she's consuming.

I also always make sure she has a piece of fruit, cut up apple, peach or pear are her favourites,ut up veggies as others have suggested but I've tried giving her cut up veggies but she never eats them, it's hard enough getting veggies into her when she's at home with me but when I'm not with her it's impossible.

She also takes a ham sandwich (the only type of sandwich she'll eat) and a yogurt most days.

Sometimes I also give her a little homemade jelly which I've put some fruit in.

To drink she always gets a little bottle of water which she's never challenged.

SirBoobAlot Fri 03-Aug-12 18:09:02

DS's favourite packed lunch fillers are as follows:

-Cheese spread sandwich (because he pulls the bloody filling out with anything else) on seeded bread. Or peanut butter.
- Mini tub of cheese cubes
- A rainbow of fruit; putting in a piece of fruit of every colour of the rainbow. Its great fun.
- Sliced pepper, carrot and cucumber with a dip (cream cheese / salsa / humus).
- Dried fruit; strawberries, apricots, raisins, banana chips.
- Organix savoury snack bars.
- Home made granola bars.
- Natural yogurt with honey.
- Pasta salad with tuna and veggies.

IwishIwasinLondon Fri 03-Aug-12 19:33:41

Ds would love a Greggs sausage roll, some pombears and a fruit shoot!!!

Instead he gets a ham, chicken or jam sandwich or roll (50 50), a yoghurt in a tube or pouch (we lost count of how many teaspoons he'd lost!) a biscuit or flapjack and 2 portions of fruit - usually some berries (mixture of strawberries, raspberries and blueberries) and a satsuma. He washes it all down with some water.

He's not the most adventurous eater and he doesn't like cheese, but this gets eaten every day so he must think it's ok!!!

DollyTwat Fri 03-Aug-12 19:50:58

I have ds1 who isn't very fussy and ds2 who is very fussy
I recently bought some cool looking bento boxes for me, but the boys kind of took them off me!

So I do wraps with just ham for ds2 or something more adventurous for ds1 roll them up and cut them to fit in the bento box. Ds1will have rice, pasta, potato salad and coleslaw, spring onions and even raw veg. The trick is to get them to try to make something artistic they can show off!
I never thought I'd get either of them eating healthy stuff but if they can try to make a face out of tomatoes etc it seems to be fine

SpringSunshine Fri 03-Aug-12 19:56:19

I like to try and balance calories / fat content with taste. I often use quavers as they are low calorie for a bagged snack. Baked crisps are OK too.

The type of bread is also important - thin slices for dd with no crusts and plenty of filling; ds prefers chunky rolls. Simple fillings - cheese (mild), ham, chicken etc

Current favourite snacks are Medley bars - I am reasonably happy with these as there is some protein in the hazelnut one and ds needs a regular protein intake. They also like Special K bars and brunch bars. I try to keep bars under 100 calories as they are an 'extra' at break time.

Berries and grapes are popular as easy to eat

We keep a stock of snacks in the cupboard and dcs help themselves for break snack. Usually try new based on what others at school have - that seems to be where they taste test all the new stuff! Lunchboxes I tend to do, but dd especially likes input (ds doesn't mind as long as it's got food in!)

much as I hate kids being given "novelty" food, I've found that bento box lunches go down really well with my kids.
they'll eat all kinds of stuff if it looks pretty hmm

mine are vegetarian, and 2 are vegan as they have milk and egg intolerances so lunches can be a challenge, especially in places with nut bans!

my top tips are:
no yoghurts! they make too much mess.
don't use hundreds of tiny pots either, wedge everything into the smallest box you can and you shouldn't need to pack it into other containers. this saves on washing up later wink
filled wraps, or filled rice balls go down far better than sandwiches with my lot.

I don't really stock up on snacks that much, the children can eat when they are hungry but I don't always have specific "snack" foods

Can I take this opportunity to ask Walkers why it puts MILK in pretty much all its crisps?
I actually looked at the baked stars the other day, but my kids can't eat them because of this sad

PavlovtheCat Fri 03-Aug-12 22:24:09

vary it. DD loves sandwiches, but gets bored, so we use rolls, bagels, wholemeal, white etc, same with fillings, mix it up.

If the weather is cold, we sometimesuse a thermos soup bowl/flask thingamy for leftover pasta, soup, shephards pie, or put cold pasta salads in tupperware.
Box of mixed raisins, fruit, again varied.

We mix it up with some treats, sometimes adding crisps, chcolate bar such as s penguin, and amongst the grapes I quite like adding two or three jelly babies and a note in the lunch box saying 'i love you'! or a heart for DS as he cant read yet.

Give them boxes/post that are easy to open when they are younger, these are good for them to put their rubbish in too as they have to bring it home with them, makes it easier to clean.

Don't bother with yoghurt as you end up with lots of teaspoons missing and half the yoghurt over the lunch box 9 times out of 10.

Give them a lunch box that the water bottle can fit in so they dont have more than necessary to carry. I found that out the heard way after watching poor DD aged 4 going into school with PE kit, book bag, lunch box and water bottle one time.

BlastOff Fri 03-Aug-12 22:33:52

Sandwiches cut into shapes : dinosaurs, stars, rockets etc

Cucumber/ carrot sticks, plus some fruit - strawberries, satsuma, etc

Drink in a reusable bottle.

Yogurt. Box of raisins. Pom bears as a treat.

Not that exciting really.

BigBadBear Sat 04-Aug-12 08:00:23

I think about portions size when doing lunch boxes as putting too much seems off putting to dd1 (5) and will result in her eating less. So she usually has a sandwich made with one slice of bread, or a wrap or a pitta bread with a small tub of hummus. Sandwich fillings are kept simple, like cheese or Philadelphia and marmite or ham.

She always has a little tub of salad bits (chopped up pepper, cucumber, sugar snap peas, carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes), some fruit (usually berries or stone fruit chopped up, though in winter it will be a cut up apple or a banana). Cutting the fruit means it gets eaten, as I know she will eat a whole apple but leave half as the core. I use old hummus or Philadelphia boxes so they can be thrown away afterwards.

I usually put in yogurt tubes, or a couple of small yogurts and a plastic spoon so they can be thrown away afterwards, plus a smoothie tube and a carton of juice.

If she's at school, that's it. If it is for holiday club, I'll put in a couple of biscuits.

CoffeeGoneColdAgain Sat 04-Aug-12 10:49:57

I am so sad at all of your dc's lunchboxes. My dd 5 wont eat bread, so sandwiches are a no go, she will eat bread sticks/crisps etc but will not entertain them in her packed lunch, She just wants to go out to play and sometimes will come out of school with just one thing eaten. She used to take ham in a pot but wont eat that at school now, but will happily eat it at home.

Wish I knew what to do, its so awful seeing her lunch box as full as it was when she left for school. She will eat like crazy when she comes home. Thought about putting her on school dinners but they are very expensive and I just know she would push the food around the plate.

My tip is erm.... can't think of one sad

hk78 Sat 04-Aug-12 11:26:33

Now they are a bit older, I find that if they have prepared it themselves, it is more likely to get eaten. Anything else is met with 'but everyone else has 39 biscuits and 6 cheesestrings' etc.

DD2 is a junk food fiend but will happily eat sliced up cucumber that she has prepped herself. DD1 it's got to be mini tomatoes.

Fruit has to be peeled or it just comes back to me again. I let them have school dinners once a week but I'm not that thrilled about it tbh.

Essential investment is those tiny clippy boxes, even poundworld have them now - although strangely they keep disappearing.

coffee have you spoken to school about it?

at DS1's school no-one goes out until lunchtime is over. this stops kids from not bothering to eat and just going out instead. and it means the slower eaters get to finish without feeling they're missing out.
anyone who finishes quickly sits nicely until lunchtime is over, and then they all go out.

i'd be very unhappy if my child was being allowed out to play without eating any lunch sad

Emandlu Sat 04-Aug-12 13:15:28

My top tip is to get the kids involved with the putting together of the lunchbox.
So I used to make "carrotty bake" which is oats, carrot, cheese and egg mixed together and baked. It turns out a bit like savoury flapjack. The kids would help me mix it on an evening, I could throw it in the oven and it'd go in their boxes the next day.
My kids tended to like the same things regularly, so cherry tomatoes, ham sandwiches, cucumber chunks.
If they had yoghurt it would be the tubes of yoghurt as they generally make less mess.
I'd also put a carton of juice in that had been frozen. Generally by lunchtime it had defrosted enough to be drunk and had the added advantage of keeping their lunch cool until dinner time.

internationalvulva Sat 04-Aug-12 15:01:06

Get a decent lunchbox with a few separate compartments so that your sandwiches don't get squished out by your veg and fruity bits. I also avoid putting cucumber or tomato in the sandwich as they make it soggy by lunchtime, stick them chopped in one of the compartments of that handy lunchbox instead.

In summer we freeze dd's lunchtime drink and put it in the cool bag with her lunchbox, so her lunch is still lovely and fresh by midday, you can do the same with tube-y yogurts to keep them cool.

MerryCosIWonaGold Sat 04-Aug-12 16:29:16

coffee, I feel your pain. Ds1 is sometimes like this, particularly the beginning and end of term. It's so frustrating. I have to be more creative at those times, so things like flapjack are good, crackers and pretzels, ricecakes, as well as a smoothie to try and get something decent in him. I also give him a small lunch with a few 'bits' so he has some choices - like 1 rice cake, 2 crackers, 1 jam sandwich. He often eats at least half of it when I pick him up - and he really has a very tiny lunch. I can usually relax it a bit as term goes on and he gets less controlling. I would have a word with school and get them to make sure she eats some lunch at lunchtime. Ds1's packed lunches have someone monitoring them.

bread sticks and carrot sticks with a little dip in a pot seems to go down well. Though if I made ham sandwiches every day I don't think I'd get any complaints - my girls know what they like hmm - so much for being inventive!

SkinnyVanillaLatte Sat 04-Aug-12 18:48:39

Mine have a piece of cheese in a little pot to eat at the end of their meal.

Apparently it helps neutralize the acids in their mouth that attack tooth enamel.

lagoonhaze Sat 04-Aug-12 21:19:11

My only tip is dont make it a battle ground if they dont eat they wont starve. (remind me of that in sept)

CoffeeGoneColdAgain Sat 04-Aug-12 22:21:10

thisisyesterday Yes at the beginning of term I spoke to teacher and one of the supervisors in the hall, and one day sat in at lunchtime. It did make a difference that day, but down hill since. Most days she will eat her frube and jaffa cakes, and perhaps her pear. I have tried so many different food types but she just isn't interested, just wants to go outside sad

The norm is (for reception) they go in first, eat and then line up at the side of the hall and once there are 20 children the first MdS takes them out. Now she is going in to year 1 they wont be the first in so that might make a difference though i suspect it wont.

Dd will come out of school and almost dive head first in to her lunch box to eat whatever she didn't at lunch time. Its really quite hard to know what to do as I don't want someone standing over her forcing her to eat but at the same time can't have her going until the afternoon with very little in her tummy, she is a very very active girl, who runs everywhere (doesn't understand WALK) grin

I will keep at the sandwich thing, she literally puts the bread to the front of her mouth and goes bleurghhh and spits it out. Yet she will eat toast.. go figure.

CoffeeGoneColdAgain Sat 04-Aug-12 22:22:25

Merry so sorry I didn't see your post. Thank you, I will have a quiet word with staff and try to monitor it again, she got so very upset last time it was monitored she made herself sick sad

I use the tommee tippee formula powder dispenser things for DCs lunchboxes - the ones with the 3 compartments. They have a sandwich, a homemade yoghurt jelly (does not splurge on jumpers if they spill it - it just rolls off) and then "snacks" in the blue 3 way pots. I vary what goes in - sometimes a packet of mini-cheddars split between the 2 of them, dried fruit, cheese, grapes, cucumber etc etc. I do not give mine a packet of crisps each as they can be slow and it would risk them eating just those!

rathlin Sat 04-Aug-12 23:02:12

Mini breadsticks with dips, variety of breads with wraps being a particular favourite, home made pancakes with some secret chocolate chips hidden in middle. Variety is the key with a little treat always included.

boomdecker Sun 05-Aug-12 00:22:04

dd likes wraps with fillings, though they can fall to bits if not constructed carefully.

a good recipe is to layer a sheet of ready-rolled puff pastry with cheese/ham/marmite/whatever, roll it up, slice it into rounds and bake in the oven. very tasty and just a bit special.

putting chopped up fruit and veg togther in a sweet little pot makes it a bit more appetising and palatable than tackling a bigger lump of fruit and veg.

stephgr Sun 05-Aug-12 00:40:42

my children love anything which doesn't have to be cut up so I always include small items like cubes of cheese, berries, grapes, cherry tomatoes, satsuma segments. I try to include some protein and carbohydrates - tuna and cucumber on granary bread is a favourite. Occasionally I'll include a sweet treat like chocolate or a savoury one like crisps. They also love dips so I'll try to include a dip like humous with chopped veg. Drinks are usually fruit squash, never colas!

CheeryCherry Sun 05-Aug-12 03:09:29

I try to vary the type of sandwich ie; use wraps, pitta, small rolls, triangle cut sliced bread etc. Bake sausage rolls the night before, or pots of pasta salad. Small pots of chopped fruit, or make up a jelly with fruit in small pots. If its warm I freeze capri suns/frubes, they defrost slowly until lunchtime and keep the food cool. Otherwise don't tend to pack yogurt as its too messy. But still write notes on bananas ..just to make them smile!

My DS is only 14 months so I do his lunches. If we are to go out and about or have a picnic he tends to have what I like to call a cold platter. S this normally consits of a few Wholemeal sardines e.g tuna, chicken and sweet corn, then a bit of chopped up cheese, currants, breadsticks and hummus (peanut butter hummus - yum!) and then chopped up fruit.

TheTempest Sun 05-Aug-12 11:41:36

My 3 SDC's have school dinners but my Dd (2) takes a packed lunch to nursery every day. I try and make it as good for her as possible (as she has a massive crisps addiction).

She normally has a sandwich/ wrap with ham, cheese, soft cheese, cucumber sticks, cherry tomatoes and a yoghurt. She's not allowed crisps at nursery although they give her all manner of crap at snack but she has them at home. She really likes the cheese and onion stars, my SDC's seem to inhale them so not sure if they even taste them!

toobreathless Sun 05-Aug-12 16:16:40

DD is only 16 months so doesn't take a packed lunch to school but does on days out, to grandmas etc. She also has CMP allergy.

She usually has a combination of:
Sandwiches: tuna mayonnaise, egg mayonnaise, peanut butter.
Pasta: tomato, roasted veg.
Veg: carrot, cucumber sticks. She is not overly keen tbh.
Fruit: berries, satsuma, half a banana, kiwi, melon, grapes.
'treats': small box of raisins, Organix oaty bar, Ella's fruit pouch, low sugar homemade dairy free biscuit or small cake.

Always with water to drink.

LissiesAWenlockLass Sun 05-Aug-12 16:17:42

I make tremendous chewy cereal bars with whole nuts, dried fruit, peanut butter and honey in. it releases energy slowly. and they are bloody delicious!

boring traditionalist here: sandwiches, piece of fruit, babybel cheese, small bag of crisps or a few cheesey crackers and something like a penguin.

ds has had at least two portions of fruit and veg by the time he leaves the house in the morning and easily gets in 4 or 5 more when he's home from school so there is no stress really in the lunchbox having to be super healthy he just needs filling food he will actually eat.

he usually has school dinners but the hall roof leaked and they were off for a while and he LOVED having packed lunches albeit mine are your boring nothing special variety. i prefer him to have school dinners so that he's exposed to eating different foods in an environment where others are all eating them around him and he can't moan and whine for something else and do my head in

MerryCosIWonaGold Sun 05-Aug-12 18:47:36

Lissies. Recipe please.

hOLYMolyPICSofteamGBwinning Sun 05-Aug-12 20:30:34

Hummus, hummus and more hummus! At least one pot of it in their lunch bag with whatever veg we have around for them to dip in.... Beans, pea pods, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, baby sweet corn etc etc. as long as it has hummus on they will eat them. If I'm feeling lazy or have run out of ver a bag of walkers stars are always good to dip!!!

SizzleSazz Sun 05-Aug-12 22:28:43

DDs usually have sandwiches (ham, cheese, tuna, egg), chopped veg, yoghurt and fruit.

Always happy to eat it.

They will have crisps for summer picnics.

Punkatheart Sun 05-Aug-12 23:07:20

I used cutters to make shaped sandwiches - like flowers...then cut half a cherry tomato in the middle. At one point - with a fussy eater - I put the food inside in smaller containers and then labelled them: alien eyeballs and so forth. Kids love that!

MrsPnut Mon 06-Aug-12 09:36:38

I make shaped sandwiches too, dinosaurs and stars are great favourites.
We also make wraps and pittas too for a change.

Usually dd2 has a choice of some kind of sandwich or cheese and crackers. She can also have some pretzels, crisps, small chocolate biscuits, raisins, tube yoghurt, salami, carrot sticks or apple slices.
I offer a selection of the above but all of it is easy to eat and nothing needs to be opened. She has a lunchbox with lots of compartments so things can be separated.
I usually offer juice for a packed lunch but only a small bottle.

gazzalw Mon 06-Aug-12 11:06:45

Doing surprise lunch boxes by different countries' foodstuffs on a rolling weekly basis

So for instance, although the combinations of foodstuffs and countries of origin are of course massively wide-ranging:

(English): sandwiches, apple juice, home-cooked scone, cubes of cheese, summer fruits, peas or carrots

(French): croissant, baguette or pain au chocolat, brie or camembert, grape juice, French style yoghurt, salad in French salad dressing

(Greek): feta or halloumi cheese salad with tomatoes and cucumber, olives, Greek yoghurt, pitta bread, water and peaches/apricots

(Indian): a fruit lassi, melon or , rice and chicken tikka, slice of naan, chopped cucumber in natural yoghurt, exotic fruit

(American): hot dog sausages chopped up, sesame bun or a home-made muffin, tropical juice, breadsticks, fruit salad with philidelphia dip.

kittycat68 Mon 06-Aug-12 12:42:06

now mine are teenagers its makes things harder as they want to be cool so mostly make a salad with meat or prawns but also make them a pannini, barbaque chicken seems to go down well with thier friends too even got requests from their friends offering for me to do their lunch if they paid!

Although i will say often a home they still love a ham and crisp sandwich!! ( shame on me telling them i used to have these when i was younger!!)

wheremommagone Mon 06-Aug-12 13:02:19

I make everything miniature and have cut the sanwhiches into shapes, hearts stars dinosaurs. Mine love a mini fruit saale too.

Cambam2010 Mon 06-Aug-12 13:08:52

My son has had multiple food allergies that he is just starting to grow out of (hopefully) and unfortunately he has picked up on my obsession with him not eating something that could have a negative effect and is quite reluctant to try things.

New things are introduced slowly and over a number of occassions.

Houmous is a firm favourite, usually with bread sticks or pitta bread. I can guarantee that he will eat something if I put Marmite on it!

I find that he eats what I have so just make up one lunch for when we go out. He thinks he is eating my dinner which he delights in, I'm happy knowing that he's just eating something!

newlark Mon 06-Aug-12 14:18:28

We have lots of small plastic boxes with lids so there will usually be one with salady bits (carrot/cucumber/tomatoes/olives etc) and one with dried/fresh fruit. We alternate wraps, mini rolls, sandwiches. Dd loves cold pizza or sometimes sushi as a treat (we occasionally make this at a weekend or buy a snack pack from M&S for £1). I don't usually give ds (nearly 4) crisps but dd(5.5) will usually have some sort of baked snack bag. Some sort of dairy (e.g. babybel cheese, yoghurt) will go in too. I try to vary it and they do like to have a choice for each component.

Littleplasticpeople Mon 06-Aug-12 17:15:12

For my two dcs (5 and 3.5) lunch boxes are extremely dull and predictable. They do not like surprises, so to ensure they eat something I rarely vary it.

Ds (5) likes pesto pasta, a yoghurt and a piece of fruit 'that won't go mushy' (an apple or pear generally!). He likes crisps but asked me not to put any in his lunch box as it takes him too long to eat and he misses out on playing time. He gets cake sometimes, mainly if I've been arsed to make one at the start of the week. We have not gone down the route of shop bought cake bars/ biscuit yet.

Dd likes a cheese sandwich and a banana. I worry she will go hungry, but every time I've put anything else in her box she has let it and still just eaten the sarnie & banana!

Snacks vary at home, th main rule being the children ask first. Fruit pretty freely available, both like nuts, usually cake or biscuits a few times a week.

liveinazoo Mon 06-Aug-12 17:41:33

mine aent given long to eat lunch<15-20 mins> as as chattng with friends at same time it has to be easy to eat
fruit-berries,kiwi/melon/pineapple cut inot chunks is popular.if i have time i sometimes thread them onto cocktail sticks like little kebabs.if i put in larger things like apples i slice them and add a little lemon.if it needs peeling its done before it goes in teh box<cept bananas,these have messages written into the skin with a cocktail stick.(the letters will brown)..yes know thats a bit sad but dcs love it and so do their friends
sandwiches/wraps/pittas/rolls and pasta salads are all popular.our school has policies over peanut butter.if in doubt check!
i almost always add a healthy cake or biscuit<digestive/spiced oatcake etc>
raw veg always go in.whilst tehy love raw broccoli and cauli at home they are conscious of a lot of the kids around them not having any fruit or veg and are very vocal about other kids "wierd lunches".i dont want them to be uncomfortable so they are eaten at home,maybe with a dip after school.our school provides reception and year 1 with fruit or veg based snack in the morning so we stick with the types that are included there-sugar snaps/cherry tomatoes/carrots/baby corn cobs
crisps arent every day and i always hunt for lower fat-quavers,french fries,walkers baked<we tried stars at weekend.very nice,but ds complained dont come in ready salted!>alternatively i pop some corn and sprinkle in a little allspice,cinnamon or nutmeg for flavour
cartons of drink frozen keep it fresh til lunch and make lovely slushy drinks in the summer at lnchtime,but beware of this in winter it wont have defrosted enough to drink,so add another for lunch and have that one on the way home!<as our lunch bags are stored in the corridors near radiatorshmm

frazzledbutcalm Tue 07-Aug-12 09:22:17

Mine always have crisps on a Monday and Friday - Monday is a treat as they don't like going back after the weekend, Friday is a treat as it's the end of the week, wey hey! I buy multi-packs so that each individual pack is a smaller size portion, that way they get a treat and I can also cut down on the fat/salt etc.
They have a sandwich every day, chicken and sweetcorn mayo, ham and salad, tuna and sweetcorn mayo. They like 'circle bread' (warburtons milk roll). It's easy to eat, some bread/buns can be quite stodgy and chewy.
Piece of fruit every day, strawberries are their favourite, but I like to give them a different piece each day.
Frube/chube yogurt every day.
Choc biscuit or cake every day.

I also alternate - home made scone, mini sausages, babybel, malt loaf, breadsticks and philly, as extras on some days.

I put the mains in, and let the children choose their flavour crisps, and extra for that day.

fifi007 Tue 07-Aug-12 22:58:07

Colourful choice,healthy and varied ....,fruit ,small sandwich ...a bag of baked walkers and a drink perfect o

Blatherskite Thu 09-Aug-12 18:08:38

DS loves fruit. I cut an apple in half and an orange and then cut each into slices. By alternating orange-apple-orange-apple-orange-apple-orange, it makes a really fun looking "caterpillar" and the fruit acid in the orange keeps the apple from going brown too.

LoonyRationalist Thu 09-Aug-12 18:33:50

My DD's are 3 and 5.
They like sandwiches (cheese or smoked salmon). Cucumber and carrot sticks (every day!). Banana or apple, occasionally pot of berries. Sometimes a small piece of homemade flapjack OR half a packet of crisps OR a yogurt.
DD 2 is a bit more adventurous (has packed lunch at pre-school) and will take pitta and houmous, or crackers and cheese. Both think that a small pot of olives is a fantastic treat! (odd odd children)

I agree that lunch boxes are not the place for experimentation but disagree on variety being essential - my dd's always eat more when I am consistent smile

Neither of my children would eat those flavour crisps which is I guess why I have ignored their existance!! Why no plain ones?

elizaco Thu 09-Aug-12 19:31:12

My girls packed lunch's consist of a sandwich (bread roll or wrap) - either chicken and salad or tuna and salad; a smoothie drink; fruit or veg (usually a pot of grapes or strawberries, or my eldest likes sugar snap peas); a cereal bar or cake bar and finally a couple of Snack-a-Jacks.

TheMysteryCat Thu 09-Aug-12 19:51:23

Fruit and veg sticks with a pot of cream cheese or hummous to dip. Crumpets also favourite. Homemade lentil slice with salsa.

Sometimes goodies crisps as no salt.

Are the baked stars salt free?

EightiesOlympicGolds Thu 09-Aug-12 20:10:39

My DS adores cheese and would eat it at every meal, so I use hard and soft cheeses and try to do 'cheese-and -something' sandwiches. Plus bundle anything into a wrap with stuff he likes and the whole lot will be eaten. Crisps are a treat to be eaten with us but I will certainly try the baked stars. Cake is always popular but portion control is key - my DS is content with a much smaller piece of cake than I used to think.

beautifulgirls Thu 09-Aug-12 20:28:07

I only do packed lunches for holiday club and the girls come shopping with me so they can help choose things that they will want. I usually let them have a treat once a week but other than that healthy stuff in the lunch. I let them choose between bread or rolls and give them a choice of fillings. They love raisins, dried banana, tomatoes (eat like sweets!) and fruit so we usually have a combination of these sorts of things plus a yoghurt. Treat wise they may have crisps, a chocolate bar/biscuit when allowed.

I always put a picnic freezer block in the lunch bags as there is nowhere cool to keep them during the morning and it helps keep their lunch cool.

Drinks - I let them take their school bottles with dilute fruit squash. At school they only get water so in the holidays we are a bit more flexible.

Silverlace Thu 09-Aug-12 21:34:31

My DC usual have school.lunches but for the last half term before the hols they have sandwiches. I find a mixture of small foods go down well such as a sandwich, carrot sticks and pepper, a yogurt, some cut up fruit, a bag of crisp and a small sweet treat.

During the hols they seem to be constantly hungry so I have given them a tub full of snacks they can have including mini bread sticks, dried fruit and nuts. They can also help themselves to fruit.

Favourite after school snacks here (teenage girls) are cereal, toast and peanut or almond or cashew butter, bananas, hoummus and pitta. They also seem to get through millions of apples. I usually buy Mini Cheddars as a 'treat' but will now try Baked Stars too!

Greenantobe Fri 10-Aug-12 09:54:30

My sons have school dinners - it's just not possible to get everyone out of the house in the morning and pack up with the schools no nuts, seeds or eggs policy.

However, holiday club and picnic pack ups always include houmous, cheese and cucumber wraps, hard boiled eggs, carrot sticks, a piece of fruit, a yoghurt and a smoothie (they are so busy, I want to make sure that they are eating plenty - and by putting in what they like, I hardly ever get anything back!).

If I am being particularly virtuous (and have an evening free), I bake fruit muffins and then freeze them. We get as many out of the freezer each day as we need and they defrost by lunchtime (and keep the rest of the lunch cool while they are defrosting).

pavi Fri 10-Aug-12 11:05:03

My DD is absolutely not fussy about her lunch box(Thank you god)..but she wants all kinds of taste in the box a sour a sweet a spice and a bland so i just fill in some peeled orange or green apple,a tiny sandwich with her fav strawberry jam,a bit of salt and pepper mixed brocolli and ofcourse a diet biscuit and she is just fine with it.A flavoured yogurt and cheese is a treat.

bubby64 Sat 11-Aug-12 22:42:49

My two like wraps better than sandwichs, humous, bread & carrot sticks, tube yougurts, which I freeze before putting in lunchbox (tho this will stop when they go to high school in Sept, as they will get "frubed",= squirted with the content!) grapes, paket of baked crisps/wotsits/sticks, cocktail sausages, savory mini-eggs, pot of homemade coleslaw, pot of coronation chicken/rice.

bubby64 Sat 11-Aug-12 22:44:45

Obviously not all the above in each lunch, but a selection from that list is normal!

narkynorks Mon 13-Aug-12 21:41:19

The trick with my kids is having plenty of variety. I try to have at least 6 or 7 different sandwich fillings as well as a variety of bread/wraps which I rotate during the week. After that the lunchbox gets some form of fruit (apple, satsuma, berries, grapes), yoghurt, cheese sticks, and occasionally a small treat of some description (they love yoghurt raisins).

stringerbell Mon 13-Aug-12 22:41:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

vor Mon 13-Aug-12 22:46:48

Packed lunch works so well here, I could do it in my sleep - takes 3 mins tops to prepare:

1. We use those sistema boxes which fold out with a section for the main event, usually sandwiches, and two sections for salads, fruit and treats. They keep the meal intact, save them from being squished. I once looked after a friend's son whose drink spilled over his foil wrapped sandwiches and treat...
2. We stick to sandwiches and wraps - I tried to get creative but found it made planning and preparing a chore rather than a quick task. Also, they have limited time to finish their meal.
3. The kids always get 2 or 3 fresh raw veg items. They are adventurous veg eaters, so sometimes includes red cabbage, bean sprouts, courgette.
4. Pudding is usually just fruit - cake, flapjacks, dates, muffins, raisins are an occasional treat. I always make sure the fruit can't get bruised.
5. I avoid pre-packaged food as we're trying to reduce our packaging waste at home.

My advice is keep it simple, filling and healthy - kids don't get bored as easily as adults!

They always report back on the much better treats in other lunch boxes.

lorisparkle Mon 13-Aug-12 22:54:25

DS1 had school dinners through reception and year 1 but this year he wants packed lunch twice a week and DS2 who will be starting in reception this year wants packed lunch everyday (he is having school dinners on a Friday though as I work on this day and I want an easy life!)

DS1 is really adventurous on his tastes whilst DS2 likes familiarity so we will try new things at home then stick to the basics for school.

DS1 loved ham and cheese muffins as a change and cheese, grated carrot and hummus in a pitta when he used to have packed lunch. DS2 would happily have ham and pickle everyday.

During term time snacks are usually fruit, bread sticks, oatcakes and the organix range type snacks. They love the kiddylicous fruit crisps as a treat. In the holidays DH is at home and likes biscuits!

I will be trawling mumsnet for more ideas though!

hurricanewyn Tue 14-Aug-12 12:40:13

We bought some egg moulds on ebay really cheaply - they cost about £1 - just pop in a boiled egg when it's still warm for a few minutes/overnight in the fridge & you have a star or heart shaped egg.

We also got some rice moulds from ebay too. Mix some warm boiled rice with smoked salmon and pop in the mould and out pops a bear! There are loads of shapes around.

Google bento boxes for inspiration - some are amazing, but really it's a great way to use some portions of leftovers. A nice change from bread/sandwiches.

AnaIsAlwaysShocked Tue 14-Aug-12 15:29:45

We have on of those lunch boxes with different compartments. In them I put
Orange or banana
Cheese or ham sandwich
Sausage roll

DC tend to ask for something and then we have I give them two options. They love their fruit and tend to pick that above any sweets or chocolate.

LaTrucha Tue 14-Aug-12 16:01:44

I buy Innocent fruit tubes and freeze them. If you put them in a lunchbox at the beginning of the day they have melted by lunchtime but are still nice and cool instead of warm and icky. You can also then buy loads when they are on half pric offer. I couldn't afford them otherwise!

QOD Tue 14-Aug-12 20:32:52

My dd liked to have the same thing. Every single day. For most of the 7yrs of primary.

That was one thing she could control that the other children and teachers couldn't affect

Gethsemane Tue 14-Aug-12 21:16:23

I'm not too sure how we can actually tell whether a lunch has been eaten (I distinctly remember discretely disposing of my sandwiches and buying chocolate cornflake cakes instead when I was at school)...

That said, anything with a picture of a character that my DS likes printed on the side will be devoured quicker than you can say 'hurrah'. Thomas the Tank Engine yoghurts for example are a highly prized possession.

Bagels and pitta are a bigger hit than bread. Anything that requires concentration - dipping / construction etc is also a winner.

My kids love sausages. Its a shame there isn't a healthier version of a pepperami.

I'm sure other mums have mentioned the extra credence given to sandwiches cut into interesting shapes - dinosaurs etc.

Cheese scones, and cheese and spinach muffins are also a frequent request.

BellaVida Wed 15-Aug-12 10:15:31

I have 4 different ages, so snack and lunch boxes vary. They all love fresh fruit and veg, especially melon, strawberries, grapes, blueberries etc, which are easy slice into mini tuppaware pots. Wraps are very popular too especially with tuna and salad, as are breadsticks with something to dip. They like to take slices of quorn ham and cheese and roll them up together to eat them! For special days I use cookie cutters to cut out sandwiches- last time was jungle animals! On Fridays they have a treat, which is usually a large cookie, cake or muffin. They do sometimes have crisps too, but only if they are baked or something like mini cheddars.

For snacks, they have free access to the fruit bowl, but have to ask permission for anything else. They will munch endlessly on corn cakes and pull chunks of bread off a fresh baguette when I get them. They get through loads of yoghurt and yoghurt drinks and even more milk.

Bunnyjo Thu 16-Aug-12 00:34:00

Sorry if I'm relisting other suggestions, have not read the thread blush

DD eats school lunches as they are freshly cooked by a fab cook (tiny school of 55 kids, they get spoilt!). But, I have had to do packed lunches for days away or when she was at nursery. I'm half Greek Cypriot, so a lot of my culinary experience is inspired by this. I have done homemade dolmades, homemade tzatziki/hummous and chopped pitta breads, sheftalias, halloumi and chorizo (should be loukanika, but cannot source that where I live) sandwiches, spanakopita (which I make for an evening dinner and we all have packed lunches with the left overs) etc. Have also done things like cheese pieces and cocktail sausages, cold pasta salad and roast chicken pittas. WRT to desserts, DD is fussy. She only eats plain yoghurt, but M&S do mini plain Greek yoghurts now which saves on the tupperwares splitting at the most inopportune time. We all love watermelon, which is easy to send a slice in for afters and I sometimes pack a fruit salad of seasonal fruits like cherries, berries, grapes etc. Other fab snacks my odd DD likes are: pitted black olives, parma ham, salami, feta cheese, homemade flapjack and cream cheese and breadsticks.

StellaMarie Thu 16-Aug-12 13:47:38

Packed lunches for us are varied as fortunately the DCs will eat anything. Couscous, tabbouleh or pasta are quick and easy and can be bulked out with whatever is in the fridge/cupboards. Add to that a roasted drumstick/thigh and plenty of herbs to make it look colourful.
Homemade pies or sausage rolls are also quick and can be made with a multitude of different fillings.
Cheese scones with crudites and a tub of hummus are also popular in this house.
Sugar snap peas, mangetout and babycorns also work well in the lunch box.

Colour and variety are important

Snacks in this house are fruit and there is always carrot & celery sticks, cucumber chunks and radishes prepared in the fridge. Crisps and biscuits are more of a treat (plus it stops me snacking on them if I don't but them)!!

Top tip - having been a lunch time assistant for a while, please make sure that you child can get into their lunch box and close it again. There were several children where I worked who were upset because they couldn't get their box open to eat their lunch!! The same applies for any drinks container.
Frozen yoghurt pouches help to keep the lunchbox cool and keep the yoghurt fresh until it is eaten.

My DCs have been snacking me out of house and home this school holidays.
I have a strict time policy, no eating within an hour of a meal, and ask before eating, otherwise they don't eat proper meals, and I go to prepare meals to find all the ingredients are gone.
Mine like snacking on:
Bread and honey
Apple sauce biscuit parcels (they invented these)
Home made popcorn (plain, salty or honey)
Yoghurt (or soya yoghurt for DS)
Something from their treat boxes (whenever they have more sweets than the can reasonably eat, some go in a box for a different time - DDs is so full it won't close!)

costumequeen Mon 20-Aug-12 07:49:58

My dd is only 20 months, but loves a 'deconstructed' sandwich. Buttered bread cut into fingers, sticks of cucumber or pepper, sticks of cheese or ham roll ups and a couple of cherry tomatoes. she can eat what she wants either separately or together. Also a small pot of berries never goes amiss!

Sugarkane Mon 20-Aug-12 11:10:58

I give my children a choice of 2-3 items they can include, I then ask them to help with the preperation. My daughter used to be a fusy eater and I found involving her in the food making process ensures she will eat it. I think she likes to have a little more control than her siblings and it came out in the form of fussy eating.

MrsWeasley Mon 20-Aug-12 15:45:56

It very much depends on the child DS1 likes the same thing everyday but DD likes a variety.

She usually goes for pasta, couscous salad or a wrap and for snacks, popcorn, homemade cake or cookie. Maybe cheese and mini tomatoes too.

jimmenycricket Tue 21-Aug-12 07:56:58

I pop a foil covered chocolate coin right at the bottom for them to find when they have eaten all the right stuff. It's 26 calories, but it seems to make sure the sandwiches actually get eaten. Note, takes training, if food is left in lunchboxes the next day the pirates don't hide anything.

skyberry Tue 21-Aug-12 11:08:35

My son loves to dip. Sandwiches, bread sticks, crackers and raw veg etc all get dipped in to anything from a creamy dip/tomato salsa/hummous (home made dips are best).
Sandwiches cut into shapes work well with cutters as they are a bit more interesting.
My son also likes to make faces with food. We used to do this at home when he was very little. Cucumber for eyes, cherry tomato for a nose, ham for hair, a bread stick for a mouth etc. He likes to do it on the lunch box lid apparently so therefore insisted he has a round lunch box.

Helium123 Tue 21-Aug-12 11:58:07

General rule of thumb for us for lunch is sandwich or quiche, fruuit, carot and celery sticks, yoghurt and a pack of crisps or biscuit every now and then.

We allow a biscuit for snack time every so often and crisps are a treat if we are out and need food!

cherryjellow Wed 22-Aug-12 18:25:16

When Ive done packed lunches and snacks for kids I have often decided myself what to pack because of time. However, Ive tried to put in lots of choice, so if they don't fancy something one day they still wont go hungry. raisens, peaches yoghurts and anything sweet are winners. carrot sticks aren't popular.

cheryl59 Wed 29-Aug-12 09:55:42

cherry tomatoes and "special" fruit that we don't get often like blueberries and raspberries always get a good reception. Using cookie cutters to make funny-shaped sandwiches always goes down well too, and can be used to make cheese or ham shapes

BoerWarKids Fri 31-Aug-12 01:04:30

Toasted pitta bread cut into 'soldiers', with hummous and grated carrot is a real winner!

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 31-Aug-12 12:57:12

Thanks for all the yummy tips and suggestions - much appreciated <tummy rumbling alert!>
Am pleased to say boomdecker wins the £100 Amazon voucher. Well done.

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