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Share your top tips for packed lunches with Flora and you could win a £200 John Lewis voucher NOW CLOSED

(128 Posts)
AngelieMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 11-Oct-13 09:26:39

The team at Flora have asked us to find out about Mumsnetters' top tips for packed lunches.

Here's what Flora have to say, "We know a fair bit about sarnies at Flora but we understand that making them perfect for healthy lunches can be a challenge. We're keen to help you keep the peace at lunchtime, so whether youre tussling with fussy eaters or just trying to broaden their taste buds we would love to hear your thoughts!"

So what are your top tips for making packed lunches for your DCs? Do you try to get some variety with different types of sandwiches and wraps? Or maybe you keep it simple? What about snacks? Do you try to keep them healthy with a portion of fruit? Or perhaps you add a chocolate bar as a treat?

Whatever your top tips for packed lunches are, Flora would love to hear them.

If you're looking for ways to make packed lunches a bit more fun, why not enter Flora's Facebook competition for a chance to win a sandwich cutter in the shape of your DC's best piece of art!

Everyone who posts on this thread will be entered into a prize draw where one winner will receive a £200 John Lewis voucher.

Please note your comments may be included on Flora's social media channels, and possibly elsewhere, so please only post if you're comfortable with this.

Thanks and good luck,

MNHQ

CheekyChimpsMummy Fri 11-Oct-13 10:19:59

My favourite topic to talk about... food! But I'll try not to ramble on!

DS takes a packed lunch every day to school. As a newbie starting reception this year, I had to make the tough decision about the pro's and cons to school dinners v packed lunch. Needless to say packed lunches won mainly so I can continue to monitor what he eats and know how much he has eaten throughout the day.

DS takes what I consider to be a standard lunch.

A sandwich (with a variety of fillings although if it was down to him, it would be plain bread and butter (flora) as that is his ultimate favourite 'filling'!!)

Fromage frais yogurt

Crisps

Fruit, (grapes, strawberries, raisins, pineapple)

& then I alternate with extra things like cubes of cheese, cucumber sticks, salted popcorn, pieces of chicken breast, or a dairlylea triangle that he eats straight out of the foil (bleurgh!!)

Top tip has to be packing lots of little bits of different types of food. My DS is a real nibbler, so this really tempts him into eating more than if i put a few basic ingredients in his box

He is only 4 so he obviously doesn't eat all of what is in there, but I like him to pick and choose what he fancies.

asuwere Fri 11-Oct-13 22:49:03

I make packed lunches for DS1 and DS2 (as well as myself!) I tend to make it pretty much the same every day, with just an occasional change. The flavours do change but generally a sandwich, drink, yogurt and fruit plus an extra snack type thing.

I would say top tip is to make it in the evening so it's ready for morning. Also, be realistic with portions; think about what they would eat at home. With DS1, I thought the box looked a bit empty so kept putting more in but then he'd always bring stuff home!

Packed lunch is always done the night before in my house.

Soup is the favourite with sandwiches and a yoghurt. I make a big pan of soup on a Sunday and it lasts a few days.
Quiche is also popular.
Sandwiches, and a salad pot also quick and easy to prep.

pickofthepops Sat 12-Oct-13 08:56:13

Having booked school dinners for DS , joined new school y1, He told me he didn't like most of the food, only Friday fish and chips. So now doing packed lunch. Only problem is he has a strong preference for ham (am worried about too much processed meat). The rest is easier to get some variety in to. A strawberry squashim, little pot of yogurt or fromage frais. Apple or banana, cherry tomatoes or grapes, a baby gingerbread man or hot cross bun, maybe some cubes of cheese. with apple. Not allowed to send soup or crisps or chocolate. Any tips on alternative sandwich fillings much appreciated btw!

rootypig Sat 12-Oct-13 09:10:29

My LO is still far too little for packed lunches. But I have memories of my mum making the same thing for me every day for years! tuna sandwich on brown bread, fruit, raisins. I can still eat tuna mayo breakfast, lunch and dinner grin

I think sandwiches are a bit boring and sweaty in packed lunches. I'd rather send leftovers that won't taste the worse for being a bit warm. DH takes lunch to work and I make evening meals with a view to that - I imagine will do the same with the DC. eg left over pasta bake and a piece of fruit. I've worked in India and really like their tradition of tiffin boxes. It's nice to have a proper meal at lunch.

That said, egg mayonnaise is deelish grin grin

TEErickOrTEEreat Sat 12-Oct-13 09:12:08

I am like a precision machine while making two packed lunches every morning. One for my husband and one for my son.

It's become such an ordered routine that I actually threw myself off when I made my husband's sandwich first yesterday. grin

They both get:

A sandwich (ham and cheese for husband, ham and cream cheese for son)
An apple
A Go bar

Son also gets some cheesy bread sticks, an apple juice box and his water bottle, but he also has his mid-morning snack from that.

Husband gets a bottle of water.

Son has recently expressed an interest in wraps so I may start doing those for him soon.

fuzzpig Sat 12-Oct-13 09:15:19

My main tip is to invest in decent Tupperware that's easily opened by little hands. Every day my two would have one little pot of assorted fruit, and one of veggies. This makes for easy portion control, and means we always remember to give them 2 of their 5 a day.

Occasionally they will have a third pot with something like little breadsticks/crackers and cubes of cheese/chicken, instead of a sandwich.

I also think it's really useful to chop up the fruit and veg (hence the pots) rather than whole fruit. While they will happily munch on any fruit at home, they are usually in a great hurry to get out and play at lunchtime, so little slices of fruit go down much better than a whole apple. They like variety so there's usually two types of fruit and two types of veg.

Dolallytats Sat 12-Oct-13 09:24:50

My son is very fussy and will only eat cheese in his sandwiches so I try and vary the bread used instead. He chooses from wholemeal, wraps, baguette, rolls etc. Because of this, I try and vary what he has t ogo with the sandwich. He gets a choice of apple, banana, strawberries, pear, carrot sticks and grapes. He then chooses either a biscuit or small cake (biscuits are usually shop bought, the cakes are homemade), he also has juice. The school don't have anywhere cool to store the lunchboxes, so yogurts can't be added and he won't eat custard/rice pots.

I get very jealous when I see people who can add pasta salads, soups, different fillings etc!!

afromom Sat 12-Oct-13 09:57:17

DS is in year 5 now so has been having packed lunches for quite a few years. The recipe for success in our house is variety, or he gets bored!

He has sandwiches with jam, cheese, cheese and cucumber and cheese cucumber and marmite. Wraps and pitta bread also a favourite with combinations of marmite cheese and cucumber or chicken tikka cheese and cucumber. Or sometimes he will have cheese and crackers.

With this he will always have a portion of fruit and then crisps/biscuits/cereal bar/popcorn/breadsticks.

I try to make it different everyday. He can't have school dinners as he is allergic to quite a few foods, but he would really like them!

VoodooHexDoll Sat 12-Oct-13 10:44:49

Hello

My son started reception in september so im new to the packed lunch so I did some reserch before he started.

He is only 4 but on the 98th centile and is very active so eats alot. I needed to be sure he had enough to eat at lunch. If it was up to son he would have ham everyday and he doesnt like jam, honey or choclate spread as its too sweet.

His school is a healthy school so choclate, crisp and sweats/cake are ban.

So I give him one sandwich with following fillings ;
Ham
Ham and chess
Soft chesse
Chicken
Beef
Pork and apple sauce

Then a fube or baby bell

A fruit bag

One bag of dried fruit blueberries are a current fav

Crakers or breadstick

Carrot stick or cucumber or celeary

A drink of spring water with frozen berries in or pure fruit juice

PervCat Sat 12-Oct-13 10:47:07

when i used to do three a day I would bake mini muffins by the lorry load, then get a couple out frozen and they would have defrosted by lunchtime

VoodooHexDoll Sat 12-Oct-13 10:57:08

For making it fun we draw picture faces on his bananas and put drawings in his lunch box or cut his sandwichs into shapes - current fav is bats as its halloween soon. I also put something that he likes but didnt tell him about so its a suprise like a little box of rasins or a halloween style plastic ring and we talk about it on the walk home to help improve his speech.

I have also taped a picture of a bat to his drink to relable it and dh put a picture of a bum and a fart which got a lot of giggles for son! Boys! blush

I also want to get a shark shape cutter and put tuna filler in as I think it would be fun.

too much time on my hand

PervCat Sat 12-Oct-13 11:05:13

SO right - when you are back at work you will CRINGE at this kind of thing!!

Snog Sat 12-Oct-13 11:30:56

I get inspired by the Japanese to make themed bento boxes with fancy sandwich cutters and rice moulds etc bought from ebay - like
this

Offred Sat 12-Oct-13 12:29:23

We are very boring I'm afraid. Dc have brown seeded bread sandwich with ham/egg/tuna, a yoghurt, sometimes an egg, some fruit and some veg - cucumber, carrot etc.

Offred Sat 12-Oct-13 12:32:31

I freeze the yoghurt tubes so they defrost and keep the lunch cool till lunchtime. That's quite a good tip I think.

meep Sat 12-Oct-13 12:36:31

When dd1 first started school I used to cut her ham sandwiches with a cake cutter in cute little heart and star shapes. But she hardly noticed and now gets boring squares! Both dds like the Warburtons sandwich thins - helps fussy dd2 eat more as there are no crusts. Then they get some sort of cheese, fruit/cucumber and yoghurt/fromage frais. They get a wee treat on a random day of the week - a few crisps/mini choc fingers/jelly babies. It is never on the same day each week and they never both have it on the same day. They love the excitement of not knowing when it is going to appear!

GaryBuseysTeeth Sat 12-Oct-13 12:41:31

Offred, that's a great tip! I'll have to try that!

Popcorn is great because it's so cheap and you can do anything with it, ds1 loves popcorn with chilli flakes.

Going on the bento-esque theme; melting chocolatr into moulds always makes it a little more special (nice for holidays or birthdays)!

My tip to get round the lunchbox rules for homemade things is that it's not what something is , it's what it's called that counts.
Homemade cakes should be called "bread" (eg apple bread, raisin bread, lemon bread)
Biscuits should be called "scones" or "crumpets"
Flapjacks should be called "oat flips" or "oat bars"
Make sure you reinforce the "school name" for these items with your DCs as lunchbox police can't do anything if the item is called something that's not on the banned list.
It's a bit crazy, but a lot of the lunchbox rules are crazy anyway, banning entire types of food for allegedly being high in salt/sugar/fat while allowing foods far higher in these.

ouryve Sat 12-Oct-13 13:00:00

In the keep it simple camp, here. Both boys have ASD and my first concern is that they actually eat at lunchtime. DS2 is very difficult to get any fruit or veg at all into, so I regularly bake cakes with less sugar than typical shop bought cakes, which also have a bit of fruit or veg in them. This week, the freezer is full of banana muffins. Last week, there were fresh blueberry muffins and some leftover pieces of a butternut squash and ginger tea loaf. I put the cakes into the lunch bag frozen, so they keep things cool, but first I make sure that everything in the bag has been chilled overnight, including drinks. fruit, raisins etc. That way, everything survives the school's fierce central heating!

dahville Sat 12-Oct-13 13:15:19

For my son is is all about variety - we will put in grapes or a banana, raisins, a mostly plain sandwich (cheese, tuna, or egg), a fromage frais or yoghurt, and some cut veg. Sometimes there's a treat like some mini buttons or crisps.

LaTrucha Sat 12-Oct-13 13:20:24

Small boxes of little things. Mine are very small and get bored munching through a sandwich. They like to have a variety of little bits.

googietheegg Sat 12-Oct-13 13:22:01

My top tip is to make any leftovers from dinner into mini pasties. Kids and grown ups go crazy for them!

All the family favourites work well - Bolognaise, chicken stew, even just some strong cheddar and a bit of mash potato if that's all that's left.

I buy sheets of ready made pastry, cut round a little plate (even a ramekin if there's only a spoonful of something) then put the leftovers on one half and fold over.

They can be frozen like this too, then baked when you need, but I usually bake them straightaway and either put them in the next day's packed lunch or freeze. Then you can just pack them straight from frozen and they're defrosted by lunchtime.

Frugal, tasty and very, very easy. Win, win, win!

I used to make little quiches in jam tart tins for the dds. Another thing they liked was little pies made also in jam tart tins (but with tops, like mince pies) - the filling was fried up onion, peppers and carrots, some spices and either chickpeas or lentils.

BlackberrySeason Sat 12-Oct-13 15:12:02

Nice homemade bread smile

DD doesn't like change so her lunch is generally the same, with a change in the flavour of yogurt for example. She generally has a cream cheese sandwich, 2 pieces of fruit, some squares of cheddar, a yogurt and water. The odd time is a pasta salad and cooked cobettes of corn which she'll eat cold. A creature of ha it like myself!

tanfastic Sat 12-Oct-13 15:38:30

I do a packed lunch every day for me and ds. He has either sandwiches with various fillings, normally some kind of meat, paste or tuna, sometimes jam. Sometimes for a change I give him a sausage roll with a few cherry tomatoes. I usually give him one or two of the following as well

Cheese string
Baby bel
Crisps
Yoghurt
Fruit (although this always gets left)
Muffin or Jaffa cakes or similar
Raisins

The key is variety. He gets bored with the same stuff.

I have soup or sandwich and fruit for my lunch.

BoyGirlBoy3 Sat 12-Oct-13 15:59:55

I make packed lunches for 3dc each morning, they like grated cheese, ham, i try to buy really nice rolls with seeds. I use apples, satsumas, grapes and boxes of raisins. A carton of juice and a crunch bar. Occasionally swapping the crunch bar for a homemade cake or flapjack.

HairyMaclary Sat 12-Oct-13 16:30:22

I have a child allergic to dairy and all my packed lunch tips have come from here. I count to 5, 1- bottle of water; 2- piece of fruit, different to the one he gets for his afternoon snack (morning fruit provided by school) 3- main event, usually a sandwich made with homemade whole meal bread (bread maker!). This has ham, marmite, coleslaw etc in; 4 - treat - I make mini muffins or cakes in half terms and holidays , cut them up to very small portions and freeze individually then bung in lunchbox I thaw before lunchtime. 5 - something else - a few olives or cuc sticks / carrots with it without hummus to dip them in or some dried fruit etc etc.

If I could use dairy lunch would be more varied! In the winter he often takes in something hot in his mini thermos with fruit and cake. I do the same for DH and me when I'm working we more often have leftovers though as we have access to a microwave.

turkeyboots Sat 12-Oct-13 17:08:34

I hate packed lunches with a passion. DC have school dinners but take packed lunches to holiday club. So I only have 8 weeks to do thankfully.

I keep it simple. DD gets very anxious about not having anything to odd. So its a cheese or ham sandwich, fruit crisps or chocolate (it is holiday time after all!) And bottle of squash. I try to buy in advance and plan it out. But DH has been known to eat all the bread rolls which means buying rolls on route and DD making her roll at lunch - which she thinks is brilliant fun!

GetKnitted Sat 12-Oct-13 17:20:58

My packed lunch ephiphany was to understand that my ds does not want or need an endless variety in packed lunches. We eat a varied diet at home and his usual school dinners, so , if I need to make him a packed lunch, I just stick to a cheese sandwich, a piece of fruit and a packet of crisps, he's just as happy and I have saved on all the faffing about.

ShatnersBassoon Sat 12-Oct-13 17:22:11

Use a mini ice pack to keep everything reasonably cool. Room temperature yogurt is so punishing.

BooItTooJulia Sat 12-Oct-13 17:29:08

I love a good packed lunch! I love big salads, like a tabbouleh, a cous cous and roasted veg one, or a soya bean, butter bean and avocado one.

I like more interesting sandwiches, like a flatbread with hummus and grated carrot.

Mmm. Hungry now!

Ours tend to have a variety of food - favourites are cold pasta salad with separate dressing which they add themselves. They also enjoy tuna mayo, ham, cheese sandwiches. I use a mini cookie cutter to cut them as it makes them more about interesting and bite sized, also the lunch supervisors pounce on them and demand they eat the crusts. As crusts hold no magic formula for success I would rather they have a trouble free lunchtime - the ducks like my approach too!

They also usually have a cake, smoothie and jelly, all of which I freeze in bulk and put in their bags to keep the other contents fresher while they stew in their classrooms. Also makes it more straightforward as I just have to grab them from the freezer.

I usually add a bit of fruit/ veg too. They much prefer packed lunch to school lunches which seem to be hard pasta, chips, pizza. Not sure what I will do when ds gets free lunches.

poachedeggs Sat 12-Oct-13 17:59:11

DS is 6 and has packed lunches at least 4 days a week. He has a sandwich (usually wholemeal), a tub of fruit with plain yogurt, and something else, such as cheese, carrot and cucumber, cherry tomatoes, a hardboiled egg. He won't always eat it all, mainly because he's in a hurry to play. Sandwich fillings include cheese, egg, tuna, cream cheese, chicken, salad and occasionally ham.

Yes I am uptight about nutrition grin

He likes pasta or couscous for a change sometimes. And once in a while he has a cake or a cereal bar or something. School lunches are a carb fest on a daily basis so I'd rather he avoided them most days. I'm looking into a soup container for winter.

SmokedMackerel Sat 12-Oct-13 18:41:00

Dd takes one three days a week.

She usually has a dry rye open sandwich with cheese or ham. I put the topping on the bread, but I imagine she actually eats them seperately. She doesn't like butter on her bread.
Then she has some sort of crunchy veg - cucumber and celery are the favourite, some fruit, a cereal bar, and usually water to drink but sometimes diluted fruit juice.

If I put too much in she doesn't eat it - she often eats the fruit and veg when she gets home anyway. I try and vary the fruit each week, I probably stick to cucumber more than I should because I know she'll eat it. I would like to put nuts in, but worry about the safety of it, so she has nuts as a snack at home instead.

Iwaswatchingthat Sat 12-Oct-13 19:25:24

My two tend to have packed lunches in the summer.

Last summer they always ate everything, but never bothered finishing their drink.

I wanted them to get more fluid, so I started to make sugar free jelly in small plastic pots. I added different fruits to it each day, sometimes fresh things, sometimes frozen fruit which defrosted fast in the heat of the water in the jelly.

They always ate up all the jelly so I felt like they were getting more fluid via the jelly, plus one of their five a day! And it was very cheap as one sachet of jelly made four pots. Win win win. grin

StillNoFuckingEyeDeer Sat 12-Oct-13 19:43:59

DD1 likes lots of different things in a packed lunch. She likes cheese or sausage sandwiches, or cheese and crackers or sometimes ham & mushroom pizza. She likes any kind of bread - white/brown/seeded, bagel, wrap, rolls. I try to vary it a bit. Sometimes she'll have ham/chicken/tuna, but if she got to chose she'd always pick cheese or sausage.
She loves a few cherry tomatoes, grapes, chopped apple, cucumber sticks etc.
She usually has a fromage frais or yogurt.
If she could have her way she'd have crisps & chocolate too.

missorinoco Sat 12-Oct-13 19:56:20

A sandwich/wrap with a savoury filling, usually cheese, DS will eat the same thing over again. Fruit - to make it more exciting I sometimes give grapes/blueberries, esp if it is a trip. Yoghurt - often the tubes are on special offer and I stock up. +/- mini cheddars.

If it is a trip I also add a homemade cake/biscuit. The homemade aspect somehow makes me feel it is healthier than a shop bought one, even though I have seen the amount of sugar and butter in it!

My tip is to make the sandwich the evening before and put it in the fridge. The only time it didn't quite work was when I put sliced tomatoes in, the bread became soggy.

OldRoan Sat 12-Oct-13 20:03:52

I rarely have sandwiches as I get bored quickly, but get/make the best bread you can afford. I buy nice M&S bread/bake at a weekend so I have a few different types and then freeze. Never have the same bread two days in a row - much more exciting!

I do pack up for three very day. 2 x DDs and 1 for DH.

DH hates cheese but will eat pretty much anything else. DDs like plain stuff like ham/cheese etc

I did try making up batches of sandwiches and freezing them, but they're not the same as freshly made, so I instead freeze yogurts / fromage frais and use them as mini ice packs to keep everything else cool, and they are defrosted by lunchtime.

I also use little pots of frozen berries in the same way, DDs love berries.

I used to buy lots of little boxes of raisins etc, now I just buy a big bag of mixed dried fruit and put it into pots. Saves a fortune!!!

Salad is also put into little pots, sliced cucumber and tomato - DDs can add to their sandwiches if they wish, but the sandwiches won't go soggy in the meantime.

As it starts to get colder, I will use mini thermos food flasks and put things like stew, soup, pasta and sauce etc in there. Dd1 is used to this, but dd2 is only in reception so will see how she gets on.

DH will have anything left over in his.

Also add in usual things like fruit and carrot sticks.

Biggest tip for me is organise it all the night before and fridge it - saves me from acting like a headless chicken in a morning!!!!

My ds takes a packed lunch for nursery twice a week and I always try to put something different in it which is healthy. I always try to give him homemade bread which I make in the mornings (well the bread maker does!).
I cut the sandwiches into different shapes depending on the time of year ie Christmas trees!
Another favourite of his is to squish the bread with a rolling pin, put the filling in, roll it up like a sausage then cut into pieces. It's perfect finger food.
If I haven't been organised with the bread he likes cheese and crackers or sausages and cheese like a picky lunch.
I always put in fruit ready peeled or chopped and a yoghurt or rice pudding. He then gets a homemade cake or biscuit too.
Basically anything which is easy to eat, tasty and tempting gets him to eat his lunch. Nothing ever comes home so he must be happy!

Iggity Sat 12-Oct-13 21:00:11

Try adding something unexpected. We put a treat like a muffin or gingerbread man/woman in DS's lunchbox but one day, when he unwrapped the gingerbread woman, there were two mini gingerbread babies. I hope it brought a smile to his face. I also always add a sticker to one of the things that I have wrapped for him (he's in reception) and also cut his sandwiches using a cookie cutter.

sweetiepie1979 Sat 12-Oct-13 21:03:54

Wraps with peanut butter or honours cut into small rolls. Dd loves it. Always a peach and a little tub of strawberries.

sweetiepie1979 Sat 12-Oct-13 21:39:22

Can I just clarify when I said honours wraps I meant houmous

DD has pretty much the same thing every day. It appears that children quite like this. She doesn't like crusts so I use a shaped sandwich cutter and her favourite shape is dinosaur. I try out different things, but have found that he last thing she eats is her fruit, so if I give her more than she will eat, she won't eat her fruit.

BornToFolk Sat 12-Oct-13 21:50:44

Standard packed lunch for DS is sandwich (sometimes wrap or roll etc), some veg (carrot sticks, cucumber, tomato, peppers), some fruit and a something else. The something else depends on what his appetite is like or how kind I'm feeling! So it could be a box of raisin, cheese string, bag of crisps etc. He gets a bottle of water or sometimes a juice box.

He's got a Sistema sandwich box and also a Sistema snack box with two compartments for his fruit and veg. Fruit is always chopped and ready to eat, otherwise he won't bother. He's recently discovered satsumas so I peel and segment one for his lunchbox. A bit of lemon juice on apple slices stops them going brown before lunchtime. He's got a small ice pack from Wilkos to keep things cool. I know it works as I've got the same for my lunchbox!

RubySparks Sat 12-Oct-13 21:50:56

My 'kids' are teenagers so my top tip for when they want a packed lunch is to get them to make it themselves!

They generally choose a sandwich with ham or chicken, juice, a banana or apple or satsuma and that's about it, maybe a cereal bar.

Taffeta Sat 12-Oct-13 22:03:10

DD has soup in a Thermos food flask and sandwich or bread and butter. Plus fresh and dried fruit, maybe occasionally a bag of crisps.

DS (9) now makes his own as he is too fussy for words. He generally has a sandwich thin or roll with Bovril or ham, sometimes crisps, fruit and sometimes an Actimel. He always puts an ice pack in and he never clears up properly afterwards.

DD also likes a hard boiled egg. She fantasises about a packed lunch she saw in a Frances book, where the boy badger (I think it was a badger...) had a hard boiled egg, sandwich fingers, cucumber strips etc etc and a cup of custard. Very sophisticated.

stiffstink Sat 12-Oct-13 22:41:18

Forget making sandwiches every day. I get two loaves, a variety of cooked meats and have a sandwich making session until I run out of bread, meat or Flora (obvs).

Package them up in sandwich bags and put them in The Lunch Drawer of the freezer.

DH and I take a bag of apples and a bag of bananas each to work every Monday and everyone grass their own sandwich from The Lunch Drawer each morning. DS is too little for his own bag of apples so he has his daily extras sorted on a day to day basis, usually yoghurt and chopped up tomatoes (not together).

This way your butty is magically ready to eat by lunchtime and I am not faced with packed lunch duty every day.

Cathpot Sat 12-Oct-13 22:56:25

I freeze a huge batch of cheese rolls for one daughter and the other one likes wraps so soft cheese and marmite wrap for her done that morning. Yoghurt, fruit, half a pain au chocolat. Same everyday as can't do inventive in the morning, sometimes cold sausage if we have some or cake if we've made some.

HomicidalPsychoJungleCat Sat 12-Oct-13 23:11:24

Ds has a sandwich (because that's what he ikes) and then a smoothie and a yogurt, some raw veg and grapes/bananas etc. I freeze the smoothie and then take it out of the freezer first thing and it keeps his packed lunch cool until lunchtime without having to use (and invariably lose) a cool block. If we have pasta for dinner I'll cook an extra portion and then once I have drained it mix it with his veg and ham or cheese from the sandwich and he has that instead.

I've seen some amazing packed lunches on pintrest, full on themed scenes like this but there's no way we'd have time for that in our house!!!

ILoveAFullFridge Sat 12-Oct-13 23:50:23

We don't bother with an ice-pack: just one more un-necessary thing to weigh the dc down or for them to lose.

(Not lost anyone to food-poisoning yet.)

ScienceRocks Sun 13-Oct-13 00:03:23

Another one who makes the lunches the night before. Both my DDs get a sandwich (two slices of bread, with cream cheese plus ham, chicken or smoked salmon, dd2 has the crusts removed but dd1 doesn't), a small tub of salad bits (carrot sticks, peppers, cherry toms, cucumber), a small tub of fruit (grapes or cut up apple or berries if they are in season), a yogurt tube and a biscuit. Sometimes I put a cheese snack in too, or extra fruit for dd1. Dd1 has a bottle of water (not allowed anything else at school), dd2 has a smoothie or juice carton. No ice pack, but I do use frozen yogurt tubes in summer to the same effect.

Keep it easy is my motto, so fruit is cut up etc.

Solo Sun 13-Oct-13 00:13:40

Dd has started to have packed lunches this term. Generally it's a sandwich, a piece of fruit, a container with yoghurt in, sometimes a piece of cake and occasionally a bag of crisps. If I have left over bolognese, I send her in with that and pasta instead of a sandwich. I put it in a bag instead of container as her box is not leak proof! and make sure she knows how to put it into the box compartment.
I have found that cutting off the crusts of the bread before packing the lunch means that she actually eats more bread/sandwich than if she leaves the crusts (which she always does).
I explain how to open pots/containers etc so that she feels able.
I also tell her in which order to eat things so that she doesn't eat the cake or crisps but leaves the fruit...she's 6 btw.
I make sure that if there is any messy stuff, she knows to put it all into the plastic bag in the lunch bag so that I'm not dealing with a sticky mess when it all gets home!

DS is 4 and goes to preschool 3x a week. I try to put a few bits in so he has a choice - I'm lucky that generally he's unfussy and will try anything but I think it's always best to send them to school with something you know they'll eat and save experimenting for home.

He'll either have a sandwich (egg mayo, cheese with pesto or marmite, peanut butter or houmous and shredded carrot) or cold pasta leftover (when he's had pasta pesto or basic Tom sauce - something that tastes ok cold)

Then he'll have a piece of fruit (normally apple or banana) and a pot of something veggie (cooked broccoli spears, raw carrot sticks, cold peas etc) and something like raisins or pretzels or popcorn

We bake together on Tuesday's so the rest of the week he gets to also take in whatever we've baked

DH just gets leftovers, which he microwaves at work

My DC have hot lunches at school, as do 100% of the school, with no choices or canteen option (until Y5 when they sometimes get choice of 2 main dishes). Eaten "family style" (tables of 12, teacher/TA at the head of each table, DC help clear etc, everyone has to the least try everything). I works well and they are well fed. Packed lunches, for us, mean holiday clubs and by the end of the holidays I am fed up with doing them.

That said, both DC like wraps, but neither like variety. I can make beetroot, cucumber, ham and salad (DS) or cheese and cucumber (DD) wraps in my sleep. They get fruit, crisps (half a pack for DD who never finishes whole packs), homemade cake, and a water bottle. Occasionally yoghurt or a babybel too. I would be bored senseless but they always ask for the same. confused

CheeryCherry Sun 13-Oct-13 06:51:34

We try to vary the packed lunches on a daily basis and always make them the night before so there's one less thing to do in the morning. We vary with wraps, filled pitta breads, sliced bread, bread roll or cold pizza on occasion. The fillings depend on individual preferences, usually cheese/hummous/Marmite/ egg mayo. I always add a selection of veg such as tomatoes, cucumber, carrot, celery plus a piece of fruit or two. I sometimes make up pots of jelly and pop fruit in. I usually put a treat in too such as yogurt, biscuit or homemade bun/flapjack.
I do vary the contents as I personally wouldn't want the same food day in day out.As my dcs reached year 5 they started making their own lunches which was handy for me and independence for them.

I don't bother with an ice pack but freeze a carton of drink and include that instead so they get a nice cold drink and the rest of their lunch kept cool also.

Both if mine usually have a whole meal sandwich, crudités, squeezy yogurt (far less mess than a pot and spoon) and the aforementioned drink.

Cakes, crisps etc are kept as after school snack so the risk of them eating those before their proper lunch is taken out of the equation.

If we have left over pasta they will take that in a wide necked thermos or occasionally if we have no bread they will get the treat of their life and get a sausage roll instead if a sandwich.

I find my kids want something quick
To eat so they can get back to their friends and playing rather than an extravaganza when they open their lunch boxes.

GoldenHares Sun 13-Oct-13 07:47:52

Dd1 will eat almost anything and dd2 next to nothing.
Both have a packed lunch.

Favourites are filled croissant (cream cheese/ celery)
Cheese and carrot wrap (grated)
Tuna mix
Cold pizza slices
Pesto pasta
Piece of fruit
Dried fruit
Veg sticks
Yoghurts
Juices.

Freeze small bottles of water and add to lunch bag to keep it all cool.

I try and put in one carby thing, a protein something or other, fruit and portion of veg.

Ragwort Sun 13-Oct-13 08:15:25

My DS is now 12 and all he takes is a ham sandwich and a bottle of water, every single day, I put an apple or banana out but it usually gets left behind grin.

I love the idea of all the little extras that go into packed lunches, but glad my DS now just knows what he wants and it is a all a lot less faff grin.

MuseumOfHam Sun 13-Oct-13 08:44:57

Definitely in the keep it simple camp. DS has a cheese sandwich every day - that's what he likes. We have a fab retro 1980s lunch box which my SIL rooted out during a clear out (grown up kids). It's very easy to keep clean, unlike the modern lunch bags.

Hadn't thought of freezing things, but at DS's school the lunches are kept on a rack in a corridor near an external door. We're in Scotland. Could still be frozen by lunchtime.

Happiestinwellybobs Sun 13-Oct-13 08:51:10

DD eats at nursery so no packed lunch for her just yet. But when she does start having them, I will apply the same principles as I do for DH:

- make them the night before - too much going on in the morning.

- lots of different things to keep interest, so sandwiches, pieces of fruit, yoghurt, quiche, vegetable sticks, cheese...

- sometimes leftovers if there is anything

BellaVida Sun 13-Oct-13 10:01:29

I think variety is key and we always include a surprise treat on Fridays. They like to have DIY wraps, so they have plain wraps then a little pots of shredded lettuce, carrot, tomato, grated cheese then they can fill and roll them or eat the filling separately. Much more likely to actually eat it that way!
For dessert they like the frozen yoghurt tubes, fresh fruit or fruit pots. Their favourite is a mix of grapes, blueberries and strawberries.
The Friday treat doesn't have to be sweet, just something they don't regularly have, so could be anything from olives to popcorn or coated raisins.

SalBeautyMoll Sun 13-Oct-13 11:47:06

Love the home-made leftovers pasties tip. We customise muffin recipes to make them healthier, sometimes savoury.

Dd responds better if everything is easy to eat, so I do a small tub of cut up veg, fruit and nuts.

I sometimes put a little note in the box to make her smile.

clubnail Sun 13-Oct-13 12:52:48

DC is too young for school though we do go on days out and take packed lunches accordingly. Best tips are fun shapes (cookie cutters to shape sandwiches) and interesting and varied fillings. Those now little Oreos in a little packet go down well, just perfect for a toddler-sized mouth. But mainly we stick with fruit, and are lucky that DS loves eating fruit.

CMOTDibbler Sun 13-Oct-13 14:13:01

I only have to do packed lunches for days out and holiday club. At the beginning of the week, I write down what we have available for packed lunches in columns of carb/protein/veg/fruit/yogurt/treat, and ds chooses things for each day and it goes on the fridge.

I keep wraps and pittas in the freezer, so theres always something around if running short.

In the winter, I give him a wide necked flask with pasta or soup in too

I used to do all sorts of fancy healthy things for dd when she was little. I think I went a bit OTT blush. Now she's a teen when I do make her lunch, I tend to think maximum (healthy) calories in minimum eating time as she is so rushed at lunch. Fortunately peanut butter is considered fine at her school so it features quite a bit.

SaltySeaBird Sun 13-Oct-13 14:21:51

My daughter is only one but I still often find myself having to pack a lunch for her.

I nearly always go for a small sandwich (cut into mini triangles or squares) with a filling like tuna or cream cheese, a handful of baby friendly crisps (like the organix ones) and then some fruit. Something like blueberries or strawberries. Plus water in her normal beaker. I pack them all into little tupperware pots that stack neatly in a mini cool bag I've got.

If I've had the time I will make things like cheese scones or frittata instead of sandwiches. I tend to avoid messy things like yoghurt when we are out and about but she will have them at home.

skyeskyeskye Sun 13-Oct-13 14:49:54

When DD has packed lunch she has a combination of:

Cheese or jam sandwich
Banana
Small pot of strawberries or grapes or both
Cheese cubes or Babybel or cheese string
Cereal bar
Mini cheddars
Raisins/fruit flakes

She has school dinners mainly now in order to get her eating a variety of food.

flamingtoaster Sun 13-Oct-13 15:09:28

The secret to pack lunches I've found is to give them what they like (within reason) - they then eat it and you can balance their diet by what they have for breakfast and their evening meal. Sandwiches (changing the filling if they are willing), a piece of fruit which is easy to peel and eat or berries and cherries, a drink and a small treat of a piece of fruitcake is enough to keep them going.

EstoyAqui Sun 13-Oct-13 16:09:27

I am a bit of a bento mum with packed lunches. I like to cut their sandwiches into shapes or ensure their wraps look like rainbows. I have no packaging inside the box, everything is ready to eat. I put in mostly healthy things but occasionally add a treat.

My advice is to get their input into what goes in. I ask DD what she would like when we go shopping and have her help make hummus or guacamole etc to ensure it is then eaten.

If there is resistance to a certain food being eaten we try to offer it in a different format, either chopped smaller or grated so as it's texture changes. If it is still avoided then I remove it. There is no point in fighting a losing battle.

I don't bother with an ice pack. I used to freeze the yogurts to keep other items cold but the yoghurt made a mess inside the bag with their wrappers so I stopped and it didn't seem to make a huge difference with the temperature of the other items.

I try to vary what's inside. Our rota contains: Spanish omelette, falafel, wraps, sandwiches, muffins, sushi, bagels and pasta salads.

skyeskyeskye Sun 13-Oct-13 16:15:11

I forgot to say from age fraud, either pouches or tubes

Carriemac Sun 13-Oct-13 16:43:23

I use flora instead of butter in packed lunches as it's less rank if they're not kept cold

dottyaboutstripes Sun 13-Oct-13 18:01:49

My 4 yr old MUST have a ham sandwich every day (yawn!). I use a teddy shaped cutter on it both to make it more appealing but also to ensure he eats it all - a regular sandwich comes back nibbled from the middle with huge waste as he has decided he doesn't like crusts, and just cutting crusts off doesn't cut the mustard! I add little coloured pots with mystery items, like popcorn, cucumber, cherry toms etc. and a mini ice pack to attempt to keep it nice until lunchtime.

DontmindifIdo Sun 13-Oct-13 18:35:48

We dont do packed lunches often, but when I do, I keep bread in the freezer, make sandwiches with the frozen bread the night before, pop in the fridge, by lunchtime will be defrosted and have stayed cool.

We started this as we're not a big bread eating household so often a loaf will go mouldy long before all used, freezing and just taking out a couple of slices when needed works for us. (you can toast from frozen too)

Thank you for the "banana bread" not "banana cake" tip, shall work on ds for that.

gazzalw Sun 13-Oct-13 18:51:48

My top tip really is not to put too much in the lunch-box. We all know our own children and what one child will voraciously eat, another will scarcely touch. Our DD is a very, very slow eater and a combination of foods encompassing all the different food groups will never be entirely eaten (unless it's presented as a one-pot rice/pasta salad with cheese and veggies) as its simply too much for her to eat in the increasingly short lunch time-slot!

We always used to find that peanut and raisin pot was a good high protein, high calorie snack for the lunch-box but now that's outlawed hmm.

AnneOfCleavage Sun 13-Oct-13 19:25:59

I bought 9yr old DD one of those lunchboxes with the different compartments and she loves to open them and see what I've put inside:

Large bottom compartment: sandwiches (ham, cheese and pickle, tuna, salmon paste or jam - different each day), a frube yoghurt and chocolate bar or sometimes a homemade cake.

In the two medium compartments I put in one a savoury choice: cocktail sausages, mini scotch eggs together with carrot sticks and pepper or cucumber or a bit of each and in the other a sweet option: grapes or strawberries.

On special days I put in a little note wishing her luck for a test or a reminder that it's choir or she's going to a friends or simply that I love her. At Christmas time she gets a mini cracker and a joke in the lead up to the last day of term and on her birthday some birthday confetti grin

Ohhelpohnoitsa Sun 13-Oct-13 19:35:35

thank you for this thread. great for sharing ideas. we ha e compromised on packed lunch 3 days and school lunch 2. I try to get everything in my weekly shop and freeze uf possible (packed lunch is wed, thu, fri). So I buy ham turjey etc sliced, and freeze them in twos. I buy cookies if on offer and chop them in half & freeze (my los are only 6 & 4 so need small portions). I ALWAYS buy those frube yogurt things and freeze them - put in the sandwich bag frizen to keep freah & they are defrosted by lunch. I font include anythi g revolutionary but I would say 1. buy in bulk and decant ( e. g. crisps, prunes, popcorn etc) for portion control & cost savi g, 2. always peel satsumas etc and open bags as little hands fi nd it hard. a box of juice is 1 of the 5 a day but a refillable bottle is so much cheaper.

Ds1 can't eat gluten and only likes gf bread as toast, so I do buttered gf oatcakes, slices of cheese, tomatoes, sometimes a bit of hummus and carrot sticks, and a one more thing- crisps, 9 bar, macaroon. Plus a drink!

AndHarry Sun 13-Oct-13 20:20:45

I make packed lunches for myself, DH and 3yo DS. DH has ham salad sandwiches, I have beef, Stilton and red onion chutney sandwiches and DS won't eat sandwiches so he has either pasta or couscous for carbohydrates and a variety of other bits: yoghurt, fruit, cucumber/carrot/cherry tomatoes, seeds, breadsticks, popcorn, cubes of Cheddar... I do try to mix it up but DS is quite fussy so it ends up as a rather limited selection. I've deliberately kept DS' lunchbox junk-free, even though it would be much easier to Ho down that route, as sitting with his peers and no fridge to escape to he is more likely to eat everything.

JulesJules Sun 13-Oct-13 20:56:56

My 11 yo takes a packed lunch once a week to make a change from school meals.

I make carrot soup quite a lot (as everyone likes it) and so she often takes some of that in (food flask) with some left over rosemary foccaccia and some cheese. Usually water bottle and carton of juice. Or a bagel with pastrami or ham in it. Or a wrap with hoummus and grated carrot. Or cheese and oatcakes. A few grapes or an apple and a fromage frais or a yoghurt. Sometimes some popcorn, sometimes a bit of homemade flapjack. Carrot sticks and/or cucumber wedges. Or a few olives and cubes of cheese.

I never send in chocolate, sweets or crisps although apparently "everyone else does" grin

I put in a little note.

I think the best tip is to send in small amounts of a few different things and ring the changes as much as possible.

QueFonda Sun 13-Oct-13 21:17:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Dancealot Sun 13-Oct-13 21:42:22

I was dreading my DD starting school and making a packed lunch everyday, but it's been a lot less hassle than I thought. She has a lunchbox with compartments, to stop her sandwich getting squashed, and I make it up the night before. She gets bored of sandwiches every day so my top tip is to vary sandwiches, rolls, crackerbreads and rice cakes. Also if I include a cheese string it keeps her very happy!

darksparrow Sun 13-Oct-13 21:56:02

I always freeze the frubes - they keep the cool box nice and cool and are defrosted by lunch

PepeLePew Sun 13-Oct-13 22:07:44

Wraps with (depending on the child) tuna and pesto or carrot, cheese and mayonnaise or ham and soft cheese - they seem more popular than sandwiches and don't go soggy.

Carrots and cucumber sticks are popular.

There's always fruit of some sort - apples, grapes, dried apricots. If there isn't any cheese in the wraps I will put a few cubes of cheese in.

Sometimes leftovers - cold pizza, chicken drumsticks, Spanish tortilla etc. In the winter, sometimes soup in a wide necked thermos. My mum used to do that for me and I loved it.

Then something else - wasabi peas, a flapjack, those big chocolate ricecakes, a cereal bar, some unsalted crisps. It depends on the child and what's in the cupboard.

I try and put everything into clingfilm - I got fed up of lunchboxes coming home with only half the plastic box lids. I should try a bento box - they'd love it.

I'll often freeze a bottle of water in the summer to keep things cool, or one of those fruit tubes.

Eastpoint Sun 13-Oct-13 22:27:39

My daughter gets bored if she has too much of the same thing so has lots of different things in her packed lunch. Strips of red pepper, carrot & cucumber batons, cherry tomatoes, peeled quails eggs (special treat) alongside something more filling, maybe some chicken sliced up in pitta bread or in a wrap. A leftover tortilla filled with mince, grated cheese, sour cream, peppers & cooked onion goes down well. If she has swimming then she likes to have a flask of pasta with pesto & a little pot of Parmesan to stir in.

Spirael Mon 14-Oct-13 10:17:32

Not what Flora want to hear, but we rarely have sandwiches in our packed lunches. Usually we cook up some pasta and pesto, then mix it with some cheese and tomato pieces/peas/sweetcorn to make a pasta salad.

bucksmum71 Mon 14-Oct-13 14:07:17

We're creatures of habit here - Wraps with Ham & Cheese for DS with a yoghurt and mini cheddars Apple, banana, & mini cheddars for DD (she is 17 she sorts herself out !)

wheretoyougonow Mon 14-Oct-13 14:30:42

My top tip is in the summer I freeze frubes so they have an iced treat. I also sometime freeze fruit juice so it is cold and slushy by the time lunch arrives.

Yamyoid Mon 14-Oct-13 14:43:57

Ds stopped eating his little tub of fruit or veg so I stuck a drawing of his favourite Cbeebies character on the lid with a speech bubble saying 'eat this, yum!'
It worked a couple of times!

OrganixAddict Mon 14-Oct-13 14:56:47

Mine have same-ish e everyday:
Sandwich / pitta / wrap with cream cheese, cucumber, ham, chicken or hummus
Pot of veg - cucumber, carrot, toms
Fruit - usually grapes or strawberries or sliced apple
Cereal bar / jam tart / slice malt loaf
Frozen frube which will thaw by lunch
Water

Contents vary slightly depending on what each dc prefers but usually the above covers it.

When dd first went to school I tried to vary it - mini quiche, sausage roll, pasta salad etc - but soon ran out of ideas (plus she left most of it) until a wise friend told me children like familiarity and repetition so I went with that.

orangebubbles Mon 14-Oct-13 17:10:01

I try to limit the amount of bread DD consumes to one portion a day, so either given as toast at breakfast or to make a sandwich for lunch. If it's used to make a sandwich, I try to include a piece of fruit/veg within eg: Cheese and cucumber, ham and tom, egg and cress etc. If I'm not giving sandwiches for lunch it's usually a salad of some variety, DD's favourite being a Greek salad or some dips (carrots, cucumber, peppers) with home made humous or sweetcorn. Always a piece of fruit and if that's all eaten a little treat like a biscuit!

littlemonkeychops Mon 14-Oct-13 18:17:52

Dd1 is still only 2, so we tend to stick to what we know she'll eat for now, nothing worse than trying and failing to get her to eat something new whilst out and about with a packed lunch!! So we stick with cheese sandwich, yogurt, fruit and breadsticks.

malachite Mon 14-Oct-13 19:00:00

I always make sure I pack lots of bitesize fruit and veg as my two won't eat anything other than plain ham or cheese sandwiches but will wolf it down if it's in a separate little pot. I put little treats in but that doesn't always mean sugary things- treats can be blueberries, crisps, extra cheese cubes as well as biscuits or cakes.

We are creatures of habit in our house.

It's either a ham sandwich or crackers and cheese ( with Flora of course!)
A bottle of diluting juice.
Some fruit- either grapes, oranges, apples or nectarines.
Either some cheese or a handful of cocktail sausages.
Chocolate biscuit/sweet treat/cake

It's not particularly inventive but it keeps Dd fed until tea time and she never complains!

Letitsnow9 Mon 14-Oct-13 19:48:17

Variety is the spice of life so don't get stuck in a packed lunch rut

maximum4 Mon 14-Oct-13 20:11:09

My boys 14,13, 10 & DD 8 - each have Crisps, a chocolate biscuit, water, fruit and a sandwich - either ham or cheese! Boring... but they love it and hate it when I change it!

CallMeNancy Mon 14-Oct-13 20:35:44

I make 2-3 packed lunches a day, always the night before.

We use divided boxes, similar to the systema ones. The ones we have split the container into one half & 2 quarters & it's always the same. The 1/2 is main course. 1/4 is fruit/veg. 1/4 is snack.

Main will be sandwiches, wrap, bagel, sometimes pasta or chicken salad.

Fruit/veg is just that. Peeled, sliced, easy to eat whatever we have in.

Snack 1/4 is babybel, boiled egg, cheese cubes, mini pepperami, small handful of dried fruit, mini breadsticks & dip, or mini muffin or combination of whatever I have in the cupboard.

Either a frozen frube or ice pack is added.

Done.

If I'm feeling nice, the sandwiches will be cut into shapes, I might have turned the bagel into a pizza, or the boiled egg will be heart shaped, thanks to sandwich cutters and bento egg moulds.

But the divided box is the key. Easy to open. Easy to portion. No mess. No waste & I always win the school green packaging free day smile

Hopezibah Mon 14-Oct-13 21:52:25

We've had to re-think our packed lunches lately as our son went off his sandwiches and stopped eating them for a while at school!

We introduced new fillings that he likes like tuna mayo and egg mayo and let him have a bit more of a say about what went into his packed lunches.

We now vary crackers, baps, bagels, pittas, wraps too - as it all adds variety.

He also loves cheesestrings (or similar) and whilst I don't like too many pre-packaged foods like that, it does seem to help him enjoy his packed lunch.

We removed his crisps for a while too to make sure he wouldn't be too full to eat his sandwiches.

supermam Mon 14-Oct-13 23:40:25

My son likes pitta bread with felafels, peppers, cucumber, tzatziki and sweet chilli sauce. Also wraps. If I'm short of time - cheese & Marmite always good!

peronel Tue 15-Oct-13 12:14:03

I try to always include at least one thing that is home-made such as the children's favourite ginger cake, or gingerbread men that they love to help to make a day or two before.

openerofjars Tue 15-Oct-13 13:12:08

I really, really do not like making packed lunches, so my top tip is to make salami and soft cheese tortilla wraps, because they take about 20 seconds to make and are startlingly popular. I can't wait until DD is old enough to eat them.

Oh, and my other top tip is that if you upgrade your cutlery, do not throw away the teaspoons from the old set, then you can use them for packed lunches without worrying that your DC will lose the nice new ones.

MollyRoses Wed 16-Oct-13 10:38:32

Top tips:
- Don't limit yourself to sandwiches and wraps! I find pasta salad works well too.
- Snacks - the bear fruit yo yos are good because although they are high in sugar it's natural fruit sugar
- There are so many differnet types of sandwiches and wraps but often there's one flavour that someone likes so if they're going to eat ham sandwiches everyday btu are happy let them!

(I used to go to school and eat a butter sandwich for lunch...) If i was feeling adventurous I'd have a salad sandwich so I think it just depends on the child.

There is fantastic lunchbox resources ont he internet such as www.pinterest.com/amrutaa/bento-and-lunch-box-ideas/ if you have the time/patience to make them they really make lunch fun

I found little bits of a variety of things worked best, rather than a big sandwich. I mixed healthy carrot or cucumber sticks with mini sausage or falafel balls. Or a mini roll or small sandwich with a piece of cheese and savoury biscuits. This was quite expensive though and partly was done because my son is such a fussy eater and I used to worry about him not eating any lunch.
I never included sweets or chocolate but occasionally crisps or cheesy snacks. I always included a piece of fruit or a little fruit salad chopped up in a Tupperware box. Sometimes a yogurt.

Nowadays he has school dinners every day and either takes it or leaves it! Much easier and I no longer get to see the amount wasted so I don't stress about it.

beeelaine Wed 16-Oct-13 13:48:48

i know this sounds awful, but there is no point making your sandwiches look funky and fun if your kid dont like what is inside them! lol... a little while back i worked as a dinnerlady and was amazed at how much does not get eaten in lunchboxes (and the rubbish that some kids eat) as our son was relatively good at eating his. I think its a good idea to sit down and make a list of all the things your kids like, what they have seen in other lunch boxes and would like to try (as long as healthy) and then have a go, what i would recommend though is a nice creamy dip (our son likes the garlic type) because then almost any vegetable cut into stips can taste good. Our son also now likes to have home made cookies (less additives and you can put what you like in them) and you can make small mix and just bung them in the oven with your tea the day before. Cous cous keeps well and is almost tasteless so you can just put chunks of whatever you kids likes in that and dont be afraid to try out things like fish, i once tried some tinned mackerel and our son loves that. Its important to have a go and try because i think its unfair to give your children rubbish sugar-additive fuelled foods and then expect them to sit still in a class until 3.15!

Geniene Wed 16-Oct-13 14:04:38

My top tip is not to overdo it! Don't put too much in, the children want to eat as fast as they can to get outside and play, but obviously we want them to have enough healthy food in their bellies smile
I always add a pot of chopped fruit, a piece of cake or other treat and a sandwich or some pasta. This goes down well and my DS usually eats it all and still has time for play smile

lottietiger Wed 16-Oct-13 16:24:22

Lunches are always made the night before and consist of , a plain sandwich, 3 pieces of fuit normally grapes, banana plus one other, a packet of raisins some nuts and one sweet item of a home made cake which always goes down well.

Katz Wed 16-Oct-13 16:50:47

We vary what goes in their lunch boxes. Flasks are a must left overs from roast dinner is turned into chicken noodle soup, left over pasta and sauce goes in, beans ect.

Treat on a Friday.

pickofthepops Wed 16-Oct-13 18:51:33

Success tuna sandwiches are a hit

MadMonkeys Wed 16-Oct-13 19:46:13

I vary it as much as possible but only within the range of things I know DD will eat. Sandwiches/pasta, cucumber always goes down well, yoghurt then small portions of fruit, cheese, maybe a couple of mini party rings or jammy dodgers. I tend to go for small amounts of lots of things to keep her interested.

SoonToBeSix Wed 16-Oct-13 19:52:50

My dd's have a very simple packed lunch, a sandwich, fruit and a yogurt. If I gave them more food they wouldn't eat it because they say they don't ave enough time.

BlackeyedSusan Wed 16-Oct-13 20:44:07

go potty to pack the food they like

the children often have a pot of whatever last nights tea was. this way they get more variety than cheese or cheese and pickle sandwiches. tomorrow, they are having a pot of bean soup (mung, blackeye, red and white kidney, and butter beans, split yellow peas, peas, sweetcorn, carrots, onions, lentils, pearl barley brown rice and wholemeal pasta)

I tried wraps, but they are not keen. pitta bread is ok but a faff. neither like hummus. they like wholemeal bread rolls but only when they are reduced at the supermarket. they also have pots of pasta with veggie sauce.

pots of salad stuff tomatoes, cucumber, red and yellow peppers, plus onions, carrots and cabbage for ds)

pots of small fruit (grapes, strawberries, freshly picked blackberries. what ever is on offer in the supermarket )

piece of fruit eg apple, pear, plum, melon slice.

I m trying to cut back on cost and unhealthiness. we have stopped having processed meat at home which has reduced the variety of sandwiches. they have never had biscuits, crisps or cakes in their lunch (so far, the real pester power age has not kicked in yet) I save treats for out of school.

Theimpossiblegirl Wed 16-Oct-13 21:21:16

I leave the trying new stuff for home. If they have something unfamiliar in their lunchboxes and don't like it, they could end up hungry through the day, or throwing it out, so I put in food I know they'l eat.

Glitterfairys Wed 16-Oct-13 21:29:34

My top tip is to be organised . Have enough stuff in to last the week and always have some bread in the freezer just in case and some frozen portions of soup/stew that are easy to reheat .

ChildrenAtHeart Wed 16-Oct-13 23:26:31

My dd has hot meals but ds takes a packed lunch. He is on the autistic spectrum so is quite inflexible with his food. He won't eat meat, cheese or butter/margarine and isn't big on fruit so it's a challenge! In the past he's taken brioche, chocolate crepes and croissant but trying to be healthier now and his current obsession is wraps with stirfried carrots, pepper and babycorn in them, plus a few 'posh' crisps and an Innocent smoothie.

My rules are something I know he'll eat, and a variety of things to choose from like a goody bag. Sometimes a little tub of cheese, or grapes. Carrot sticks and hummus is my big tip. He's crazy for it.

SetFiretotheRain Thu 17-Oct-13 15:17:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

I hated making packed lunches but mine had the for years, best tip is to ask the kids what they want. alternate sandwiches, wraps and salads to stop them getting bored, lots of things can be frozen and put in the lunch box as you need then, we wouls ake loads of cheese/ham rolls and freeze then and then just use when needed, cant freeze the salad though. My Ds never ate the fruit so i stopped packing it, My DD ate all the fruit so so got loads. Also it does not hurt them to have a sausage roll and paxket of crisps for lunch sometimes. I was glad when they were old enough to make their own and i could ignore the whole thing.

hmm ignore spellings, sorry

Tyranasaurus Fri 18-Oct-13 06:55:26

A fruit
A vegetable
A carb
A protein
A treat

HootyMcOwlface Fri 18-Oct-13 12:19:30

My boy's a bit young for packed lunches yet but I remember living off tuna mayo and cucumber sandwiches as a kid, after I had them at my friend's house and begged my mum to make them for me. Mum would always stick some crackers in my lunch box for a snack (with peanut butter on them, or maybe butter and cheese), and grapes were also a favourite.

sealight123 Fri 18-Oct-13 20:09:35

When I make me, my boyfriends and my daughters sandwiches I always make sure that it is a bit different each time. Essentially there would be some sandwiches, some fruit, a yogurt and a savoury snack (crisps/nuts etc)

To make sandwiches different I use different fillings, different types of bread, wraps, pittas...you name it!! For my daughter I occasionally put all of the ingredients separate as she likes to make her own sandwich like a big girl...and it becomes a bit of a game smile

I think variety is the key smile

I am also very lucky that my daughter loves fruit and veg a lot more than sweets and crisps hahaha

33goingon64 Fri 18-Oct-13 22:14:17

My top tip for sandwich optimum freshness is to use frozen sliced bread. Butter and assemble with filling when still frozen (you need a heavy, sharp knife to cut it into desired portions), wrap. By lunchtime the sandwich wil be ready to eat and fresh as if it had just been made. Also gives a pleasingly straight edge if cut when frozen.

indyandlara Sat 19-Oct-13 14:18:56

Get some great Tupperware with little compartments inside. That way you can include veggies and dips and lots of little nibbly bits. Very popular in out house!

lolancurly Mon 21-Oct-13 07:56:56

I put the usual stuff into my girls lunch boxes, including fruit, sandwiches of wraps, cake of some kind and cheese strings or frubes. I also sometimes include a little note or a joke to surprise them when they open a lunch box. You remember those lollies with jokes on the sticks? Well, I just sneak a corny joke on a slip of paper into their lunch box hidden between the chocolate crispy cake and the wrap smile

AngelieMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 23-Oct-13 10:01:19

Thanks for all your comments! The winner of the prize draw is Purplehonesty - congratulations! I'll PM you for your details smile

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