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Hats off to all you packed-lunchers – how do you do it?

(38 Posts)
Clary Thu 14-Aug-08 08:47:09

Have been making 5x packed lunches each day this week (DC in holiday club for four days) and it’s maddening. It’s not just the prep, tho it’s added at least 10 mins to my morning, plus hassle of debates with kids over merits of ham over cheese and apple or banana or both.

It’s the provision – I shopped on Sunday for it (just back from hols) then had to make emergency raid on Asda on Tues pm as we were totally out of fruit and salad and bread.
I swear I bought two boxes of cherry toms but there were only 4 left this am. I’ve got no apple in my lunchbox as I had to give it to DS1 who doesn’t like bananas; the kids are nicking mini fruity flapjacks (and so am I, frankly) so there are barely any of those left; etc etc.

Is my lunchbox offering excessive? Today they all have 1 ham roll (tho DS1 I’ve just remembered said he needed 2), tomato or cherry toms, cucumber, handful of strawberries, baby orange, banana or apple and three mini flapjacks plus bottle of water.

Thank goodness for school lunches is all I can say.

kittywise Thu 14-Aug-08 08:49:13

Yes, it's a nightmare. I sometimes have to make up 5 lunch boxes, I hate it, but if they don't like the school dinner then I do.

hoxtonchick Thu 14-Aug-08 08:52:17

i have had to make ds a pack up this week as he's doing tennis. hard work imo, hooray for school lunches.

your box sounds good. ds has been having salami sandwich, celery, apple, yoghurt, diluted juice, small kitkat. one day he had half a sandwich & some left over quiche. best of all, he only wants to go in the afternoon today so i can take him out for lunch instead!

watsthestory Thu 14-Aug-08 08:54:41

Message withdrawn

ecoworrier Thu 14-Aug-08 11:53:38

No, packed lunches are dead easy. I make 3-5 most days (not in the holidays though, only 1 occasionally!), and it takes 10-15 minutes maximum.

As for kids/you nicking things, keep 'treats' in the freezer and only take them out in the morning when making lunches. That's what I do with our home-made goodies.

Use ice-packs to keep things cool, I don't know any school with a fridge in the classroom!

School dinners here are rubbish, at primary level anyway, and to be honest I find it more hassle getting the right money together and putting it in a named envelope than assembling a packed lunch. Perhaps I've been doing packed lunches too long!

desperatehousewifetoo Thu 14-Aug-08 12:14:38

I thought doing school lunches was going to be a real pita but actually it only takes a few minutes (I only do 1 though. Big respect to those doing 5!)

Main problem is on a monday morning when there is little in the fridge.

I also have to make sure that ds does not see what I am making as he always complains. If it's a surprise, it's always fine hmm

Rubyrubyruby Thu 14-Aug-08 12:17:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lilacbloom Thu 14-Aug-08 12:17:28

one lady on here makes all of her sandwiches for the week on a sunday and freezes them .. apparently they freeze and defrost well.

Fennel Thu 14-Aug-08 12:18:26

We get into a routine, I have a special place where I stash extra fruit, cherry tomatoes, that sort of thing so it doens't all get eaten. Same with flapjacks etc, I hold some back.

we don't have lots of negotiation. we have a system with variations and it just happens. I know which dd likes which sandwiches and which fruit.

OrmIrian Thu 14-Aug-08 12:20:52

Oh it's soul-destroying. I hate it! Doesn't help that mine are so boring in their tastes. So they get sandwiches or rolls, fruit, crisps or biscuits. Every day. To all the fantastic suggestions like 'Why not try something lovely and healthy hummous and carrot sticks' reply would be 'because I would end up chucking the hummous and carrot sticks in the bin at the end of the say'.

DS#2 is off to secondary next month and he can have school lunches! Yay! Only 2 to do from now on. The other children could have school lunches now from next term, but they are sooo expensive and you have to pay for an entire week in one go regardless of whether they eat it or not. SO I suspect I'll still be filling poxy lunch boxes for a time to come sad

Fennel Thu 14-Aug-08 12:27:49

My 8 year old often makes her own, sometimes she'll make them for her younger sisters too. you need to utilise your child labour resources. especially if it's them wanting the packed lunches rather than the school dinners.

stealthsquiggle Thu 14-Aug-08 12:31:32

I'm with the 'packed lunches for holiday clubs make you appreciate school lunches' brigade.

I do lunch for DD at nursery 4 days a week, but that is easy as they are prepared to heat things up so she mostly has leftover portions of family meals, frozen. During the holidays I have to do lunch for DS as well which somehow makes the whole thing much more than twice as hard!

I definitely agree with freezing things - I cook batches of cocktail sausages and freeze them in bags of 4, ditto sausage rolls. I also make muffins (sweet and savoury) and put them straight in the freezer. Any excess drop scones, waffles or any other baked goods get frozen individually as well. Fruit is the biggest problem - it evaporates!

ChippyMinton Thu 14-Aug-08 12:34:50

DH does ours the night before and all the lunch bags go in the fridge. The DC often choose the same sandwich/roll/wrap for weeks on end, which seems boring but they don't seem to care. Plus something fruity, something dairy, something sweet (but no choccy or crisps) and a carton of juice.

Clary Thu 14-Aug-08 13:43:24

Ah you seee wrt money we pay for school lunches with a cheque at the start of term. Really easy.

Our lunches are very good too, maybe that makes the decision easier.

It really isn’t the time, it’s going to the shop every couple of days to get stuff that’s done my head in this week. I know you need to shop for fresh stuff often, but this was like a MUST DO on Tuesday eve when I really didn’t want to….

That’s a good idea re treats in the freezer grin (tho lol at excess scones etc – not likely here with DS1 the human hoover)

It’s not going to help with my tomato-nicker (can’t freeze those). I need Fennel’s special spot. Where is it?

ghosty Thu 14-Aug-08 13:48:31

We don't have school dinners here so I am used to making lunches but when I was in England last month I noticed how easy my sister's friend's morning routines seemed to be. Just get up, get dressed and go out ...

Re. the lunches: My children get a sandwich or roll and an apple. And something for 'play lunch' like a couple of biscuits or if they are lucky, something I have baked like flapjacks. I don't give them much choice, am not Jamie Bleedin Oliver. Anyway, DS doesn't want too much in his lunch box as it cuts into his playtime.

ghosty Thu 14-Aug-08 13:49:17

"My sister's AND my friend's morning routine"

TrinityRhino Thu 14-Aug-08 13:50:24

I'm recking that making packed lunch for dd1 is cheaper than the school meals

I wish we could afford to still send her to school lunches as they are fab but we cant

Iklboo Thu 14-Aug-08 13:52:26

DS gets a dairylea lunchable, a fruit shoot, a suasage roll and and iced finger grin

Nah - just kidding. He's still in playschool so I make his packed lunch the night before after he goes to bed (about 7:30).
He usually gets a ham or chicken sandwich (cut into fun shapes with cookie cutters), cherry tomatoes, chunk of cheese, cucumber, diluted juice and a tub of strawberries or grapes and a mini apple

stealthsquiggle Thu 14-Aug-08 14:12:32

Clary - when we have drop scones, etc it is normally for breakfast - I just make more batter than I think the DC and I can possibly eat (DH doesn't like 'stuff like that' hmm) and they get cooked and frozen immediately before anyone can find room for 'one more'.

Muffins are baked specifically to freeze and no-one is allowed near them (including DH when I make cheese and bacon ones!)

stealthsquiggle Thu 14-Aug-08 14:13:14

Iklboo your first version sounds expensive grin

Iklboo Thu 14-Aug-08 14:15:51

Nah - we've taught him to shoplift wink


I will admit though that I am secretly addicted to ham n cheese dairylea lunchables when I am tiddly and get the mid-drinks munchies blush so we occasionally have them hidden in the fridge for me

citronella Thu 14-Aug-08 14:21:14

Good idea re cookie cutters Iklboo! Might have to try that.

Iklboo Thu 14-Aug-08 14:22:40

Morrisons do a pack of about 12 for 99p - stars, circles, teddies etc. Makes bite size butties that DS really enjoys

bran Thu 14-Aug-08 14:29:18

I only do 1 lunch box, respect to those who do 5 (feels a bit faint at the thought of 5 children, let alone 5 lunchboxes). We don't really eat sliced bread except for ds's lunchs so I buy a loaf and freeze the bread in bags of 4 slices. Then I make up his sandwich at night after he's gone to bed using the frozen bread. I don't know what it's like the next day but he always eats it and I haven't had any complaints.

He has a ham or chicken sandwich, a baby bel, a yoghurt or fromage frais, a carton of juice or bottle of juice with water, a mini pack of biscuits (eg organix or M&S) or a couple of ordinary sized ones, carrot or cucumber sticks (if I can be bothered chopping them) and/or some fruit, a humzinger or some raisins.

Sidge Thu 14-Aug-08 14:45:27

I do packed lunches, school dinners are so expensive! I can feed all 5 of us lunch for the week with what school dinners would cost for 1 child.

She gets pretty much the same thing every day - sometimes having a non-adventurous eater is a bonus!

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