Tips on packing lunches your kids will eat!


Examples of simple, healthy lunches

We canvassed the 2013/2014 community of parents at Boat to share their tips on sending your child off to daycare with a healthy lunch they will eat and enjoy.

  • My son loves his Pottery Barn lunchbox that has five different little compartments in it. He enjoys finding what’s in each compartment. It’s usually a mix of peanut butter & banana sandwich, cream cheese on bread or leftover quesadilla, and some variety of grapes, apple slices, pineapple, Babybel cheese, orange slices, carrots, broccoli, snap peas and apple sauce
  • I make either a brown rice dish with kale, zucchini and fresh tomato (with garlic and onion for extra taste), a veggie pasta, or lasagna, plus a fruit.
  • My kids love the occasional surprise pickle in their lunch!
  • Hummus and carrots work as a sandwich substitute as long as there are enough other things in the mix.
  • Leftover pizza
  • I give my son a thermos with warm food (often dinner leftovers) such as pasta with cheese and ham, sausages and mash potatoes, eggs, tomatoes and avocados, quiche, gratin of vegetables, and for dessert he has a Vache Qui Rie cheese or Babybel cheese and a banana, kiwi, orange or mix of berries
  • We try to switch it up between about 5 meals, so my son takes a hot lunch in a thermos about once a week, cheese and crackers, sandwich, and his most favorite is a whole-wheat tortilla wrapped up with cream cheese and chopped strawberries.  He also loves taking yogurt tubes – I freeze them and put them in the lunch box frozen and they are thawed by noon but keep the lunch cool until then.
  • I was inspired by Starbuck’s protein boxes. I bought a bento box from Daiso and most days I put an assortment of protein, crackers and fruit into the compartments. My daughter seems to love it and I don’t have to think much about it. Another tip I figured out was soaking her apple slices in a mixture of lemon and water in the morning so they don’t brown.
  • I tend to give 4 to 5 small containers of things, including a veggie, some fruit, some dairy or other protein, and some kind of carb (slice of bread, some cold pasta, crackers, rice).  My daughter tends to prefer basic food like this rather than sandwiches or things mixed together, but she does like soup once in a while in a thermos.  I use those small round containers that hold 3/4 to 1 cup of something and I may not fill them to the top, unless the food is bulky. She hates any kind of bean and most dips, so we don’t bother with those.
  • A few things that are hits: cold meat slices rolled up with peas inside, cheese strings, yogurt tubes or yogurt drinks, cold tortellini with no sauce so she can eat with her fingers, hot dogs (no bun, just the meat), cold pizza, cherry tomatoes, mini carrots, slices of cucumber
  • Fruit always packs well and gets eaten
  • To add a bit of variety I sometimes include a boiled egg (peeled) instead of a sandwich
  • My daughter never liked hot food in a thermos
  • Cherry tomatoes and mini cucumbers pack well
  • Individually packaged yogurts provide an easy protein
  • Plain nuts (cashews, almonds) and raisins
  • A peanut-butter and jam sandwich has worked for us many a day!
  • My son loves wearing and making paper crowns so I bought a crown cookie cutter and for a treat I make a cheese pizza on whole-wheat naan bread and then use the cookie cutter to make a “crown-shaped” pizza
  • I buy large containers of yogurt at the store and scoop out small portions in reusable containers (they have great small containers in various sizes at Gourmet Warehouse on Clark and Hastings)
  • My son loves the Gimme brand of organic roasted seaweed snacks and they’re perfect lunch-sized portions (can buy at Drive Organics on Commercial Drive)
  • The Veggie-Go’s organic Mountain Berry Spinach fruit leather is an awesome way to sneak in spinach to my son’s lunch (can buy at Drive Organics on Commercial Drive)
  • I make blueberry or carrot/raisin muffins and I add tons of flax to make them super high in protein
  • I find my son doesn’t eat his lunch if it’s too similar to the day before; he seems to need lots of variety…unfortunately this means dinner leftovers don’t go over well either!
  • If I cut up a bagel with cream cheese into smaller chunks, my son eats it but if I leave it as two halves of the bagel, less of it gets eaten
  • My son loves to pop the cooked edamame beans out of their shells, and they’re full of protein