Lunch Time at School

Lunch Time at School

by Martha Scully

As we all know, it’s almost back to school time. This is an exciting time for most parents, as the kids will be back to routine, before long, you may run into a rut for lunches. Here are some pointers that we feel might help you make it through the year.

  • At the start of the year, get a good quality insulated lunch box for each child. It should have space for freezer packs, utensils, and lots of food. Also pick up a good thermos for hot lunches; ensure that it will keep things warm for several hours, and that it’s easy to open, close, and handle for your child’s small hands.
  • Label, Label, Label! Personally, I use Mabel’s Labels this year, who’s labels are dishwasher safe, very durable, and fun for kids. Go to to check out the customizable labels they have – The Ultimate Back to School Combo are only available until September 25th, but they have many others to choose from!
  • Remember, once your child sits down to eat, he/she will only have about 20 minutes to eat. Make sure that the lunch is easy to eat and easily opened with as little peeling as possible.
  • Check with the classroom teacher to see what allergies are in the room before you buy foods in bulk. Some schools will not allow any peanut butter, some will allow it if there’s not a child in the class with an allergy, and others will now allow anything that has traces of peanuts, like Cheerio’s.
  • Keep in mind how your child usually eats. If they’re a small eater, give lots of little snacks with more choices, rather than a few large items.
  • Each child is different. Some will love to have the same thing every day – pack it as long as it’s nutritious and you know your child will continue to eat it. Kids don’t like a lot of change in their food – did you know? It takes 10 to 12 introductions of a new food before a child is even willing to try it!
  • Look closely as the popular pre-packaged lunches that are offered. They may appeal to your children, but are they healthy?
  • Provide a variety of textures for your child to choose from. Kids enjoy something crunch and sweet or savoury – try dried fruit, nuts, pretzels, and baked crackers

With these in mind, here are some ideas for lunches that include something other than a sandwich:

  • Tuna or chicken salad with pita chips to dip
  • Hummus with carrots or celery
  • Cold fried chicken with potato salad
  • Fruits with yogurt dipping sauce
  • Cooked hot dog in a thermos, with a bun in a baggie
  • Peeled hard-boiled eggs
  • Salad with diced chicken breast or chef’s salad
  • Fruit salad
  • String cheese
  • Carrot slices with cottage cheese dip
  • Pepperoni and mozzarella cheese cubes
  • Tortilla chips and salsa
  • Trail mix (get your kids in on the fun and make it yourself with your favourite ingredients)
  • Sliced cheese, salami, and cucumber slices
  • Thinly sliced ham rolled around cream cheese

With a thermos, it really opens up lunch ideas – any kind of pasta or soup can be sent in one.

We hope you enjoy these ideas. Please feel free to comment and leave your ideas for all to see!

Looking for more posts about kids? Check them out here!

About the Author
Martha Scully
Martha is the founder of Martha has been featured as a Child Care Expert in hundreds of publications across Canada including The Globe and Mail, CBC, Today's Parent and The National Post, She lives in British Columbia with her husband and two daughters.