Packing Kids Lunches: that they’ll actually eat

This is Mackenzie’s first year in Elementary school which means I send her with lunch every day. For the first little bit, I was sending pretty much the same thing every day and spending a good time packing.

That is, until I got smart about it. I love to prep all the lunch sides for the week that way all I have to do it make a sandwich or wrap. 

I’ve always been told that it would be a waist of time sending veggies with lunch because they will just end up in the trash. Fortunately for me, my kid hasn’t wised up to throwing it away at school and what she doesn’t eat, comes back home. Even though the veggies would get eaten, I was getting tired of hearing whining about basic carrots and celery.

So, I’ve compiled a list of tips that I have for all you lunch packers out there to help make things just a little bit easier!

  1. Prep it! I precut and bag veggies, fruits, and extra snacks. I can just throw them in the bag and go!
  2. Choose kid friendly foods. Now, this doesn’t mean just PB&J’s and goldfish. Sometimes food becomes more appetizing when it comes in a different shape!
  3. Mix things up. Would you want to eat the same meal every day for a week? Neither do they. Have fun with the foods options and just stick to the different food groups. If I send veggies for snack, she’ll get a sandwich, fruit and nuts for lunch.
  4. Pack food that can be eaten quickly. I’ve noticed that when food does come back home, it’s due to a lack of time to eat it. I cut up the carrots smaller to allow her to eat them quicker or send half a sandwich instead of a whole one.
  5. Have them try new items at home. I recently just added cucumber to M’s lunches and was totally prepared for a rebellion. While I was packing her lunch for the next day, I sliced up some extra cucumber for M to try at home. I talked them up and told her how much she would love them. Guess what?! She did and even asked for more.
  6. This brings me to my next tip which is add a little pizzaz. Instead of just sending cucumber slices, I squeezed lime and topped it with salt (two of her fav things). I’ll add a side of hummus with her carrots and celery or ranch with her snap peas.
  7. Last but not least, skip the ice packs which sometimes don’t return home and instead use a frozen water bottle! Not only will this keep the lunch cold, it will also provide them with extra water through out the day.


Having fun with lunches has also allowed me to explore new healthy snack ideas for home! When we need a quick bite, we aren’t reaching for the chips but instead all the prepackaged snacks! Win, win in my book!

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