School Lunch Without the Stress

by Sarah Henry on January 23, 2012 · 11 comments

in global cuisine,great schools site,kids & food,school food

Images: Courtesy of Great Schools

What parent who packs school lunch for his child couldn’t use a little help?

Indeed, for many a mom and dad, making school lunch is the bane of their back-to-school existence. The thought of getting the offspring out the door on time with a healthy and affordable lunch in tow — that doesn’t just come back home — is enough to send even the most together adult into a tizzy.

It need not be so. In two posts for the site Great Schools this week, I offer up some solutions to the lunch box blues.

The first piece provides seven strategies for school lunch success. J.M. Hirsch, food editor for The Associated Press, who blogs about making lunch for his son at Lunch Box Blues, walks parents through simple steps that can take the stress out of making school lunch.

In the second story, School Lunches From Around the World, find global inspiration and recipe links to help spice up what winds up in your child’s lunch.

Happy Packing.

You might also like:

Lunch Box Picks for People (Big and Small) and the Planet
Beating the Brown Bag Blues
New Guide Aims to Improve School Food
Seven Steps to Starting Your Own School Food Revolution
School Food: Japanese Style

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Alexandra January 26, 2012 at 9:10 am

I know my son agonizes about what to put in his daughter’s lunch box. Will send him these links. Thanks.
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Sarah Henry January 26, 2012 at 9:32 am

Hope it helps, Sandy.


Living Large January 26, 2012 at 3:44 pm

I don’t pack school lunches, but I make my husband’s lunches as he has a condition that requires him to eat healthy foods (he wouldn’t do it if I didn’t do the packing). These would be great for his lunches too!


Sarah Henry January 27, 2012 at 7:11 am

Yes, I’m not a fan of “kid food,” whatever that means. So many of these ideas work well for grown ups too.


Alisa Bowman January 27, 2012 at 6:38 am

I think the hardest part is just basic organization. If I remember to have the right essentials on hand, it’s easy. If I’m packing on a Friday when the fridge is darn near cleared out, not so easy.
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Sarah Henry January 27, 2012 at 7:12 am

Good point, Alisa. Having staples on hand — and enough fresh produce to brighten up the mix — is key to lunch packing success. That said, there’s also something satisfying about rummaging through the fridge and the pantry and making something satisfying out of “nothing.”


MyKidsEatSquid January 28, 2012 at 7:36 pm

I saw the post about world lunchboxes earlier this week–fascinating. I often heat up my kids lunches in the morning then send them in insulated containers so they’re still warm later. Then again, my youngest loves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. She’d have one every day if I’d let her. I figure if I’m making it with whole grain bread and a really good jam, that’s not such a bad meal.


Sarah Henry January 28, 2012 at 7:52 pm

It’s funny, MKES, for every kid who happily devours sandwiches at school there is a child like mine who won’t touch ‘em. He’s a huge leftovers or salad fan (dressing on the side), though I know a lot of kids would turn up their nose at such fare.

Different palates, different preferences. The trick is to find a range of foods that work for your family and ones your kid will eat so that making school lunch is a snap.


Jane Boursaw January 28, 2012 at 7:53 pm

As long as they’re not eating chicken nuggets! (Referring to the girl who collapsed after eating them her whole life.) My kids are teenagers now, so the school lunch thing is pretty much in the past, thank goodness.
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Sarah Henry January 28, 2012 at 7:59 pm

I was just telling a fellow food writer that chicken nugget child story today. Incredible isn’t it? (For those who don’t know: A young woman, late teens or early 20s I think, has only eaten chicken nuggets all her life. Fruit & veg have never passed her lips.)

As my friend noted, sounds like negligence, though mother is quoted in the story as “trying hard” to get her daughter to eat other foods. Will be interesting to see how that story unfolds.


Jeanine Barone January 29, 2012 at 10:32 pm

I particularly like the international lunch options. It not only offers variety beyond the obvious lunchbox choices but many, such as the Asian focused, also offer healthier options to traditional lunchbox fare.


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