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The School Lunch (aka “Kill me now”)

I know some moms who literally rejoice at the start of summer vacation solely because it releases them from the morning grind of the school lunch. And who can blame them? The school lunch really is a tedious task.

And it’s fraught with pitfalls — pitfalls that are just waiting for me to fall into!  So, with school just around the corner, I thought I’d gather some tips for myself. And hey, I might as well share while I’m at it!

Pitfall #1: What to pack

So, first of all, you have to actually have food to pack. But what? That’s easy, right … just make a sandwich and throw in a couple of those nifty little snacks and do-dads easily found in the grocery store developed precisely as a solution to this daily quandary. Nope, not anymore. Lunch needs to be litterless! Which means, absolutely nothing should be put in the lunch that is packaged. (Okay, yes, litterless lunches ARE good. But sometimes things just get a bit nonsensical. Read this post by Finola to get a feel for what I’m talking about.)

  • Tips for what to pack? Check out: A Peek Inside the Fishbowl’s post “It’s a lunch revolution” includes Andrea’s ideas as well as tond of great ideas in the comments section.

Pitfall #2: What to pack it in

The days of the plain brown paperbag are sooo over. Can you even buy these any more? Now, with so many different (and high-tech!) options out there … how do you pick? Yes, you want to be that perfect mom and not pack your child’s food in chemical-ridden plastic (yes, the ones that we all ate from! haha!), don’t you? So, there’s that to consider. But also, considering all the tupperware-style containers I need to use in a single lunch these days (a la litterless lunch, see Pitfall #1), I also find that some lunch bags are just too small. But you also don’t want your child toting around an enormous box the size of a construction worker’s lunch, either. So finding the right size can sometimes be tricky too. Plus, there’s the whole temperature thing … can it keep the food cold enough or hot enough until lunch time?

  • Tips for what to pack it in? My post “Lunchbox past its expiry date” shares my research on this oh-so-fascinating topic. (And for the record, I ended up buying the L.L. Bean lunchbag are we’re still using it.)

Pitfall #3: Will they eat it

This is the newest pitfall on my list. My grade 3 daughter Stella has always been a great eater, but lately her lunches are coming back un-eaten. When I dug a little deeper into this with her, it seems that sandwiches turn her stomach because they get a bit soggy while waiting to be eaten. But this also applies to boiled eggs (now I leave the shells on), baby carrots (now I cut up the large, full-size carrots), and most fruit (now she eats fruit at breakfast and dinner instead).

  • Tips for the “will they eat it” pitfall? Are you kidding? I don’t have any tips! Share all of yours with me in the comments please!

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post. The school lunch topic is one that is up for discussion on the Kids Matter forum, created by the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO). Feel free to join in the discussion there too!


  1. Well great minds think alike…only yours is faster than mine. But I got a thing brewing in my brain about lunches, as I am heading into that pitfall, er, saga, or, um, you know, lunch-making-situation for the first time with my oldest going into Grade 1.

    I’ve been thinking about this because I just finished a week of soccer camp where he had to lug with him a lunch, two snacks and extra drinks/water. And it had to be litter-free, and in some sort of a cooler and yet not so large that it wont’ fit in the knapsack…also don’t pack two or three small ones because he’ll just lose them…have YOU ever been in a kid camp change room at drop off and then again at pick up and notice the kind of mess 5-9 year olds leave behind?


    And then there’s the whole ‘will he eat it’ thing…I reserved myself to say that “at least he’ll have a good breakfast and dinner, let’s hope he eats his lunch but what can I do about it” kind of thing.

    I’ll post about this myself. Thanks for providing a linky!!

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