100 Kids Healthy Lunch Ideas

Ever feel like after a few weeks into the school year, suddenly your enthusiasm for making lunches wanes?  I start off, full of good intentions and enthusiasm and after a week or two I am back to vegemite sandwiches and a yoghurt.  With two lunches to make this year, and a picky eater, I decided to make a list of ideas for their bento style lunch boxes, to offer variety, inspire me and to hopefully introduce some new items into their food repotoire!

I have written before about how I plan the kids lunches.  Using our lunchbox planner, I I make sure they have a variety of Protein, Calcium, Grains and Fruit and Veg.  I have used this same format to record my ideas in a table.  

Every school has it’s own food requirements and restrictions especially when it comes to nuts, eggs and dairy so check your schools handbook before packing lunch. 

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 I am printing this out, laminating it and attaching it to the inside of my pantry.

You could even use a whiteboard marker to cross of foods they have had that week or to highlight some form each list that you know will be a winner! 

Simply Download and Print [download id=”12″]

Feel free to share the lunchbox love with your friends! 

Delicious Bento Lunch Ideas

 Let it be known, I am the mother of THE PICKIEST EATER.  Little Miss A started out well and as a baby would eat anything that came her way, but somewhere after the age of 18 months we found our selves with a child living off vegemite sandwiches and air.  

I do have hope.  Master O was actually much the same until he started Kindy.  Suddenly with an increase in activity, his appetite increased!  He also went to a Kindergarden with a strict RUBBISH FREE lunchbox policy.  Lunches had to be rubbish free in every sense of the word, no plastic wrap or packaged food and no junk food!  I was even sent a note home, in trouble for sending  in blueberry muffins!   But suddenly he wanted healthy food.  Everyone else was eating it and peer pressure in its finest form kicked in.  I now had requests for sultanas, carrot sticks and sushi! We started making our first Bento Lunches and never looked back.  

Our bento lunches are really just package free food in compartments.  I don’t get fancy and haven’t until now bought special cutters or food picks.  Little Miss A loves looking at pictures of  the fancy shaped lunches (especially the Hello Kitty ones) so I am going to give a few a try this year.

So for some inspiration…….

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From The Yumbox Blog, co founder Maia created this yummy bento lunch.

SUSHI!  This one is especially for master O who not only devours Sushi but cucumber too!  I have never thought to cut it into little sticks before.

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Another great lunch from the Yumbox blog

PASTA.  Both kids love pasta and will eat it in any shape or form.  This opens up a whole heap of grain opportunities.  I am thinking pasta teddies, ravioli and macaroni.

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From Another Lunch. One of the first Bento Blogs I ever read!

Salami.  I always think ham and chicken for Protein but Salami would be a winner for both children.

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From Wendolonia. This is the best BENTO blog! This is where I first read about the Yumbox!

RICE.  When all else fails we cook Little Miss A some rice.  Bento supplies often have rice moulds and I would love to give these a try.

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When the mamabelly family became interested in a household rabbit, the lunches followed the theme of the children’s interests! What a brilliant idea!

Bunnies!!!!  Remember her Bunny Birthday?  Just maybe this will be the way to get her to eat carrots? 

 

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Another bento from Wendolonia. I love that she calls the sliced carrots, carrot coins!

Popcorn!  Actually counted as a grain!  Who doesnt love popcorn!

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From Ladybug Lunches. Fantastic reviews and great lunch ideas for a picky little ladybug!

Those little flower hams would be gobbled up in a second.  Master O loves corn but I have never thought of putting it in a lunch box.

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This is cuteness extreme from Bent On Better Lunches.

Lady bugs, this would be the envy of the Kindy playground!  Way too cute for words and such simple but effective ideas.

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Another Bent On Better Lunches Bento! This is a yumbox tray out of the yumbox!

Take any slice/biscuit/muffin and use a cookie cutter to cut it into a heart and it instantly looks appetising! 

I truly believe by supplying small portions of many different foods, in a creative and fun way, that my picky eater may just try something new!  

All of these Bento’s are created in the Yumbox lunchbox and can be found (along with many more!) on my Pinterest boards.

Planning School Lunches

 

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Bento Lunch from Meet The Dubiens

When Master O started Kindy, we became all kinds of desperate to develop a plan of attack for lunch boxes.  I suddenly felt overwhelmed by the restrictions of what he was allowed to take, what he would actually eat and providing variety. After some trial and error we developed a printable plan to ensure variety, organisation and that he was getting a great combination of proteins, calcium, grains, fruit and veggies.

So just like we plan meals in this house we also plan what is going into the lunch box each day for the week ahead.

I have shared our planning template before but here is another sneak peek.

 

At the bottom of this plan is also a few lines to add your shopping list too.  I print this out in A5 size so I can fit two plans to an A4 sheet of paper.

On the Lunch Box plan this week:

Grains;

Monday, Wednesday, Friday – Nutri Grain (dry in a small container)

Tuesday, Thursday – Meusli Bar

Plus the grains found in wraps and bread rolls 

Proteins;

Monday, Wednesday – Ham (with Salad in a wrap)

Tuesday – Chicken (Chicken Parma bread roll) I buy those little bread rolls from woolworths, they are a little bigger than a dinner roll.  I keep them in the freezer and heat for about 6 minutes before making them.

Thursday – Boiled Egg (as a snack)

Friday – Pork (Home made hot dog with sausage leftover)

Calcium

Monday,  Wednesday – Squeezie yoghurt

Tuesday – Diced Cheese

Thursday and Friday – Tzatziki Dip (With Carrot, Celery and Bread sticks)

Fruit and Vegies

Monday, Wednesday, Friday – Strawberries and Diced Apples

Thursday – Vegie Sticks (as above with dip!)

Tuesday – Cherry tomatoes (with the diced cheese on toothpicks)

The Ham and Salad Wraps also have Lettuce/Carrot /Tomato/Cucumber on them!

Left Overs For Lunch

Where possible I tie this plan in with our Weekly Meal Plan.  For example, Monday night we are having Chicken Parmiagina so the left overs will go on a bread roll the next day.  Wednesday night the menu consists of Lamb Souvlaki, the left over tzatziki is a great as a veggie dipper in the next days lunch box! Thursday night we are having a bbq so a left over sausage becomes Friday’s Hotdog. 

Hidden Heros

Adding a simple salad on to the ham wrap means my reluctant regular salad eater devours carrot and cucumber! By getting creative with the cherry tomatoes and cheese cubes on a toothpick skewer, he is getting antioxidants, calcium and protein!

Want to get those lunches organised? 

 Download the BLANK LUNCHBOX PLANNER and get planning! 

While your there you will find some lunchbox plans already created for you! 

Happy Lunching!

 

 

 

TOP “My Pigeon Pair” Organising Projects – VOTE NOW!

If I could turn back time…..I would have accomplished all these organising projects years ago!  I know which ones have been the most time consuming, the most life changing and the most painful but I want to know what you think!!!  Which one is your favourite?  Which one inspired you the most?  Which one would you love to tackle in your house?

So hit me with it!  Here are the top organising posts…..leave a comment on this blog post or on our Facebook page letting me know which one you love!!

THE SCHOOL FILE IT FOLDER

THE SCHOOL STATION

THE PANTRY

 THE BATHROOM

THE BAG

THE ORGANISATION STATION

 THE KIDS WARDROBE

 THE MEAL PLAN AND SHOPPING LIST

 THE LUNCHBOX PLAN

 

THE CAR STATION

 

Which one is your favourite??  Sharing is caring!!!

Lunchbox Plans

We are only on Week Two of lunches and I am already running out of ideas!  Especially when it comes to calcium!  I would love your suggestions for calcium filled lunch box ideas that are not yoghurt!!!

Here is this weeks plan

You can download it HERE 

So what have you got?  Want to trade lunches?

Lunch Box Love

 Due to popular demand (I have always wanted to write that!) here are the download links for the lunchbox plans!  

The first link is for a blank lunch box plan.  It includes the four columns to help you create a balanced lunch box.  

Weekly Lunch Box Plan – BLANK 

Just CLICK, DOWNLOAD AND PRINT!  

If you wanted to save on printing…..laminate the blank plan and write on it each week with a whiteboard marker!

The second link is for a weekly plan is one that I have filled in.  

Weekly Lunch Box Plan – With MENU

Once again just, Just CLICK (the link above), DOWNLOAD AND PRINT!

These are my tips for planning healthy and easy lunches for school or Kindy.

1. Think about using leftovers in the lunchbox!

2. Think outside the box!  Ham, cheese, fruit and vegetables can all be cut into shapes using cookie cutters or put on food picks to make it more exciting!

3. Less is more!  Kids do not need a lunch box that is overflowing!  You will just be disapointed with what comes back home.  Think realistically about how much they eat at home and pack a similar amount!

 4. Variety is the key!  If you have children who are creatures of habit (like mine) it is hard to change their lunch!  But just add one new thing each week and you might just find their palate increasing!

5. Do not pack foods that require heating, cutting or are overly messy to eat.  It is important that the food is suitable to the age of your child and that they can eat it by themselves!

There are so many great resources out in the blogosphere providing many ideas and inspirational recipes.  I warn you now this Bento Browsing is addictive!

For ideas and Bento supplies – www.lunchboxeswithlove.com/ 

The one blog YOU CAN NOT MISS – http://www.bentolunch.net/

Gorgeous Kids Bento – http://happylittlebento.blogspot.com

For peanut free Bento – http://keeleymcguire.blogspot.com

Ok so now I have a lot of Bento links!- http://lunchinabox.net/

General Lunch box Recipes – www.taste.com.au/recipes/collections/lunch+box+ideas

School Lunches. The Good, The Bad and The Plan!

It feels like I am always on the hunt for something!  This weekend I was swooping on some clever Bento lunch ideas.  Boy did I find a treasure trove of ideas!  Amongst them was a guide as to what consists of a healthy lunch.  

- Insert soap box here! – If you don’t want to read my rant feel free to turn away now!

As a teacher I have directly been involved in the consequences of a child not eating a healthy lunch (or breakfast).  They can become hyperactive on a sugar high only to crash and be irritable, tired and struggling to concentrate.  But it’s not just about sugar.  It’s preservatives, additives, colours, flavours  and all those numbers!  It is easy to fill a lunch box with a handful of prepackaged  snacks and a sandwich with spread.  But easy for who?  Not easy for your child’s body and brain, not easy for their teacher, not easy for the environment and not easy for your finances!

I am not a health freak, my kids have eaten McDonald’s on way too many occasions, have had everything that comes in a chocolate variety and eaten more than their fair share of sweets.  But I draw the line at sending a lunch box full of prepackaged food to school.  

So with that in mind this year I am going to try something new when thinking about school lunches.  

  • Where possible I am going to make Bento style lunch boxes (minus the creativity!)
  • I will plan to have a variety of grains, protein, calcium and fruit and veggies in every lunchbox
  • Once a week a sweet treat
  • Once a week a juice or milk drink
  • I will not use glad wrap!
  • I will buy in bulk and separate in to my own smaller containers instead of buying little packets of things.
  • I will be organised!
With all that in mind I have made a new lunchbox planner to go with my meal plan!
 

Here is a peek  

 In the right hand column I am going to write the date and any other information such as special day at school, events, anything to take into consideration.  The rest of the form is then divided into 4 columns for each type of food group.  This way I am sure that I don’t leave anything out!  This year will be the first time I have 5 days of child lunches to plan and 2 days of adult lunches! It is great being able to see all the lunches for the week!

What do you think?  

Have you planned lunch boxes before?  Would you like a downloadable blank plan to fill out? 

Share the love, leave me a comment! 

Linking up with

The Organised Housewife

Bringing Back The Bento

No glad wrap, nut free, packaging free, no junk food.  The Kindy Lunch box rules were strict and enforced, with this naughty Mummy getting a note sent home in the first week of Kindy for not following the rules (I sent a home made muffin that broke the no sweets rule!)  At first it drove me crazy but I  now admit (very quietly) that a year of preparing healthy, environmentally friendly lunches has set up great habits for Master O and Mummy!  We went a whole year without using a single piece of glad wrap, alfoil or snap lock bag.  A year without a pre packaged biscuit, muesli bar or chip.  A year without peanut butter, jam or Nutella on a sandwich.  How?  It’s all about the Bento.  

Traditionally Bento is a Japanese cuisine that refers to food packed in a box of “Convenience”  More recently in the world of Mummy made lunch boxes Bento is snack sized food arranged in a box cut, pushed and drawn on to make clever little novelty lunches!  Our lunches were no where near as creative these Mummy’s lunches!

The novelty of Bento is a great way of getting fussy eaters to eat healthy food!  So here’s to another year of healthy, environmentally friendly lunches, the Bento way!

Check out these and many more clever ideas on my Pinterest boards.

Linking up with 

Tina Gray {dot} Me

 and

 

Menu Plan Monday – The Lunchbox Edition and GIVEAWAY

 This is the last school term before Master O officially starts “School”!!!  I have a lifetime of preparing lunchboxes ahead of me, so I better start getting used to it.  This week a little lunch box helper arrived in my inbox….

This is exactly what I need.  A Plan.  With instructions.  And lists.  An organisers dream!

So this week I am having a practice run of creating dinner meals, with lunchboxes in mind.

Sunday ~ Dinner ~ Roast Beef with Roast Vegetables and Steamed cheesy Broccoli and Cauliflower.  By buying a larger than normal roast I am hoping to have enough for Sandwiches on Monday and Tuesday.

Monday ~ Dinner ~ Lamb Chops with Potato Salad and Stuffed Mushrooms.

Lunch ~ Roast Beef Bread Roll with Fruit Chutney!

Tuesday ~ Dinner ~ Poached Chicken and Caesar Salad.  For the kids Chicken Fried Rice.

This chicken will be used as a wrap filling for Wednesday and Thursday.  Add some Grated Cheese, lettuce and pesto! 

Lunch ~ Roast Beef Bread Roll with Fruit Chutney!

Wednesday ~ Dinner ~ Ham and Cheese Tortellini with Creamy Sauce.

Lunch ~ Chicken and pesto wraps

Thursday ~ Dinner ~ Sausages with Vegie Mash and Crunchy Parmesan Bread.

Lunch ~ Chicken and pesto wraps
The leftover sausage with be transformed into the Sausage and Couscous salad from the Vegie Smugglers Lunchbox Inspiration e-book.

Friday ~ Dinner ~ Beef Fajitas.

Lunch ~ Sausage and couscous salad.

Baking ~ I am going to make the meusli bars from the Vegie Smugglers Lunchbox Inspiration e-book!  Wish me luck, I am not much of a baker but the cost savings of making your own meusli bars is great motivation!

But wait there’s more….

The very generous Wendy Author of Vegie Smugglers is giving away 5 copies of the Vegie Smugglers Lunchbox Inspiration e-book.   To enter

1.  Like My Pigeon Pair and Vegie Smugglers on Facebook

2. Visit Vegie Smugglers on the web

3.  Leave a comment HERE telling us which Vegie Smugglers recipe you love the best!

Entries open 6am Monday 17th October and Close 6am Wednesday 19th October. 5 winners will be chosen via random.org.  

 THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED!


Spread the love ~ Lunchbox notes

It may not be Valentine’s Day but
you don’t need to wait for a special occasion to start spreading some love!
How about a cute lunchbox note in your child’s lunch box today! 
It may be a simple smiley face on a post it note (thanks Mum!)
or a crazy joke 
or if you really have some time and want to get creative how about these 
GORGEOUS FREE PRINTABLES!

What a lovely way to brighten your child’s day!
OR
Why not surprise some work colleagues with an anonymous cheery note on their lunch!
So fess up do you pop notes into your childs lunch box??