Lots of readers noted in the survey last year, that they would like ideas for school lunches. Others asked to see what I put in my kids lunch boxes! So each month I will post examples of what the kids lunch boxes will look like for that month.

Lunch Box Ideas – February Set 1

In my early days as a school mum, I used to endeavour to make everyday’s lunchbox very different. Now not so. They will have the same treat for most of the week until it runs out and I have to bake another one. On alternate days I will change the type of crackers the kids have, mix up the main lunch item (sandwich etc) and alternate the fruits, but it is pretty much only a slight variation on these lunch box sets.

The first one looks something like this:
Lunch Box Ideas  - Sandwich

Basic sandwich.

Lunch Box Ideas  - Apple

Apple.

Lunch Box Ideas  - Red Capsicum

Cut up red capsicum.

Lunch Box Ideas  - Vita Weat 9 grains crackers

Vita Weat 9 grains crackers.

Lunch Box Ideas  - Easy Chocolate Slice

Easy Chocolate Slice.

Lunch Box Ideas  - Set 1
And this is what it looks like altogether. Each child has five items and they are not necessarily exactly the same. For example the preppy doesn’t like eating capsicum, but loves cucumber so I will make sure he has that instead.

Lunch Box Ideas – February Set 2

Lunch Box Ideas - Rice Cakes
Rice cakes with butter and vegemite.

Lunch Box Ideas - Watermelon
Cut up watermelon.

Lunch Box Ideas - Carrot
Whole carrot.

Lunch Box Ideas - Cookie
Cookie (Cooke Cutter Recipe here.)

Lunch Box Ideas - Popcorn
Air popped pop corn.

Lunch Box Ideas - Popcorn maker
For those of you who have asked about it, this is the pop corn maker we have.

Lunch Box Ideas - February Set 2
The complete second lunch box set.

I do want to try and be a little more adventurous with the lunch boxes this year, so by posting them each month I hope it will keep me accountable.

For more inspiration the tables below list what fruit and veg are in season for February, that you might like to try in the lunchbox:

Seasonal Fruit for February:Seasonal Vegetable for February:
appleavocado
bananabeans - borlotti, butter, green, snake,
berries - blackberry, blueberry, boysenberry,
loganberry, raspberry, strawberry
capsicum
cucumbercelery
grapes - cardinal, muscat, sultana,
waltham cross
peas - green, snow, sugar snap,
kiwifruitsweetcorn
mangotomato
melons - honeydew, rockmelon, watermelon,zucchini
nectarine
orange - valencia
passionfruit
peach
pears - howell, red sensation, williams
plums

I have written more on my lunch box process if you are after more tips. And you can see more lunch box ideas here.

Do you have a process for school lunch boxes?

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37 comments...read them below or add one

  • Yvette @ DTlilsquirts February 12, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    What fantastic ideas! I love the cookie recipe!!! :)

    We airpop our popcorn at home too – great to store in a bag as a snack in the car!

    • PlanningQueen February 12, 2012 at 2:24 pm

      I love our popcorn maker – makes such a quick, healthy and inexpensive snack.

  • Laney - Crash Test Mummy February 12, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    Can I be your kid? On a more serious note, I like your snack containers. Are they stainless steel? I really dislike putting food in plastic.

  • Maxabella February 12, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Yep, that pretty much looks like our boxes. x

  • Stefanie February 12, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    I always ensure my kids have some form of protein in their lunch. Cheese, yogurt, ham, hummus, peanut butter if allowed etc.

    • PlanningQueen February 12, 2012 at 2:46 pm

      I need to add working some more protein into mine – they do have ham sometimes and left over meat from roasts. They just won’t eat cheese in their boxes, peanut butter isn’t allowed and they go through phases with yogurt – right now we are in a not really phase!

  • Lynda February 12, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    My son loves boiled eggs. I boil 5 at the beginning of the week and peel one every morning.

    • PlanningQueen February 12, 2012 at 3:18 pm

      Great idea Lynda. will give that a try tonight!

  • Katie Rainbird February 12, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Hi PQ,

    As a nutritionist and mum I applaud you for baking your own treats, popping your own corn and including fresh F&V as part of your kid’s lunch boxes! … There does seem to be a protein deficit in these lunch boxes however.

    A portion of protein is basically equivalent to the size of the palm of your hand, so for kids this is a sanga w’ 1 mashed egg, small piece of poached or grilled chix, 1/2 tin of tuna. For recess a generous dollop of hummus and a piece of fetta w’ the veg stix.
    And a tablespoon of mixed seeds in with a few pieces of dried fruit.

    Easy-peasy and fills the protein requirements in an equal animal:plant ratio! :)

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  • Kathy February 12, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    V good thinking :-)

    Mine get probably pretty unbalanced lunchboxes a lot of the time, I’m afraid. Depends on the mood of child and parent. I totally do the “same treat all week” thing too!

    Last week their lunchboxes were:
    1 x thumb print cookie OR banana muffin
    1 x piece of fruit (apple, banana or cut up strawberries)
    1 x yoghurt
    1 x wedge of cheese with crackers
    1 x main (2 days they had bread rolls with ham or salmon; 2 days they had sandwiches with jam, honey or vegemite; 1 day they had sushi rolls with salmon & avocado)

    The reason I say “unbalanced” is that neither will eat raw veg and the 6 year old has taken a scunner to bread, so while I *packed* her sandwiches she didn’t eat them (and opened the rolls, picked out the ham or salmon, ate that, and left the bread). Sigh.

    • PlanningQueen February 12, 2012 at 9:48 pm

      It is always a work in progress isn’t it! They can all of sudden not eat stuff that they have loved for years.

  • Cath February 12, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    My daughter has started prep this year so I have just finished my very first week of school lunches.

    I’m really stuck for sandwich fillings – so far it’s just been vegemite every day! She doesn’t like peanut butter, I don’t buy jam and I don’t like the long term health concerns associated with processed meat. So it doesn’t leave many options!

    • PlanningQueen February 12, 2012 at 9:53 pm

      Kathy below left some ideas.

      A number of mums have suggested egg, left over meats can be an option as well.

      Growing up as a kid I pretty much had vegemite every single day – my mum would make other options for my sisters, but I was never interested in it.

  • Tess February 12, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    I struggle with finding appropriate (and acceptable) protein foods too. My kids aren’t into sandwiches either, so that puts a tricky caveat into operation too. I’m hoping when they get to full time schooling they will actually ask for sandwiches because that’s what their pals are having. (:

    Baby/toddler food cooking books have been handy because the food is often finger food style which is appropriate for lunchboxes. Also low on additives, which I like.

    I’ve also found this site useful for non-sandwich lunch ideas(including the protein component):

    justbento.com

    Some of the recipes are too involved for me to bother, but lots are freezer friendly or prepare ahead style. I’ve used some for dinner too!

  • Kathy February 12, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Cass, does your daughter eat cheese? What about tinned salmon or tuna? Those are good sandwich fillers if the kid/s will eat them.

    • PlanningQueen February 12, 2012 at 9:53 pm

      Thanks for the suggestions Kathy!

  • Caz February 12, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    Excellent. I’ve been searching for more lunch box ideas of late. I have a popcorn maker – but sometimes just pop it in a paper bag in the microwave b/c it’s quick and easy. I think my kids must eat more than yours as they need a little more to keep them going all day. Yoghurt, cheese and chopped meats usually do the trick.

    • PlanningQueen February 12, 2012 at 9:55 pm

      We used to do more, but too much was coming back uneaten. We had a chat about it and they said I was giving them too much. I am going to add more protein though to make sure they do have enough to get them through the day.

  • Mummy Mania February 13, 2012 at 6:42 am

    I love your site and make lots of your recipes. Just wodnering though – I bake every week for the girls but am beginning to worry about the amount of sugar they are eating…. what are your thoughts?

    • PlanningQueen February 14, 2012 at 12:16 am

      Firstly I do need to state that I am not a nutritionist, so this is simply my opinion on my kids only!

      I am conscious of how much sugar my kids eat, but am very comfortable to give them a home baked treat each day at school. I know there is a big push at the moment with the “quit sugar” thing, but this is not something that I follow – moderation is more what I aim for. I do respect that each parent takes an approach to food that they feel is right for their family, so many will be different to mine.

      With what my kids eat through out the day, I am happy that they are having a balanced diet. We have dessert only twice a week and they are active kids, so do not see sugar as a problem with what I am serving up to them.

      Nic

      • Mummy Mania February 14, 2012 at 9:26 pm

        Cheers… It’s so hard trying toI get it all right. I make a conscious effort every week to make sure they have chicken, meat, fish, and vegetarian meals, and then every day making sure they have a wide variety of fruit adn veg. But I love to bake, and wonder if they eat too much sweet stuff…. but i suppose it’s all about balance. BTW – my girls love your chicken balls in their lunchbox too!

  • Sinead February 13, 2012 at 11:49 am

    The best lunchbox protein option we use is cold meatballs using your Chicken Balls recipe!

    • PlanningQueen February 13, 2012 at 10:32 pm

      Why didn’t I think of that!

  • susan February 13, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    I freeze my sandwiches the night before, than my children pack their own lunch boxes in the morning. My sandwiches are always meat and cheese so protein is covered, and then something sweet, fruit and dry crackers. I have found I don’t have food coming home as the responsbility is on the individual to pack the lunch box , I have a 11,8 and five year old.

    • PlanningQueen February 13, 2012 at 10:32 pm

      That is fantastic that your kids are doing it for themselves Susan.

  • Christie-Childhood 101 February 13, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    I have just started popping corn in the microwave. I just pop about a small portion of kernels into a brown paper bag, fold over the top and microwave it for about 1 1/2 minutes (play around with quantities and timing to suit your child and microwave). So much cheaper and healthier than the shop bought microwave popcorn and no need for another kitchen device :)

    • PlanningQueen February 13, 2012 at 10:35 pm

      For smaller amounts I could see how that would work, but with our popcorn maker, I can make enough for the 5 kids for two days of lunch boxes in that time, it is just more time efficient for me. And the kids love watching the kernels pop and spill over into the bowl :) .

  • Melitsa February 14, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    Love looking in lunch boxes. Now we have a menu plan up at home which includes a lunch section. When I’m doing it the boys often give an input. We have sets of things to choose from like you. I rotate the bread type, fruit type, filling type, treat and other option. We it up with leftovers and food specially for lunch like pasties or cold homemade pizza. We’re beginning to get our groove.

    We’re a big nut family and no nut schools have really changed lunch. (Although I completely understand)

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  • Shannon March 10, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Have you checked out weelicious? Sorry if this is duPlucate or you have mentioned before. She has loads of fabulous lunch ideas too!

    • PlanningQueen March 10, 2012 at 4:02 pm

      I hadn’t visited that blog before Shannon, so thanks for the suggestion. It has great ideas and I have now subscribed to it!