Saturday, August 30, 2008

Reasonably Healthy Lunch Ideas

My middle daughter, Julia, was 13 last year. She decided that she would NOT carry a lunch box to her co-op. Now since she only went one (full) day a week, I didn't make too much of it. I'd send her some (healthy) peanut butter spread on crackers and a water bottle. Just making sure she had a big breakfast and supper on that day.

This year she is going 3 days a week. All day long. Something had to change. I talked with other mothers and we brainstormed a few things. All are more than agreeable to my middle (and now youngest as well) daughter.

First, there is no need for a lunch box. I pack a small cooler for them both together and put it in the co-op kitchen. Whenever they get hungry between classes, they can just go grab what they want from their personal "refridgerator". And they don't have to lug anything around.

And here is some of the ideas we've come up with to fill it. Bear in mind that the girls only have 15 minutes between each class, so the snacks have to be pretty small.

*Half sandwich (we call these "bendovers" cause you "bend" the bread "over")
(Preferably some type of minimally processed meat on a whole grain bread.)

*Big huge pickle (cut into spears cause the girls have braces now...I buy them in those huge glass jars that they have at Sams)

*Box of raisins

*String cheese

*Whole grain crackers (with or without non hydrogenated peanut butter)

*Fiber One Bars

*Non-sweetened applesauce cups

*Non-sweetened fruit cups



*Organic chocolate milk

*Bottled Water

~~~When the weather turns cooler I plan to put a thermos of something warm as well. Homemade soup or chili. Or even just some hot chocolate.

They do have a use of a microwave at the co-op but there time is so limited that I don't think they'd have time to use it. Especially if there were someone ahead of them. So that's why I've not included things that need to be warmed or heated.

I'd love to hear others ideas!


Carrie J said...

At our co-op the mothers cooked a meal for the kids. We would plan ahead and everyone was assigned an ingredient. We usually went with a soup or stew in the winter. Baked potatoes and fixings were a popular choice. The kids just came in when they were ready to eat.
Since it sounds like you guys are on a really strict schedule I don't think that would work. I am on my new computer and don't have access to my links. I have a few that I can send to you later.

Try doing a search on Bento boxes. There are some good ideas out there for filling them.
Here is a history of Bento and here are a few links: Not exactly Bento
Lunch in a Box, The Vegan Lunchbox, finally here is a link to a links page where you will find lots of inspiration. Even if you don't use the Bento idea there is lots of inspiration for your own lunches. Hope this helps.

My name is Michelle. said...

Carrie, you are *so* sweet! Thank you.

Yeah, the co-op we're involved in now is HUGE. And set up much like a private school, with various classes meeting 4 days a week. You "choose" what your child needs. But there are literally hundreds of people involved.

Some of the (larger) families that have to travel to be there actually bring a crockpot and plug it in to feed their kids all day.

Luckily, we live close. :)

And I do love Bento boxes. I've looked at them forever. It may just be time to invest. I'll go back and check it out!

Gwendolyn said...

I just stumbled upon your blog, and I don't have any other ideas...but I'm taking some of yours! LOL. Two of my children are in school this year, so making lunches for them to eat fast is new to me. :o)

Hi. My name is Alanna. said...

Michelle, I don't know what else your girls like (or eat with braces) but here are a few other things that I send my kids/me as well:

carrot and celery sticks (with or without PB and raisins)

cut veggies - tomatoes, broccoli, cucumbers, cauliflower, etc.

tuna salad or chicken salad


boiled eggs

how bout a lil baggie of your homemade granola? yum!

tacos (small size) - when made with lunch meat and veggies, it's really a "wrap" but good - or made with bananas, PB, and honey as dessert - or filled with stuff like that Spanish Rice Bake I sent you or other taco items (even breakfast food), just wrap in foil, heat up, and pop in a thermos to stay warm.


leftover beans turned into dip and spread on bread, tortillas, or dipped with veggies or tortilla chips



oranges (or mini ones called "clementines" which we LOVE)


apples (w or w/o PB as dip)

granola on yogurt (more filling?)

potato salad with ham and peas mixed in

baked chicken legs

My name is Michelle. said...

Gwendolyn, you're welcome to them! And thank you. :)

Alanna, as usual, you come through! You have great ideas! Thank you for sharing. :)

Sharon said...

Just wanted to say thank you for stopping by and your sweet comment. I've got lots to catch up on.

God's Dancing Child said...

You haven't been around here for a bit, but if you happen to get this within the next couple of weeks, email me. :)
I have some stuff for you and would like to mail it to you.

Andrea said...

Hello Michelle, I wanted to you know that I was thinking about you and wishing you a Happy Thaksgiving. I hope you can blog again soon, I miss you. :) You can also contact me at

God's Dancing Child said...

Miss you lady!

I am tagging you with an award.

Sharon said...

Hope you all are okay!

God's Dancing Child said...

I have come back here several times, and once it even said the blog was gone!
I hope you are doing well. I am praying for you Michelle!