We held our first ever Twitter Party on 10th January 2013 on the subject of kids lunch box ideas with the hashtag #lunchboxparty. Here are some of the great tips for kids lunch box ideas that were contributed:
Deciding on lunch
@jenlucy: listen to your kids. If they don’t like it, don’t give to them. Stop food waste!
@wholesomeIE: Great advice from @BumblesofRice there. Key is not to give them too much choice!
@lhales: the kids choose what goes in choosing from options I set
@wholesomeIE: I think you need to look at it being sustenance and not have fights about forcing things that a child won’t eat anyway.
@mykidstime: school of thought that says involve them in the making of the lunches
@wholesomeIE: I think that’s easier when they’re older. For smallies it’s not as easy. Say from age 8 up….
@wholesomeIE: I give the 4yo the option of a wrap/crackers/bread/pitta & then 2 fillings. Always include fruit that he likes.
@BumblesofRice: it depends on what the child will eat. My two get different boxes- as much fruit/veg as I can make them eat
@wholesomeIE: Try to find out what their classmates are eating. Nothing like kids eating together to encourage new flavours.
@cailindana: always looking for new ideas for lunches. I try to give a portion of protein, dairy & fruit, with odd treat
@wholesomeIE: Remember the most important meals are the ones the kids eat with you so if the child doesn’t eat lunch it’s not a disaster.
@mykidstime it’s more important that they eat at lunch can always do variety at dinner
@wholesomeIE: If your child insists on eating the same thing everyday for lunch in school then don’t fret. You can vary their diet at home.
@subkiteu: my top tip is chop chop chop chn eat more fruit veg salami etc at lunch time this way than in a sandwich!
@PaulaNLuke: I put chopped veg, grapes, apples in a small plastic cup and label it ‘shake me salad’ after my kids loved it
@cailindana: recently discovered son loves guacamole, so I pop some in little tub with plain tortillas for dipping
@jcdal: egg fried rice salad with chopped veggies and chicken or smoked salmon & cream cheese on BB/wraps swirls
@UnaMacSha: no. 3 not allowed nuts in Anything. Other 2 get Nutella on Fri :-(. Find wraps, crackers & roll win
@BumblesofRice: lunches- roll/wrap/bagel/sambo with mix of fillings, 2 pieces fruit and lunchbox treat like ricecake, muffin, cookie
@lhales: meatloaf using ground beef or Turkey and use lots of mixed veg, handy in wraps pitta or on its own
@7MJB: Some children bring pasta and children in Japan eat little balls of rice.
On the subject of equipment
@mykidstime: 5 lunchboxes recommended by parents
@FingalFoodie: Bento boxes (found on eBay) are fantastic for keeping foods separate. & adding interest.
@mykidstime: Used Sistema lunch boxes this year and last, can go in dishwasher and has separate sections for different bits
@7MJB: Green schools are cutting back on plastic & prefer chn to have a paper bag rather than plastic bag.
@mykidstime: anything washable really a bonus, those “fabric” style lunchbox/bags just end up stinky
@cailindana: another here recommending the sistema boxes. Also the @tupperware beakers are fab, no leaks!!!
@mykidstime: with compartment lunchboxes or small tubs don’t need plastic bags. Can also get paper lunch bags at superm’kt
@mykidstime: look out for or keep once grown the small toddler forks/spoons for future lunchboxes
Small break snack ideas
@fionatphelan: i pack a snack pot of grapes/berries and a snack pot of sesame sticks/cashew nuts.kids love opening them up
@mykidstime: mini rice cakes work well or big one buttered halved put together as a crescent to fit in the box and not smear the butter ;)
@fionatphelan: homemade flapjacks are great
@BumblesofRice: we love flapjacks and fruit muffins – apple flapjacks gorgeous And ones with seeds on too
@cailindana: carrot sticks with hummus dip is big hit in my sons lunchbox
@BumblesofRice: “secret surprise lunch”, creamcheese and pesto “dip” with carrot/cucumber sticks, fruit muffins, flapjacks
@BumblesofRice: Here’s our “secret surprise lunch” that’s a school salad – made night before, keep fridge
@7MJB: Apples, bananas, flapjacks, small sandwich/roll are handy for small break. Chn in older classes often bring this to yard
Tips & Shortcuts
@BumblesofRice: I always keep a spare pack of wraps in press or frozen rolls/mini bagels in freezer in case I run out of fresh
@country_ramblin: I freeze small yogurts so they are cold when lunch time comes round & they keep the whole lunch cool.
@BumblesofRice: On Sunday night I try to arrange fruit for the week, individually wrap ricecakes etc to cut down on weeknight lunch jobs
@cailindana: important to keep certain items cool in lunchbox, meat,chicken,egg mayo. Reusable ice packs are handy
@wholesomeIE: Be careful not to create loads of work for yourself when packing.
@wholesomeIE: use small coolbag and wrap each item in Cling or small tubs
@7MJB: Make sure your child has enough food. Some infants want to eat everything at small break!
@lhales: have frozen water or juice, need to pop it into a plastic bag the condensation can make things a bit wet
@TheDublinDiary: “Jamie’s Dinners” recommends freezing juice box and reckons it will defrost before lunch, keep the rest cool too
Fruit & Veg
@BumblesofRice: usually a small tub with mix of peppers and corn.
@mykidstime: we have always squeezed a little lemon juice on our apple slices
@BumblesofRice: cherry tomatoes, peppers, corn and cucumber are favourites in our house
@mykidstime: Have tried a few frozen peas before as they will defrost and help keep lunchbox cold…
@Coeliacpages: cucumber and tomato salad.Sugar snap peas and orange for 6 year old, great man eats veg before meat! great chat!
@mykidstime Lunchbox tip: include veggies as well as fruit portions. Try new ones you’ve never thought of like strips of swede/turnip
Keeping it healthy
@celaV: @mykidstime I thought I was clever, buying custard pots to sneak eggs into Small1’s diet. Ready-custard: no eggs #fail
@jcdal: the #fooddudes programme was a huge success should be mandatory and funded
@Coeliacpages: Kids encouraged to drink water in class in our school. #dentalhealth. Fooddude programme run last year was fantastic.
@7MJB: It’s very important to give your child a bottle of water. Children get v thirsty working and after yard.
@BumblesofRice: healthy lunch policies? Our playschool has no junk/nuts/crisps/cake/buns/fizzy except once a term
@Coeliacpages: Our kids school has healthy eating policy. My kids love raw veg, cheese, water bottles. Food dudes! Milk with snack at home.
@mykidstime: here’s our Mykidstime Pinterest Board on Lunchbox Ideas
@wholesomeIE: Great idea! How to pack an apple in a lunchbox & stop it going brown!
@gimmetherecipe: I prep the ingredients and kids assemble their own lunches, links to useful tables at end of this post
@mykidstime: Free lunchbox ideas e-book available to download
@bordbia: Healthy lunch box & snack ideas
@Caccabus: this is a useful place for ideas MuffinTinMeals
@cailindana: @annabelkarmel has some great recipes and ideas on her site for lunches.
You might also like: 21 Top Tips for Making Back to School Night Super Easy
Have you got other tips for lunchboxes? Share them with us in the comments below