Back to School Lunches

Back to School Lunches

Back to school lunches… the bane of my existance.

I spent months leading up to my son’s first day of kindergarten building my Back to School Lunches board on Pinterest. I let him pick out his lunch box and I bought adorable little vegetable/fruit cutters to make fun little shapes and cookie cutters to make adorable sandwiches. I even reorganzied my pantry with labled bins:

  • Breakfast
  • Cookies and Cakes
  • Pouches
  • Fruit Snacks
  • Crackers

I was ready. I had a system.


I’d grab his lunch box and grab something out of each bin before grabbing the ice pack from the freezer his drink from the fridge and his sandwhich from the counter. Easy Peasy!

But just as I sit down to start drafting my ‘Mother of the Year’ acceptance speech, one (or all of my kids) organize an uprising and suddenly all the painstaking work and organizing goes down the shitter.

Turns out my darling little boy also doesn’t like pre-packaged ranch dressing cups (even though it’s the same brand we buy and use regularly in the bottle form). He hates cheese. He doesn’t want PB&J anymore (even in the fun shapes I was making).  He will only eat pepperoni sandwhiches (on specific buns I might add). He prefers Cool Ranch Doritios and no longer wants fruit snacks.

I know there are better… healthier things I could/should be packing but if he is just going to throw the food away or bring it back home then what is the point? I try to pack a fruit, a vegetable, main course, snack/side, desert and a drink. He’ll eat apple slices, bananas, and apple sauce or strawberry yogurt. He’s over the baby carrots and ranch dip and he really doesn’t want celery and peanut butter anymore. I may need to increase the vegetables at dinner because I’m at a loss on how to get vegetables (that he will eat) into his packed lunch.

My efforts weren’t completely wasted though. The fruit snack bin has become my 3 year olds favorite bin (I may need to move this bin up to a higher shelf).  My one year old is pretty gosh darn excited about the pouch bin and regularly brings me apple sauce and yogurt pouches (I may also need to move this bin up to a higher shelf). I wish I would have done this over the summer. The kids have easy access to snacks (No more nagging! When they want a snack, they ask and then get it themselves). I can also clearly see what we have and what needs replaced.

The breakfast bin holds things like cereal bars, granola bars, mini muffins and oatmeal packets just in case the daily planned breakfast doesn’t appeal to him. There is always something quick and easy just to make sure he has something in his little belly before he climbs on the bus. I also always keep fruit, cold cereal and yogurt on hand as well.  But he’s the picky one and he’ll only eat apple slices or bananas and Lord forbid if you give him yogurt that is anything but strawberry… Breakfast is starting to become a challenge with him as well despite the options available. I’m starting to come to the realization that his sole mission in life it to torture me.


I plan to take my precious picky kindergartner grocery shopping with me this weekend and let him “help” me shop. I also bought a new luch box that fits a bento box to attempt a little more variety. I’ll pull up my Pinterst board and let him don his Chef’s hat and “create” some of the fun “recipes” I’ve found and maybe that will help him expand his lunch horizons. I want him to be excited to try new things and balance out his diet by giving him better choices and making him feel like he has control over what he gets for lunch. But I guess if this plan doesn’t work, we’ll just stick with the pepperoni sandwhiches and Cool Ranch Doritos (for now). Wish me luck!

Stay tuned…

What are your “go-to” lunches? What do your kids like? What do they hate? Am I alone in the struggle?

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