Tag Archives: ideas

The Happy Lunch Box

I tried to keep the first couple weeks of lunch packing easy on myself.

We were only 4 days into school and already the kids were complaining about their lunches.

Holden hated the Cheez-its and the skin on the pre-sliced apples.

Elliott wanted me to immediately write out a check for $100 for hot lunch to keep in her account.

In our house, buying hot lunch has always been a treat ~ a few times a month. I’d like to keep it that way especially because they are both in school now.

I sent out an SOS on Facebook for lunch ideas and compiled them to help other mamas that may be in the same lunch boat.

Here are over 80 lunchbox fillers…


 Mini bagel with cream cheese

 Granola bar/CLIF Z-bar/Nutri-grain bar

Nuts ~ peanuts, almonds, walnuts {unless you are a nut free school, of course}

 Frozen Gogurts

Fruit roll

 Mini rice cakes

 String cheese, Babybel or Laughing Cow cheese wedges

 Danimal Smoothie

 Pirate’s Booty

 Dried fruit

 Banana chips

{“Main Dish”}

 English Muffin Pizza

Leftovers from the night before

 Hot dog or corn dog heated and wrapped in foil

 Hummus and pita

 Cheese and crackers

 Salami, turkey or ham and cheese roll up

 Strawberry and cream cheese sandwich

 Cream cheese and cucumber sandwich

 Lettuce wraps with diced chicken

Hard boiled or deviled eggs

 Frozen Taquitos

Grilled cheese

Hot Pocket

{wrap warmed foods in foil to help keep in the heat}

 Tuna Salad on crackers

 Frozen waffles {toasted} with peanut butter

 Tortellini Kebabs {thread tortellini, cherry tomatoes and mozzarella balls on a skewer} from the magazine parenting.com September 2012

Asian Chicken Pita {toss shredded chicken, carrots and crunchy noodles with peanut dressing and spoon into a pita} from parenting.com September 2012

 {Thermos Options}

 Pot stickers


 Chili and cornbread


Pizza rolls

 Bagel Bites

 Piggies in a blanket

 Chicken nuggets

 Fried Rice

 Ramen noodles

 Mini egg frittatas baked in cupcake pans

 Mac n cheese with ham and peas

 Orange chicken or teriyaki chicken and rice

{Fruit & Veggies}

 Cantaloupe chunks

 Sugar snap peas

Red or bell pepper slices

Ants on a log {celery, peanut butter and raisins}

 Applesauce cup

 Mandarin orange cup

 Apple slices with peanut butter

 Baby carrots with Ranch

 Cuties {mini seedless oranges}

 Kiwi slices



Cucumber slices

{“Side Dishes”}

Shelled edamame

 Trail Mix



 Cottage cheese

 Veggie sticks

 Dried peas

 Black beans {beans}

 Fishing poles and fish {pretzel sticks and goldfish crackers}

 Tortilla chips and guac

 Pasta salad

 PB & Banana S’mores {stack graham crackers with peanut butter and banana slices} from parenting.com September 2012

 Pop chips or Sun Chips

{Sweet Treats}

 Fig Newtons

Fruit Snacks {I like Motts Medleys}

Kettle Corn

 Mini Oreos or Nutter Butters

 S’mores mix ~ Mini marshmallows, Teddy Grahams and mini chocolate chips

 Mini muffins

 Rice crispy {or other homemade} cereal bar

Banana pops {cut bananas in half and insert popsicle stick into each piece. Dip in melted chocolate and roll in sliced almonds. Freeze on waxed paper for 15 minutes then wrap in plastic wrap until ready to send to school} from parenting.com September 2012

{In A Pinch}


Smuckers Uncrustables

 Buy school hot lunch


 Capri Sun

 Roarin’ Waters flavored water {Capri Sun}

 Juicy Juice juice boxes

 Horizon Organic Milk {doesn’t need to be refrigerated}


{Tips from other mamas and teachers}

When hungry, kids will eat anything cold or room temperature.

Kids throw away a lot of food, so the best thing to do is feed them a good, healthy breakfast and a big dinner and send them to school with little snacky foods.

Give them a sandwich when they get home instead of packing one in their lunch box ~ keep it simple.

They don’t have a lot of time to eat so quick, easy bites are best.

Have them finish anything left in their lunch box as a snack when they get home.

{A few lunch-y articles shared from friends}

parenting.com article {A month of school lunches}

Red Tricycle article {Beyond the Boring Lunch Box}

School Lunch Roundup {lots of unprocessed food ideas}

Yummy Lunch Box Gallery


I don’t do it often enough, but I do like to tuck a little note written in a napkin or cute paper once in awhile. I found these little cards at Target in the dollar section which are blank on the back for a personal note…

I hope this list is helpful. I tried to include kid-friendly, somewhat easily obtainable and easy-to-prepare options which is what I think all busy moms are looking for.

Please, please feel free to comment with your lunch box favorites as we can NEVER have too many suggestions!

If you realllly want to be inspired, go to Pinterest and type {“kids lunch ideas” and “bento lunches”} into the search box. You know….if you have some extra time on your hands.

My plan is to share some lunch ideas via Instagram as I test them with my kiddos. Please follow me {@aaspiras} on IG if you’re interested not only for happy lunch box ideas, but other daily goings on in my life.  I’d love to hear from you and see what you’re up to, too.

THANK YOU to all my FB mamas that commented and shared their ideas, those who forwarded links and tore out articles from magazines. I appreciate the input and I know other mamas will as well!

So………let’s do lunch ~ best of luck brown baggin’ it this school year!


Linking up with April over at {The GINGERBREAD Blog} for Sweet Saturday!


This N That Thursday

Well, Hello!

How was your Thursday?

I was able to run several errands in preparation for Valentine’s Day and Holden’s upcoming birthday next month. I found some super inexpensive treats for Elliott to give to her classmates for V-day:

I swiped this image off eBay, so it’s teeny tiny, but I found some ornaments filled with candy at Rite Aid leftover from Christmas for 90% off! {There’s nothing “Christmassy” about them other than they’re supposed to be ornaments, but you wouldn’t catch me hanging them on my tree! And yes, I inspected the date and the candy is good until Jan 2012…I am weird with stuff like that. Not that a Now and Later will be any more fresh in mid-February 2011 or a year from then!} They ended up being 10¢ a piece. I’m going to have her cut little hearts out of construction paper and hand write her name with a touch of glitter. The little balls are pink and will look very Valentiney with the added message on the red paper.


Last weekend we went to Sprouts and loaded up on veggies.

I roasted some last weekend and we added the leftovers to a salad with some beer can chicken and some blue cheese!

I also made quinoa for the first time. Super easy, but a bit time consuming as you have to soak and rinse it {I bought mine from the bulk bin, but you can also buy it pre-rinsed and ready to go}. I used about 3/4 cup water and 1 cup chicken broth. I read that a 1:2 ratio makes the quinoa too mushy, so I used about 1 3/4 cup liquid to one cup rinsed quinoa. Just bring the liquid to a boil, add the quinoa, stir, cover and put on low for 15-20 minutes {or until water is absorbed}. You can also just make it with water and eat it for breakfast with some raisins, a little brown sugar and a splash of milk or cream.

{BTW, the quinoa is under the roasted veggies in the pic}

To roast the veggies, I just cut up whatever I had: red pepper, red onion, zucchini, yellow squash and baby carrots. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Toss it up and put onto a cookie sheet into a 400* oven for about 20 minutes. The flavor is amazing and this is a great way to eat your veggies! Elliott loved them {well, at least the carrots} and they are just as good warm as they are cold the next day. Tonight I am adding some cauliflower to the mix and using a little truffle oil that I picked up today.


Today is my Dad’s birthday…

Happy Birthday, Popsi! Enjoy your special day!

{Next year he will celebrate a milestone birthday ~ I will let you guess which one}


Does anyone out there still watch American Idol?

I tuned in last night {yes, we still have Direct TV} because I love J Lo. I think she’s so beautiful. And talented. And funny.

For me, the new judges are a breath of fresh air…it’s nice not having Simon pop off every 5 seconds and his snide comments flying around!

We’ll see if I am still able to watch next week…… 😉


That’s it kids….how can it already be Friday tomorrow? I don’t know, but I’m glad it is!

Have a great night!