Lunch Box Blues: Good Ideas for School Lunches?

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

A friend of ours with young children told us that she has recently fallen into a school lunch rut of the bagels-and-cream-cheese variety. Have kids? This ever happen to you? We’re guessing it has! Any suggestions for getting out of a rut?

Unless you’re blessed with children who will eat anything, the problem with school lunch ruts is that there’s a limited number of foods your kids will actually eat. The bagels-and-cream-cheese rut leads to the peanut-butter-and-jelly rut, which leads to the turkey-sandwich rut. Throw in a school-wide “no peanut” policy and you’ve got a definite conundrum on your hands.

Creative re-packaging is one option. Even if you’re not quite up to Bento Lunch Box status, you can try sandwich sushi rolls like our Peanut Butter and Fruit “Sushi.” Using cookie cutters to make mini-sandwiches in fun shapes is another classic standby.

You can also try the imitation-Lunchables route by packing rounds of bread (or crackers) with various pre-cut sandwich fillings and letting your kids mix-and-match their own lunches. In this same vein, try packing small amounts of a variety of foods. (We’ve been deploying this strategy in our own adult lunches, too!)

What strategies do you have for making homemade lunches interesting for your kids? Any new hit recipes to share?

(Image: Flickr member fd licensed under Creative Commons)