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The Lunch List

We often talk about getting into a dinner rut…have you ever experienced a lunch rut? Besides the desire to keep lunches inspired & snacks from getting too repetitive and boring, we’d ideally like them to be healthy, easy to make, and …oh yeah…hope that our kids will eat them 😛

Hot lunch programs can be very helpful.  My kids get hot lunch three times a week at school and I must admit that on the day the hot lunch program begins…(it takes a few weeks after back-to-school before it commences)…I do a little happy dance!  It just takes away some of the burden of planning, shopping and preparing which is a huge time-saver.

That said, not everyone does “hot lunch” and for many that do, there is still the question of what to send for the rest of the week.  In addition, there is still the question of snacks, even on hot lunch days.

Kids will often change their minds and what they loved last week they bring back home, untouched, this week.

Just because supper was a hit last night, doesn’t guarantee it any success when it morphs into lunch. And if it has potential for success- it may actually be banned!

With an increasing number of allergies, schools are forbidding certain foods to be sent to school.  Beyond the peanut allergy are very common allergies to fish, milk, egg and sesame as well as other less common, but ever-present, allergies.  A few such examples are legumes (which include various types of beans) and kiwi.  Schools sometimes prefer to ban the food outright from the class than to take a chance.

In addition, some schools have dietary restrictions for religious reasons.  Some Jewish day schools prohibit parents from sending meat because there is no way to verify whether or not what’s being sent is kosher.

So imagine being unable to send peanut butter, tuna, cheese, egg or even hummus (contains sesame) or any type of leftover meat, even if it is kosher, because the school can’t verify it???  Aaaargh!!!

Well, I have received requests from many moms to help them to manage the lunchbox situation and I have created a list that I hope you will find useful and helpful. Of course this list is by no means comprehensive…add your own ideas as well!

Use this as a guide to prepare your Lunch Plan for the week, including snacks.  This will make lunch prep & shopping easier and more cost-efficient.  I like to choose snacks from a few different categories every day so that they get a balance of carbs, fruit & veggies.  Tip: Have the kids help out by washing their fruit and filling their little containers.  They can place perishables in the fridge and non-perishables in their lunchboxes the night before.

For more tips on sending lunch and how to keep things warm see Sending Lunch .


Meat & Poultry (Usually from leftovers)
Pasta with meatsauce
Spaghetti & meatballs
Stir Fry
Grilled chicken
Chicken brochette
Turkey sandwich or wrap

Dairy & Eggs
Cheese sandwich or wrap
Fettucini Alfredo
Bagel & cream cheese
Pasta rosée sauce
Hard-boiled egg
Egg salad sandwich or wrap

Tuna sandwich
Leftover salmon
Fish sticks

Lentil Soup
Soy ‘nut’ Butter or Pea butter Sandwich
Bean Salad


Fresh Fruit
Banana (though ‘smush factor’ can be a problem)
Cubed melon

Dried Apricots
Fruit Cup
Diced Peaches
Applesauce (cup or tube)
Diced Pineapple

baby-cut carrots
Red pepper
Yellow pepper
Orange Pepper
Green Pepper
Snap Peas or Snow Peas
Baby corn (canned)

Starches/Carbs (Dairy)
Goldfish or Penguins (kosher version!) crackers
Some crackers
Dad’s Oatmeal Cookies
Nut-free ‘Granola’ or Cereal bars
Certain cereals

Starches/Carbs (Dairy-free)
Melba Toast
Certain Crackers
Certain cereals

Cheese/cheese stick

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