Chicago mom switches up school lunches

If your kids are anything like mine, they’re picky eaters. Having such picky eaters can often make meal planning a little more difficult, but luckily I’ve learned to get creative.

One of my biggest challenges with food is school lunches. Both of my kids bring their lunch to school and both of my kids dislike the classic sandwich lunch. Luckily, I’ve come up with some alternatives to the typical sandwich.

My older son used to get sandwiches in his lunchbox. Then we found out that he was trying to sell his sandwiches to his classmates. Yes, that is a true story. Rather than have him not eat his sandwich (or sell it!), we found foods that he would eat in his lunch.

Mini bagels

Both my kids love having mini bagels in their lunch. And they come in a variety of flavors – whole wheat, plain, cinnamon raisin, etc. My older son likes his with cinnamon butter while my younger son opts for cream cheese. My younger son is so picky that he refuses to eat his bagel unless it was wrapped in foil. Apparently, a good ol’ Ziploc bag or Tupperware won’t do the trick. That’s a whole separate issue.

Cheese and crackers

It’s something a little different than a sandwich that kids like. I usually will add chocolate milk to my kids’ lunch so they’re getting a little more protein in their diet.


We have a small Thermos container that is the perfect size for a lunch box. I cook the soup in the morning before school and put it into the Thermos. This is a great lunch for a cold winter day.


Sometimes when I am really running out of options, I put cereal in my kids’ lunchboxes. My younger son loves Cheerios, so I put some in a small Tupperware bowl and add some change so he can buy milk at school. He can pour the milk right in the bowl and it’s like eating breakfast for lunch!

Tortillas and cheese

My kids love tacos. After my son pretty much gave up eating anything for lunch, I came up with the idea of putting a tortilla and shredded cheese in his lunch. The tortilla goes in a bag and the cheese goes in a separate container so he can assemble his taco during lunch. You could also add some cooked chicken too. If only I could get my son to eat it.

Fruits or vegetables

Every single one of my kids’ lunches contain a fruit or veggie. I let them pick out which one they would like so they’ll be more likely to eat it. Baby carrots are always a great veggie option. My kids also like mandarin oranges, applesauce, apple slices and grapes.

I try to make lunches that are quick and easy, but there are tons of options that you can put into a school lunchbox.

Eating a sandwich every day can get boring fast and it’s always nice to change things up. I am hoping that my kids will one day outgrow this “I only eat bagels wrapped in foil” stage.

Time will tell.

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