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Lunch ideas for Pre-K boy?


IrishJersey
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My 4 year old son is heading to his PreK school on a 'full day" schedule (8am to 2:45p) in few 2 weeks time. I'm in a full panic mode now thinking of WHAT to send him for lunch in his backpack.  :unsure:

 

for the past year and half, he's been attending a very small preschool just 3 days a week with lunch provided by the facility, so i never had to worry about this till now.

 

He'll have this as his lunchbox (link below) and luckily for me, eats a good variety of food. However, i won't find out till his classroom orientation whether peanuts is allowed as kids eat their lunch in the classroom. I think it'll all depends on his classmates allergies, so i want suggestions of what to provide him nutriious filling lunch without any form of nuts (to be on safe side) 

 

http://planetbox.com/products/planetbox-rover

 

hit me up please with suggestions.This goes for BREAKFAST to eat at home too!  My son likes cucumbers, carrots, pb/jelly sandwich, chicken sandwich, variety of fruits and crackers, yogurt, etc. He'll also have a thermos for warm/hot food like soup and pasta to send along in his lunch-bag too. 

 

my main issue is timing....the school is a good 20-25 mins away because of the insane traffic. As it is, he doesn't wake up till 7am, so that only leaves me 25-30 mins to get him dressed, down to eat his breakfast and in car to hit the road by 7:30 for his arrival by 8am. 

 

so i need ideas for easy filling breakfast that is QUICK. i want to prep the lunch as much i can night before and just stick it in the fridge till we're ready to head out. 

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This thread is well worth a perusal - Fat Guy did some adorable lunches for his son, PJ. Mostly nut-free. Lovely presentation! 

 

http://forums.egullet.org/topic/147530-bentos-2009/?hl=%20bento%20%20lunch

 

FYI, IrishJersey, Fat Guy was Steven Shaw, who passed away suddenly just over a year ago. He was a founder of eGullet. 

Edited by FauxPas (log)
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Couple things:

 

- you might be overthinking this

 

- unless you are morally opposed to the idea - breakfast has been eaten in cars on the way to school without permanent mental scarring - it is better than the "hurry up we'll be late!" drama

 

- ask other parents what they do and ask your son if others bring items he would also enjoy

 

- ask that he not toss uneaten food - it is nice to know what actually gets consumed

 

- Amanda Hesser's ongoing column on Food52 about kid lunches has interesting ideas http://food52.com/blog/category/169-amanda-s-kids-lunch

 

- if there is a snack period or two it is best to have snacks packed separately

Edited by heidih (log)
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I second a vote for reading FatGuy's thread for PJ.  He had some great ideas.

 

You could make and freeze a batch of breakfast burritos.  Cut them in half and freeze if he's not able to eat a whole one.  Same with breakfast sandwiches.  Heat 'em up in a toaster oven or microwave while getting him ready.

 

When I was a kid I loved those individual string cheese things.  

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Reflections...

 

Give stuff you know he likes

 

Don't make the food so weird that he gets made fun of.

 

I remember a girl who had smelly tunafish every day.  She was strange through HS, perhaps because of that.

 

Ought to taste good more than being "correct".

 

Nutrition is first calories, then all the other stuff that everybody likes to pay attention to. If you believe the story that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, then its the calories that make it important, not the fiber or vitamins or antioxidants. (of course too many calories aren't good yada yada yada)

Edited by gfweb (log)
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I've got a 4 yr old who's been using the Planetbox Rover for about a year, and we really like it. I tend to do things that don't take a lot of prep, which works out since he doesn't like things mixed together. I usually do some fruit (just about anything cut into small pieces), a vegetable (edamame, seaweed snacks, corn, peas), some grain-based item (crackers, rice cakes), and some protein. For protein, small pieces of cold cuts or prosciutto work well, or cubed leftover meat. You can also cut cheese into fun shapes with mini cookie cutters. Getting some decorative toothpicks (here's one example) can make basic things a little more fun to eat. For a while he really liked hard-boiled eggs shaped with egg molds. (Be aware that you can buy a lot of bento accessories and have them take over your kitchen!)

 

My son is a big fan of freeze-dried strawberries and raspberries (Trader Joe's has them at a good price), which are nice to have on hand for when you don't have fresh fruit on hand. 

 

I've tried doing fancier things like mini crustless quiches (use mini muffin tins) or savory muffins, but they have not been a success. But they might work for you. 

 

One tip I learned about the Planetbox lunchbox: Since the compartments aren't watertight, moisture will migrate. I put really wet or liquidy things in sealed containers in the lunchbox, but I didn't initially realize that just moist things can cause problems. It took quite a few uneaten crackers and rice cakes for me to realize this.  So if you put something crunchy/crispy in one (such as crackers or rice cakes) and something really moist in another another, the crispy things will no longer be crispy after a few hours. Even edamame or corn can have an effect. 

 

I've found the Wendolonia blog a good source of simple, practical bento ideas, in contrast to a lot of bento blogs where people document their elaborate bento masterpieces. I also need to be out the door at 7:30, so the super-elaborate bentos are out. She has a good lunch box idea list, along with lots of photos of bento lunches. 

 

I also have and like the Yumbox 6-compartment lunchbox, if you get tempted into buying another lunchbox.

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This thread is well worth a perusal - Fat Guy did some adorable lunches for his son, PJ. Mostly nut-free. Lovely presentation! 

 

http://forums.egullet.org/topic/147530-bentos-2009/?hl=%20bento%20%20lunch

 

FYI, IrishJersey, Fat Guy was Steven Shaw, who passed away suddenly just over a year ago. He was a founder of eGullet. 

Sorry to post and run off, but just came back from our vacation over the weekend. I loved this thread you linked, alreadly bookmarked it so i can take notes before doing grocery shopping later this week. 

 

 

 

Couple things:

 

- you might be overthinking this

 

- unless you are morally opposed to the idea - breakfast has been eaten in cars on the way to school without permanent mental scarring - it is better than the "hurry up we'll be late!" drama

 

- ask other parents what they do and ask your son if others bring items he would also enjoy

 

- ask that he not toss uneaten food - it is nice to know what actually gets consumed

 

- Amanda Hesser's ongoing column on Food52 about kid lunches has interesting ideas http://food52.com/blog/category/169-amanda-s-kids-lunch

 

- if there is a snack period or two it is best to have snacks packed separately

 

I am not opposed to eating breakfast in the car, especially if it means he can get more sleep that way too! Tomorrow is meet the teacher and rest of classmates with parents, so that is good advice to ask others what they're doing for their little ones. Ill also find out whether my son's classroom will have allergy policies too. 

I second a vote for reading FatGuy's thread for PJ.  He had some great ideas.

 

You could make and freeze a batch of breakfast burritos.  Cut them in half and freeze if he's not able to eat a whole one.  Same with breakfast sandwiches.  Heat 'em up in a toaster oven or microwave while getting him ready.

 

When I was a kid I loved those individual string cheese things.  

 

String cheese would have been my to go food! but unfortunately, my son doesn't care for those. Do you have a recipe for breakfast burritos? he would like anything filled inside as he's not picky in that aspect. Thank goodness, lol. 

 

I've got a 4 yr old who's been using the Planetbox Rover for about a year, and we really like it. I tend to do things that don't take a lot of prep, which works out since he doesn't like things mixed together. I usually do some fruit (just about anything cut into small pieces), a vegetable (edamame, seaweed snacks, corn, peas), some grain-based item (crackers, rice cakes), and some protein. For protein, small pieces of cold cuts or prosciutto work well, or cubed leftover meat. You can also cut cheese into fun shapes with mini cookie cutters. Getting some decorative toothpicks (here's one example) can make basic things a little more fun to eat. For a while he really liked hard-boiled eggs shaped with egg molds. (Be aware that you can buy a lot of bento accessories and have them take over your kitchen!)

 

My son is a big fan of freeze-dried strawberries and raspberries (Trader Joe's has them at a good price), which are nice to have on hand for when you don't have fresh fruit on hand. 

 

I've tried doing fancier things like mini crustless quiches (use mini muffin tins) or savory muffins, but they have not been a success. But they might work for you. 

 

One tip I learned about the Planetbox lunchbox: Since the compartments aren't watertight, moisture will migrate. I put really wet or liquidy things in sealed containers in the lunchbox, but I didn't initially realize that just moist things can cause problems. It took quite a few uneaten crackers and rice cakes for me to realize this.  So if you put something crunchy/crispy in one (such as crackers or rice cakes) and something really moist in another another, the crispy things will no longer be crispy after a few hours. Even edamame or corn can have an effect. 

 

I've found the Wendolonia blog a good source of simple, practical bento ideas, in contrast to a lot of bento blogs where people document their elaborate bento masterpieces. I also need to be out the door at 7:30, so the super-elaborate bentos are out. She has a good lunch box idea list, along with lots of photos of bento lunches. 

 

I also have and like the Yumbox 6-compartment lunchbox, if you get tempted into buying another lunchbox.

 

The blog you linked is already so helpful!!! generally speaking, the savory muffins haven't been a hit but i haven't tried those since last year. I'll give those a try again as one never knows! I actually have the large trio lunchblox box, so i think it beehooves me to not buy another! lol 

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All I can say is thank god my daughter was in school before peanut butter was outlawed. For 13 years she mostly alternated between PB&J, turkey+lettuce and cream cheese+olive sandwiches. Hey, kid, you want a bento box with sushi and hard boiled eggs with kitty faces? Get a mother who is Japanese, or at least one who is awake. In elementary school she had a friend whose mother was so discombobulated when it came to lunches that every once in a while she would call me at 7am and ask me to maker her daughter a sandwich, because she was out of bread. Me, who could barely get it together to make one lunch for one kid. Now that takes nerve.

I don't believe we were eating a lot of edamame in the 90's, but if I had to do it again, that would be a major food group. Anything that takes no last-minute prep. My daughter is now 27 and always eats her vegetables!

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Dont go overboard on the food because kids are picky eaters and dont eat ahat much, I would go with somthing simple they would enjoy like a sandwich and a juicebox.

 

 

Many people are listing a whole bunch of food to give but you're kid is young and wont eat it all.

Edited by Urag (log)
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This is really pretty-much my whole world right now.  I babysit my daughter's four kids, ages 7, 5 1/2, 4, and 2 1/2.  They're all in school - from first grade down to preschool.  They all need breakfast, snacks, and lunches.  My daugher and her husband work stressful jobs, fulltime, so life is kind of a madhouse - a wonderful whirlwind of a madhouse - but a madhouse just the same.

 

When daugher had her first child, she was all about no commercially-prepared foods.  She nursed that baby for about a year, and then it was only organic, homemade baby food, preferably from her garden.

 

Needless to say, she's over all that now.

 

I doubt that, with only one to take care of, you'll need to embrace all of her tips, methods, shortcuts, but a few of them might help you out.

 

First - she always has a nice supply of dry cereal.  She definitely avoids the highest-sugar brands, but does buy cereal that the kids will eat dry (Kashi Squares, Frosted Shredded Wheat, Honey Nut Cheerios), and puts them into those small "snack size" plastic bags.  They're always available so she can grab a few at a moment's notice.  At breakfast time, the littlest kids will sometimes just get a handful of that cereal along with fresh fruit that they eat with their hands, and a glass of milk.  The oldest child can manage to eat cereal with the milk and a spoon, without getting it all down her front, so that's what she gets.  Sometimes on the weekends, my daughter will make up a big batch of oatmeal, or cream of rice, or cream of wheat, and put it into the fridge. Then on busy weekday mornings, it's ladled into individual bowls and heated in the microwave.  For the littlest ones, she stirs in enough milk so that it's the consistency of mashed potatoes, making it easy for them to eat with a spoon.  There is always fresh fruit, and either juice or more milk to drink.  Sometimes on Sundays she also will scramble up a bunch of eggs.  It keeps just fine in the fridge for several days.  So during the week, it's easy to get some flour tortillas, put in a little bit of the scrambled eggs, a dash of mild salsa, and some grated cheddar cheese.  Maybe a little leftover ham or chorizo if they have it.  And into the microwave for breakfast burritos.  She also makes her own breakfast bars, following several favorite recipes, but reducing the sugar.  If the family is running really late, too late to eat breakfast at the table, then it's "Into the car, kids" and they eat their breakfast bars on the way to school.  She also buys breakfast, granola, etc., bars as a backup.

 

In addition to the dry cereal which doubles as snacks, she buys an assortment of healthy snack-type things, like those vegetable things that look like pastel-colored French fries, dried apple crisps, other kinds of dried fruit, edamame, etc.  She buys them in bulk, but then fills up those little snack bags and has them ready to grab and go.  Definitely often includes cheese - those cheese sticks, or cheese slices, or cubed cheddar, Munster, whatever she has on hand.  She also often sends raw vegetable crudités - baby carrots, celery sticks, broccoli, etc., which the kids really like eating with what they call "white sauce," which really is, of course, ranch dressing. And she tosses apple slices with lemon juice to keep them from browning, and sends them with peanut butter (it's not banned at any of their schools).  She orders both the ranch dressing and the peanut butter in handy single serving cups.   

 

Like this: 

http://www.amazon.com/Hidden-Valley-Ranch-Single-Cups/dp/B00WGUWEJW/ref=sr_1_9?s=grocery&ie=UTF8&qid=1441487848&sr=1-9&refinements=p_n_feature_keywords_browse-bin%3A5872339011

 

And this:

http://www.amazon.com/Jif-Creamy-Peanut-Butter-cups/dp/B00C6VNWTC/ref=sr_1_1?s=grocery&ie=UTF8&qid=1441487944&sr=1-1&keywords=individual+peanut+butter+cups

 

 

She has an assortment of lunch containers and lunch is often leftovers from last night's dinner.  She saves those 'plastic knife, fork, spoon, napkin' packets that come with takeout orders and puts those into the lunchboxes.  She also buys plastic forks that she sends along with the lunches when she doesn't have any takeout packets.  She doesn't worry about things like heating up last night's spaghetti, or rice and chicken, or mac & cheese, or whatever.  The kids seem to eat it just fine at room temperature.

 

Overall, I'd probably echo Heidi's suggestion not to overthink this.  You're setting out on one of life's greatest adventures.  So have fun with it.  And I'm sure you, and he, will do just fine.

Edited by Jaymes (log)
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I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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