Lunch Box Lunches

In the school cafeteria, there are bringers and buyers…those that bring their lunch from home, and those that buy. My kids have always been buyers. At the beginning of every year, I offer to pack their lunches, and every year they’d declare the school food ‘amazing,’ and insist on buying a hot lunch there.

And truthfully, I didn’t fight it…since packing a lunch was one less thing I had to worry about. But apparently there’s been a change in the school lunch menu, because a few months ago they both begged me to start packing their lunch.

Transitioning them from buyers to bringers was a bigger challenge than I anticipated… remembering to pack it each night, buying more at the grocery, and coming up with meals that didn’t need to be heated. Oh yeah, and that they’d like. One helpful tip has been incorporating dinner leftovers into the next day’s lunch. Putting aside the stand-by PB&J and turkey sandwiches, here are a few other combinations that are hits with my kids.

Hi Sugarplum | Lunch Box Lunches
Chicken Salad on Whole Wheat Pita | made with grapes, celery & leftover chicken
Pretzel Crisps
Sugar-free Pudding
Hi Sugarplum | Lunch Box Lunches
Salad with Carrots, Tomatoes & Avacado | Chopped (leftover) Chicken Breast | Ranch Dressing
Pita Chips | Hummus Cup
Chocolate Bar
Hi Sugarplum | Lunch Box Lunches
Soft-Boiled Eggs (I make a big batch on the weekend for breakfasts & lunches)
String Cheese
Snack-size Apple
Pretzel Twists | Nutella for Dipping
Hi Sugarplum | Lunch Box Lunches
Honey Greek Yogurt | Mixed Berries | Granola (for a DIY parfait)
Sliced Ham
Veggie Chips
Bottle Water
Hi Sugarplum | Lunch Box Lunches
Sliced Turkey
Caprese Salad of Cherry Tomatoes & Mozzarella (leftover from dinner)
Pretzel Twists
Applesauce Pouch
Granola Bar
Hi Sugarplum | Lunch Box Lunches
Peanut Butter & Banana on Wheat Sandwich Thin
Greek Yogurt
Carrots & Celery | Ranch dressing for dipping
Trail Mix

Clearly, I’m not a nutritionist, but I try to keep the lunches balanced and healthy, while still being something the kids will actually eat. It took some trial and error, but I’m learning what gets eaten, and what’s left behind…as well as the portion each kid needs. I usually include small bottles of water, but every now and then I’ll pop one of these fun Fruit Shoot drinks in to get them excited about lunch. Their Facebook page has more great ideas for keeping lunches fun, so hop over there for more ideas.
Hi Sugarplum | Lunch Box Lunches
Are your kids bringers or buyers? What are some favorites you pack for them…I’m always on the hunt for fresh ideas! Oh, and we use these lunchboxes…they are amazing at keeping food cold all day! I’m also considering this for hot foods…does anyone have experience with it?

This post is sponsored by Fruit Shoot drinks, but the opinions are all mine. Like always. Thank you for supporting Hi Sugarplum sponsors!

Leave a Comment


  1. that pita looks SO good! xo jillian – cornflake dreams

    Posted 4.17.14 Reply
  2. Antelope22 wrote:

    Lunches around here are not decided up on by what "tastes" better as far as mom vs. school. The dilemma of buying vs bringing is resolved by "who" is buying or bringing the next day! If you want to guarantee you are sitting with your friends then you make sure everyone is on the same page, and hope all moms have lunch items when they are informed the next morning… "Mom, we are packing today!" 🙂

    Posted 4.17.14 Reply
  3. We didnt have an option to buy lunch at my school so I always to bring one. I was picky, so all I would eat WAS PB sandwiches, a wedge of cheese, an apple, and a snack. I dont think I ever got juice though…my parents were careful about sugary drinks! But all in moderation, I guess

    Posted 4.17.14 Reply
  4. Kristen wrote:

    we didn't have school lunches in Aus like they do here! I always had a sandwich and a packet of chips, your lunches look so much better! lol

    Posted 4.17.14 Reply
  5. My kids are bringers, unless we are out of lunch stuff. Those lunches look delicious! Do your sweet kiddos really have enough time to eat all of that? (Maybe I just have really slow eaters.)

    Posted 4.17.14 Reply
  6. These look like lunches I would like, just in bigger portions 😉 I'm a bringer at work for the most part.

    Posted 4.17.14 Reply
  7. Tinamari wrote:

    I still have toddlers but these lunch ideas are genius! Where do you buy Fruit Shoot?

    Posted 4.17.14 Reply
  8. Thanks for the great ideas, now I'M hungry! My kids choose about one meal per week to buy, but all the other days we rotate sandwiches, pizza rolls, nuggets, or a corndog. We have the small soup-size thermos and if I heat those things up really well in the oven they stay warm in the thermos until lunch. I pull the stick out of the corndog and cut it in half to make it fit. Gives them a little a variety, but your options are much healthier!

    Posted 4.17.14 Reply
  9. My son LOVES Fruit Shoots! But they are so sugary he only gets them as a special treat every once in awhile. But, he will drink the whole thing in one gulp because he's afraid I'll take it away! Haha!

    Posted 4.17.14 Reply
  10. These are all fantastic ideas, and i will be stealing them. 🙂 My problem with all this is so. many. containers. Drives me nuts!

    Posted 4.17.14 Reply
  11. I'm impressed with the wide variety of food your kids will eat. I have a kid who will only eat anchovy sandwiches or sunbutter sandwiches.

    Posted 4.17.14 Reply
  12. I like the idea that you share here and I hope there is a fresh idea that can be shared in the future
    If later there was a chance I would like to exchange thoughts with you
    Thank you very much for sharing interesting things here
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    Posted 4.18.14 Reply
  13. I have been out of school for many, many, many years (and so have my kids) but I would eat any one of those lunches except the eggs anytime. Good work.

    Posted 4.18.14 Reply
  14. Keitha M wrote:

    Wow great ideas! I also hope to skip having to pack lunches once my twincesses start school but in case i have to I'm definitely pinning this for great options

    Posted 4.18.14 Reply
  15. Both of my girls were/are bringers(one is in college now so she's now a buyer) :). The older one was happy with fruit & yogurt, salad, chips & hummus or salsa, string cheese even cereal and she'd buy milk at school. My younger one likes a hot lunch a few times a week and we've been through a lot of thermoses. I swear by this one
    I found it at the Container Store but I had a hard time locating one to show you now. It has its own little fold up spoon and keeps food hot for 5 hours (I always preheat it with boiling water first too) or cold for 7. It's leak proof as well. She likes soup, baked potato (mashed up w/ butter), last night's leftovers, etc.
    They also both started packing their own lunches around 6th grade and I kind of miss it! 🙁

    Posted 4.18.14 Reply
  16. Elz wrote:

    My kids bring their lunch, but it is not nearly as varied as what you pack. My kids pack their own lunches. If it means PB&J 4/5 days, so be it. They know what to pack and this way, nobody complains. It makes our evenings go smoother since they pack while I clean the kitchen (husband makes dinner). Those lunches look yummy.

    Posted 4.19.14 Reply
  17. graywolff wrote:

    Waaaaaaaa! I want YOU To make MY Lunch!!!

    Posted 4.19.14 Reply