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School lunch ideas

Updated on September 6, 2012

I always end up scratching my head at the start of a school year and asking myself "What will I pack for lunch for the girls?" My daughters are now aged 11 and 14 and the menu has changes over the years. I thought it might be useful to list some suggestions here.


Hot, cold, fizzy, not....always a conumdrum. In my kids schools, fizzy drinks are not allowed so that reduced the options a bit.

In very cold weather, I normally packed a thermos with warm drinks such as:

  • hot chocolate
  • hot milk
  • soup

In very hot weather, I would still pack the thermos but this time fill it with drinks such as:

  • cold milk
  • cold smoothies
  • cold juice, etc

In moderate weather, I would pack squash (diluted with water), but in recent years we have been going with pure water only - and the kids love it.

Tip: For more active days when the child will be involved in sports etc, pack an extra drink.

Tip: Pack a drinking straw for younger kids if they tend not to want to drink, it will make drinking a little more fun!

Main part of the lunch

It's good to give kids something substantial to eat and this can be in many forms:

  • Sandwich (using various types of bread)
  • Pita pocket
  • Bagel
  • Flour Tortilla wrap
  • Pasta (hot or cold)
  • Hot food in a thermos

Fill sandwiches with a variety of fillings such as:

  • Ham, cheese and coleslaw
  • Bacon, Lettuce & Tomato (BLT) - put the tomato between the bacon and lettuce to avoid the bread getting soggy
  • Chicken and sweetcorn
  • Tuna and sweetcorn

These will work equally well in bread, rolls, bagels, pita or wraps.

My younger daughter has her own favorites:

  • Ham and potato chips (cheese and onion flavor) in a sandwich
  • Fish fingers in a sandwich! (cold!) - garnished with tomato ketchup
  • Fried potato and English sausage in a sandwich! (cold!) - garnished with tomato ketchup

For other foods (non sandwich), try:

  • Pasta (hot in a thermos or cold) with anything you fancy - chicken, ham, tuna, just plain tomato-based sauce.
  • Baked beans in a thermos
  • Home made soup (blended for no lumps!) in a thermos
  • Salads of various types (e.g. Waldorf salad)



Here's your chance to introduce fruit and vegatables!

  • Fresh Fruit - apples, small oranges or mandarins, grapes, strawberries, bananas, plums, etc
  • Fruit salad (in a tub with a spoon)
  • Yoghurt
  • Vegatables - raw carrot sticks, raw celery sticks (it's fun to include some type of dip with these)

And for a special treat:

  • Cookies
  • Cup cakes
  • Apple pie or apple crumble (in a tub with a spoon)
  • Popcorn
  • Jello
  • Cereal bars


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