The Lunch Box. It is compared, critiqued and cherished. Here is my sister posing for her first day of school in 1976 and making certain that her beloved Winnie the Pooh lunch box was ALSO present in the picture. What is so funny is that there are a few more of these pictures shot at different angles all with said lunchbox positioned in a loving way. (As an aside, yes she has a broken arm in the photo and again for the record, NO, I was not the one to push her from the treehouse. Again. For the record.)

It doesn’t matter though whether your box is a Bento, Brown Bag, Built Bag, Retro Metal Box, Skip Hop Zoo Lunchies, or an old Stanley cooler – come Monday morning you still have to put something in it! Ah, the demise of every parent every school morning – what to make other than a sandwich!

We are entering week two of the school routine around here and I am already feeling the lunch box blues. Getting up and facing the same old thing everyday when making lunches leaves me with the blahs and I’m not the one eating in the school cafeteria. So with paper and pen in hand I brainstormed with my kids the top 10 lunches they love INSTEAD of the dreaded sandwich. Here they are in a very particular order.

  1. Gimbap (Korean seaweed and rice) with fresh fruit.
  2. Tortilla/Pita, Hummus and raw veggies.
  3. A Thermos full of Mama’s Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup and fresh fruit.
  4. Crackers, cheese, turkey slices, yogurt and fresh fruit. (Think homemade lunchables.)
  5. Quesadilla with guacamole and sour cream on the side and fresh fruit.
  6. Noodles. (They like Pho or Lo Mein best.) I add some raw veggies on the side.
  7. Wraps (anything goes – tuna, egg slad, turkey and cheese, or veggie) and chips.
  8. Thermos full of black beans and rice topped with cheese and fresh fruit on the side.
  9. Yogurt with Mama’s Homemade Granola and fresh fruit on the side.
  10. Leftovers. (Yes, they said it – they don’t mind it as long as it was something they liked the night before.)

Two years ago I also started adding a little note to my children in their lunchbox. I base it on what is happening for them that day, whether they have a big test or a testy friend, sometimes a little encouragement half way through the day changes the trajectory of their day. You’ll find that so many wonderful artists and mothers are designing these lovely notes with words and color all over the place (and for free!), so I thought I would link you to a few of my favorites. These are free printables they share generously with us and I for one am so grateful! So leave a little comment love if you like their printable.

Lunch Box Notes from Alpha Mom 

I am in love with these at Jones Design Company (and more lunch ideas over there too.)

Believing Boldly has some lovely notes.

These lunch box notes at Paper Coterie are so fun.

Yes, even Martha Stewart has them.

Now go face that empty lunch box tomorrow morning with some extra love!