Brown Baggin’ It

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 12:00 am 31 comments

Do you “brown bag it” (take your lunch to work/school)?  Brown bagging it  is economical and invaluable when trying to assure a certain diet.  But how do you prevent monotony? 

When the kiddos first started school, I packed their lunches and off they went.  Not being much of a visionary when it comes to food, the fare was rudimentary at best.  Cheese sandwiches were the standard rotation – if you can have a rotation with only one item.  It took a few attempts for me to introduce them to peanut butter and jelly…  actually, it only took one sandwich to introduce them to PB&J, but quite a few months to get them to like it.  Perseverance is a virtue.

As the years passed, they noticed that most of their classmates bought food at school.  With this realization came the inevitable question, “how come we don’t buy lunch at school?”  Trust me, this did not hurt my feelings.  I was more than happy to be relieved of the monotony of daily sandwich making.  Only one problem.  They came back begging me to give them whatever I could because the cafeteria and school food were – to put it gently – not to their liking.

Okaaay, so we’ve established that bringing lunch is the way to go, but what do they bring?  There is no microwave so cooked food has to be eaten cold.  Yes, I’ve heard about the thermos and other lunchtime innovations.  I just haven’t reached that level of sophistication yet. 

Every once in a while I feel sorry for the lack of variety and try new things – often without much success.  Innovative sandwiches go soggy, I’m told.  PB&J with bananas or apples – they’re not interested.  Luncheon meats?  Those don’t apply here.  Hummus?  They don’t like the stuff.  Flavored cream cheese?  Not so much. 

I have found that different types of bread go over well.  Croissants, bagels, and potato rolls get rave reviews.  Once in a while left over pizza or pasta make the rotation.  Fresh fruit and salad tend to get warm and unappetizing by lunchtime.  Maybe I should invest in some ice packs.

Now that the garage is in decent shape, maybe I should focus my innovative endeavors on lunch… or maybe not.

What’s this lunch lady to do?


Entry filed under: Miscellaneous Stuff.

The Impossible Dream The Poster Post

31 Comments Add your own

  • 1. sraikh  |  Monday, September 28, 2009 at 12:36 am

    Lunch in my kids’ school cost $4.50 per child. No way I am buying lunches for them. I make them lunches everyday.

    I have funtainer containers and have packed rice/noodles/pasta in them

    Egg salad sanwices with cucumber.
    I use alot of bento food ideas. Fruits on a cute pick. Sauce bottles, cheese cut into hearts. Google bento box on flickr or something and you’ll be amazed. I am not as elaborate though.

    PS: Invest, in ice-pack and funtainer thermos. It will take the packed lunches to the next level.

    • 2. Era  |  Monday, September 28, 2009 at 12:47 am

      Sounds great! Thanks for the tips, I’ll be checking into it. School lunches here are only $2 but the kids aren’t interested. Dinner is our meal de jour. My oldest doesn’t like a heavy lunch because she says it slows her down for the rest of the day. She doesn’t eat much anyway. She eats well and is open to new foods, but she doesn’t eat in big quantities – except sometimes dessert.

  • 3. richajn  |  Monday, September 28, 2009 at 2:12 am

    crazy as it sounds, i’m already planning what I want to make for Goosh once he grows up a bit.

    for him, i’m trying to cut down on the junk we eat and think of healthy alternatives. and that’s a bit of a challenge these days since he insists on eating himself, yes at 11 months!

    On his menu so far are:
    – Pastas. For variation – diff sauces (red, white, green 🙂 diff cheeses, diff shapes

    – ‘kathi’ rolls : something like the mexican burritos. or stuffed with aloo, paneer, cheese

    – pancakces / crepes : stuffed with diff well, stuff ya know

    – sandwiches – aloo, paneer, veggie, tomato cheese

    – rava idli : havent quite mastered the art of making them yet.

    – rava uttapam. trust me, i looove this. its simple. making 6-8 takes me ~20-30 minutes

    – ‘basen cheella’. dunno what u’d call it in ‘english’. currently goosh’s favourite. smthg like a dosa but instantly made from gram flour.

    google or drop me a mail if u want the recipes 🙂

    my comment has become almost a full post!! 😀

    • 4. Era  |  Monday, September 28, 2009 at 8:12 am

      Wow, forget the kids, can you make lunch for me? 🙂

      • 5. Gary  |  Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 11:54 am

        Yeah, me too! 😀

  • 6. Tony  |  Monday, September 28, 2009 at 3:46 am

    I am pretty routine. Most days it’s a muesli bar for morning tea with my coffee. Lunch is usually 2 ham, cheese & tomato relish sandwiches, a can of diet coke & a banana. We still have soooo much home-made tomato relish from the garden left over from last season.
    It only changes from that if we have left over roast chicken/beef /lamb etc that I put on my sammys

    • 7. Era  |  Monday, September 28, 2009 at 8:13 am

      I’m totally a creature of habit too. And when I try to get creative the kids remind me that the prefer the standard fare.

  • 8. Raji  |  Monday, September 28, 2009 at 7:27 am

    How about getting ideas from the Bento Box concept? A bit more work for you, however 🙂 to fill in all the containers. But they could help with that the night before. If you google ‘Laptop Lunch ideas’ you’ll get a tonne of delicious looking ideas to pack for lunch.

    • 9. Era  |  Monday, September 28, 2009 at 8:15 am

      Thanks I’ll check it out 🙂

  • 10. cindy  |  Monday, September 28, 2009 at 7:38 am

    right now, my son brings his food to school since he refuses to pretty much eat anything outside of cheese and peanut butter sandwiches. still, i know what you mean by not having to go through the hassle. it’s such a pain to put it together in the morning, but i can’t really make his lunches the night before since the sandwiches will be gross.argh! lol

    i’m always looking for good ideas for things to make him for lunch to broaden his horizons, but so far, no luck. 🙂

    • 11. Era  |  Monday, September 28, 2009 at 8:19 am

      The best part is that they don’t complain about eating the same stuff, we just get bored of making the same stuff. I’ve gotten a couple of comments about bento boxes. It seems you can get plenty of ideas from googling “laptop lunch ideas”. Hopefully I can organize myself enough to try it – I’ve got to see what the kids responses are.

  • 12. Camille  |  Monday, September 28, 2009 at 9:31 am

    Honesty, making lunches was one of my least favorite things about my kids going to school. The day they started making their own was a day of celebration. 🙂

    • 13. Era  |  Monday, September 28, 2009 at 11:06 am

      It is a good feeling once they start doing for themselves 🙂

  • 14. Just a Mom  |  Monday, September 28, 2009 at 11:51 am

    I use a thermos for my youngest daughter. She takes spaghetti o’s and mini raviolis to school. Also I’ll heat up left over noodles for her.
    My oldest daughter is pretty much just a ham sandwich type of person. She makes her own lunch so it’s her own fault if she doesn’t like it! 🙂

    • 15. Era  |  Monday, September 28, 2009 at 1:37 pm

      Yeah, I might have to invest in some lunchtime technology. I don’t want to give too much in the way of “food” because I only have so many ideas and I need to save those for dinner, lol. 🙂

  • 16. S. Le  |  Monday, September 28, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    I do NOT brown bag because I need to get away from work for awhile. I also get tired of preparing food.

    Husband DOES brown bag and I pack it for him. He doesn’t get bored with it because he feels lucky if he even has time to eat during a work day.

    • 17. Era  |  Monday, September 28, 2009 at 4:16 pm

      I hear ya. I also get tired of preparing food.

  • 18. Doraz  |  Monday, September 28, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    Well, both of my boys are in college and they want me to still make their lunches! I am too good! 😦 I try to get them to buy it at school, but they are not interested in waiting in line! Oh well, that is fine with me! 🙂

    • 19. Era  |  Monday, September 28, 2009 at 5:12 pm

      Yeah, my eigth grader is the same way. She says if they wait in line, there’s hardly any time to eat it anyway!

  • 20. Dennis the Vizsla  |  Monday, September 28, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    Eh, I usually manage with a sandwich and chips brought from home myself!

    • 21. Era  |  Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 12:33 am

      That’s good enough for me.

  • 22. Hannah  |  Monday, September 28, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    Oh, Man. I totally hear you! I think one of my top ten Secret Reasons I Homeschool has to be “So I don’t have to pack lunches.” It’s hard enough one day a week for co-op! Even at home, we totally get in a rut. Sometimes I just wish we could skip from breakfast to dinner. Or just graze all day.
    Have you heard of Laptop Lunches? It’s a very cool lunchbox that divides your foods into little compartments (like a bento box). Maybe that would inspire some creativity?

    • 23. Era  |  Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 12:35 am

      “I think one of my top ten Secret Reasons I Homeschool has to be So I don’t have to pack lunches.” Lol, so I’m not the only one who doesn’t care for the task. Thanks for the suggestion, I will look into the laptop lunches.

  • 24. emmap  |  Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 3:23 am

    well, seeing as I’ve got “lunch lady arms” (Flabby!) i feel somewhat of an expert on the matter. lol! ok, I DO have a picky child. And we do all sorts of things which are really just variations of the old standby’s (“pb&J” and the “cheese sandwich”.) One they love is the cheese quesadilla. Quickly spread cheese on flour tortilla, fold in half, melt in microwave AT HOME beforehand, cut into wedges and wrap. My kids don’t mind that they are not piping hot by the time lunch rolls around. We’ve also done PB&Honey, PB in Saltines (mini “sandwiches”), Saltines with pepperoni slices (our “homemade lunchables”), PB&J “roll-ups” (PB on tortilla, topped with jelly, rolled up, cut into slices), PB & Powdered sugar roll ups(also with tortillas… just with powderd sugar instead of jam). Oh, and sometimes, if it is on sale, I will get a jar of cheese whiz, and they will add that to their “pepperoni-cracker sandwiches”. Oh, and if I make french toast on a sunday morning, I cut leftovers into strips, dust with powdered sugar and place them in sandwich bags My kids love that for lunch too! Anyway… like I said, just variations on the old standby’s..

    • 25. Era  |  Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 6:20 am

      You mean we have the same arms?! We’ve been using lots of tortillas lately and they like that variation so far. The french toast stix sound like a cool idea.

  • 26. emmap  |  Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 3:24 am

    oh, graham crackers wth pb & honey is good and also, my daughter loves graham crackers with cream cheese and strawberry jam! she says it sort of tastes like cheesecake!

    • 27. Era  |  Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 6:22 am

      That sounds yummy! I never thought of graham crackers.

  • 28. Gary  |  Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 11:56 am

    My boys are perfectly content with buying their lunch at school for a few dollars a day each. It can get expensive but not having to remind them EVERY DAY to pack a lunch is nice. I would have to pack my youngest’s lunch because he is too little. I guess you could say I’m a little spoiled because they will eat pretty much anything you put in front of them. 🙂

    • 29. Era  |  Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 1:04 pm


  • 30. Jean Has Been Shopping  |  Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 12:48 am

    I’ve been packing the same lunch for my daughter for 2 years; cheese sandwich, carrot sticks, raisins, and apple juice. I have a little ice bag that keeps most of it chilled. On Fridays, her school has fast-food delivered, so she usually signs up for that.

    • 31. Era  |  Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 12:55 am

      Consistency – I like it. I stopped packing snacks because I realized no one was eating them. One of my daughters took over lunch when my dad was hospitalized and she would pack either, fruit of cut veggies to go with the sandwich. She became discouraged after she realized her siblings wouldn’t eat the snack that she so lovingly packed. It’s not that we don’t make an effort. It’s just that no one eats it, lol


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