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ideas please for sack lunches that are...

not sandwiches. Pasta salads maybe. I need ideas. My son doesn't like sandwiches and he does not have access to a microwave so it has to be something he can eat cold or room temp. Thanks.

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  1. Of course Pasta is always good..
    how about wraps, fried chicken, calzones, orange chicken (microwave in the morning so that it is not freezing when you eat it later in the day)
    How old is your son?

    1. how about a good thermos?
      they can keep foods hot for a long time...
      such as a soup or stew...or any hot dish that can fit in one?

      or cold dishes also....

      1. my daughter is 12 and we have the same issue... we pack all the time because school food stinks!
        some ideas we do:
        tortellini "kebabs" toss cooked tortellini with olive oil and basil, skewer with grape tomatoes and little mozzarella balls
        Melon and Proscuitto (expensive, you can do ham too)
        Veggies and hummus
        savory muffins (ham & swiss, cheddar and smoked turkey)
        Pizza pockets-stromboli's - store bought bread dough (or myo) fill with meat/veggie/cheese combo of your choice, bake and serve at room temp
        Chicken salad
        tuna/pasta salad
        Freeze a juice box or pouch and use that to keep things cool (or if he's a 'big guy' you can buy one of those reusable freezer packs) they're so helpful

        5 Replies
        1. re: cgarner

          my son is 5.
          Where can I get a good thermos to keep food warm? He would love that.

          1. re: lilmomma

            Try the camping section of Wal-Mart. there's an excellent stainless steel one there, that's cheaper than the ones in the section that has all the thermoses and stuff, and it's not too big, which is perfect for a 5 year old

            1. re: lilmomma

              sports authority..
              camping/back to school section of walmart/target/kmart.......
              the container store even probably has something...

              my wife uses a built ny bag (they are neoprene..fold easy and wash easy)
              and an insulated container for her lunches...

              theres lots more options than your standard lunchbox nowadays...

              1. re: lilmomma

                I have a soup-bowl kind of thing (it even has a spoon hidden in the lid) for my kids' lunches--I got it online, from (I think) Aladdin. Microwave it for a minute with the lid off and it's still warm at lunchtime. I pack mac cheese, other pastas, rice and beans, whatever.

                1. re: lilmomma

                  Target also has thermoses and lunch boxes. LL Bean has some cute kid-friendly lunch boxes too.

              2. I have a "lunch center" set up in my fridge for cold stuff and little containers of other stuff in a cabinet for easy to pack lunches. There are so many things that are made for single serve use now it makes things alot easier. A few examples are:

                Celery with either the individual Jif peanut butters or the individual sized Philly cream cheese.

                From Safeway in their produce section they have a selection of about 10 different types of salad that come with dressing and a fork. The ingredients to the salad are in different compartments in the bowl. There's chicken ceaser salad, spinich dijon salad, cobb, southwestern, chef etc... (you get the picture). They are all under 300 calories and for the convenience factor (packaging, just grab and go and no dishes to do afterwards or remember to bring home) it's worth it.

                I also buy the large bags of snow peas, snap peas and carrots and use those little snack size ziplock bags and repackage everything when I get home from the store.

                I also buy the Bumble Bee tuna kits (mayo and relish already mixed in) comes with crackers.

                The other things I pack are the baby bell cheeses or the other cheeses (the soft ones that are packaged in a circular pack and contain little foil triangles - they have about 5 different flavors). As with the veggies, I open up a pack of crackers and make little baggies of crackers - again - grab and go.

                1. cheese meat and crackers with fruit and veggies would be a great idea. milk is a great well balanced drink if it can remain cold. peanut butter and apples with cheddar cheese is a nice combo. chicken kabobs with veggies and rice? Do kids eat things like that?

                    1. I prefer grain salads to pasta. farro, barley spelt, kamut, wheatberries, rices, bulgur all make great salads with bits of meat, veggies.

                      1. Does a lettuce wrap count as a sandwich, the crunch is yummy.
                        Sushi, summer rolls (rice paper) and any number of rice rolls (California roll) comes to mind
                        Cold sesame noodles with veggies is a nice change from a more traditional salad
                        Fruit cup with yogurt
                        Breadless deli meat sandwiches; roll salami, provolone and a pickle together!
                        Pickled veggies
                        Rice salad
                        Even cereal & milk works!

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: HillJ

                          Breadless deli meat sandwiches; roll salami, provolone and a pickle together!
                          my kid loves "rollies"... that's a once a week "MUST HAVE" for us

                          1. re: cgarner

                            Aren't they the best! We call em cigars! Lots of examples..and when we would pack the kids in the car for camping trips a real "look for" snack!

                          2. re: HillJ

                            Lettuce wraps are the best, particularly with something like chicken or tuna salad.

                            1. re: MandalayVA

                              ..or shrimp...lobster...grilled chicken...LOL...can you tell I'm hungry!

                          3. My little one isnt a big bread eater but he loves cracker sandwiches.

                            A big thing I see for little ones around here are the sectioned lunchboxes that you can put several little things into.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: LaLa

                              Like a bento box, right? I use bento boxes for portion control :)

                            2. I pack lunches for my 3 year old to have at day care and he doesn't go for sandwiches either.

                              Instead of a thermos try a Ms. Bento:

                              The compartments provide a lot of flexibility, and when properly prepared the food stays warm (though I have to say, not piping hot) until lunchtime. I generally give him some combination of pasta/veggies/dumplings/fruit/chicken/etc.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Ladycale

                                Plenty of bento box choices for young children in the under $5.00 category. That beauty you linked is pricey for a simple sack lunch. More like this:


                                1. re: HillJ

                                  Perhaps, but since the Ms Bento is insulated I can keep cold food cold and warm food warm (as opposed to room temperature)

                                  1. re: Ladycale

                                    It's a lovely set. I like the one alliegator recommended as well. When I was a Mom with young children I was more inclined to spend $ on the food not a container...but choices didn't exist like they do now either.

                              2. yes ..and a 5 yo is probably going to want a star wars..iron man..spiderman etc etc..whichever is hot at the moment theme..

                                1. Lots of good ideas. Some popular sack lunch items chez moi are fried rice, bean burritos, chili mac (in a thermos in cooler weather), mini bagels and cream cheese, yogurt with fruit and granola. My kids tend to like leftovers for lunch, including stirfries, curry over rice, cold pizza, etc.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: tcamp

                                    Agree on the burritos -- I have a thermos and microwave the burrito in the morning, fits in the thermos perfectly. Or I take refried beans and wrap them in tortillas, heat them, and put them in the (preheated with hot water) thermos. My daughter is also fond of oatmeal, with a little container of brown sugar to sprinkle on the top, soup (with crackers in another container), beans and rice, and greek yogurt, with a little squeeze bottle of honey. She likes having lunches where there's something to put together or mix, she likes feeling judicious like a little cook herself; gets very excited when we pack the lunches together in the morning.

                                    1. re: pointybird

                                      Sounds to me like the next generation of 'Hounds is coming along very nicely. Good on ya, pointybird!
                                      Things that worked for us:
                                      Baked chicken legs or wings (drumettes portions) in teriyaki, sweet/sour, or light bbq glaze. Fried chicken drumsticks.
                                      Tuna-stuffed deviled eggs; shrimp works great too.
                                      Vegetarian potstickers with little dipping sauces.
                                      Lavash, spread with herbed cream cheese and layered w/ meat and veg, rolled and cut into pinwheels. SandwichY, but not a sammie proper. Kids do like them.
                                      Bowtie pasta tossed with kidney beans and vinaigrette - disappeared by the bowlful in these parts
                                      Salads of any kind, tomatoes and liquidy ingredients and dressing packed separately
                                      Thermoses (I see that discussion is ongoing, and I'll add my .2c with Heck Yeah, they're a great investment.) full of chicken potpie soup, chili, chicken and noodles, veg. beef, veg. noodle and just veg. soups, some pureed, some not. White chicken chili was an astronomical hit.
                                      Pasties, or anything not on bread (but in crust was fine) but with a sandwich filling. Empanadas got great reviews too.
                                      Fruit salad and yogurt, nuts to sprinkle atop
                                      Tuna-salad stuffed tomatoes and cucumber boats

                                  2. I got a tiffin for my exchange student last year. She loved it and then some of her friends starting ordering them. I'd put rice, cut up grilled meat, and some steamed veggies in with a packet of sauce. I felt good knowing she had a decent meal to get her through the afternoon. And she had a funky accessory thast sparked a lot of conversations.
                                    Maybe rice isn't the best idea for a 5 year old, but chunks of meat and veg would be ideal. And You could put stickers on to personalize it.

                                    1. Here are some ideas of things: I hope I'm not repeating any.

                                      Potato Salad (German, southern style, dill and mustard ) etc.

                                      Salsa and or Guacamole and Chips / hummus and pita

                                      This Mexican Corn recipe I eat hot or cold - http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                      Chicken Ceasar Salad or Taco Salad

                                      Tuna or Chicken Salad with crackers tomatoes and cheese.

                                      Cold Pizza or you could do pita bread, with provolone and pepperoni with a pizza dipping sauce.

                                      Cobb Salad

                                      California rolls or the deconstructed version here http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                      I like the idea of kabobs in a cold rendition

                                      deli meat rolls with cream cheese - lay down the meats of your choice down on a cutting board over lapping. and then spread a thin layer of cream cheese on the meat. Roll it up, the cream cheese helps the roll stick together.

                                      My mom used to make Kielbasa for dinner and I would always eat the left over cold dipped in a little mustard and some pretzels

                                      Peanut butter to dip pretzel sticks, crackers, celery, banana and apple slices.