FOOD

School lunch ideas and our favourite lunch boxes by PlanetBox

When we lived in London, the children were able to eat lunch prepared and served by their school. We were lucky that the school’s lunch options were mostly good and healthy, and we didn’t have to think or worry about what they would be eating at lunch time. (Thinking about it now, I don’t think we realised how lucky we had it — not having to plan and prepare school lunches!)

So it was a big change for us when our children started school here in Australia and we were told we had to send our children to school with their own packed lunch every day.  It added a whole new element of work each morning before school, not to mention the planning that goes into grocery shopping and meal making.

This past January, at the start of the school year, we set out to find the perfect lunch boxes when a friend told me about the PlanetBox stainless steel lunch boxes.  What appealed to us the most about these lunch boxes, apart from the fact they’re sturdy, stainless steel and dishwasher safe, is that they have individual compartments which eliminate the need for extra packaging or plastic. No need for plastic baggies, no need for cling film around sandwiches, etc.

We also got the insulated carry bag for each of their lunch boxes because it keeps their lunches cool, which was especially important during the super hot summer months here in Australia.

Michael has taken his job of school-lunch-maker very seriously, and after some trial and error (is there anything more frustrating than getting your child’s lunch box back full?!!) we’ve managed to find a good rotation of lunches the kids really love. Some of their favourites are: Vietnamese summer rolls (which admittedly take a bit of time and prep in the morning, but the kids LOVE them), pasta salad, cheese sandwiches with chutney dip, a mini tuna can with good bread and pickles, falafel balls with hummus dip, cold frittata (cooked the night before), and any left-over dinner options we have in the fridge (pasta, lasagna, pizza, etc.).

We’d love to hear what sort of things you put in your kids’ lunch boxes! Please do share.

Courtney x


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Comments (38)

hungry
May 12, 2017

Oh so been meaning for a post like this!! I’m not much help. Just groaning thinking of packing lunches for fussy kids. Any other suggestions for boxes and bags? The bento box style lunches looking good 🙂


Mrs. Georgilis Eftychia
May 12, 2017

Sushi is my eldest daughters favourite pack lunch


Danni
May 12, 2017

In Finland the children are served a warm lunch meal in school every day. Luckily no need to prepare lunch boxes here,


Stephanie
May 12, 2017

My son really loves quesadillas in his lunch. It seems a little strange to me as a cooled off quesadilla doesn’t sound great, but he loves them!
Sausage, cheese and crackers is another easy favorite.


Meg
May 12, 2017

Almost $90 for a lunchbox?!? Gracious. Several options exist for the elimination of cling film and baggies. But, this seems incredibly extravagant.


Allison
May 13, 2017

We like the stainless steel ones by LunchBots which are a little more affordable and have several different sizes and compartment configurations.

My daughter loves mini muffins (I make them with spinach or sweet potato or roasted squash mixed in and freeze them). I also make homemade energy balls in a big batch occasionally and freeze them. I do lots of mixed lunches with different things in each of 4 sections: a small sandwich, mini muffins, crackers and cheese, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, or carrot sticks, leftovers like pasta salad, little meatballs, hummus or yoghurt in a little leak proof pot, nuts and raisins, berries, olives and pickles. Sometimes I will put in cereal in a section with coconut flakes and dried cranberries. For us, a “dim sum” type lunchbox with a variety of small bites is much more likely to be fully eaten than a single sandwich type lunch (which is the norm here in Holland). I find it easiest to make lunch the night before and have it ready in the fridge for morning. Having a few bits prepped to grab like stuff in the freezer or a stash of sliced veggies makes it quite quick.


Courtney in Australia
May 15, 2017

Thanks for your tip, Allison! I love the idea of preparing the lunches the night before. That would definitely make our mornings easier! x


Eva
May 13, 2017

Meg, they are not cheap but definitely worth the money. Our PlanetBox is 6 years old and still looks like new, and my son is not kind to his things. If you sign up for updates they have sales few times a year (for Earth day was 22%off).
We have LunchBots too but rarely use it.


Sherry
May 18, 2017

While I totally agreed with you at first Meg. It’s actually not that bad when you break it down to how many years they will have this lunch box. I don’t know about you but I was still bringing a sack lunch in high schoool so that’s 13 years of lunch making. That’s about $7 a year. Not so bad in my book 🤗🤗


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Emma
May 12, 2017

Hi Courtney
This is a super post thank you so much for the fresh ideas. Michael looks like a super chef!
Do you have any lunch ideas for adults at home with babies? It is hard when you get stuck in a rut with it all but want to still keep things interesting.
Love following all the new addition snaps – has made me excited for our little boy arriving in July.
Emma x


Courtney in Australia
May 15, 2017

Hi Emma,
Thanks for your sweet comment. How exciting – a baby boy arriving soon!

For lunch, Michael and I usually eat left-overs from the previous night. Or, we do open-faced toasted sandwiches with roasted veggies. I’ll have a think about ideas and see if I can gather enough for a blog post. 🙂 xx


Jennifer
May 13, 2017

Great post! I think we all love to hear lunch and dinner suggestions to keep things fresh with our families! It really helps hearing how other people do things. I serve a lot of similar items you mentioned, quiches filled with greens, bacon and a good raw cheese, hard boiled eggs, a good snack we make weekly is dates, walnuts/almond/or pecans, cacao, pumpkin and sunflower seeds- buzzed up for a minute in food processor- it creates a brownie like snack- high protein and iron. fresh ham cooked prior and sliced for sandwiches with a good mustard and greens. meatloaf sandwiches. 🙂 xox


Courtney in Australia
May 15, 2017

Hard boiled eggs are another favourite for my kids too! Love the idea of that healthy brownie-like snack. Yum! x


Paula
May 13, 2017

Can you tell us how you make the summer rolls, they look yummy, I think my little girl might like me to make these x


Courtney in Australia
May 15, 2017

I’ll ask Michael to write down the steps so I can share them with you! x


Esther in Amsterdam
May 17, 2017

Would love to see how Michael makes them, but in the meantime I remember this post I wrote a while ago: http://babyccinokids.com/blog/2013/05/29/vietnamese-style-rice-paper-rolls/ xx


Paula
May 13, 2017

How do you make the summer rolls? X


Kim
May 13, 2017

I’m a fan of the planetboxes & all three kids have them now. They are expensive but tough & easy to clean, unlike others we have tried. I fill them up with lots of chopped fruit & raw veg, some crackers or corn chips, a healthy cookie or slice of cake, a date, and anything else I have in the fridge (cold pizza or pasta, hummus, quiche). Sometimes I add a sandwich on the side. Highly recommended lunchbox. Kim x


Courtney in Australia
May 15, 2017

I agree about the quality and easy-to-clean factor of the lunch boxes. A worthwhile investment! x


Lisa
May 15, 2017

Yum yum …. I have lunch bots Ans I like it too for same reason – only thing is a bit shallow – I can’t fit a plum in or other foods I can’t think of . tht little tuna cartons above are so handy -except my kids do my eat tuna ! Sliced up carrot / cucumber r / apple and brown bread toasted with butter melted ( cold when he eats it ) is a staple ….. oh ans banana bread – there are some good recipes with little sugar .


Courtney in Australia
May 15, 2017

Love these tips! We also occasionally do banana muffins (I’ve found that the banana bread in muffin form works better in their lunch boxes). xx


Helena
May 15, 2017

Is this sponsored, or did you spend 400 bucks on lunchboxes for your kids?


Courtney in Australia
May 15, 2017

This post is not sponsored. I would have mentioned if it was, as we always do.
When seeking lunch boxes for the kids, we wanted the very best quality ones so we wouldn’t have to replace them. (With five kids, I’ve learned that if I’m going to buy something, I should buy the best quality so it lasts and I can pass it down.) I have a few friends who use these lunch boxes so they were highly recommended to us. We’ve used other types of bento-box-style lunch boxes that weren’t as good of quality. For example, the lids on some of the other ones we’ve tried would occasionally pop off. We liked these ones because they stay closed, are easy to wash, and just generally work really well.


Fiona
May 15, 2017

Very much agree with Meg, and would also like to know the answer to Helena’s question. Can’t believe this is considered the only/best way to avoid waste. Please, ladies – a bit more creativity and common sense!


Sofia
May 16, 2017

Ditto!


Julia
May 17, 2017

Yep $90 is insane for a lunch box and what happens when they get lost!?


Julia
May 17, 2017

You have not included the most common lunch of them all here… a vegemite sandwich!! Sandwiches, rolls and wraps are the most popular in our household. I wake up many morning to the smell of bacon as my secondary schooler is up early and loves to pack himself a BLT!


paula
May 18, 2017

Im all for spending money on good quality items, just bought one of these boxes Courtney, cant wait to give it a try, thankyou for the recommendation. In your last photo you show some small pretty looking biscuits, can you share what they are and from where? Thankyou. X


Courtney in Australia
May 18, 2017

Hi Paula,
Thanks for the comment.
The biscuits are the Anna’s Swedish Thins: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anna's_Swedish_Thins. We love them in our house. We don’t put biscuits in their lunch very often, but occasionally we put a couple of these in for a little surprise.
x


Paula
May 19, 2017

Thankyou Courtney, where can I buy them? X


Courtney in Australia
May 19, 2017

We buy them from our local IGA grocery store. I don’t think they’re too difficult to track down… x


Harriet
May 22, 2017

After a year of fiddling around with 3-4 separate tupperwares per lunch box and endlessly searching for lids every morning, I plan to invest in these for the next school year.
I find it so hard not to make PBJs every day as they are the only sandwiches that get eaten. Perhaps I’ll try and introduce these delicious looking summer rolls.


Claire
May 25, 2017

Would also love to see a recipe for these summer rolls. Look delicious! Thanks


Sue
May 25, 2017

Another great brand for those wanting something cheaper is Goodbyn. Ours are almost 2 years old and are still going strong. They are plastic but have nice deep sections and you can get smaller containers to fit inside. Starting at $20 I think.

I can see where some of the other comments have come from but if someone chooses to spend $360 on something that’s used 5 days a week and 50 weeks of the year then that’s their choice. You may find value in other things but the point is, Planet Box are built to last. To each their own!


caitlin
June 5, 2017

Love this post! I’ve been looking for a lunch carry box (for myself, ha!) like this with no avail! Do you mind sharing what version this is?


June 28, 2017

[…] my recent post on school lunches, I received several requests to share our recipe for the vietnamese summer rolls my kids love so […]


maria
July 31, 2017

Thanks for the ideas.. I love seeing what other parents put in their kids lunchboxes! Can you do a post about what you feed your family for dinner? I’m so uninspired when it comes to family dinners. My kids are a wee bit fussy when it comes to unfamiliar food but in general they are pretty good eaters. It’s important we eat together as a family but sometimes I struggle with quick and easy family friendly food.


lisa
August 21, 2017

so late commenting ….but its going back to school time…I’ve looked up planet box on your reccomendation – was going to try it. My eldest is 7 – is the launch very big ? It seems that it is for adults and big kids – but then it looks like your girls use the launch planet box too?

I currently have a lunchbots bento box which we have used for over a year and will continue to be used by us but sometimes we can’t fit bigger fruit in etc.

Just trying to figure out rover vs launch planet box…

also thanks for talking about lunches – I don’t know any mothers/ dads that aren’t looking for new ideas for the lunch box!


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