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mama2two

Packing Lunch For A Picky 5 Yr Old

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My daughter is on a gluten-free diet so I send her lunch to school. Lately it's been a PB or sunflower seed butter sandwhich everyday. I did mix it up a little by using waffles to make the sandwhich this past week, but I would like to give her a little more variety. I would appreciate any suggestions. I seem to have run out of ideas. I also send her bottled water and some fruit. I don't send a big lunch because she eats slow and evidentlly they don't give them much time. As I said she is very picky, won't eat cheese, any sauce, hardly no veggies. I had been sending rolled up lunch meat, but last time I sent this she didn't eat it, maybe I can try again. Also some days I would bake chicken nuggets for her and send those, but lately she doesn't eat those. I thought it was because they were put in the container while still warm and got mushy, so I let them cool, first. Now I guess I am starting to ramble, but any suggestions would be appreciated. thanks.

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As you've discovered it is very important to cool down any breaded foods before adding them to the container.

My son's 9. Here are his lunchbox staples. He doesn't have alot of time to eat and is picky and talks alot but I try to pack a small amount of a variety of foods and colors and so far it's working for us. Little by little as he liked things we wrote it down and so this list has developed and I post it on the fridge and work off it every week, so I'm not constantly having to re-think lunch.

Rice- fried rice, rice balls

Hard boiled egg

Vegetables- My son doesn't eat alot of veggies but I'm trying to add a small amount everyday of the ones he likes-just one or two pieces and two kinds

steamed broccoli,

kabocha(Japanese pumpkin) thinly sliced, breaded, frozen and deep fried in the morning

sweet potato, a piece of a roasted one leftover from dinner or sliced and simmered(sometimes I add a little gluten-free soy sauce and a pinch of sugar to the water) or balls of mashed sweet potato

edamame(soy beans) in their pods

an occasional cherry tomato

a small slice of an ear of corn

a baby yukon gold or red potato, roasted

a chunk of roasted butternut squash

carrots cut with a mini cutter-leaf, flower etc. cut from a large carrot and placed in a container of water in the fridge or slightly cooked and frozen, remaining "waste" goes into fried rice

Main dishes

homemade breaded chicken tenders(prepped, frozen and then fried as needed)

ham slices

meatballs

hot dogs-cut like an octopus(I sometimes do these in batches and freeze in a container) or slice and sauteed in BBQ sauce

mini hamburgers without the bun, made ahead, frozen raw and defrosted, cooked as needed

leftover meatloaf

plain pasta with a little butter and chopped ham or mini meatballs, tossed in the tiniest bit of pasta sauce,

fresh fruit or jello made with unflavored gelatin and 100% juice

apple sauce

dried fruit

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I bought the Thermos brand wide mouth food jar (10 ounce size, I think). I bought the Target brand first and it was a total waste of money - didn't keep the food warm. The Thermos brand works GREAT!

Now, once a week, I send pasta. I use the Kraft Mac&Cheese powdered cheese from the blue shaker can and make it into mac&cheese but you could do it with spaghetti sauce or butter and parmesean, too. The kids have asked me to send it more often. If you use a thermos, don't forget to preheat it with hot (almost boiling) water.

I also plan on sending a hot dog this way, too, but I haven't tried it yet. I've got a rice casserole that would work, too, but we usually don't have adequate leftovers for that.

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One of our members on here makes their own homemade lunchables which sound good.

One of my coworkers has 4 children and does the same thing only with regular crackers since the cost of lunchables times 4 kids is high.

You can do apples with PB and raisins. Like a carmel apple only healthier.

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If you put a a paper towel in the thermos with the chicken nuggets they may not get so soggy.

But in general, some days my super picky kid just doesn't eat his lunch. I don't even think about it because, I know he likes it. So, for whatever reason he just didn't feel like eating much lunch that day. Kids have weird metabolisms that way. Some days they seem to live on air and some days you feel like you just need to tilt the refrigerator at them while they open their mouths...

Good luck!

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The past two years he's been eating them room temp-no thermos, just a small icey thing in his lunch box. We've been doing this since pre-school. K-2 he had microwave in the classroom so he got used to it warmed-up. It took him a little while to adjust to room temp again but now he's fine with it.

I usually warm up meatballs or meatloaf in the am if they're coming straight from the fridge, in hopes that the texture will be a little softer than if they're put in his container cold. I also also add a tiny bit of worchestershire sauce, garlic and parsley to the hamburger meat so it doesn't taste like cold beef. The potatoes are seasoned and nicely browned to add flavor too.

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Thanks. My kids don't have access to a microwave either, but so far taco salad and stirfried rice, beef or chicken and veg seem to be working okay in the thermos. We are also limited in what we can send because we are not supposed to send peanut butter.

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I've tried adding variety to my son's meal as well.....but then I finally realized that he didn't want variety! He has a sandwhich every day, and had a sandwhich every day pretty much all of last year, lol. The only thing I change it up with is brown rice tortillas, I'll also get those to make sandwhich rolls.

As far as sides go....here are a few of our staples:

Apples with peanut butter/honey

Cashews, pistachios or sunflower seeds

chips with salsa

pickles

craisins or any other dried fruit (pineapple is good too)

We use Laptop Lunches (you can find them online) to pack our lunches. These are the coolest lunchboxes ever! They make it very easy to pack a visually appealing lunch that makes kids want to dive in. Hope that helps!

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I do the homemade lunchables a bit. Glutino round crackers and then I cut the turkey the size of the cracker and send in the Kraft cracker-stacker cheese.

5 might be too young to enjoy salad, but DD also eats a spring mix salad with walnuts, fresh shredded parmesan, and Annie's gluten-free raspberry vinegarette dressing.

We do leftover taco/taco salad quite a bit, too, and soup in her Thermos (definitely heat it up before putting the soup in so it stays warm by lunchtime).

We use the Laptop Lunches lunchbox too http://www.laptoplunches.com which seems to help encourage packing fresh foods.

I've also been packing apple slices w/ caramel dip and I make home made trail mix (plain M&Ms, unsalted peanuts, raisins, sunflower seed kernels) for a snack.

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Don't overlook the cool factor in your childs lunch box. My daughter informed me that the other kids were making fun of her lunches. (She has nut allergy. And eats home lunch everyday) At that point her only lunch option was rolled lunch meat in one baggie and bread in a separate baggie. I have no idea why, but that was her favorite. Now we make home lunchables. Nacho chips and cheese. Crackers, deli meat cut into shapes, cheese occassionally and also in shapes. Sometimes cold homemade chicken nuggets. Rose apples are another favorite (Whole apple slices almost all the way through to look like a rose bud.) Snacks are fruit roll ups. And a juice box of some sort. She also loves the thermos of buttered pasta. As a perk I send in mini cupcakes every now and again too. At least her home lunches are starting to look more like the other kids and they get envious that she has cupcakes or other cool snacks.

Kid sister also brings home lunch to daycare every day. (She gluten-free/CF and shellfish allergy) They can heat the food so that is a huge help. She LOVES any meat covered in ketchup. Mainly she gets a version of left over dinner. Grilled chicken, homemade chicken nuggets, hamburger, hotdogs, pizza make up her normal lunches. She doesn't like pasta all that much. Loves fruit and some veggies.

I am working on getting both kids to like cold pizza. That is a great breakfast or lunch option for me!

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I make home made Lunchables and my kids named them 'mamables'! LOL

For my 7yr old I send in a thermous rotiserie chicken cut up and dipping sauce.

I've also make mac and cheese and heat it up just before she elaves the house.

We've done peanut butter sandwiches.

yougurt with an ice pack.

sometimes I send side of chips or a gluten-free' snack bar.

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I bought the Thermos brand wide mouth food jar (10 ounce size, I think). I bought the Target brand first and it was a total waste of money - didn't keep the food warm. The Thermos brand works GREAT!

Now, once a week, I send pasta. I use the Kraft Mac&Cheese powdered cheese from the blue shaker can and make it into mac&cheese but you could do it with spaghetti sauce or butter and parmesean, too. The kids have asked me to send it more often. If you use a thermos, don't forget to preheat it with hot (almost boiling) water.

I also plan on sending a hot dog this way, too, but I haven't tried it yet. I've got a rice casserole that would work, too, but we usually don't have adequate leftovers for that.

The Thermos brand FUNtainers come in all sorts of kid friendly designs and they stay hot for hours if filled with boiling water first. If you do hot dogs, make sure to keep them in boiling water in the FUNtainer so they stay hot. If there's a lot of air in the container, it won't keep the food hot enough. I also sometimes add cut up hot dogs or ham to macaroni and cheese.

One of our members on here makes their own homemade lunchables which sound good.

One of my coworkers has 4 children and does the same thing only with regular crackers since the cost of lunchables times 4 kids is high.

You can do apples with PB and raisins. Like a carmel apple only healthier.

The homemade lunchables idea is a good one. I generally use either rice crackers or blue diamond nut thins because they refrigerate well. This works well with lunch meat and cheese, but it also works well with nut butters and jelly, raisins, or marshmallow cream. Also, the small nacho lunchables is gluten free, or at least it used to be.

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I actually don't have a child yet (soon- I'm due in December), but my husband has celiac disease and packing his lunches can become just as much a challenge. He likes variety and it can be difficult with his lunches.

Things that have worked include: tuna salad on a bed of lettuce with a pickle, taco salad, turkey and cheese rolled up with a little bit of mustard in the middle. I have also bought some of the beans and wieners and chicken and rice containers (in the same aisle as the spaghettios). He likes that for something new. I do make him mini pizzas too on gluten free english muffins. He doesn't even have to warm those up.

Of course, I always have to have a desert such as homemade cupcakes or cookies. I find I do a lot of baking for him (mostly using potato and corn starch). Another thing, he won't eat the apple I send unless it is cut up into wedges. He's actually just a kid at heart.

Try some of those ideas. Hope it helps.

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I actually don't have a child yet (soon- I'm due in December), but my husband has celiac disease and packing his lunches can become just as much a challenge. He likes variety and it can be difficult with his lunches.

Things that have worked include: tuna salad on a bed of lettuce with a pickle, taco salad, turkey and cheese rolled up with a little bit of mustard in the middle. I have also bought some of the beans and wieners and chicken and rice containers (in the same aisle as the spaghettios). He likes that for something new. I do make him mini pizzas too on gluten free english muffins. He doesn't even have to warm those up.

Of course, I always have to have a desert such as homemade cupcakes or cookies. I find I do a lot of baking for him (mostly using potato and corn starch). Another thing, he won't eat the apple I send unless it is cut up into wedges. He's actually just a kid at heart.

Try some of those ideas. Hope it helps.

thanks for your suggestions and good luck with your baby!!

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