Creating and Implementing a Sack Lunch Chart

Last year toward the end of the year, my son fell into a lunch rut.  He only ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  While there is no arguing that peanut butter and jelly is a tasty, fairly nutritious sandwich, eating it every day leaves a bit to be desired.

Recently, Kiwi Magazine (one of those great magazines I got for only a few bucks thanks to a Mamasource deal) featured a chart for children’s lunches.  Simply list 5 to 10 main meals your child can choose from daily and then list two sides.  My son and I filled out his chart this weekend and came up with main meals such as peanut butter and jelly sandwich (of course!), tuna salad and crackers, hard boiled eggs, egg salad sandwiches, tortilla wrap sandwiches and spaghetti.  We bought a decorated thermos through another Mamasource deal, so he will now be able to take hot foods to school.

For snacks, we ended up with some homemade choices such as granola bars, homemade fruit leather and veggie sticks and some store bought ones such as veggie stick chips and pita crisps from Costco.  The other side is fruit, and I made sure to ask him what his favorites are.  We ended up with grapes, apples, strawberries and blueberries making the cut. 

Even though evenings are crazy around our house, I plan to have him help me make his lunch each night.  I am hoping having him further invested in his lunch will help ensure that he will actually eat it all and fill his body with the nutrition he needs to make it through the day.

I plan to bring back last year’s series, What’s For Lunch next week.  Meanwhile, for more lunch inspiration, feel free to look through last year’s What’s for Lunch series.

What’s your favorite food to pack the kids for lunch?  How do you keep kids excited about their sack lunches?


  1. How old is your son that you make him pack his own lunch? Just curious. I am raising three boys and that will be something they will need to be involved in at some point. Currently I have my 6 yr old attempt to help me pick out his food choices.

    • He is only 7, so he doesn’t pack his own lunch. 🙂 He just has strong opinions about what he prefers, and sometimes he helps make the lunch.

  2. My wife and I take lunches to work. Normally, we use leftovers for those lunches. Since my wife plans our meals, I know which one will not result i leftovers. On those days, I might go for the PB&J, tuna, soup or salad.

  3. What a great idea! I brown bag my lunch to “school” too (as a teacher!) and I get burned out on the same old things over and over again. Making a chart is an awesome idea. Thanks!

  4. I can’t wait to see what will be in his lunch. I sometimes use your list for ideas for my kids lunch too. Thanks for tips.

  5. I really, really need to do this. I hate that ‘standing in front of the fridge’ panic moment!

  6. Great idea – we’re trying to eat out less for lunch and this may be a system that could work for us.

  7. I have my 9- and 7-year olds make their own lunches. I hadn’t thought of a full lunch chart but have talked with my 7-year old about his ideas of what he would like in his lunch. I gave them a chart that listed out the food groups and told them I wanted representations from each group. We talk it out as they are packing. I tell them to think through if they packed enough or too much–sometimes the carrot sticks make it back home looking untouched.
    I do think their involvement in the process increases the chance of them actually eating although my 7-year old told me he would eat anything I packed for him. 🙂

    • My seven year old would eat anything, if it is peanut butter and jelly. 🙂 We run into an issue of food coming back home because the lunch hour is short, and my guy likes to talk.

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