The Lunchbox Challenge ~ $25 Walmart Giveaway

Pre-K presents a new challenge — the lunchbox. And oh boy is it a challenge. This is the first year my girl will stay at school through lunch and from school restrictions to feeding a slow eater who loves sweets, I am concerned about filling her lunch with everything she needs to keep her healthy and full.

I have been feeding her lunch everyday for the past four years, why should a packed lunch be so much harder? I don’t know, but it seems daunting. Let me start with the main rules…

  • No Peanuts
  • No Grapes
  • No Lunchboxes

Yes you read that right, no lunchboxes. The school has this rule that all lunches must go into the refrigerator, but there’s not enough room in the fridge for all those lunchboxes. So instead of lunchboxes, we have to pack lunch into a gallon-size baggie. Ummmm ok.

So what to pack?

After much thought, and a lot of wandering the aisles at Super Walmart, I came up with a few go-to lunch menus to mix and match throughout the year. I think these menus will meet requirements set forth by my daughter (desert included), myself (healthy) and the school (above). What do you think?

Back to School Lunch Idea

Lunch One:
Ham/Cheese rollup
Sliced Strawberries
Mott’s Snack & Go ($1.00 off Mott’s Snack and Go Applesauce pouches)
Graham Crackers

Lunch Two:
Almond Butter & Jelly Sandwich
Carrot Sticks
Del Monte Fruit Cup ($1 off any 2 Del Monte Fruit Cup Snacks)
String Cheese
Chocolate Goldfish

Lunch Three:
Chicken Salad Sandwich (her favorite)
Shelled Edamame
GoGurt ($0.75 off two Yoplait kid products)
Sliced Watermelon
Nilla Waffers

Lunch Four:
Cheese Sandwich
Wheat Thins
Mott’s Medley’s Fruit Snacks ($0.75 off 3 Fruit Snacks)
4-5 M&Ms

So there you have it, my menu plan to get the school year started. I am sure I will find that I have to adjust as the year goes on, but it looks pretty good for now.

Oh and to solve the no-lunchbox rule and prevent squished-lunch syndrome, I found Ziplock boxes with three divided compartments that fit nicely into a gallon-sized baggie leaving enough room to slip in a drink. Plus the box doubles as a plate to eat from, a major score. Next, I decided to dress up that boring gallon-sized baggie and put a smile to my daughter’s face (and a little color to an ordinary bag) with the help of a few bright sharpies. (Nope I am not an artist, but it makes her smile!)

Lunch Baggie

GIVEAWAY – Walmart wants to challenge you to put a healthy twist on lunch and give one lucky reader a $25 Walmart gift card to help you stock up on lunchbox necessities.

To enter – Please use the Rafflecopter form below to take advantage of your entry opportunities.

MANDATORY ENTRY MUST BE LEFT AS COMMENT ON BLOG POST BELOW– then you can check off in Rafflecopter that you did it. Otherwise, all other entries will be invalid. (Click instructions for what to comment about.)

*** PLEASE be sure to read instructions in Rafflecopter form as to what to comment about.***

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure – I was provided a gift card and a gift card is being provided to the winner, however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

244 thoughts on “The Lunchbox Challenge ~ $25 Walmart Giveaway”

  1. We are facing a similar challenge this year in preK with the added monkey wrench that lunches have to be “kosher style,” i.e., no mixing milk with meat and no pork. Nuts are also verboten. I send a turkey sandwich on goldfish bread almost every day, usually with a bag of pretzels, a dish of fruit salad (I buy premade at publix) or a buddy fruit pouch and either a water bottle or juice pouch (I like honest kids). Some days I send a cup of hummus with carrot sticks for dipping. If I send a dairy lunch, it’s yogurt, fruit, pretzels and string cheese.

  2. My son eats everything so I never had to deal with the picky eater syndrome. But here are some big hits for him. Cheese stick with ham rolled around it. Sliced apples or any other type of fruit. (since he loves fruit he usually asked for 2 fruits). Goldfish or wheat thins. We did not do dessert at school. He never had time to eat it. He got his dessert when he came home.

  3. Core out an apple and fill it with tuna salad. It looks pretty, is unique, and it’s healthy! You can put it in its own baggie, and it should hold up fine.

  4. My daughter is an extremely picky eater due to sensory issues, although she is trying new things as she ages. She will not eat bread so I do ham or turkey roll ups as a main meal cut in small pieces and threaded on toothpicks, usually a bag of chips or cheese crackers, some gummies and another sweet or snack. She also loves soup heated and put in a thermos. Lately she has liked the small lunchables minus the cheese.

  5. My son loves ants on a log made with Sunbutter (instead of peanut butter, due to allergies) and just about anything else raisin. Little boxes of raisins on their own are always a big hit too!

  6. My son likes whole wheat pasta salad with grilled chicken breast and fresh veggies. And I always add fresh fruits to his lunchbox

  7. Almond (or other non-peanut) butter with banana chunks to dip or spread is an idea my little grand-daughter likes. Another is a home-made trail mix she calls “Cranberries and Almonds” (it had dried cranberries and almonds along with oats, baked with a bit of honey. She also likes a small container of tuna or egg salad with crackers she spreads herself. Hard boiled eggs are another easy favorite.

  8. Most things that can cause allergies are out here… egg salad, cherry tomatoes (garden) , crackers and some type of fruit are always good choices. I also like to use tortilla shells instead of bread.

  9. honey wheat bread turkey or chicken sandwhich or quesadilla filled with cheese, finely chopped carrots with corn or peas or chicken fried rice with fine chopped carrots/mushrooms. cucumbers or apples as a snack.

  10. As a retired teacher, I think you should make sure your child can open and eat everything in the lunch by herself. Opening 2 or 3 things for each child in the class is exhausting for teachers who usually are on duty during their own lunch. (Teacher need a minute or 2 to eat also.) Opening milk cartons, ketchup packets, pudding and fruit cups, etc. was tough for K students and would be more so for Pre-K. You might want to take string cheese out of the wrapper and cut it in smaller pieces. Some ideas include different varieties of assorted breads, meats, cheeses, veggies, fruits, etc. On a Saturday, make a sample school lunch for your child and see if she is able to handle the different components. Your example lunches look pretty good! Best of luck!

  11. I do hard boiled eggs and a homemade zucchini muffin with some fruit. Or a tortilla spread with nutella and filled with cut up bananas and strawberries!

  12. My daughter loves to take Nutella this year on crackers or bread and fruit while it’s in season.
    Thanks, Karen
    lemontart5kb at gmail dot com

  13. I’ve been making homemade alternatives (Poptarts, “sausage bites”,etc) and adding fruit and yogurts to make things different but healthier.

  14. I like to make kabobs with meat, cheese, and vegetables served with ranch dressing for dipping along with fruit and graham crackers.

  15. With the peanut restriction, that can be tuff. But I really like your ideas. My daughter particularly likes lettuce. So I would pack her an egg salad sandwich (also a fav for her), with strawberries, lettuce leaves and some goldfish or cheez-its.

  16. Help me with healthy lunchbox ideas! What do you pack in your student’s lunchbox?

    you lost me,as a kid I wanted candy apple,twinkies and froot loops…Stick with the old ham and cheese

  17. If you have a Costco membership they have these little Aussie Bites. They’re mini muffin things that are so healthy. My son loves them and I’m ok with him eating three or four because their packed with honey, oats, fruit, sunflower seeds, and omega-3s.

  18. my kids are older now – 9,8,7 – so they get a say & usually pack up their own lunches in the morning after consulting the menu from school & deciding they rather take in lunch then eat at the cafeteria. of course I give it the final ok.

    usual lunches they take are:
    some sort of sandwich – pb, ham, chicken breast or turkey on wheat, nutella or JIF hazelnut spread with banana slices.
    a whole fruit: apple, banana, pear or peach
    sliced fruit: kiwi, strawberries, melon or pineapple
    Cheese sticks & veggie for snack time (usually they eat this while they wait for me to pick up from after school program): carrot sticks with pb, cucumbers or broccoli florets
    drink: some sort of juice pouch/box or water bottle
    To keep it fun for them & jazz things up every now & then I’ll toss in some jello or rice pudding.
    & of course I always put in a love note to each one ^.^

  19. My daughter is also 4. I am very focused on healthy lunches and here’s some things my daughter adores:
    1. Guacamole- gotta love those little single serving pouches.
    2. Hummus
    3. Whole Wheat pasta- she loves it plain.
    4. Baby carrots
    5. Cold cauliflower and cold broccoli.
    6. Black olives
    7. Chick peas- she loves them as an alternative to having hummus so much.
    8. Rice balls- when rice is still warm form them into little balls. They work great in a lunch as they can just pop them in their mouths.

  20. I like packing greek yogurt, berries, any veggies they will eat at the time, organic if possible, sometimes chips or a cookie that is organic.

  21. my daughter is entering middles school and while they are allowed to have lunchboxes, there is a NO peanut/peanut butter rule this year. OMGosh! PB&J are the usual lunch box dish for her! We are going to try whole wheat wraps w/ ham & cheese, mini salads fit nicely into containers like you show above, I usually put the cheese/meat in the smaller compartments, sliced cheese/pepperoni & crackers and fresh fruit.

  22. I make healthy whole grain wraps that my son loves! I make peanut butter wraps, egg wraps and chicken guacomole wraps! I use whole grain wraps! Also I give him sting cheese, carrot sticks, and fruit!

  23. Ham & cheese sandwiches, lunchables, fruit cups, yogurt, pudding, carrots or other misc. fruits & veggies, goldfish crackers, little debbies, chips, etc

  24. i pack lots of veggies, fruit, and some cheese. my kids have always loved that for lunch at school. its filling but not too filling to make them tired!

  25. Sliced fruit, cup up veggies and cheese.
    I like to also add in some sort of dip at time, even a little container of peanut butter that the kids use as a dip is a bit hit.
    Thanks so much.

  26. Crackers, sandwich meat, fruit, trail mix (I know, it would violate the school’s no peanut rule), sandwiches, hard boiled egg, tortilla roll up, fried rice, buttered pasta…

  27. Mozzarella sticks (not the fried kind), a few pieces of lean lunch meat, or a sandwich on wheat bread, some baby carrots, some kind of fruit (bananas and strawberries are a favorite)or possibly yogurt, and bottled water.

  28. We usually pack fresh fruit, cheese, and some whole grain crackers, as well as a sandwich, water or a no sugar added juice, a few veggie sticks. I occasionally put a cookie or a treat in there for them as well, the fruit leathers are great for a special treat.

  29. I usually pack a nice healthy wrap of fresh deli meat, cheese, a little ranch and lettuce as well as carrot and celery sticks, the Go Gurt yogurt tubes and a Capri Sun or bottle of water with the sugar free Kool Aid packs. Thanks so much for hosting this great giveaway!


  30. In addition to a sandwich (or sometimes leftovers from dinner), I pack some carrot sticks and a small container of Cheerios or other cereal as a snack.

    h4schaffer at gmail dot com

  31. We do apple sandwiches with peanut butter and raisins. Literally, slicing and apple sideways and making it in into “bread”.

  32. I put fresh fruit in there, they especially love apples and grapes. I put them in the green veggie bags as it keeps them fresh until lunch time, I also always use an ice pack. My kids love the new natural peanut butter and it also helps with weight control.

  33. My son is a picky eater and prefers two things, one of which is banned in school: peanut butter sandwiches and cheese sandwiches. As such, my options are unfortunately limited….

  34. Fruit and veggies, and sandwiches using fun cookie cutter cutouts. So many snack packs now and individual servings, it really helps.

  35. We pack yogurt with frozen fruit to keep it safe.
    And we use lean protein for our sandwiches like turkey chicken or tuna.
    Thank you.

  36. We pack similar items as common lunches include a variety of fruit, veggies, and sandwiches. The little rice cake minis make great low calorie snacks. For a different and fulfilling snack I highly recommend Quaker Rice Cakes. They have a variety of flavors. You can pack one big rice cake that is usually around 35-60 calories each or portion out the smaller rice cakes. They have different flavors between the huge ones and the quakes.

  37. Well, I don’t have a student but I know from experience with my nieces that kids love to dip things. Plain yogurt with fruit to dip, peanut butter with carrots and celery to dip and marinara (with extra veggies pureed and hidden inside) with cheese and crackers to dip seem like some sensible ways to get them eating healthy stuff and enjoying lunch at the same time.

  38. We love to make wraps together! We’ve gotten pretty creative with what we put inside. the current favorite is apples, raisens, and peanut butter.

  39. I have a hard time as well…I do make a lot of wrap sandwhiches…pb&j in a wrap indtead of bread..although You can not use peanuts I see. This is just one of the things I do

  40. Afraid I am not too much help– no kids in school, but do have a grandson that packs his lunch for work. He normally takes ready to eat veggie soup, yogurt, some sandwich materials, etc. The hardest things to get him to take is fruit, which is always available. Most of his items are not suitable for a small child, largely because he does have a microwave to heat things up.

  41. I don’t have kids, but I try to pack my hubby’s lunch for him in a healthy way. Today he got a large mixed green salad with whole grain croutons, organic Italian salad dressing, ice water, strawberry fruit leathers, pumpkin spice mixed nuts, and a small bag of tortilla chips!

  42. I don’t have to pack lunches for my kids (yet), but when I do next year, I will probably pack an Uncrustable, fruit of some sort, and some graham crackers or mini-cookies. If peanut butter isn’t allowed at Rylie’s school, then I’m screwed. LOL

  43. My daughter always liked sandwiches on different kinds of bread and rolls… kept it from being so boring. 🙂 A favorite was Hawaiian Sweet Dinner Rolls.
    Katharina angelsandmusic[at]gmail[dot]com


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