When my daughter started her new pre-K school earlier this month, our family embarked on a whole new journey. We not only have a new creative curriculum for our little preschooler but we also now have “school nights” complete with special school night rules (still in the process of being determined). In all honesty, we basically have a whole new way of life. We now have two places to stop and drop off children in the morning and we also have two sets of school/daycare rules and policies to consider.

Believe it or not, one of the biggest adjustments that I am trying to figure out is not how to rework our drop-off schedule but rather it’s what to pack in my oldest daughter’s lunchbox. Our daycare has always been willing and happy to heat up my kids’ lunches which is convenient because the possibilities for lunch menus was endless… grilled cheese, leftover rice, chicken nuggets, etc. etc. etc. However, it is the policy of my oldest daughter’s new school that lunches should be essentially “ready to eat,” meaning that I have to send her with what we all know and remember as the classic brown bag lunches from our youth.

Here’s the problem. I am finding it to be a bit of a challenge to come up with a diverse menu for my daughter’s lunches. I have about three or four “main menu” items that my daughter will eat regularly but that’s about it. We do ham and cheese sandwiches, mini bagels and cream cheese or jelly, and PBJ sandwiches. I’ve tried pasta salad but that was a failure and I just feel awful sending her with the same lunches week after week. My daughter is not an extremely fussy eater but she is kind of hit or miss. Some days she will eat sliced up raw cucumbers and other days, she will not touch them. This presents an added element of difficulty when trying to pack my daughter a nutritious lunch.

My husband laughs at me and thinks that I am making much ado about nothing because back when he was a kid, he claims to have eaten the same lunch every day and there is nothing wrong with that. I’ll have to check with his mother to find out for sure if this is true but either way, don’t I owe it to my daughter to at least try to come up with healthy lunch menu items that she enjoys eating? I want her to develop good eating habits and I want to make sure that she is eating enough healthy foods.

What are other preschoolers bringing for lunch? And are they actually eating what you pack?

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