zia’s lunch box

Posted on September 24th, 2014 by mountain girl  |  11 Comments »





I am about to make a confession.  Packing my first grader’s lunch at 6:30 in the morning is the happiest part of my day.  Pathetic, I know.  But very true.

Now, making breakfast for the kids is also a high point–something simple, usually a pan of oatmeal and a batch of fried potatoes.  If you’re carb-deficient, head over to our place in the morning, y’all.  We’ll load you up.  Breakfast is a happy time here, with lots of ketchup and milk and brown sugar.

Back to Zia’s lunch.  She got tired of sandwiches by about noon on the first day of school.  So I pulled out a trick I learned from Whole Foods–a little plastic container divided into four sections, filled with little munchy things.

At first it was a literal Whole-Foods knock-off.  I reused the please-do-not-reuse Whole Foods container, BPA and all.  I copied their little cubes of turkey breast, cheese cubes, organic grapes, and crackers.  Voila!  She loved it.


After the first five weeks or so, it dawned on me that I probably shouldn’t keep reusing that little BPA-laden container.  I searched all over for something with four sections that wouldn’t leak into each other.  It also had to have a lid that snapped on firmly, but one that Zia could open easily, without using up the first 15 minutes of her lunch time.  I read all the reviews and finally paid $10 for one on Amazon by Lock & Lock.  Before it even shipped, I found two of the exact same kind at Marshall’s for $4.99 each. Gah!


So now I have 3 containers, and I’m actually glad I do.  I have two to admire all day while she’s at school, because they really are so perfect.  The four little inside containers even come out for washing and drying, which I do several times a day.  Just kidding.  I’m not that crazy.

But seriously, it is a great box, and I would recommend it if you are looking for a bento box type of thing without all the tiny lids that are easy to lose or leave at school.


So every morning bright and early, I fill a container with four types of munchies, usually changing an item or two each day.  I try to switch things out before she gets bored and something comes home uneaten.

I start with a protein: turkey, pepperoni, or chicken breast from a whole roast chicken.  I add some fruit: grapes, peaches, a plum, apple slices.  Add an ever lovin’ carb: Late July mini crackers ‘n cheese, Pirate’s Booty, Garden of Eatin’ chips.

Then another carb, just because I can.  An Oreo knock-off from Whole Foods, ginger snaps, pink star cookies from the health foods co-op.  All so good for you, since they are organic.  Never mind they are popped and puffed and processed and then soaked in sodium and cooked in corn oil.


Then a little something extra on the side–a few sheets of roasted seaweed, a package of gummies.  Not real Gummy Bears, of course, but the healthy kind–organic, with evaporated cane juice as the first ingredient instead of sugar.  I’m sure it makes a HUGE difference, and it’s all because I’m such a great mom!  Zia also loves plain yogurt sweetened with stevia, so I fill a little container and add a swirl of honey.

Pack it all into a My Little Pony lunch box, add a couple of mermaid ice packs and a tiny animal-shaped fork, and there you have it–love in a box.  My favorite part of the day, come and gone.  Give the box a kiss and send the kid to school.


Caleb is easy–he makes his own lunch or takes leftover enchiladas or lasagne.  But he’s also smart.  He’ll take a slice of leftover pizza and trade it for something better–who knows what.  One day he came home and told us he sold 3 Oreos for $5.  And they weren’t even real Oreos, snicker.

The end of the day has its own bright spot.  When the kids come in the door, I snatch the MLP lunch box and open it.  If it’s empty, victory.  If not, a barrage of questions follow.  I can’t be like the normal mother who actually cares about important things, like tests and grades and whether the kid was bullied on the playground or made a new friend.  I have to ask, Don’t you like crackers and cheese anymore?  What was wrong with the grapes?  Are you already tired of chicken?  What did the kids say about your lunch?

And my heart rejoices when I hear that her friend tried to eat all the seaweed, and another friend wanted her Red Hot Blues corn chips, and someone else longed for the Pirate’s Booty.  And everybody loved the tiny animal forks.  Let the poor kids be jealous, with their soggy sandwiches.


Clearly, I need help.  Maybe my problem is that I never had a lunch box of my own, or that in my subconscious I always wanted tiny animal forks, or maybe I just never got enough food when I was a kid.  (None of the above is actually true, LOL.  I’m pretty sure I even had a lunch box, although I was home schooled.)

Or maybe I just love my little girl and want her to have a great lunch.  And I think she usually does–with extras to bribe the teachers for good grades, stuff a bully’s mouth with seaweed, and hand out pink star cookies to make some new friends.

See?  I really do care about the important things, after all. 🙂

11 Responses to “zia’s lunch box”

  1. Lyssa says on :

    You are a wonderful mother, whether you pack Zia’s lunch box with cute goodies or not, simply because you care so much for your children : ) But I will say that the lunch options you give her are freakin’ adorable!!! I’m sure she loves it! I would certainly love to have a sweet lunch like that to take anywhere.

  2. mountain girl says on :

    Thanks! 🙂

  3. MOM & DAD says on :

    P.S. $5 for 3 oreo cookies…..:):):)

  4. Mimi says on :

    Great little lunches,Doll and reminds me of the small platter surprise Jacques (Mia’s younger bro’) arranged for Papa and me yesterday – gourmet style but same idea and with love….and looks like Caleb’s in business…hahaha! Love, Mimi

  5. mountain girl says on :

    That sounds yummy!

  6. mountain girl says on :

    Yup, he’s definitely making a profit (since we’re paying for his cookies). I’d just better not hear he’s spending $5 on some other kid’s 3 cookies! 🙂

  7. appleshoe says on :

    Those are all great ideas. Panda is on a food strike so I am dutifully copying all these down and adding them to my ‘Panda’s food bucket ideas’. I have a yummy muffin recipe I’m working on. I’ll let you know when it’s done. It has spinach, zucchini, apples, carrots, and bananas in it. Be well.

  8. mountain girl says on :

    I can’t even tell you how many times we’ve had food strikes around here. They are usually followed by an I’m-starving-give-me-something-ANYTHING-to-eat phase, so hang in there! He is is probably too busy going through a growth spurt to eat right now, but he will. Can’t wait to get that muffin recipe!

  9. Cassie says on :

    I’m still following along. But since I use a reader it’s not as easy to comment. Actually, I just found it was much easier than I thought… So, that being said I love the compartment boxes. I don’t need to make to-go lunches yet (however, we do have a daughter now, Iva, 17months old!) and I am constantly trying to figure out foods she will eat while being healthy and nutrient sense. Especially now that I have total say & control over what she eats… Other than paper and random things she finds on the floor 😉

  10. mountain girl says on :

    It’s great to hear from you, Cassie! Congrats on your daughter, a little late. 🙂 Iva is a cool name. I remember being really good with only feeding Zia healthy foods (I had a conniption fit when someone gave her a tortilla when she was about one). I’ve loosened up a lot, sadly, and feed them tortillas and other white flour products. It got harder when she got older since I’m the only health freak in the family, and she always wanted Dadda’s food. 🙁 Keep it up as long as you can! (And I think eating off the floor can be great for their immunity, as long as it’s organic stuff like bugs, lol.)

  11. Jennifer Miller says on :

    Have you seen the blog 100daysofrealfood.com? (100 days of real food) She does a few posts on her lunches that they fix for her daughters and I get inspired by them when she does post. We aren’t to the school lunch stage yet, but we’ve got the mini lunch boxes ready to go!