Lovey Dovey School Lunch Ideas

The Situation

If you have primary or elementary school age children you are very familiar with the reality of having to make lunches everyday whether it is eaten at home or at school. Depending on your school district’s school calendar that could be anywhere from 175 to 190 school days a year. If you have more than one child, that can add up to having to make quite a few lunches cumulatively over time.

The Problem

I don’t know about you but I used to find it a bit stressful keeping up with the day-to-day routine of coming up with ideas for what met the qualifications of an acceptable school lunch. When you think about it, there are a lot of things to consider! It has to be nutritious, budget-friendly, green friendly, nut free (most schools have gone this direction), be able to be eaten in a lunchtime time frame, not too messy and something that your child will actually eat. For me, that was a lot of pressure to deal with.

As you know I work as a classroom teacher and one of my responsibilities is supervise students while they eat their lunch. This can be an interesting experience. I do check to make sure they are actually eating and not starting with the ‘sweets’ rather than their ‘savory’ items.  When my children were in elementary school, I used to also go around and check out everyone’s lunches for ideas for me to make at home for my children.

The Solution

I planned ahead the lunch menu for the week and I tried to make lunches a little more special around special holidays throughout the school year. It did create a little extra fuss but it did add an element of fun for me to make and for my children to eat.

Valentine’s Day is coming soon and this is a great time to put together a ‘Lovey Dovey School Lunch’! You can plan to make them for the week, a couple of days or just for the special day. Here are some ideas you might want to try!

I went to Wal-Mart but I am sure the dollar store will have these items as well and purchased a pink plastic tablecloth that I cut up to make a placemat to set out before eating. I also purchased some red napkins, valentine themed treat bags and gift bag. This cost me about $4.00.

Then I brainstormed foods from the different food groups that were red, pink, purple, blue or white. Chocolate and candy are the foods that are most often connected to Valentine’s Day but I don’t think the teacher will be very happy to see a lunch just filled with sweets.

Here are some food ideas for the different food groups:

Savory Choices:

  • Dairy – strawberry or raspberry yogurt or dairy beverage
  • Protein – pepperoni sticks salami, pink salmon, chili in a thermos
  • Breads – tomato and basil tortillas, white bread cut into heart shape
  • Veggies – red pepper, tomatoes, radishes, pickled beets, purple carrots
  • Fruit – any red juice, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, cherries (I bought some frozen ones at Costco and they are pitted and quite tasty), red grapes, watermelon, pomegranates, plums, dried cranberries, individual cups of apple/pomegranate sauce

Sweet Choices:

  • Treats – couple of chocolate Kisses, red Jell-O cups with fruit, valentine cookie, strawberry jam, red tortilla chips with salsa ( I know these are not sweet, but they are in the treat category)

I happened to have reusable containers with red lids leftover from Christmas to put the food in. Valentine treat bags are fun to use for the treats or even the veggies! Won’t that make the lunch a little more special!

Now place the food, placemat and napkin in the Valentine gift bag, which can be used as the special lunch bag. Then write a Lovey Dovey message to your child on heart shaped paper and tuck it in for the final special touch.

Here are some lunch menu ideas that you may want to try!

Lovey Dovey Menu 1 (timewiththea)Lovey Dovey Menu 2 (timewiththea)Lovey Dovey Menu 3 (timewiththea)

Thank you so much for stopping by at ‘Time With Thea’. I really enjoy your visits!

I also invite you to stop and visit these very creative posts all with the theme Lovey Dovey. This is so much fun!

Give a Fortune of Love – (Green Door Hospitality)

I Love You More Than… – (Cobwebs, Cupcakes & Crayons)

Heart To Heart – (Pillows A-La-Mode)
Top Ten Romantic Movies of All Time – (The Thinking Closet)
DIY Heart T-Shirt – (NorthStory)
[DIY] 12 Pre-Planned Date Cards – (Inspire and Indulge)
The Love Letters – (Mrs. And The Misc.)
Valentine’s Day Bon Bon’s – (Happy Little Kiwi)
Loving These Products – (Neaten Your Nest)
Kniting Hearts – (Gentle Stitches)
A little Lovie magic – (The Thing About Joan)
Sending hugs – (Cul de Sac)
Give a Fortune of Love – (Green Door Hospitality)
Will You Be My Valentine? – (A Ponytail Kind Of Day)

The Lovey-Dovey Edition Logo

Thanks again to Kelly over at Cupcakes, Cobwebs and Crayons for being the creator and facilitator of this wonderful blogging sharing and collective! If you haven’t had a chance to snoop around her delightful blog (don’t you love the name?), I so invite you to do so! Hope to see you at the the next Collectively Creative!


31 thoughts on “Lovey Dovey School Lunch Ideas

    • Checking the lunches out certainly gave me ideas! I could also monitor how nutritious they were too and I am glad to say that for most of the students they were most of the time. Thank you so much Leah!

  1. Love your post Thea! great ideas you have!:-) I am sending these pics to my iPhoto and will print them! my 20 month old baby loves it when I prepare him his food in small plastic bowls in the morning with different foods; it’s the only way he eats now! for breakfast, he looks for his bowls and then points at the pantry for his cereal and then to the fruit bowl, so this is perfect! love your ideas!:-)

    • Thank you! I love your idea of saving photos of ideas in your iPhoto. I also pin them on Pinterest because I don’t bookmark things much anymore. I prefer to keep track of things with the visual. Take Care, Thea

    • Thanks for the positive comment about the idea. It can be a ‘slog’ at times so it is nice to change it up a bit once in a while. Take Care, Thea

  2. Ok how awesome are for making sure the kids eat their good stuff first. I can’t even begin to tell you how many days in a row my daughter’s lunch box has come back with the veggies and cheese in it with the cookies gone. And I always tell her she gets one more chance or there will no more cookies. And then forget.

    These lunches are a great idea and I especially love the red corn chips. Totally overlooked and so perfect for Valentines day.

    • Thanks Alex. Not sure how to help you with your daughter though. That has to be quite frustrating. The recipe for the cookies I baked were from your blog and I linked it on my Facebook page to your blog. They were really yummy. They were the chocolate roll-out cookies that you made for Halloween. I made them with cream cheese instead of lard. Take Care, Thea

  3. This is such a labor of love to put together Valentine’s Themed lunch menus for your kids. We don’t have kids yet, though I do send my hubby to work with food each night before his shift. Might have to steal some of these ideas for him!

    So much fun to be a part of Collectively Creative with you this month. I’m meeting so many great new bloggers.

    • The Collectively Creative is a lot of fun. I am always so inspired and humbled by all of the creativity. Nice to meet you! ~Thea

  4. Any school lunch ideas are welcome to me. I also think I will use your ideas for an afternoon tea.
    Something nice for a boy who has been at High School all day and under pressure as they seem to be now a days.:)

    • High school is a pressure cooker. I remember when both of my daughters were in high school and there were a number of stresses on top of keeping up the good grades. What a great idea for the afternoon tea! What fun! ~Thea

    • Hi Debra! It was a lot of fun participating in and putting together this blog. I used to do this when my girls were young and it was fun to share it. ~Take Care, Thea

  5. I love these ideas, Thea! My daughter has lunch provided at school, but in her first two weeks there, she has yet to touch any of the food. She comes home absolutely starving! The teacher suggested that we start packing her lunches, so your post came at a very opportune time:) At 3 years old, I think she will love a heart shaped sandwich with strawberry cream cheese and jelly!! Thanks for all your great ideas!

    • I am so glad these menu ideas may help you daughter eat some lunch. As a pediatrician I am sure this is a bit of a worry for you. I hope you have a lot of fun putting her lunches together! It was certainly a lot of fun for me when my daughters were young. Nice to visit with you again! ~Thea

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