creative lunch ideas for kindergartners

The boys starting school last week has decreased my stress level immensely in all areas except for one.

lunch solutionThat area is Rhett’s lunch.

Calling him a picky eater is an understatement.   He has declared entire food groups inedible.   Food groups that other 5 year olds embrace.

And it is often random.   What he gobbled up the day before suddenly is blacklisted.


At home, I feel like I can take a stand and do the motherly you-will-go-hungry-if-you-don’t-eat thing.   On days he goes to school, I feel like his teacher needs him well-fed and shouldn’t have to deal with the complicated maze that is Rhett’s food issues.

For the last few months he has lived on peanut butter on a spoon and peanut butter balls.

Notice a trend?

Peanut butter on a spoon is just that.   Peanut butter on a spoon.   We are fancy here.

Proving how fancy we are here, peanut butter balls is an elaborate combination of peanut butter, honey and powdered milk (if I have any).

I was super smart the first day of school and sent Rhett with a little container of peanut butter balls and a spoon.   I had checked previously to make sure there were no classmates with peanut allergies at orientation and were relieved to find out that unlike other years, Kindergarten was free of nut allergies.

When Rhett returned home, I opened his lunch box and found the entire contents of his lunch except for a package of goldfish.

I don’t like peanut butter balls anymore.

Great.   I have no plan B.

The next few days I tried all sorts of variations of the two foods he likes without any luck beyond carbo-loading with goldfish.

I don’t like crackers anymore.

You HAVE to like crackers because you don’t like bread.

No.   I don’t like crackers OR bread.


This morning I had a lunch packing breakdown.

What to pack?

What to pack?


As I made Rhett’s morning oatmeal, it struck me…

I am going to send you oatmeal for lunch in this thermos.   It will keep it warm.

OK.   Can I pick out my dessert?


Today my son ate his entire lunch.   A hearty serving of oatmeal and a left-over Christmas candy cane.


  1. Happy Campers says:

    LOVE this menu!!

  2. I would go crazy! I have some picky eaters, but not quite to that extent. My 3 yo starts MDO next week and I think she might not eat a lot of her food. But she loves apples and peanut butter, so that might be what I send. And I can actually feel good about that. Good luck the rest of the year!

  3. I am so grateful that my kids were never all that picky about food. Our grade school district was awarded some kind of grant that is allowing all the students to eat both breakfast and lunch free for the entire school year. Would hate to not be able to take advantage of that!

  4. my son is similar but easier… PB (most days jelly) on Arnldo’s rounds (yes, it must be Arnold’s or he won’t eat it even if it is round), cold cooked frozen corn nibblets and gogurt. Every. Single. Day.

  5. this makes me worry for next year because my four year old is the same exact way.

    I can’t pack cake balls every damn day, right?

  6. Have you heard of the Bento box? What you do is take the food they like, cut it in to complicated origami shapes then pray that they don’t throw the fancy box (the one you paid 40 bucks for) in the school garbage. Yay lunch!

  7. Would he be willing to pack his own lunch? That might make him more willing to eat it. Or sending a smoothie? Will he drink one?

  8. JDaniel4's Mom says:

    What a great meal? I love oatmeal!

  9. Ok, first of all, THANK YOU for admitting this. Once I posted about giving my kids DiGiorno Pizza & Cookies for dinner and got attacked by ANONYMOUS comments talking about how bad that is for my kids and that’s why so many kids are obese and blah blah blah. The fact that you just admitted letting your kid live off of peanut butter by the spoonfuls makes me feel so much more comfortable, ’cause well… I’ve been known to have a spoonful of peanut butter for lunch some days myself! My kids are all about PB&J and ask for it EVERY.DAY. I will fully admit, that I give in to that request probably 3 times a week. It’s easy, it’s cheap, they EAT IT! I try to throw some baby carrots or cut up apples their way, but man… it’s hard enough to get them to eat, let alone getting them to eat perfectly healthy for every meal/snack. Anyway, not to dump all that on you, but just saying I appreciate you being honest and unashamed. Lol! I need more people like you in my life!

  10. I have a picky eater too out of four boys…so far. One boy is just barely on the boob…praying he is not picky. I’m so glad he ate all his food. Making sure our kids eat can be very stressful! Love the Christmas candy cane for dessert 😉

  11. I like Rhett. He just might be the funniest kid ever. Except for my boys, of course.

  12. Holly, this is so helpful! My Kindergartner eats PB&J everyday for lunch. While it bothers me, I try to make up for it at dinner time. Yesterday she told me she had PB&J with broccoli! We’re making progress!!

  13. I have a 2.5-year-old and a 17-month-old. Fortunately, they’re both currently great eaters. But I have a feeling that will eventually change. I give you major props for dealing with his picky eating habits! Good thinking on the oatmeal.

  14. Found you on BlogFrog.

    I don’t do well with picky eaters at my house!

    BTW ~ I live in the Dallas Area, too. Nice to meet you!

  15. I WISH I could send peanut butter to school. All schools here are all nut-free.

  16. Wow, I can’t believe he ate that!!! One of my kids will only eat pepperoni sandwiches and the other will only eat Italian wedding soup. Every. Day.

  17. What a laugh! They sure make things hard sometimes but so worth it! Lynda

  18. I’d say patience is the key here! And a sense of humor, which you seem to have, so just hang in there and thanks for sharing on Craft Schooling Sunday!

  19. How sad that the first thing I thought was, NO peanut butter allergies-Sigh, that would be SO nice! Good luck!

  20. The Mom Jen says:

    I thought my kids were picky!

  21. Thanks for contributing. It’s helped me undrsetnad the issues.

  22. I feel for you. My 7 year old is very picky. Right now, I have been packing pepperonis (cooked in the microwave to get them crispy) and pretzels and gogurt yogurt. He threw out the pb sandwich, fruit a bu, apples and grapes.

    Ugh-these picky eaters are so difficult. Glad to see your positive outlook on it.

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