Living Arts Weekly: School Lunches

August 25, 2019

The first wealth is health.    –Emerson

As parents get ready to send their kids back to school, the subject of the school lunch often comes to mind.  Packing lunches that are nutritious, appealing, and hold their freshness while hanging out in a backpack or locker all morning is not always an easy task.  I recently read through a great thread on Facebook that was initiated by LifeWays board member and founder of Mothering Arts, Kerry Ingram, in which parents shared their ideas for healthful, appealing home-packed lunches. Read on to be inspired, and please share your ideas in the comments!

Happy lunch making,

Mary O’Connell, Your Living Arts Blog editor

Nurturing Care


  • Cheese and choice of cracker
  • Jerky
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Pickles
  • Baked pumpkin seeds and sea salt
  • Dried mango or pineapple
  • Baked apple, persimmon, or pear chips
  • Veggie dipping sticks like carrots, celery, jicama, or cucumber with salsa, hummus, or guacamole
  • Apple sauce
  • Cottage cheese and topping or plain
  • Yogurt with fruit of choice
  • Pretzels
  • Popcorn with olive oil and sea salt
  • Sweet potatoes with or without a topping
  • Rice and tamari sauce
  • Watermelon
  • Overnight oats in dairy or non-dairy options with cinnamon
  • Snap peas or snap pea chips
  • “I’ve started making a pickled plate with kidney beans and bean salad… olives and little pickles…
  • “My daughter loves taking leftovers from dinner in her warm container. ?”
  • “Soups are great when it gets cold.”


  • “Suggestion: To simplify your life and, also, to help your children literally get a “taste” of each day of the week, come up with a weekly plan … So that every Monday is the same lunch, every Tuesday its own, etc. On the first of each month, you can create a new weekly menu, depending on what fruits and vegetables are in season. This will also help your children get a sense of the months passing as well!”
Kerry IngramGiving this a try for a month. Trying to keep things simple to support an easy return to school and work. Fingers crossed?”
  • “Generally, the stimulus of activity, noise and socializing detracts from the important work of eating. I stopped making sandwiches eons ago. And parents who discover their children aren’t eating much do well to put the power in the child’s hands and make them responsible for making lunch.”
  • “How about nutritious, organic, homemade bars? You can place them in the bags or containers, ready to pop into the lunch, and freeze them. Then put them in the lunch directly out of the freezer. They are thawed by lunch time and help keep the rest of the lunch cold/ fresh.”
  • [Regarding the stimulating social atmosphere during school lunchtime,] “most younger elementary classes eat in golden silence or whisper voices at SunRidge to focus on food consumption and digestion. My last class loved the quiet and would eat all their food—and then some. We always had an extra basket with healthy alternatives like fruit, veggies, or a healthy gluten-free grain that could be consumed AFTER their lunch was empty.”
  • “My daughter had a lovely teacher who was very receptive to input. My daughter was coming home with her lunch untouched. I realized the busy, social lunchtime was too much for her. She could not focus on eating in the buzz of activity.
    I shared with her an article about a Waldorf school where once the children were settled and seated with their lunches, they were given 10 minutes of silent eating.
    This teacher immediately began providing the silent eating time for her class, and, like magic, my daughter was eating lunch every day. It is so important for their digestion to be allowed quiet time to eat.
    In classes of older children, each child can have a turn being “time keeper” and sound a mini gong or ring a bell on teacher’s desk when quiet time is ended.”
  • “I would make low sugar, high protein mini cheesecakes for my daughter. I knew she would eat them, and with double the eggs and half the sugar of most recipes, I knew she was getting protein.  I stored them in the freezer in baggies. I would put them in the lunch directly out of the freezer and it would be thawed, but still cold, by lunchtime.”
  • “An easy lunch: Amy’s frozen burritos, takes about 50 minutes to bake. My child loves them. She has those once or twice a week.”

Wowza!  That’s a lot of ideas for parents to chew on….

Do you have others?

Practical Activity

Does Kerry’s beautiful menu planner above interest you?  Enroll today in one of two online courses from LifeWays to get yours!

Living Arts Through the Seasons – Autumn edition includes the meal planning wheel in its September lesson!  You’ll also receive lots of resources to help you bring the following elements into your home life:

Creative Exploration:Seasonal Activities to help you create your family culture in everyday life

Stories, songs and games to bring joy to your days with your children

Craft Tutorials for simple, seasonal crafts to make at home

Nurturing Care:

Recipes to nurture and nourish your whole family

Self-Care Suggestions to keep your body, soul and spirit healthy and well

Printable Journal Pages for recording your insights and ideas

Practical Activities:

A Seasonal Calendar to help you plan special family celebrations

A Simple Daily Planner to help you be clear with how you spend your day

A Monthly Worksheet to help you bring more intention to your parenting


Social Awareness:

Join a thriving community of parents online

Start your own Parenting Circle to support each other in person!

Online course participants will need access to a color printer to print out the beautiful calendar pages and artistic worksheets that accompany this course.

This three month resource for parents starts on September 1st! Click here for more details.

Healthy Home Rhythms ––  This popular online course, developed by Kerry Ingram at Mothering Arts, supports you to create a balanced home rhythm rooted in presence and joy. In this self-paced course, you will work with four water-colored seasonal rhythm wheels (printer required), a meal planner wheel and LOTS of practical resources to develop a rhythm wheel that is unique for your own family.  Create a more connected home life with the help of this inspiring, step-by-step, course that you can do any time and access again and again as the seasons—and your family—change. Click here to learn more about this popular online course!