Back-to-School Lunchbox Blues

Are you the lunchbox maker for a picky eater? Or perhaps your child is a Pre-K foodie who won't touch a chicken nugget? Is your child's school a nut-free zone, but all you know how to make is PB&J? Don't worry. Every parent or caregiver will experience the lunchbox blues at some point. Making fresh, balanced meals that your child will actually eat for an entire school year is super stressful. Let us help!

Here are a few cookbooks to freshen up your lunchbox repertoire and make boring school lunches a thing of the past. 

Beginners will appreciate the easy-to-follow advice in Best Lunch Box Ever which focuses on making lunches quick, simple, and wholesome. Weelicious Lunches includes homemade versions of popular kid-friendly crackers and chicken nuggets for caregivers who are looking to cut out certain ingredients or enjoy making snacks from scratch. 

I was one of those kids who couldn't stand my food touching. Bento boxes are perfect for this. Fresh Bento is for the crafty folks out there. Intricately designed and delicately prepared, these bentos are edible works of art which might help encourage little ones to try something new. Little Bento by Michele Olivier offers far less complicated recipes and themes. It focuses on seasonal ingredients without the pressure of making everything look cute. 

Renee Kohley's The Little Lunchbox Cookbook acknowledges that making everything from scratch just isn't realistic for most families. She encourages readers to make at least one item from scratch, something that can be done in larger, freezable batches, and filling in the rest with pre-made or prepped foods. 

Lunchbox: So Easy, So Delicious, So Much Fun To Eat is a tongue-in-cheek but practical guide for both new and experienced lunchbox makers. Readers will appreciate the sense of humor and the words all parents need to hear, "you're doing great."

I have used a few of these titles myself, and while my kid's lunches never looked quite as flawless as those in the books, I was able to find new, unexpected combinations that my child loved. It may take time and experimentation to find what works for you, but don't be afraid to try new things. Get your kids involved in meal planning and cooking whenever you can. Most importantly, forgive yourself when your creations aren't picture perfect or 100% homemade. You won't be singing the lunchbox blues ever again.