5 Sandwich-Free Lunches Your Kids WILL Eat

bento lunch box yumbox school mom parenting

My kids have some dietary restrictions which prevent them from being able to eat the lunch provided by the school cafeteria. Which means every morning, I’m scrounging for foods to give them for lunch. I know if I pack the same thing each day, my kids won’t eat it (no matter how hungry they are, ::sigh:: )

My oldest is in 4th grade now, which means for the better part of the last 5 years, I have had to pack daily lunches. I think that makes me something of an expert, so I thought I’d share some of my recent lunches to help you out of your lunch rut.

#1 Fiesta lunch

bento box school lunch
Cut grapes, tortilla chips, and [gluten-free] oreos make up the snacky portion of this lunch, accompanying a simple salad of black beans, steamed corn, avocado, cilantro, a little lime juice and a pinch of taco seasoning.

#2 Fruit Salad and Chicken Salad

school lunch ideas parenting mom
The big compartment in this lunch is fruit and vegetables, teaching healthy lessons for life. The protein comes from this simple shredded chicken salad (my kids like it super boring) and the [gluten free] pretzels sometimes serve as an ineffective utensil. Yes, those are peanut m&ms in the middle, because who doesn’t like peanut m&ms?

#3 Salami Snowmen

school lunch ideas for kids
When I am low on ideas, I will stack up whatever cold cuts I have and cut them into shapes with cookie cutters. A slice of salami will often go uneaten, but a salami snowman gets eaten every time! Strawberries and carrot slices are also in this lunch (can you tell what we had in stock this week?). The veggie chips act as a cracker of sorts to go with the cold cuts.

#4 Tuna Noodle Salad

noodle salad school lunch yumbox bento
My kids flip for tuna noodles! I mash the tuna with mayo and toss with noodles and diced celery. The pickles and raspberries also go over big (these are the baby dill pickles from Aldi – delicious!) Fruit snacks in the tiny compartment give a sweet bite to end the meal.

#5 Meatless Friday

healthy lunch for kids school
The energy sources in this lunch are the avocado and the hummus. Pretzels make the perfect dunking tool for eating either one. A rice krispie treat and a handful of grapes provide a little sweetness to make this lunch extra enjoyable.

Every one of these lunches was fangoriously devoured by my hungry kids (shuddup, fangoriously is totally a word!) I take that feedback like a grade – and I think each of these lunches gets a solid A. 😉

I hope this list of lunches helps your family. Teaching your kids to eat healthy, balanced meals is one of the more important jobs of a parent – and we could all use new ideas!

Did you try one of these lunches? Comment with a picture, or tell me if your child liked it!

Hot tip: these lunch boxes last for YEARS (provided you hand wash them as often as possible – we give them a careful rinse each night.) They are called Yumbox, and I bought each of my kids one. Our oldest Yumbox is 4 years old and still going strong. Check it out on Amazon:

An App Created by a Mom?

bWISHd wish list gift registry app smartphone iphone

How many apps do you know of that were created by a mom?

When I created this app, I went about it like a mom — I thought of what app features I liked/disliked, and what features my users would benefit from.

That’s why bWISHd is FREE of banner ads, pop-up ads, spam emails, and tracking bots.

Ever shop online for an item only to see ads for it begin to pop up across your social media accounts? So creepy, right? That will not happen when you use bWISHd.

bWISHd is stored locally on your phone, so the information you put into it never leaves your phone (unless you manually share it, I suppose.) When you input your kids’ names and birthdays, no advertisers will get access to that info.

When you scan a barcode and put items on a wish list, no advertisers will see what you are adding.

Because bWISHd was created by a mom, and moms take care of people.

Private. Ad-free. Simple to use for children up to grandparents.

bWISHd is wish listing made simple!

Dread taking your kids to the store? Read this:

In this video, my 3-year-old son finds a toy he desperately wants to own. He is obsessed with cars, and while walking through Michaels craft store to shop for framing supplies (I am a photographer), one of the impulse buy racks of cars caught his eye. Watch as he goes from begging for the cars to helping us add them to his wish list to walking away happily, leaving the cars behind. All thanks to the app I created, bWISHd!

This app demonstrates the power of validation. When I say validation, I mean acknowledging and respecting/honoring the feelings, experiences, and wishes of your child. I often see parents struggle to find a balance between validation and capitulation (giving in to the demands of their children.) I have a little advice to offer.

As a parent, we feel pulled to validate our children, especially toddlers. When our children express an emotion or a desire, we try to listen and be understanding.

We want our children to be happy. Sometimes it might seem like saying “no” is the same as crushing your child’s spirit. But at the same time, you can’t just give them every single thing they beg for, right? Conventional wisdom says that will “spoil” your children, but I hate that term. Children don’t “go bad” like a banana. Children learn from the lessons their parents teach. We teach our children everything we can, from how to tie a shoe to how to share. If you teach your child that every time they want something, you will give it to them right away, your child will think that is how the world works. That is a tough lesson to un-teach. And when your child reaches adulthood, they won’t be equipped to cope with life if that well of generosity ever runs dry. It sets up an attitude of entitlement – the feeling that they deserve whatever they wish simply because they wish it.

How do we switch from teaching entitlement to something that will better serve them?

Enter deferred gratification.

When your child wants something really badly, listen to them. Let them know you heard them and respect their feelings. You can say something like, “wow, that does look pretty amazing.” And then teach them how to wait. Asking them, “would you like to put this on your wish list?” empowers them to take charge of that waiting. Their wishes are heard and honored, and they have a voice in what happens next, but they are not entitled to receive the item just because they wish for it in that moment.

That is what deferred gratification is – waiting to receive what you want. Deferred gratification is a muscle that can be strengthened by the process I just described. When your child needs it, that muscle can be flexed to help them cope with strong desires. It is an exercise in patience and self control. Deferred gratification enhances gratitude (one of the key ingredients of a happy life) and teaches good financial habits at the same time. It can even equip your children to better deal with other impulsive desires later in life; desires relating to healthy food choices, sex, and even whether or not to engage in dangerous recreational drug use.

Teaching deferred gratification will set your child up for a happier, healthier, more stable life. In the short term, your child will be more thankful for the gift received a month later than they would have been if you had bought it for them right away. In the long term, you have equipped your children to make better decisions throughout their lives.

And meanwhile, you will have:

(1) a less cluttered home,

(2) a wish list that will come in handy when it’s time to shop for gifts,

(3) a more grateful child

(4) more money!

Everybody wins. So what are you waiting for?

Go download the app and see how it can change your life! You can also use it to make wish lists for everyone on your gift shopping list – bonus! 😉


I am so excited to show the new face of bWISHd to the world – check out the new look! I love the blue / gold combination <3

What do you think? Leave a comment below!

mobile app parenting wish list wishlisting gift shopping

Shopping without Tears

As I write this post, bWISHd is live on the iTunes store, and currently receiving an update per recommendations from our beta testers.

I am so excited to bring this app to the world, to help parents like me who struggle with taking their kids shopping.

It has been 6 months of designing, revising, tweaking, testing, and perfecting this app.  I hope the process will be ongoing – we would like to be able to make continuous improvements.  If you would like to see a feature added or changed, please leave a comment on this post!