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Old 08-28-2002, 10:40 AM
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Inexpensive Lunch Ideas

Hi there,

In order to save a little money my daughter takes her lunch for home at least 4 days a week. I was wondering if any of you have any inexpensive, simple lunch ideas. My dd gets really sick of sandwiches. Do you ever send anything warm in a thermos to soup or stew? I'm worried it will not stay fresh until lunch.

Thanks for you help!

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Old 08-28-2002, 12:52 PM
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Wide mouth thermoses do a great job keeping soup, stew or chili hot and ready to eat. They will also hold spagetti, etc. You can also make tacos, cheese, meat and crackers, mini pizzas, some kids like cold hot dogs... Try freezing the juice, milk or water instead of using one of those blue freezer packs. It will melt by lunch and in the meantime will keep the lunch fresh, unless you live in a really hot area and need extra icepacks. Good luck.

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Old 09-02-2002, 11:18 AM
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shorter thermos

used for anything you warm up in microwave before putting it in. mac and cheese, beef stewfrom can, soup, tunasalad, italian salad, mac salad , hamburger helper, it will fill her up with freezeems from freezer melted by lunch time yummy love ya carriejude
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Old 09-02-2002, 11:20 AM
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Pinkie Winky

Yes, thermos's keep food warm. You can even put warmed-up hotdogs in them, and keep them warm in the thermos!

Ideas for lunches instead of sandwiches...cheese slices & crackers, pasta salads with chunks of meat (ham or salami) and veggies, mac & cheese or spaghetti in the thermos, cut-up veggies and dip, peanut butter on crackers or in a mini pita, string cheese, etc.

Hope this helps!
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Old 09-02-2002, 01:35 PM
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Test your thermos by pouring boiling water in it, wait 4 hours and then check the water. It should still be very hot. This will give you an idea of how long something hot or warm will stay when placed in the thermos.

Test for coldness, using ice.

Children's thermos' are not as reliable as an adult thermos unless you have the Stainless Steel kind. Childrens thermos' are made of plastic, so the "cold" or "hot" time would not be as long as the time allowed in glass thermos'. However, they should keep the food warm or cold for at least 4 hours. The above tests should satisfy your mind as regards to the safety of the food you are sending with your child.

There are so many wonderful lunch box ideas posted on here that I wish I could pack a lunch! lol PLUS, the supermarket isles are loaded with clever and inexpensive lunch items that tend to make lunch boxes an attractive and nutritous alternative. I find that most of the lunches served at schools today are geared more for convenience than nutrition.

Good luck,

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Old 09-02-2002, 04:49 PM
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One of my daughter's favorite things to take for lunch is a rollup. She usually takes ham and cheese, just a couple, three slices of deli ham and some shredded cheese and roll it up in a tortilla. She usually takes a cold drink, so that keeps it to temp until lunchtime.

She has had great luck with a thermos too, and takes everything from soup to leftover spaghetti and ravioli. Heat it in the microwave until very hot, and pour it into a "preheated" thermos. Keeps it hot very well until lunchtime. (To preheat, fill your thermos with the hottest water possible and let it sit for awhile. I usually fill it when she first sits down to breakfast, put the cap on it to help hold in the heat, then pour it out right before we fill it with the hot food.)

Also, if she must take sandwiches, jazz them up a bit by cutting them into triangles or even into different shapes with big cookie cutters. It's a little wasteful, since the edges aren't eaten, but they're more fun that way.
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Old 09-02-2002, 06:33 PM
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The Post about pre-heating the thermos is what I was going to say. It is very important to keeping the food at the proper temp. Otherwise the thermos will leach the heat out of hte coked foods you place into it, and leave it at a questionable holding temperature.

My dd loves mac-n-cheese, chicken noodle soup, chili, chef boyarde pastas and chicken-noodle caseroles for lunch in a wide mouth "Thermos" brand plastic thermos. I often have met her at school for lunch, and the food was still hot at 1 PM , having been packed for her at 8 AM.

Cold lunches that are a hit are the tortilla roll-ups, any sandwiches that I "cookie-cut" into shapes for her, mini bagels with cream cheese, and when ever I include a small baggie with ranch dressing that she can squeeze onto her carrots. ( she just bites a little hole in the corner of the baggie to make a "pastry" bag out of it.) I pack these with a frozen juice box. They get milk at school, and the juice box is a back-up. It doesn't always thaw, because her linch bag is insulated.
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Old 09-03-2002, 06:44 AM
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My son's take their lunches everyday. I make peanut butter and jelly roll up's. I also buy a summer sausage log and have the meat department slice it. The boys like to take 4 or 5 slices of summer sausage 8 or 10 whole wheat crackers, a pealed carrot, and applesauce. They get milk at school or I send ovaltine. My oldest also likes to take salads every once in a while. I just send the dressing in a little ziplock container. I found little individual sized ones at Walmart. Another thing I tried this year and has been a hit is dry cereal. I bought the ziplock tableware blue bowls that come with a tight fitting lid. I send dry cereal in that. At school they get milk to add to it. Along with the cereal I send either applesauce or a fresh fruit of some kind and a fruit roll up or gummies. They think it is cool to have cereal for lunch.

Last edited by OmommyO; 09-04-2002 at 03:33 PM.
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Old 09-04-2002, 07:56 AM
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children's thermoses

Triadha - thanks for the tip about pre-heating the thermos! I'll also test it the way foxylady559 suggested.

I made tuna fish & put it into a plastic container and then packed some Ritz crackers & cheese chunks so she can make her own stacker; fruit bowl & a treat along with a frozen juice box. Tomorrow, I'll probably send a couple hard boiled eggs along with fruit, frozen juice & a treat.

I've looked at some of the pre-packaged lunch things and we've tested a few during the summer to see if she likes any of them, but we pretty much struck out. Most of them are pizza's or salsa type, which she doesn't really care for. The ham or turkey & cheese ones were "ok".

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Old 09-04-2002, 08:16 AM
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I have always been afraid to put hamburger and chicken dishes in a thermos - is there any danger of food poisoning etc. with these kinds of foods? Eg. Hamburger/macarone casserole - homemade spaghetti....what is the proper way to heat etc.
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