school

12 mums share what the inside of an Aussie lunch box really looks like in 2019.

The humble school lunchbox has never been more complicated than it is in 2019.

Long gone are the days of the cucumber and Kraft single white bread sambo. These days, parents need to consider current nutrition guidelines, school policies, other kids’ allergies – balanced with what their child will actually eat to sustain themselves during a school day.

Even the lunchbox itself can be controversial; it should be BPA-free, and designed to keep ‘nude food’ (food not wrapped in plastic) as fresh as it would be at home.

So it’s no surprise that parents are often curious about how other folks are doing it. What are they feeding their kids? What are their kids actually eating? More specifically, what does the contents of the lunchboxes of other kids in the class look like?

Watch: Things mums never say. Post continues after video.

To help you out, we asked Mamamia readers to share what a packed lunch looks like for their kids of a variety of ages.

Misti, 20 months

“Misti is vegetarian.

“Today is chia pudding, boiled eggs, cheese, apricots, pears, sultanas, dried apple, muesli bar, Sakata rice crackers.”

school lunch ideas
Image: Supplied.
ADVERTISEMENT

Jem, 20 months

“Hash browns, pear, cheese and an apricot ball (sulphite free, so no orange colour).

“She eats the lot!

“I love cooking for my kids and family. Jem has everything homemade because I enjoy it and I feel better when I eat that way. Not to be showy, or because I want to show it off.

“I have two under two so make her lunch the night before because it's that much easier.”

school lunch ideas
Image: Supplied.

Ziggy, 4

“I usually pack a rainbow.

“Carrots, mandarin, watermelon, cucumber, kiwi fruit, grapes, sushi, ham and cheese wrap, and an apricot delight with yoghurt coated cranberries.

“I also give them a separate container with seaweed crackers.”

school lunch ideas
Image: Supplied.
ADVERTISEMENT

Peter, 4

“Mermaid jam sandwich sitting on yoghurt covered sultana rocks, carrots, sausage with tomato sauce, and a banana.

“I’m a little over the top...I love all the sandwich cutters and bento accessories.

“I’m a stay-at-home mum with my baby, so I probably won’t be doing this when I’m back at work and/or have both at school!”

school lunch ideas
Image: Supplied.

Eamon, 5

“Vegemite sandwich on homemade rye sourdough, boiled egg, cheese stick, cucumber, strawberries, celery with peanut butter and sultanas.

“This lunchbox isn’t as full as it usually is - additions would be things like yoghurt, soy snacks, deli meat, and/or a muesli bar.

“We try to have a little treat each time.”

school lunch ideas
Image: Supplied.
ADVERTISEMENT

Elsie, 5

“Elsie doesn’t like raw veggies much but I put something in most days, just for exposure.

“She eats fruit, so there’s a bit of that too. Her sandwich is cheese and vegemite. The crusts are off so they fit!”

school lunch ideas
Image: Supplied.

Quinn, 6.5

“Ham and cheese sandwich, homemade muesli bar, cheese stick, cut fruit/vegetables with dip and yoghurt.”

school lunch ideas
Image: Supplied.
ADVERTISEMENT

Gretel, 7

“I normally pack a vegetable, a serve or two of fruit, some crackers or pretzels, and a sandwich.

“This one has salami and lettuce with tomato to put in it later, but it’s often just cheese and vegemite.

“If we have something baked in the house I’ll put that in too.”

school lunch ideas
Image: Supplied.

Roscoe, 8, and Henrietta, 10

“I put in what I know they will eat.

“Bega Tasty Cheese, Byron Bay Cookie Company Spot Cookie, strawberries and blueberries, Baker’s Delight Cheese & Bacon Roll, USA peach.

“A cut strawberry which won’t be eaten, but gotta put something in there not from a packet.

“I do not enjoy making lunches! I now know why my mum gave me Vitaweets, salami, and cut up pickles in a bag with a twist tie!”

school lunch ideas
Image: Supplied.
ADVERTISEMENT

Aziah, 9

“Celery with nut butter, carrots, passion fruit, orange, nectarine, grapes, raspberries, ham and cheese sandwich and an apricot delight and yoghurt coated cranberries.”

school lunch ideas
Image: Supplied.

William, 12

“Cash for recess and lunch.

“Yep, I’ve given up. My son spends $6 to $8 a day on buying his food from the canteen. This is fine with me for 3 reasons.

“Firstly, it’s better than finding my lovingly-packed, carefully selected food returned home untouched – what a waste of money. And he’s starving.

“Secondly, the canteen is excellent and generally only offers nutritious options.

“And thirdly, there are no fights about food: my kid gets to feel he’s in control of what he’s eating, has the ‘canteen experience’ with his mates, and actually eats something to get him through the day.”

school lunch ideas
Image: Supplied.
ADVERTISEMENT

Daniel, 14

“Banana and a plain butter sandwich, wrapped in plastic because he refuses a lunch box!

“He has breakfast and two dinners; he’s too busy during the school day to stop and eat.

“He likes hot food, too; if I dropped hot food into him every day he’d love it! He hates having dirty dishes in his school bag, so won’t take a thermos, and hence the plastic, because he won’t tolerate a re-usable wrap after it’s done.

“This is fine with me – it’s five times out of however many meals a week - you have to pick your battles!”

school lunch ideas
Image: Supplied.

Nama Winston has had a decade-long legal career (paid), and a decade-long parenting career (unpaid). You can follow her on Instagram: @namawinston and Facebook: @NamaWinston.

00:00 / ???