August 10, 2011

THE LUNCH LAUNCH: School Lunch Ideas and a Back-to-School Party

School lunches have notoriously been a challenge in my household. We have one very picky eater, and neither girl likes the same things. Many of my friends have echoed a similar lament, so this year I decided to do something about it before the new school-year begins. On the fly, I came up with an easy back-to-school party idea that combines an end-of-summer celebration with an opportunity for kids to try new lunchbox foods.


If you've ever taken part in a "cookie exchange", this concept will be a familiar one. The idea is simple: Invite a few families with school-aged kids to your home or a park. Each family brings a food item, cut in to sample sizes, that would be good to pack in a child's school lunch. Copies of the recipe are available right by the plate. The kids are encouraged to try new things by earning a ticket for each sample that they try. At the end of the party, the kids cash in their tickets for fun school supplies like pencils, erasers and stickers. 

I put together my LUNCH LAUNCH in a matter of minutes by sending out an evite.  Here's what it said:

Lunch Launch Details

The party was a huge success! The kids really got in to the spirit of the event and were enthusiastic about earning their tickets. The parents got to hang out and catch up, and everyone went home with a few new recipes for healthy foods to make for their kids' school lunches.  

Here are some photos of the foods that were shared at our LUNCH LAUNCH.

You can click on the name of the food to see the recipe.

Vegetarian Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

Dried Mango Snack
(Trader Joe's)

Vegetarian Potstickers
(Trader Joe's)

A few ideas & tips for a successful Lunch Launch:

1.  Have blank placecards ready for guests to fill out the name of their item and to note any important dietary information like "contains nuts", "gluten free", or "vegetarian".  I used the graphics from the free "Space Stickers" download HERE.  

2.  Provide clothespins for guests to clip together their recipes, and to prevent them from blowing away.
3.  For a "GREENER" event:
     a.  Ask guests to bring their own reusable plates and forks.  We did this and it was a big hit.  We cut down on so much waste this way.
    b.  Instead of having guests print out their recipes, ask them to email the recipes to you instead.  You can then upload the recipes to a service like Facebook or GoogleDrive.


  1. Thank you so much for this post. I want to let you know that I posted a link to your blog in CBH Digital Scrapbooking Freebies, under the Page 3 post on Aug. 11, 2011. Thanks again.

  2. I have no idea where you all find the time to do these wonderfully delightful things. I can barely make it to the potty on most days. This is a wonderful idea and I know exactly how you feel. I have 3 kids that will eat anything you put in front of them and one that will throw most everything right on the floor (he is only one). It is VERY frustrating trying to make everyone happy. Tuesday, after a long and stressful day, I made mummy fingers only to find out that one wanted shrimp poppers and another raviloi. UGH, I was too tired to argue and made it all. Terrible parenting, I know but sometimes I would rather just keep the peace.
    P.S. I have the teenager make school lunches. That way if the princess does not like it she can take it up with him. Actually, we have never had a problem. It is nice have a teenager around for things like this (but not much else, lol)!

  3. Another awesome idea! I always have a hard time coming up with new choices for school lunches.

  4. COOLEST idea EVER!! Wow, I'm so impressed with this idea.


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