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Healthy School Lunch

healthy gluten-free school lunch

When Ali at Whole Life Kitchen told me she was hosting this month’s Go Ahead Honey It’s Gluten-Free: Ideas for Packing a Healthy School Lunch, I knew I would want to participate in this blogging fête.  Healthy food for children is a passion of mine.  And I’m a big fan of Naomi Devlin’s blogging carnival, Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free!

The lunch that I have prepared for this blogging festival is simple and easy to make; a sandwich, fruit, veggie sticks and power bar.  I like to keep things simple as the boys are responsible for packing their vitals every day before dinner (for the following day’s lunch).  They make the grub, then I inspect the results, before the lunch is put into the fridge.

Here’s my favorite lunch menu (I have another one that was recently published by Parents Magazine.)

Healthy School Lunch


  1. Pack it in a reusable bag
  2. Enjoy

In freebie news, I am giving away a copy of Ali’s book, The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook, which I highly recommend.  Ali is a personal chef, author and formerly owned a personal chef business.  Her gluten free recipes are wholesome and delicious.  To win a copy of her book, leave a comment below letting us all know what your favorite lunch was as a child.

Update: this giveaway is now over and the winner was Alejandra!

posted on September 27, 2010, 217 comments

  1. vanessa

    I never really had a favourite lunch – tuna sandwiches on soggy-by-then white bread are not particularly appetizing – what I looked forward to was recess snack! Keebler (the cookie company) used to make these things called Mini Middles: essentially a bite-size cookie with a pocket of chocolate cream in the middle. I remember them being such a treat because you could only get the in the U.S. (I live in Canada), so when we took a trip across the border to Washington my mom allowed us to get a box or two. I don’t even want to think about what sorts of nasty were lurking in the ingredients, however!

    • Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama @ modernalternativemama.com

      Mini-middles: so THAT’S what those things were called!! I remember having them when I was very, very small, only 2 or 3. I couldn’t read and had no idea what they were called, I only knew I liked them! Chocolate chip cookies, bite-sized, with chocolate cream in the middle. Yes. Thank you!

      My favorite school lunch was always one I packed. Some type of pasta, soup, or a ham sandwich (with lettuce, tomato, red onion, brown mustard) and a salad with some iced tea. Oh yes.

      • Pinky

        I can’t say for certain what my favourite lunches were. I don’t really remember eating them. What makes me smile now is that my step-son’s favourite lunches is the left-overs from the dinners I make. He says that his friends tease him, but he would take my left-overs over even junk food any day. Now that just makes me happy and proud!

  2. Maia Dedrick

    I’m afraid to say my favorite lunch as a kid was ramen noodles. Ah! I’m happy to say I’ve matured out of that stage, and tomorrow I’m bringing homemade curried pumpkin soup for lunch.

  3. Hallie @ Daily Bites @ hallieklecker.com

    I’m lucky enough to already have a copy of Ali’s wonderful book, so no need to enter me into the contest. But what a great looking lunch! I also entered this month’s Go Ahead Honey event. A fun topic indeed!

  4. Julia

    Peanut butter and jelly– it still is! But my GF kids need more variety, so I would love Aly’s book!

  5. Mary Beth Fifer

    It is hard to admit but when I was a little girl in Woodside, Queens, my mom would send me to the deli down the block to get bologna and liverwurst for sandwiches for my brother and I.

  6. Heidi

    Please don’t laugh… or turn away in disgust… but my fave lunch was a green olive sandwich. Oh how those little green bundles of joy brightened up my otherwise dull and dreary day. To taste that salty goodness wrapped in smooth, creamy butter, all against a soft & squishy white Wonderbread-wunderness… oh boy, am I getting hungry now or what! Thankfully, I know a heck of a lot more know than I did when I was 8, but a girl still has her memories :)

  7. Susan Clark

    My favorite lunch as a child was fresh vegetables out of my Gramma’s garden, usually peas, okra and applesauce made from her apples.
    We usually ate fresh berries of every kind and often a kluski…which was the starch of the meal. Potatoes grated very fine, squeezed of all there water and mixed with egg and flour. They were then boiled. After being boiled they were sauteed with onions, butter and tossed with fresh parsley.
    I can almost smell them!

    Lunch was always the freshest it could be and always was home grown!

  8. robin

    My sisters & I were also responsible for our lunches & whenever we’d want a special lunch we’d make pita “salad” sandwiches. Although I dont eat meat any longer, my favorite filling included salami or turkey, cheese, tomato, lettuce, cucumber, etc… Oddly enough, I don’t remember a soggy pita. They were sooo good, makes me want one now, sans the meat!
    Oh and Oreos were always a special addition to the lunch–we never got junk food. Good thing too, because now we actually know how to eat well…thanks mom & dad.

  9. Cheryl

    My favorite lunch as a kid was always…Peanut butter cracker sandwiches with carrot sticks. And a chocolate milk:)

  10. aziza

    My favorite school lunch was boiled egg, black olives and cheese sandwich, yummy

  11. christie

    Hello Elana, I followed the link to Udi’s Gluten Free Bread and saw that rice was one of the main ingredients in it. I was under the impression that you did not eat rice in your household? Just wondering :) Thanks!

  12. johanna

    What I LOVED for lunch… Olive loaf or pickle loaf (olives or pickles added to bologna slices), smear of Miracle Whip, and on Wonderbread of course! All in those flip top sandwich bags that never seemed sanitary enough for me. OMG how far have I come since then!!!

  13. Corinne

    My brothers and I always had school lunches. A lot of the food was from scratch; cakes, pizza (crust & all), & cinnamon rolls to name a few. We would have fresh carrot sticks and such also. My favorites were the cinnamon rolls and the Waldorf Astoria cake. Not nutrient dense, but yummy none the less! :)

  14. Cricket

    I loved pb&j, but now we’re peanut- and gluten-free. It’s a challenge to replicate the yummy comforting school lunches of my childhood for my kids and I am always thrilled for new suggestions. Thanks for all your help!

  15. Christina Jensen

    To be perfectly honest, my FAVORITE lunch was an egg salad sandwhich. However, because I knew I would get so much grief with the smell of the hard boiled eggs once I pulled it out, I never had the guts to bring it to school. So, I often just ended up with PB & J which is probably my second favorite.

    I would love to have the book you’re offering since I am diligently trying to change our eating habits. I am realizing the more I learn, the more convicted I am that change needs to happen yesterday.

    Thanks for the great posts!

  16. We were too poor to buy baby carrots, instead getting the big ones, so those were always extra special. I also grew up on processed foods so I’ll admit lunchables were wonderful (though now I’d never let my family eat them!)

  17. Wendy

    My favourite snack as a child: 1) peanut butter and jam and 2) peanut butter and banana sandwiches. I love peanut butter!

    Occasionally, my sisters and I also enjoyed Wagon Wheels and Twinkies . . .

  18. Leah

    I mostly remember eating school hot lunches. I had chocolate milk with corn syrup and lots of french fries and pizza and hot dogs, hamburgers, things like that. In high school, we had fast food companies bring food in, so we had Little Cesar pizzas, KFC, and huge gooey cinnamon rolls and cookies. We had vending machines full of all kinds of soda. I believe I usually ate cookies and soda for lunch. My mom really tried to help us eat healthy, but she didn’t have a lot of control over what we ate at school and she was a single mom without a lot of money or time to cook. It wasn’t until college when I became very ill that I learned the importance of healthy eating. My children are homeschooled and one advantage of this is that most of the time I know they are eating healthy. Their diet is definitely vastly different than mine was as a child!

  19. shilpa

    I grew up in India for a bit of my childhood and enjoyed opening up my tiffin carrier at lunch and finding chapati rolled with ghee and sugar inside. yum!

  20. Anisa

    Ham sandwich on raisin bread with mayo and pickles. I still like it when I can get GF raisin bread. Sounds like a great book!

  21. marie

    my favorite lunch would be hotdog sandwich… mmmmm yummmm!!!!

  22. Ms. Wilson

    I didn’t really have a favorite lunch as a kid, but I liked eating tuna sandwiches — and the bread had to be toasted, no matter what type of sandwich it was. I do remember that I really enjoyed having anything warm for lunch that allowed me to use my Strawberry Shortcake Thermos, which of course was packed in my metal Strawberry Shortcake lunchbox.

  23. Nana

    My favorite was a ham sandwich on white bread with a carton of milk. Now, I don’t eat ham or white bread nor do I drink milk. My favorite bread is Elana’s bread now.

  24. Wendy

    oops – I forgot: one snack my mom always made was steamed potato pie with minced chinese sausage and mushrooms on top – it may not sound too appetizing but it was delicious – hot, comfort food.

    One last memory: steamed egg cake – so simple to make and so delicious. We had to use the hand held egg beater and it was a lot of work just to get the eggs to foam up before adding the flour and sugar.

    I’ve got many more memories of after school snacks but will stop here.

    There was always something yummy and different for us to eat after school. My sisters and I were very blessed!!

  25. Kelly

    Turkey sandwiches on Iron Kids bread with mustard accompanied by broccoli and carrots with ranch dressing!

  26. Elizabeth

    I loved fried egg sandwiches. My mom used to make them for our lunches ever lent. I would love to win this book. I just bought your book Elana! It’s so refreshing to have found a gluten-free book that uses nourishing foods. Thank You!

  27. Mechiell

    Nothing like a thermos of hot veggie soup with a bologna and cheese sandwich, chips, koolaid and a Little Debbies cake.

  28. Heather O\’Brien

    I always loved “ants on a log” (celery, peanut butter and raisins), but my all time favorite was a cream cheese and jelly sandwich made by my lovely little grandmother!

  29. Cheryl @ gfgoodness.com

    I ate mini middles, too! I don’t remember liking lunches at school, though.

  30. Lindsey R

    My favorite lunch that my mom would make was grilled cheese with a tomato and she’d cut it in quarters and I’d dip it in ketchup. HAHA. Comfort food just to think about it………….

  31. My favorite lunch as a kid was a peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwich on whole wheat bread, and with chocolate chips sprinkled in the middle!

  32. KellyBelly

    As a kid I always choose a cheese sandwich. Didn’t like BP&J’s then, now I love nut butters! That is my comfort food.

  33. domestic diva

    My favorite lunch as a kid? Grilled cheese. :-)

  34. kari

    As a kid I liked plain peanut butter sandwiches (if they had jelly I wouldn’t touch them).

  35. robyn

    we ate school lunch growing up (gasp!) i loved nacho day…all that nasty-ness; i can’t imagine eating that today! now my daughter gets a much more nutritious, GF lunch from home!

  36. Cathryn

    My all time favorite was salami with mayo on white bread. But even more important than the sandwich was the dessert….oreos! I can’t stand either of those now!!! My daughter and I are loving your blog—thanks so much for sharing!

  37. Dayle

    I fondly remember peanut butter and honey sandwiches in my lunch neatly packed in my red tupperware container. I loved it when the honey crystalized between the bread and peanut butter. I am no longer a fan of PB and honey, however, I enjoy avocado and turkey sandwiches on toasted gluten free bread once in a while!

  38. Jenna

    I LOVE your blog and your cookbook, Elana, and The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook looks awesome. I used to love cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches.

  39. Tina Moody @ lifepractice.net

    I cannot remember taking a lunch to school that I enjoyed eating. To carry a lunchbox was an anomaly in itself, not to mention what was inside. My mid-day meals consisted of hard, dry rye bread with unseasoned, canned tuna and carrot sticks, repeated 5 days a week.

    Nineteen months ago we revamped our lifestyle to gluten-free. A dear friend brought your cookbook back to me from Boulder early in my conversion and I’ve promoted it heavily ever since. As a result, my teenagers have some resemblance of the mainstream, so important at this age. When I was in Denver for a conference last October, I went to that quaint Boulder Bookstore and bought out all the autographed copies and more, to boot. There are not enough words to thank you for your most valuable creation.

    So, while my school lunches were less than palatable, my growing adolescents do have favorite lunches. Usually they consist of remnants left from the previous day, some more popular than others. I often make a double batch of your pancakes and use the leftovers with almond butter or peanut butter and very thin slices of apple layered between two pancakes for a lovely “apple tart”.

    Their hands down favorite is shish kabobs made with leftovers of chicken basil sausage, cut into chunks and skewered along with grilled zucchini and cherry tomatoes. Add a roasted ear of corn on the cob and a stem of green grapes and voila’ a lovely lunch of finger foods.

  40. Tara Rich

    I think my favorite was campbells cream of tomato soup with lots of crackers soaking in it. Now I can’t really eat tomatoes,wheat or drink cows milk.

  41. Debbie

    My favorite lunches were in the summertime. I loved running out to our garden and picking fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, etc. My mom would usually makes us mac and cheese to go along with our veggies. Delish!!!

  42. Bodine

    I live in Canada, and in my children’s school we are not allowed to send any nuts of any kind, or sesame seeds or any seeds, so we are limited in lunch choices and snack choices.Too bad, We love nut butters and would be so much happier if we could be permitted!wE NEED SOME IDEAS!the kids are bored.

  43. Kandace

    Hi Elana – I would love a copy of this cookbook! I would have to say that my mom wasn’t so hip on the healthy eating as a kid but always over the top with love and humor. My mom always packed a kind note in my lunch to remind me she loved me. My most memorable lunch was when I had braces. She packed me a cheese sandwich and in place of the meat, put a piece of foil! I bit down and … ouch!! I know she would have loved to have been there to see the look on my face!!

  44. Kjersti Webb

    The only time I had school lunch was when I lived in Africa when I was 5. I lived in Sweden the rest of the time and we got cooked lunch in school so I didn’t bring any from home. But I remember that my absolute favorite lunch when I was 5 was when I got a butter honey sandwich that after sitting all morning would somehow have gotten hard from the honey and also soaked the whole bread with the butter and honey. Still try and recreate this memory sometimes.

  45. GV

    My mom would always make our lunch and felt very appreciative and loved by her for it. Therefore, I enjoy making my kids lunch–the “pay the love forward” philosophy. My mom would send cut up fruit and small veggie–she would even send a toothpick to eat it with. I also remember her packing me colored lunches–on St. Patty’s day everything would be green–Valentine’s day–everything pink/red. She made opening my lunchbox fun and interested. I love this forum–so fun to get more ideas for lunches for my family.

  46. Vicki

    I usually ate school lunches- in fact only remember having bologna sandwiches from home. Which I actually really liked. I do remember also liking braunschwager (not sure what that actually is still) and chipped ham, which I’ve only ever seen in the area I grew up.

  47. Heidi

    I don’t remember having a favorite lunch. I took pb&j on homemade bread half the time, but the bread would be soggy and I wouldn’t want to eat it as the texture made me gag. School lunch grossed me out and my dad couldn’t understand as he thought it was wonderful (he was a teacher). I was a picky eater. When I got into college, my favorite lunch was Peanut Butter and my moms homemade strawberry jam. I would live on it when I came home weekends.

  48. as someone who doesn’t eat meat anymore, it baffles/cracks me up that my favorite elementary school lunch was leftover steak sandwich, with mayo on whole wheat. it only happened once in a blue moon (steak was a pretty rare luxury for us), but it was always the only lunch i ate every morsel of (sorry, tuna fish sandwiches!).

  49. Kim

    Cheese burritos! Not very healthy, but oh so tasty!

  50. I had pb&j almost every day. every once in a while there would be the occasional peanut butter & banana, though. to have that now i would have to substitute peanut butter with almond or cashew butter. and udi’s bread. mmm!

  51. Linda

    My favorite lunch as a child was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. :-)

  52. Christina R

    I used to LOVE boxed macaroni and cheese with sliced up hot dogs! I remember it vividly! I can still taste it… Funny that I wouldn’t allow my children (or myself) to touch it with a 10 ft pole now! I’ve come a long way in 33 years! Love the resource for school lunch ideas. My kids aren’t in school yet, but lunch time menus are always so difficult for me. Thanks for the ideas Elana and Ali!

  53. Daniela Tanner

    The best lunches I had were the ones I traded in school. I remember a friend bringing a kiwi to school, and I had no idea what it was. So good!

  54. Jenyfer Kersey

    My favorite lunch was a pb and jelly sandwich with chips and pudding. My favorite part was licking the lid after opening the pudding. That, and trying to trade lunches with the other kids… which we were never able to get away with!

  55. I’m surprised to see you use the udi’s bread. I read the ingredients and one of them is CULTURED CORN SYRUP. I’m not sure I would classify that as being healthy. Does the bread that you make from the almond flour hold up ok for packed lunches?

  56. Janet LaRue

    I always bought school lunches and I guess I would say that I liked the pizza and I always had a captain crunch ice cream bar! They were yummy! At times I also didn’t buy the regular lunch-but went ala cart-would buy a chocolate milk, bag of chips, and a captain crunch ice cream bar! Of course if my mother only knew…she would have had my head! THAT was my favorite lunch! Now being GF the ice cream bar would be out of the question! I have never heard of the author you are speaking of and would love to try her book! Thanks for the opportunity to win something!

  57. Karen

    My favorite was crepes. I thought they were SO cool! Simple, just crepes and some powdered sugar on top or a little jam or raisins or peanut butter inside. When I was well into adulthood, I mentioned that to my Mom, she told me that she made those when the cupboards were so bare she had no choice. That was her last resort. Crepes and whatever she could find to put inside. Crepes are thin and take less flour and she had a bunch of us to take care of an few resources. Who knew? I just thought they were cool.

  58. Christina English @ truenglish.wordpress.com

    How great is Udi’s brand bread? My husband has Celiac and so we are always looking for good tasting products. He came across Udi’s and had me taste. I was definitely hesitant, but I tried a bite and loved it….!!!

  59. Do your giveaways count for international blog readers as well?

    And while I don’t have children, I do have a husband. I am convinced that husband lunches are far more challenging than that of children. Right now I’m stuck with sandwiches. I’ve suggested pasta salads etc. but they are considered too “messy” and he won’t eat anything that needs heating. The thought of having to get up and head to the staff kitchen? Terrifying. Also, he doesn’t take a lunch break. He eats while he’s working. So anything that requires utensils other than his hand? Out of the question. And while he will eat fruit, it can’t have seeds… or a peel or a core that’s left at the end… this all coming from a man with a metabolism so crazy that he finds it impossible to put on weight!

    Those power bars on the other hand… those might be a winner. :)

  60. You make it sounds so simple and easy Elana! :) I don’t take the time to make bread at our house, and neither does my mom. We usually just snack at school and when we get home, we have whatever was leftover from dinner before. But this looks amazing!

    Well, as I am STILL in school, I would say my favorite lunch to come home to is leftover stew on a cold snowy day. It’s so comforting to have a hot meal when I get home from a hard day at school.

  61. Mia

    My favorite lunch as a child was onigiri with nori (rice ball with seaweed), chicken karaage (Japanese fried chicken), mom’s potato salad. Yum!

  62. Sara

    My favorite lunch came just once a year-my birthday! My mom would always make me a B.L.T. on toasted whole wheat. I would wait all year for this special lunch. The lunch bell rang and I ran to my locker to get my lunch. I can still remember the mayonnaise slathered all over the toast, the tomatoes being incredibly juicy, and the bacon being oh so crisp. There was also a piece of fruit, string cheese in the bag, and a note from my mom saying she loved me and happy birthday. But it was that B.L.T. that showed her love for me beyond anything else during those special days.

  63. Jennifer Stephenson

    A favorite lunch was a peanut butter and banana sandwich and a Little Debbie oatmeal cream pie(yikes!)

    Not the type of lunch I make for my four boys; one of whom is gluten free.

  64. carrie @ gingerlemongirl @ gingerlemongirl.com

    I just realized you were giving away a copy of Ali’s book! IWOULD LOVE a copy of the book! Right now I think my favorite lunch is when I make enough of dinner to have leftovers!! But otherwise, my fav lunch is a sandwich a piece of fruit. Very creative! lol… I really want to try your spicey power bars to pack with me!

  65. Kellie

    My fave lunch was a chicken roll sandwich on onion roll with mayo and a slice of american cheese. It was especially yummy after sitting in my locker all morning in a no-AC school in early June!! However, my LEAST favorite lunch was orange marmalade and natural peanut butter on the most coarse, awful, whole wheat bread my father used to make in Juicy Juice cans. Thankfully, eating healthy no longer has to be so terrible!

  66. Deannas @ themommybowl.com

    As a child, my favorite school lunch was probably wonder bread and velveeta. Scary, no? Good thing I’ve come a long way since then. :)

  67. Unfortunately I ate junk growing up. Always a little Debbie snack of some sort. Yuck!

  68. Anne

    My favorite lunch was peanut butter and jelly on graham crackers and a cold glass of milk. We walked home for lunch and ate whatever my mom had prepared, but never a soggy sandwich since it was always fresh.

  69. My favorite lunch was my Mom’s homemade spaghetti, leftover from the night before.

  70. Audrey

    My favorite lunch as a child was the mock chicken legs we got in the cafeteria. It was usually accompanied by mac & cheese and some canned green beans and peaches!


  71. ~M

    My favorite lunch was a turkey sandwich on a kaiser roll with mayo and shredded lettuce. Of course…I always I had a stomachache afterward.

    I’d like to win Ali’s book!

  72. C

    My favorite lunch as a child was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich cut into 4 triangles (to optimize crust to bread ratio), a Red Delicious apple (who knew about other varieties with actual flavor), and some combo of chips, a cookie, or pop (go Chicago!). Thankfully, my wife is a fabulous and HEALTHY cook!

  73. Lisa Vance

    I was a PB&J kid. Used to love them.

  74. Deb Steel

    My fav lunch that I used to make for myself was ham and mustard on white bread unfortunately since my mom hadn’t discovered brown, yet! I always packed an apple or orange and of course my all time fav homemade choc. chip cookies….yum!!

  75. Kelly Coffin

    My favorite childhood lunch was homemade italian sandwichs, my mom put so many vegies and my favorite meat (genoa salamie) and then topped it off with a dusting of salt and pepper and olive oil and a dab of vinegar all on a sub roll. Yummy!!! Truly made with love.

  76. I loved peanut-butter sandwiches (no jelly), or as an alternative, cucumber cream cheese sandwiches, but always with the crust trimmed off. I cannot believe the wonderful flavors and textures I was missing by not eating the crust. I always wanted fruit and carrot and celety sticks in my lunch bag. I still love a quick lunch like that sometimes today; although I now like to toast my whole-wheat or multi-grain bread to give the sandwich an extra nutty-tasting crunchy boost!

  77. Tracy

    Bologna and cheese on bunny bread w/ mayo and mustard and a layer of ruffles. I can still feel it stuck to the roof of my mouth. I loved it. I wouldn’t even think of letting my children have bologna and fake cheese sandwiches. We buy Applegate farms deli meats as a treat now on sprouted grain bread.

  78. Elizabeth

    Fave lunch as a kid: peanut butter and banana sandwiches with a glass of milk.

  79. HilaryD

    My favorite lunch was pb&j! I think I ate it every day for like 5 years! (Tunafish with celery was another favorite…but we don’t eat tuna anymore due to high mercury.)

  80. Kate

    I loved tomato soup with garlic-y croutons to float on top!

  81. Gine

    My favorite lunch was chili with a peanut butter sandwich. The best part was adding the chili to the pb sandwich — so good!

  82. C

    Definitely Mom’s leftover chicken turned into a delicious sandwich with spicy mustard! YUM!

  83. I’ve always loved a good sammy. When I was very young my favorite was lettuce, cheese and mayo (on white bread) – just thinking of it grosses me out now, but I loved it then!

  84. Becky Seay

    Oh my! That was soooo long ago! :-) I wasn’t diagnosed with food allergies until this past year at the age of 43, so naturally my favorites are going to include everything I can’t have now! We always ate the school lunches in the cafeteria. Spaghetti, a yeast roll with a big chunk of cheddar cheese with a piece of yellow cake with peanut butter frosting.

  85. Jamie

    Wow, I just discovered Ali’s blog literally last week, and was totally inspired… much like I felt when I stumbled upon your site!! I would love to have her cookbook :)

    My favorite lunch as a kid was tuna salad on crackers… they were saltines of course, but these days I still love tuna salad on rice crackers. My mom would also include carrot sticks, an apple and some homemade trail mix with nuts, raisins and chocolate. I also loved a good sandwich made from leftover roast beef that my mom made every Sunday.

  86. Melissa

    My favorite lunch when I was growing up was tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, especially on cold rainy days. This would really warm you up. Now when I have this for lunch the tomato soup is usually Low Sodium V-8 juice warmed up, gluten free bread and rice cheese since I cannot do dairy. Yummm, brings back childhood memories!

  87. Meredith Lucas

    I had the same lunch my entire childhood. It was a peanut butter sandwich (no Jelly), a bag a chips, two full size reeses peanut butter cups and a coke. As you can tell, I did not grow up in a nutritionally conscience household. I have recently begun the journey of transforming myself and my family (3 boys ages 12, 10 and 4) into a healthier lifestyle. We are a very active and well educated family, but breaking old habits has certainly been a challenge. I try very hard with my boys to pack nutritious lunches that they will eat. It has been a slow process, but with time they are learning the importance of the “growing foods.” They are also beginning to make better choices when they are choosing for themselves. Very exciting!
    Often times, I find myself out of ideas. Sometimes I will just revert to an old unhealthy recipe due to lack of time and inspiration. I would love to win a book that will continue to educate me in the importance of whole nutrition. As you can see from my childhood lunches, I certainly need all the help I can get. Thank you!!!

  88. gfe-gluten free easily @ glutenfreeeasily.com

    I’m lucky enough to have a copy of Ali’s book already! It’s such a valuable resource in my kitchen, for recipes and so much more. :-) I think fish sticks used to be my favorite “bought” school lunch. I’ve always loved fish. From home, hmmm, I was pretty partial to spaghetti in a thermos with buttered bread.

    Beautiful lunch for one of your guys, Elana! Those power bars look very similar to the Popeye bars I just made. ;-) Will have to take a look at yours again, because I’ve forgotten how you make them (well, other than using almond flour, of course … or at least I expect LOL).


  89. Marla Teyolia

    My favorite lunch was bologna on white bread with mayo. i coveted it from my friends b/c the lunch I ACTUALLY had in my bag usually consisted of an egg and chorizo burrito!

  90. Maria

    My favs for lunch growing up were peanut butter and jelly sandwich (on white of course),peaches, and about 5 Oreos with milk! My children had it much better…home made bread, organic almond or peanut butter and organic homemade jellies!

  91. Joanne

    That would have to be peanut butter and my mom’s homemade jam or jelly — the the favorite being the one made from wild ground cherries. These grew in the Sandhills of NE and required lots of sugar as they very tart. Can’t emphasize tart enough there. That with an apple or orange, and some carrot sticks to round out the meal.

    I still like pp&j — but now serve on gf bread and have recently been able to find Udi here in pdx. By the way, Elana, your almond flour sandwich bread does justice to pp&j — made my first loaf Sunday.

  92. Lauren

    My mother was awesome enough to vary my lunch – to her credit, she came up with some really good stuff – but I have to say it was when my Italian nonna came over and brought some home-made specialties that things got really good.

  93. Jeanette Taylor

    For years my favorite lunch was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, ho hos (or Twinkies), chips, a drink and a piece of fruit. Then I switched to bologna sandwiches, but the rest remained the same. Occasionally my mom tried to get creative and threw in carrots or celery sticks. Whatever she packed it was always good.

  94. Rebecca

    Fav lunch was Ham, chz and mustard on wheat, apple and cheetos. It was always a big deal to open the sack and see chips!

  95. Fran Danner

    My favorite lunch was fish sticks in the school cafeteria. I had to bring my lunch – no free lunch program back then (the 50s). But on Friday’s my mama would give me 50 cents for fish sticks! That was almost the equivalent of a full hour’s work for her in a factory. Haven’t had any fish sticks in at least 40 years – now I prefer grilled or baked fish.


  96. Melissa

    I was one of those weird kids who actually enjoyed the school lunch. I preferred having a hot lunch and since my mom wasn’t exactly Betty Crocker I guess back then it really seemed like good food to me. Now I realize I must have been really desperate to think that food was good. My husband and I have started really putting an emphasis on what we eat and we’re always looking for new and exciting things to take for lunch every day. We don’t have kids yet, but we’ve already vowed not to let them grow up eating the way we did!

  97. Laura

    My favorite lunch was tuna and mayonnaise with small chuncks of apple mixed in, all inside a pita bread. Yummmm!!! When I got older I would also add sprouts on top. I would love to have something like that now(althougth I would use salmon instead of tuna), but I have no idea how to make a pita bread that is gluten free. Any suggestions?

  98. moriah

    I know we’re supposed to list our fave lunch as a kid – but I’m going to list my mom’s favorite. It’s one I absolutely hated yet found it in my brown paper sack more often than not. It was a liverworst sandwich on white wonder bread. Yuk!!!

  99. cindy

    favorite lunch had to be pizza and tater tots…

  100. Rachel, Michigan

    I will try that crepes Idea! How great for our Primal-ish family to have something with eggs that works cold also! I could make up a batch on sunday for breakfast and save some for the week. On Sundays my Mom used to make them with a sweet cottage cheese filling (orange zest and all). Crepes it is!!

    My other egg idea is little baked custards, chilled. These can be done easily with coconut milk. Pumpkin pie filling is my favorite. I will try the pumpkin on my son, but I think he’ll end up telling me he wants plain vanilla. I have made molasses or cocoa custards before also.

    Braunschwager is a liver pate. And, I love it! My grandparents introduced us to that and sardines. Good nutrient dense food. Now you have to make your own pates in order to get quality. Sardines are the #1 food to eat!

    Here’s another idea which won’t work for me, but maybe for you: Fritters of some kind, for example falafel with tahini-lemon dip.

    My favorite childhood after school snack was a granny smith apple, sliced and paired with slices of cheddar cheese. (I’m now dairy free for over a year.) I loved tomato soup in a thermos. I hated mealy apples. I hated PB&J. So dry. Perhaps it was the all-natural style my mom provided. My kids don’t like sandwiches and the closest to a favorite in this category now is SunButter made from roasted sunflower seeds, but we find things like Crunchmaster crackers to put that on.

    My son is a picky little Primal-hybrid eater and I usually pack him: Yogurt, Kefir, nuts and dried fruit or Larabar, banana, or my own homemade power bars which they think are cookies, and water. Often hummous. I will be trying out a pumpkin scone or something. He got pickier (grrr) but he used to eat deviled eggs (which I think are less appealing in a lunch because they probably smell the older they get) and some lunch meat (plain, since he never did want sandwiches). He also used to eat black olives from the can.

    Now I love turkey roll ups dipped in Italian dressing. Easiest for me is stuffed grape leaves and olives from the olive bar at the grocery store. For my own food on the go I pack sardines and a ziploc baggie to keep the messy tin after eating so I can take it home and wash/recycle). Homemade chicken salad is awesome.

  101. Valerie Reid Jordan

    Hi Elana,

    I wanted to let you know how much I love the chicken pot pie recipe from your Almond Flour Cook Book. A friend of mine who also has your book made the pot pie first and raved about it. So a week later I tried it and Wow! It is so good! Within a few days my parents made it too and we’re all raving about it. Thanks for another fabulous recipe.


  102. Natane

    Leftovers, plain and simple. I abhorred sandwiches as things always got soggy, unless they were condiment and vegetable free, so I’d take leftovers from the weekend or the night before.

  103. Kristi B

    My mom always packed a school lunch for us when we were growing up. My all time favourite lunch, which I had every single day (at my request) was cucumber sandwiches in pita bread, with carrot cookies for dessert. I am certain I was *the* only one at our lunch tables with this type of sandwich, but I cared not. I loved it so much! Love notes accompanied every lunch even when I became “too cool” to let her know I secretly looked forward to those every day.

    To this day, my mom makes the best cucumber sandwiches (though simple and without secrets to set it apart) despite being just like any other cucumber sandwich you can whip together. Long before the cookbooks were published on sneaking pureed veggies into meals, she taught me how to make carrot cookies; which my own kids now beg to take to school to share with their friends.

    There is something to be said about the beauty and love created in the kitchen – it goes far beyond food and meals.

  104. Lynette

    It has been so long since I was a kid I don’t remember! But I did a fun thing for my 4 sons that they loved. I would make a baloney man. A round piece of baloney for the face; carrot curls for the hair; cheese and raisins and celery sticks, and nuts for the facial features. I also made pirate sandwiches. I would take half of a hamburger bun (toasted) and put tuna salad on top and then “X” marked the spot with 2 stick shaped pieces of cheese and under the broiler for a minute to melt the cheese. Another favorite. I am just learning about the gluten free life and am so excited and hopeful for more health and vitality in my life!!!!

  105. Jennifer Pfeiffer

    My favorite lunch as a child was my mom’s homemade bread, homemade pickles and peas fresh from the garden. I’d love a copy of the book for gf recipes to replace my mom’s homemade bread. Thanks!

  106. Cathy Moser

    My favorite lunch was a grilled cheese sandwich. Melted cheese is SO yummy!

  107. Karla Grotting

    Hard-boiled egg, rye krisp crackers and cheese, a granola bar for dessert. Now that our family is gf, it’s a trick to pack healthy lunches that my kids can look forward too. I’m definitely looking for new ideas for my picky gf eaters!

  108. debra

    My favorite lunch was a dill pickle and melted cheese (it was a hard salty fresh cheese) sandwich with lots of mayo. Deelicious!

  109. Shannon

    grilled cheese with pickles! Thanks for the freebies Elana!

  110. debb

    my favorite school lunch as a kid was cheese sandwiches and little debbie snacks. so yes I could use help in the lunch department for my children

  111. Jen M

    My favorite lunch was tuna fish on white bread, chips, and Tastycake Kandy Cakes…and noadays I stay away from most of this. I am having trouble with what to pack my kids for lunch. Gluten free isn’t even the problem since Udi’s bread came around. My son doesn’t want a sandwich everyday though so it’s hard to find exciting cold items to pack! I would love to win this book as it may help!

  112. Hope

    Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches were my favorite. Not the healthy gluten free kind of course!

  113. Sarah D

    My favorite lunch growing up always consisted of something home made from my dad. He always grew a huge garden every year and I loved it when he would make me his famous lunch of garden snackies! Cut up kolhrabi, tomatoes, radish, and fresh crisp green beans. He would always throw in some left over wild game(he is a hunter) for some protein and homemade bananna chips for desert(we experimented a lot with a food dehydrator for a while. hahaha).

  114. Micaela M

    My favorite lunch as a child was pretty much anything mommy made for us. Lentil soup, pp & j sandwiches, leftovers, you name it :).

  115. Sharon

    I don’t remember having a favorite school lunch as I too ate hot lunch prepared by the school. I remember many things I didn’t care for like fish sticks on Friday. (Does that date me?) Thankfully I have come a long way with nutrition in the last 40 years. Now it’s the grandchildren’s lunches being ‘lovingly’ prepared.

  116. Sheena Searls

    My favorite lunch was egg salad sandwich or tuna sandwich. Nobody else liked the smell though.

  117. Amy

    My favorite lunch as a child was always hot ham & cheese on toasty rye bread, or cold turkey with cranberry mayo on a sesame bun!!! mmm memories!! :)

  118. nick c.

    Thanks for all your wonderful gluten free organic vegan recipes.

    My favorite school lunch was different every day… at elementary school days there was some hot food given to us for lunch. Then in high school things start to change.. no lunch fro the school cafeteria, so anything I could get by asking, begging or steeling from other kids who had more then they could eat… was my favorite food. My family was poor… and food was scarce in those days… sad but true… hope all children have a great and delicious school lunch prepared for them every day…with love :-)

  119. Katie

    My favorite lunch was a peanut butter & Velveeta sandwich. Even better if it was a grilled sandwich!

  120. My favorite lunch used to be a turkey cheese sandwich! White bread, salted turkey deli meat, miracle whip and american cheese…. I’ve come a long way =)

  121. manda

    unfortunately, i packed my own school lunch with no supervision…i would bring a little debbie snack cake and a fruit punch Hi-C drink-and i LIKED it. UGH. i try to do better by my kids:)

  122. jen

    my favorite was always plain old turkey and american cheese on wheat bread with mayo and dill pickles. HAD to have Utz regular potato chips to go with it, an extra pickle on the side and an ice cold coca cola classic. eating all of that now would send my body into a horrific funk….but boy, it sure does make me think of summer afternoons with my Dad.

  123. sarah

    My favorite lunch growing up was soup! My dad would heat up either homemade or canned soup for me at breakfast, pour it into my thermos and off I would go to school! The soup would be luke-warm by lunch, but still very yummy. Soup is extremely comforting any day of the year!

  124. Favorite lunch as a kid that was packed from home was definitely peanut butter and I prefer honey on whole grain bread. When I had to get school lunches, my favorite was when they offered salad bar with all the fixins.

  125. Alyson

    My favorite lunch was one of those tuna salad kits and a side of frozen peas that were perfectly thawed by lunchtime. It still sounds good to me!

  126. Shannon @ eatintheraw.com

    when i was a kid my favorite lunch was pb&j!

  127. Gail

    My favorite lunch when I was a youngster was bologna/mustard with cold chocolate milk. I know it is not the best for me, but I still like to have one every now and then with a cup of tea.

  128. Erin

    My sister and I were generally sandwich kids, but it was always a special treat when we packed leftover homemade chicken soup. Growing up in Florida, it was only “cold” enough for soup a few times a year.

    Thanks, Elana, for all of your great recipes!

  129. alisa

    thermos of tomato soup with oyster crackers! so good!

    we would also crunch up packets of asian noodle soup mix (similar to ramen), sprinkle on the flavoring and eat it raw. that was always a special treat.

  130. Molly

    This is just about exactly what my lunch as a child looked like! PB&J all the way, especially when it was made with my Grandma’s homemade raspberry jam using the wild raspberries that grow at our family cabin. And nothing beat the napkin with a note from my Mom, reminding me to have a great day and to keep smiling :)

  131. Mandy

    I always had to eat school lunch when I was a kid, so when i got to pack my own lunch for a field trip or what not, I really went all out. I would stuff that baby with whatever I could fit in. So, really, I loved lunch from home, regardless of what it was (except for raisins!).

  132. Mary

    This blog is FABULOUS, Elana! Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us!

    My mom was a little ahead of her time on the healthy bandwagon. My favorite lunch was natural peanut butter and honey on homemade oat bread, cucumber and carrot slices, the best was homemade fruit leather (fruit rollups). I had kids offer to buy my fruit leather for 50 cents! This was in 1976. I could have cleaned up! ;-)

  133. Carina

    I was not much of a sandwich eater when I was a child. My poor mother would make a cream cheese sandwich using rye bread and cut it using cookie cutters to get me interested in eating it…poor woman! My favorite thing in the lunch was usually raisins and nuts that she’s mix together and pack…mmmmm! Carrot and celery sticks, as well as a cookie or two rounded out the lunch. Ah, the days of not being (or being aware of) sensitivity to gluten and dairy!

  134. Peggy Parsons

    My favorite lunch as a child was, chicken noodle soup
    with saltine crackers. Back then, we had never heard
    of gluten sensitivity.

  135. elise

    I think I had peanut butter and jelly for most of my lunches which I loved. But my mom would also pack a tin of vienna sausages sometimes which for some reason I thought was great – yuck! I would love Ali’s cookbook since I am always looking for new gluten free recipes. I love your book and website!!

  136. MaryK

    I’d have to say PB&J with an apple. My brothers on the other hand probably at bologna for every lunch.

  137. Alejandra

    I used to get some cantaloupe, jícama, carrots or cucumber. But being Mexican the most important part of my lunch was chilli powder, of course!

  138. Ellen

    my favorite “cold lunch” growing up was a butter and cheese sandwich. bread, butter, cheddar, repeat. kind of amazes me to think about now!

  139. Mari

    Like many others, as a kid my favorite school lunch was Peanut Butter and Jelly. I still love peanut butter, though now, I’m more likely to make it into a peanut sauce and have it with veggies or baked tofu. Occassionally, though, PB and jam on gluten free crackers is just what my taste buds want.

    I would love to win Ali’s book! I have it checked out from the library right now, and am loving it, but I’ll need to return it soon. It would be fabulous to have my own copy.

  140. Robin Fortin

    Also guilty of loving the pb&j. But what made it so special was that my mother made it and she put pb on both slices of bread with strawberry jelly (my favorite flavor), and then cut the sammie into four triangles. There is something how your mom makes food that doesn’t compare to how anyone does, you know? Thanks for sharing the lunch idea for kiddos!

  141. Xintia Preda

    My favourite lunch was (and still is) cream cheese, chicken ham and gerkins on homemade wholemeal bread. Yum yum!
    I would really love to win this book! Hope you will pick me!

    Thank you very much for every single recipe, they are all fantastic and really delicious!

  142. Rebecca

    I have to say peanutbutter and jelly is my fav, too. It has to be made by my mom though. I know it is not rocket science, but for some reason hers always tasted best.
    Hope I win! :o)

  143. Tracy

    Hi Elana,

    Your Udi’s bread seem much larger than my loaf. I was wondering where I am buying it that mine is so small. Looks yummy! Thanks, Tracy

  144. isa Norris

    I did not have a lunch box when I was a kid as I grew up in France and you either went home for lunch or ate at the cantine. In my case, it was eat at home, as my parents owned a restaurant, it’s no way I would have gone to the cantine.
    Anyway, I can say that one of my favourite lunch for the kids is Chicken coronation (home made bien sûr) in wholemeal pitta.

    Like your idea of almond butter and jelly, but most school are “nut free lunch only” including the ones my kids go to. So we’ll pass :o)

    Thanks for a fantastic blog!

  145. Lindsay

    I loved cheese sandwiches on white bakery bread…haven’t eaten that in about 20 years!

  146. Stacey

    When I was 15, I was a nanny for a family up on an Island in Georgian Bay. The father introduced me to peanut butter and tomato sandwiches. He adulterated his by putting mayo on them (I’ve always hated mayo), but for me the combination of rich, sticky peanut-butter and summer ripe tomatoes was a revelation. Now I make it on toasted, home-made bread, sometimes with almond butter instead of peanut butter …

  147. Michele B

    Hmmm…favorite lunch…PBJ’s, pizza loaf in a sandwich or turkey with mayo. Although, I think tuna, ham and roast beef sandwiches were probably the ones I most took to school. Now that I have to make my two little boys their lunches, it seems they only want balogna sandwiches…the younger one does enjoy a good mustard and ketchup sandwich though!! Can always use new ideas for lunch and would love to win Ali’s book…have been GF for a year now and am always looking for ideas. Thanks.

  148. My favorite lunch was macaroni and cheese or Spaghetti O’s!

  149. Jenna

    I loved having leftover cold pizza for lunch as a child. Hmm, I haven’t thought about that in a while :)

  150. Daniela

    My favorite lunch as a child was Tuna and tomato wraps.

  151. Mary

    The deluxe snack was raw ramen, crunched up in a ziplock bag with the sauce powder sprinkled over it. If you brought that for snack, everyone loved you. I was also a huge fan of seasoned seaweed packs for recess time. Yum!
    For lunch, I liked everything but sandwiches. They were always warm and soggy. It was always a real treat if i got stir-fry leftovers with short grain brown rice.

  152. Nerissa

    When I was young I always loved getting fold over pizza’s in my lunch. They were what I would now call a Calzone. I loved them because my mom and I would spend an afternoon making them together the weekend before and them have them over the week.

    It was a special thing for us to do together.

  153. My favorite lunch was definitely (even up to a year ago when I started eating Paleo) Peanut and Butter Jelly sandwiches. My mom would sometimes pack me turkey or ham sandwiches but I would always ask to go back to the good ol’ pb & j. More than anything, though, I looooved the school (hot) lunches in Japan. Instead of lunch ladies, we had groups of our class who would be in charge of serving lunch to the rest of the class. I think that made the lunches even more fun and delicious!

  154. Andrea

    My favorite lunch as a kid was a cheese and mustard sandwich (my babysitter taught me about these-perfect for the beach, or school!), carrot sticks and an apple with peanut butter. When my older sister used to babysit me, we would make fried bologna sandwiches with catsup. Yum!

  155. Kathleen

    Marshmallow fluff and peanut butter – so yummy and gooey. As a working adult, preparing lunch for myself is challenging since I have to be glulten free and yeast free

  156. I’ve been wanting Ali’s cookbook for awhile now, but haven’t had the extra money around to purchase it. So thanks for this giveaway chance.
    I also appreciate your blog and cookbook…my husband and I went gluten free a year ago after he was diagnosed with Celiac.

    Anyway, on to my favorite lunch as a child: Definitely soup and fresh homemade bread spread with butter.

  157. Pam Crow

    I mostly had hot lunch at school. My favorite was goulash and chocolate milk. My mom worked in the hot lunch program and I think the food back then was more healthy than now in the schools however not like we are eating now. The hot lunches are not good now at all so try and get it more healthy at home.

  158. Eileen Vollmer @ eileenvollmer.com

    Well, I don’t know if it was my favorite, but I did eat a lot of liverwurst sandwiches on white bread. Thankfully, my nutrition has evolved quite a bit since I was a kid :) Don’t worry, mom, I don’t blame you. I turned out fine.

  159. Eileen

    PB&J, dipped in milk, with my mom’s homemade plum jam. Salivating now as I think of it!

  160. nel

    I had 3 favorite sandwiches which my Mom would rotate- cucumber and butter and salt on white bread, chicken roll with mayo on white bread (excellent smooshed with Ruffles potato chips, actually they all were) and bologna with mayo on white bread. I always got a small can of juice and a cookie and piece of fruit, too. And brown paper bags with funny pictures and a love note on them. Embarrassing but I loved them, too. Now it’s leftovers and wraps made with roasted nori or cabbage leaves.

  161. Kristin Walukas

    I just discovered Ali’s blog and it is quickly becoming a favorite – second to your’s of course!

  162. Mollie TheAlmondFlower @ thealmondflower.com

    I don’t remember my favorite packed lunches as a kid! But I loved when my middle school got a salad and soup bar. At the time it was a really healthy option and we all loved it. Ranch dressing, iceberg lettuce and cream of broccoli soup- yum!

  163. Andrea C

    i remember really fresh salad sandwiches from the tennis club…and my mum’s sausage rolls….ahhhh

  164. My three year old started Preschool this year, so packing a school lunch is new to our house. I have been packing him a lunch very similar to yours, Elana… an almond butter and jelly waffle sandwhich (with a Van’s gluten free frozen waffle), cucumbers and frozen peas, grapes, and raisins. I too am going to post my school lunch ideas on my blog very soon… but would love a copy of Ali’s book for more inspiring GF recipes!

  165. Kim Penunuri

    My favorite lunch was always the lunch you purchased in the cafeteria.
    I loved those :)
    I would love to own this book

  166. Rebecca V-H

    Honestly? I don’t remember what my mom regularly packed me as a kid.

    Though, on my first day of school, she put 2 boxes of raisins in my backpack and said to eat them if I got lonely and think of her and my dad – they were thinking of me and loved me very much! I don’t even like raisins, but I eat them as a comfort food – a much healthier choice than most other “comfort foods”. When I have kids, I’d like to help teach them that comfort foods can be healthy.

  167. Jennifer

    Hello– just found your website and am looking forward to trying some of the recipes. I really enjoyed the hot lunches we had in grade school–back then they were homemade and got to try a little of everything. I really missed that in high school where the food was greasy and gross– my favorite lunch at home was tune salad sandwiches–yum.

    Would love to win the cookbook–thanks!


  168. Laura

    I think my favorite was taking a sourdough baguette and making mini ham and cheese sandwiches out of it. So cute and delicious!

  169. sam

    Hi Elana,

    I recently discovered your blog as I decided to go paleo about 2 weeks ago. I am loving it all so far!

    My sisters and I used to go to my grandma’s house for lunch and some of my favourites were: fried toast, white bread with butter and sugar, and toast with maple syrup. And no, I’m not kidding!!

    You can see how far I’ve come from by eating that for lunch as a kid and now eating paleo!

  170. Vanessa

    Growing up, we went home for lunch and my favourite lunch was cream of tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich and pickles… just thinking about it makes me want it right now, haha. It was the ultimate comfort meal on a cold day!

  171. Jackie

    My favorite was peanut butter and fluff…can’t believe it!

  172. Diane

    My favorite lunch as a kid was peanut butter and grape jam on white bread with carrot sticks and 2 Oreo cookies. Milk to drink. I know, BAD!!! But it was the 70s!

  173. Tracy Milstead

    I loved it when my grandmother fried Spam, put mustard on it, and made a sandwich with it. :)

  174. With these recipes you are making my family’s life so much easier! Thank you for all of your hard work! You have made such a difference. Thank you, thank you!

  175. Michele

    My favorite lunch as a child was my dad’s smoked turkey salad. He normally only made it after a holiday like Thanksgiving or Christmas when he smoked 2 turkeys, one to eat and 1 to make salad with. I would eat it morning, noon and night until it was gone. I would eat it plain or with crackers or bread… it didn’t matter. Now I live in another state, so I get it even less… I may need to move closer…

  176. Gina Pelella

    Growing up in an Italian family, escarole was a regular at our dinner table.When I was a child my mom would pack an Italian bread hero roll with escarole that was slow cooked with olive oil and garlic, american cheese and salami; yes I was one of those kids who hid the big oil stain on the outside of the brown paper bag. The other favorite was egglplant parmagiano on white bread. Boy I wish I could have one of those sandwiches today!

  177. This sort of organization is so necessary in a busy life. I appreciate the link to the lunch chart – balance made nice and easy.

  178. Stephanie

    Every day bringing a brown bag lunch from home to be eaten in the school cafeteria was a white bread, deli meat, lettuce and tomato sandwich. The only items I still eat today are the lettuce and tomato. Also included was an apple. I ate an apple with my lunch every day growing up and I’m healthier today for it.

    The power bars sound as though they WOULD be packed full of energy. Will try. My husband needs all the energy he can muster to lift the 16 ft. 6×6 pressure treated lumber posts.

  179. Linda

    My fave lunch as a child was those hotdogs w/cheese wrapped in store bought tubed biscuit dough. Doritos. Coke. Now I think that would kill me…lol but then it was awesome. :)

    Now I enjoy salad, veggie sticks and hummus or almond butter. :)

    Thanks for the chance to win! Sounds like a fabulous cookbook.

  180. Adrienne DeGuere

    I’d love to check this cookbook out. I’m in such a rut with my son’s lunch.

  181. Marisa H

    I’m not allergic to peanuts but I might switch to almond butter because they are so good!

  182. Growing up in the Dominican Republic, Caribbean food was an everyday deal. My favorite school lunch was chicken empanadas (patty-like pastry), which were also stuffed with corn and chopped carrots, and a cup of red soda. The empanada was big enough to satisfy my hunger and get me through the rest of the day!

  183. Beth Byrd

    I would have to say my favorite lunch as a kid was egg salad. Although the way my mom made it wasn’t really “salady” :-) She would hardboil the eggs, cut them in slices, put a little mayo on the bread and then the eggs on top. I still like this sandwhich :-)

  184. Kim

    The best Lunch was always bought at school. Nothing mom packed could compare! Cheese steak day! and Hot Otis Spunkmyer chocolate chip cookies and milk!!! Not very nutritious I know…

  185. KLee

    My favorite lunch for quite sometime in grade school was lettuce and butter sandwiches smushed flat. yum yum

  186. Kim

    I always had a mushy pb&J and was jealous of those who had bologna sandwiches! I loved yodels and pb kandy kakes too.

  187. Marcia Robbins

    These power bars are great. My husband is a teacher with multiple dietary restrictions, so I am packing school lunches each morning to get him through the day.
    His colleagues are always jealous of his meals even though they can’t imagine giving up what they are used to eating.
    Thanks, Elana

  188. My favorite lunch as a child was an egg salad sandwich, fruit and carrot & celery sticks. Some things don’t change and some things do- I still like egg salad and make it for my GF&DF child sans bread. We are relatively new to GF&DF living so another cookbook would be very helpful!
    I have your cookbook Elana and we love your chicken pot pie and southwestern salmon burgers that I serve with quinoa and green apples. The sesame crackers are wonderful too. All of the recipes I have tried are so easy- I almost can’t believe it!
    Mahalo nui loa for all of your time and energy you put into your website- We love you!

  189. SAM

    man if i’m able to replicate this … atleast just the presentation, my kids will devour it ! IT is just too damn good!
    Keep it up!

  190. Hands down it was PB&J that was my favorite, so this new twist on an old classic is perfect. We always had a well rounded lunch including some fruit and veggies. These days it is soooo important to provide healthy, non-processed lunches for our kids and to expose them to all different types of food.
    Thanks so much for the work you are doing to educate and provide healthy alternatives.

  191. Kathy

    Oh my. I really hate to admit this now since I am a vegetarian and healthy eater, but my favorite lunch as a child was a BLT sandwich. White balloon bread, lots of mayo (full fat of course) very crisp bacon,
    lettuce and tomato. Yummy.

  192. Jenni Lintz

    Thanks for the lunch inspiration. My kids appreciate variety for their lunches.

  193. Bern

    My mum always used to make me the yummiest lunches, with homemade bread sandwiches, a home made baked sweet and a piece of fruit. I think I took it for granted, because my favorite lunch was when I swapped mine for a canteen-bought chicken burger (my mum would have been disgusted, and in retrospect, so am I!).
    Your lunch box idea looks great xx

  194. Tracy in NC

    My favorite lunch as a kid was my Momma’s homemade Macaroni and Cheese. It was the best. She doesn’t make it except for holidays now but it is worth the wait.
    Would love to win the book.

    Tracy in NC

  195. Saundra

    I mostly ate the school lunches which were served and prepared in the lunchroom. When I hit high school,however, I usually just packed a sandwich and an apple or other fruit. Sometimes a “hostess” fruit pie. I can’t even imagine the fat and calories in one of those!! I would love to have this book since I am now eating healthy and need ideas.

  196. My favorite was a PB&J sandwich on whole grain bread, a glass of milk, and an apple.

  197. Suzette

    Okay, don’t get grossed out, but my mother is from Colombia and she used to make the most delicious, tender, flavorful lengua (tongue) that would make for an awesome sandwich. It was my favorite. I certainly miss the unique flavors of my heritage… a blend of German, Lebanese and Colombian. So my lunches were not the most popular among my friends, but I would be in heaven. In fact, I never even knew what a corn dog, candy bar, pop tart, sugar cereal, ramen or mac and cheese, etc was until I was an adult! I hope to model healthful, energy-providing meals that are full of love to my son just as my mother did. Thanks for supporting this effort! I hope more people see how important it is to feed our children’s minds, bodies and souls with goodness.

  198. Cindy

    My favorite as a kid was bologna & cheese & mayo or tuna salad. My favorite as an adult is a salad or a turkey sandwich with tomato, avocado and a little slice of red onion.

  199. Oh my, I have seen again my favorite snack which is the peanut butter jelly sandwich. Oh, I’m drooling now. I’m craving for it actually. Thank you for this very delicious post. Speaking of healthy pack lunches, we also need to consider what lunch pack container are you going to use. Because even if you have a healthy fun snack, but you’re using plastic ware types then it can’t be considered as 100% healthy pack. I believe that a complete healthy lunch pack is when you have a balance meal in a stainless steel tiffin container. Stainless steel container is an alternative kitchen tool to plastic ware types. It is made of high quality of stainless steels and guaranteed 100% BPA free. With it’s stylish design and ability to stack foods in it is truly remarkable. Try it. It is also eco-friendly.

  200. Mary Rondeau @ wholeness.com

    My favorite lunch as a child was peanut butter and brown sugar sandwiches on french bread. I would beg my mom to make these sandwiches for me.

  201. Valerie Swabb

    Don’t remember anything before pre-teen years, then my favorite was of course, Pizza. Doing gluten free pizza was difficult at first. The only crusts I could find were heavy and starchy. But I found these brown rice tortilla’s and they make WONDERFUL pizza crusts. Me and the kids love them, and even my husband (not a gluten free fan) likes them too! Only one kid is in school yet, but he loves cold pizza, so I make it ahead and throw it in with some carrots and he’s thrilled.

  202. Rachel Rothenberg @ pilatesbyrachel.com

    My mom always made the best lunches and I probably didn’t appreciate the effort she put into making the delicious sandwiches until now. I always liked the sides — fruit, raw green beans, pea pods or perfectly cut celery and carrots. And she always included her fresh mandel bread. But I also remembered the avocado, cheese and sprouts sandwich that my friends loved. To this day, my mom always makes the best sandwiches around.

  203. Holly Ellerton

    I had 2 favorites…
    Crunchy PB and fluff on whole wheat. Leftovers from roast beef with butter, and mustard on whole wheat. Neither one is very healthy, but sure tasted great back then. I also took milk and a piece of fruit, and a sweet snack, there was always something freshly baked in our house at the time.
    Odd question… did anyone else ever take Jello powder to school for snack or treat? I remember doing that as well. No wonder I have a sweet tooth! I would love the be entered into the contest for the book. I love new lunch ideas.

  204. Shelly

    My favorite lunch item was hot tomato soup poured into the lid of my Shaun Cassidy lunchbox thermos. There was something comforting about having something warm to put into my belly half way through my day at school. It made me feel like my mom had been thinking of me the whole time I was away from home.

  205. I just found your site and LOVE it! I love how the boys “make the grub” and then you inspect it. What a great way to get them to actually eat what’s in their lunch boxes!

    Thanks so much for sharing!!

  206. Peggy

    My favorite sandwich was plain Lebanon baloney on white bread – salty and yummy! And my mom would freeze a small can of juice to go with our lunches:)

  207. Brenda Foster @ bubsandscrubs.com

    Grilled cheese! Nowadays it has to be from grass-fed cows and gluten free but still one of my faves.

  208. Janet

    Am working with my 10 year old grandson on weight loss, have discovered the benefits of a partially gluten free diet and am always looking for great meal ideas. LOVED the lunch post, need to find that lunch list!! Great ideas as we both look to a healthier life.

  209. Stacy

    I couldn’t find Ali’s Lunch Packing Chart; the link didn’t work and I searched her site. Can you help?

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