It is a rotation of these "main courses":
bagel bites or pizza, chicken nuggets, mac and cheese with peas, pasta with butter and edamame, hot dogs (no bun), pb&j, and quessadilla (cheese). i have tried sandwiches and they always come home uneaten. I used to send rolled up deli meat, but they stopped eating that too. Sigh.
And a couple the following:
apple (whole), baby carrots, grapes, sliced strawberries, applesauce, pretzels, goldfish, raisins, yogurt covered raisins, yogurt, graham crackers, sugar free pudding, or granola bar.
We also have to pack morning snack so I toss in 1 more fruit/veggie and something with protein (pb crackers, graham crackers with pb, yogurt, protein bar, etc) in as well.
We are fortunate that our school will heat kids lunches. I try to avoid this as much as possible sine I think it is a lot of work for the teachers - I put pasta in a thermos, but nuggets/pizza/hot dogs I send cooked but cold and they heat.
And I love Wednesday - pizza day at school!
My kids are surprisingly tolerant of the same lunches over and over again. They eat:
PB&J or turkey/cheese sandwich
dried or fresh fruit (apple slices, applesauce, mandarin oranges, cranberries, apricots, dried cherries, etc.)
If it's after a holiday, I'll also allow them to choose one small candy "treat" from Easter basket, Halloween loot, or Christmas stocking as a dessert. I do this for about a week, and after that the "treats" get cleaned up and put away.
What is giving you the impression he's bored with his lunch?
My DS loves his sandwiches in pita bread. He eats a salami and cheese pita most days. He also loves those squeeze applesauces. I usually send one of those, a granola bar and a yogurt.
lyhmgt3:Could be that he runs out if time also.
Running out of time is a real issue for kids in primary grades. My DS's elementary school has a 28 minute lunch shift. But by the time they march all the kids down to the cafeteria, get seated get lunches out, open ziploc pouches, compare lunch with friends, chat, goof off, act silly, unwind from a hard morning's work in class, there's not much time for eating.
Also, since I was a SAHM when my kids were in preschool, they had pretty much always had me with them at meal times, reminding them to stay focused and eat. They both played around with the new freedom of the school cafeteria and not having Mommy there to "make" you eat all your lunch.
I think it's very normal, as a parent, to leap to the conclusion that an uneaten lunch means your child is bored with what you're packing. But I have found that my kids, at least, are amazingly tolerant of repetition and don't crave a lot of change in their meals. An uneaten meal usually means a time problem rather than not liking the food!
At my son's school they won't heat his lunches either. I usually do a few different things. Even if it is just a sort of "snack" he can eat a real meal when he gets home. Here is some of what I do.
1. Bacon and boiled egg whites with fruit
2. PJ&J with apple slices and chips
3. Bagel with cream cheese and orange or other fruit
4. Cold chicken (usually from night before) with cheese stick and applesauce
5. Pepperoni Slices with Cheese slices
I do something along those lines. It would really help if they would heat the food.
Is he bored or are you?
I say, as long as he's eating it, keep packing it. You can always ask him if he wants something different.
I ate bologna sandwiches with mustard for several years growing up. I never minded it and would in fact ignore my mother's attempts to liven things up from time to time.
DS eats the same thing every day: Two cheese sticks, water, and cut up fruit.
I have offered him different (and more) foods, and he is not interested!
DD used to prefer eggo waffles, until the kids made fun of her and called her "waffle girl." The really bad thing about that was - on the day the cafeteria offered waffles, pancakes or french toast sticks for lunch, there were always lines because EVERYONE wanted that for lunch! Now she buys.
When she has to brown bag her lunch, I send her in with a buttered bagel, water, and cheese sticks.
- Sandwich. It is usually sunflower seed butter and blueberry or blackberry preserves on 'nutty' oat bread (no nuts included, just seeds - her school is peanut/tree nut free), but sometimes I swap out the sunbutter for cream cheese or pumpkin butter. She will also occasionally have a ham and provolone sandwich with spinach and mayo on 12 grain bread or a Chobani Kids Greek yogurt. It's a half sandwich, so it's not gigantic.
- Vegetable. It is usually baby carrots. She eats other veggies, but her teachers prefer that I not send dip because of mess issues, and that's how she eats raw ones (with hummus, tzatziki or dressing). Sometimes I send 'beetles on a log,' aka celery with cream cheese or sunbutter and dried blueberries. She told me that raisins are ants and blueberries are beetles I generally only send two or three of whichever one.
- Fruit. Huge variety here. Lately, she's been asking for a clementine and a few dried apricots. Other things that I send include hulled strawberries, blueberries, sliced apples or pears (with a couple of drops of lemon juice to prevent browning), a banana, etc.
- Dairy. Usually a handful of cubed cheddar cheese.
- Something fun. Handful of Annie's cheddar or graham bunnies, a couple of Trader Joe's yogurt star crackers, handful of cheddar pretzels, etc.
I send water in a water bottle for a beverage.
Her lunch comes back empty nearly every single day.