Lunch Menu #3

October 3, 2013

Bagel with cream cheese and cherry jam

Photo and text by Lindsey Johnson.

We’ve arrived at Menu #3 in our Lunchbox Series. This menu is pretty simple and something that I’m likely to put together in a hurry on our way out the door. It comes together quickly and doesn’t require much planning, and my girls love it. I started making cream cheese and jam sandwiches for my daughter when she was little and it has been her favorite sandwich ever since. We switch up the jam depending on what we have. For this sandwich, I used our favorite sour cherry jam, but we also like blueberry and peach.

- bagel with plain cream cheese and cherry (or your child’s favorite) jam
- veggie crisps (these are Inner Pea crisps from Trader Joe’s)
- fresh strawberries
- water

- Bagels can be hard for little mouths to chew. Cut it into fourths for younger kids.
- Usually I’m worried about making the bread soggy and use a thin layer to keep the jam from soaking in, but here it’s okay.
- The jam can squeeze out through the center and sides, so go easy on it. You could also mix the jam and cream cheese together or just use flavored cream cheese.

- Red lunchbox from IKEA (in stores only in US)
- Reusable zippered bags from Blue Avocado
- Polka dot reusable sandwich bag from BUILT
- Reusable water bottle from Rubbermaid*

*I don’t know why I keep buying these water bottles! They leak and after a few times of using them, the straw loses its suction. I’d love some suggestions on your favorite reusable water bottles with built-in straws. (Because I still have a kindergartener who thinks she can’t have a drink without a straw. : )

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jams October 3, 2013 at 11:39 am

We love Liberty brand…made in the USA and the straw option is removable.


2 Jessica brown October 3, 2013 at 11:41 am We use these thermos bottles – expensive but no leaks unless the top isn’t tight. And the water stays cold!


3 Nona October 3, 2013 at 11:59 am

Camlebak water bottles have served us well.


4 Allison October 3, 2013 at 12:08 pm

The Avent straw cup is great. Leak proof and easy to clean thoroughly. Maybe a sport top cup would work too? Then you could go for something like a Klean Lantern stainless steel bottle.


5 rachael October 3, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Where can we get cute reusable snack and sandwich bags in Canada that aren’t geared towards kids???? (Besides ETSY). I’m sure my husband would appreciate not pulling out a bag with princesses or dinosaurs on them.


6 Fiona @ Our House of 5 October 3, 2013 at 12:43 pm

There is a great Canadian online store I have bought all of our reusable lunch containers there. There is a great selection of snack bags and also water bottle with straws. My youngest has the contigo water bottle and we love it. There are some plain snack bags which would be office-safe.


7 rachael October 3, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Thanks so much Fiona! I checked it out and I love the selection!


8 Anna October 3, 2013 at 1:03 pm

thank you for this inspiration. we tend to stick to boring peanut-butter sandwiches when making lunch in the morning but this is so much nicer! we just don’t seem to have enough time in the morning…ahhhg!
we use water bottles by SIGG Swiss. Some have a simple screw-stopper, but others have a bidon-like pop-up lid. Our kids have been using them for years and no leaks so far. (see They’ve got them in all kinds of prints and colours.


9 Deidra October 3, 2013 at 1:09 pm

We’re CamelBak people at our house. Everyone has their own!


10 Nora October 3, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Camelbak waterbottles are the best! They come w/a lifetime warranty on bottles and parts, and are available in multiple sizes/styles (we love stainless steel) for big and little hands.


11 Susan October 3, 2013 at 2:41 pm

After researching and testing water bottles for what has seemed like years, we have settled on the Funtastic Thermos bottles in our house. They don’t leak, stay insulated and the stray stays clean when it ticks inside the cap.


12 amelia October 3, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Thermos funtainer. They don’t leak. They are insulated so you can have cold drinks. The only con for us is that they are heavy. (But only if you are the mom who ends up with three of them in your bag.) We love them. They are about 12 dollars but Toys R us often has buy one get one half off sales on them. And pipe cleaners are a perfect fit for cleaning the straw if the kids hide it in their lunchbox over the weekend.


13 Jocelyn October 3, 2013 at 3:17 pm

We also got our kindergartner one of these and it has been awesome. It keeps his water cold all day. He comes home with ice still inside! It isn’t the lightest thing when filled but it hasn’t been a problem. It also does sweat which is awesome. We got ours at target when it was on sale.


14 Kristy October 3, 2013 at 3:10 pm

We hate leaky cups around our house! I recently bought a small camelback for my daughter at Target and we haven’t had any issues! Bonus : it comes with a straw!


15 Nicole October 3, 2013 at 3:51 pm

Def camelbaks!!! Both my kids love theirs and they never leak.


16 Kristin October 3, 2013 at 4:20 pm

I totally agree with camelbaks – I have one for each of my boys and several for my husband and I, and we LOVE them. Easy to clean, don’t leak, easy for little ones like my 2 year old to open and close themselves, some fun designs – more than just the ones here, so you might need to look around a bit.


17 Sarah October 3, 2013 at 4:37 pm

I love that your lunch menus are super healthy. I have just got to get my kids eating better! This makes it look achievable.


18 Kim October 3, 2013 at 4:46 pm

We use Thermos Funtainer 16-Ounce Bottles. They do not leak, and keep your child’s water cold for up to 8 hours (tested in SC heat). Plus, Thermos makes smaller bottles, or bigger bottles depending on your child’s age, or water intake. They clean up perfectly in the dishwater, and they last for years, making them worth every penny!


19 shawna October 3, 2013 at 4:55 pm

my kids love their contigo water bottles with built in straws. We got ours in a three pack at costco but I have seen similar at walmart. They are fun bright colors which I think is a bonus. No leaks and very durable!


20 jjzach October 3, 2013 at 5:35 pm
21 Annette October 3, 2013 at 10:54 pm

Us too, eight years and counting. I can put them in the dishwasher every night (straw and all). Also, when I do replace the straw I just use regular straws and cut them down to size. They are also very light weight and no leaking after all these years. They are #5 plastic and always have been, so no bpa’s.


22 Grace @ sense and simplicity October 3, 2013 at 5:39 pm

I just posted about my favourite sandwich which I have every. single. day! It is a cheese and marmalade sandwich – so yummy – and a close cousin to cream cheese and jam, I’m sure. You can see my post here:


23 julia-lifeonchurchill October 3, 2013 at 7:11 pm

Oh this is a great idea! My little one has a peanut allergy and doesn’t eat sandwiches but he likes bagels. Going to give this a try!


24 Alice October 3, 2013 at 10:13 pm

eco Vessels.

I have a 3 and 4 yr old, we’ve gone through so many different brands. This is by far my most favorite and it’s not made of plastic so double plus! I’ve tried Siggs, I’ve tried kleen kanteens, and camelbaks, they ALL LEAK ALL OVER MY PARK BAG! eco vessel has been by far THE BEST!

the only problem is my kids sometimes chew on the mouth piece but you can order extras.


25 Kimberly October 4, 2013 at 9:56 am

Just to let you know, we have no kids and I’ve been using your lunch ideas anyway. I think I reached my lifetime limit of frozen “diet” lunches this summer so I’ve gone back to packing real food.


26 Emilee October 4, 2013 at 11:53 am

another vote here for camelbak. they’re fab and never leak!


27 Natural October 5, 2013 at 8:43 am

Thanks .. This is Awesome!


28 Jill October 9, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Strangely, Camelbaks weren’t good for us–maybe we had the wrong type or something. However, Contigo cups have been fantastic. And I have a lot of cups to compare them to. Don’t leak, aren’t hard to close or open for little kid hands, and the straws don’t get chewed up.


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