Back to School

Joanna Goddard from Cup of Jo's Lunchtime Tricks

April 17, 2015

If you like reading what Amanda feeds her kids, you'll love taking a look into what other people—both in the food world and the world at large—prepare for their own children (and occasionally their signifcant others and maybe even their pets). Prepare to be either resentful or appreciative of your own parents.

Today's lunch was made for Toby by his mom Joanna Goddard, who you know from her wildy popular blog, Cup of Jo.

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My four-year-old son Toby takes a lunch to school every day, and although I'm a terrible cook, I actually enjoy packing them. There's something so satisfying about filling the sections of a LunchBots container: It's quick, easy and always looks weirdly good.

I generally try to put in a protein (sausage, rotisserie chicken, hard-boiled egg); a grain (pasta, rice, crackers); something green (broccoli, zucchini fries, seaweed, avocado); and fruit (half a banana, apple, berries, orange slices). Sometimes I'll add a surprise treat—even one friendly gummy bear has proven to be a huge hit.

Three random tips:

  • We cut zucchini into French fry shapes and call them "zucchini fries." It makes all the difference.
  • My kids go ape for Trader Joe's seaweed. It has a fun crackly texture and is chock full of vitamins and minerals.
  • If we're trying out something new, I'll tell Toby it's a special recipe, even if it's a stretch (like, "Grandma's Special Broccoli" or "Cheesy Quesadillas Just Like We Had at that Taco Place in San Francisco!!!") to get him more excited about eating it. For us, thankfully, it has worked like a charm.

What do your kids like? I'd love to hear what has worked well.

Photo by Yossy Arefi 

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

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  • Deb Perelman
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  • Patti Vaggalis-Hickey
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  • Sharon
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ACL September 16, 2019
Made of food grade stainless steel material that packs and preserves freshness and retain the healthy state of food packed for a long time. visit
silverblue78 June 19, 2015
my son is ridiculously stubborn. he went from eating everything to refusing most foods, yet he loves his chicken tikka masala and rice! i'm about to start packing him lunches for a summer program and am already dreading the process
Deb P. April 20, 2015
Jo -- thanks so much for the seaweed tip! Just had a huge A-HA! moment as my son loves them and I love having an vegetable for his lunchbox.
Patti V. April 19, 2015
sprinkles on everything including veggies. worked every time. Now, I roast all the veggies!! they love roasted veggies!
Sharon April 19, 2015