School lunch rules have changed since you were a child, even for small kids like kindergarteners. Instead of packing things like a peanut butter sandwich and chips, many parents now have to follow various school rules on what's allowed in a child's lunch. If your first child is going off to kindergarten this year, be sure to ask the school administration about these items because if you don't, you could end up getting some rather stern rebukes from the school.


So many articles on packing lunches for students include foods that need to be refrigerated, like cold cuts and cut fruit. However, not all schools have refrigerators in each classroom. Some schools still rely on leaving the child's lunch in his or her backpack in the coat closet. If you send a lunch that requires refrigeration with the child, even with cold packs inside, you might be sending a risky lunch because there's no guarantee the child will be able to eat it within a safe amount of time. Always check if there is a refrigerator or if the lunch period will happen soon enough for an ice pack to keep everything suitably cold.


Food allergies have become a major issue in schools, with some going as far as banning the problem foods from all lunches brought by all students. You've got to find out if your child's school has banned any foods so that you don't accidentally put another student's life at risk.

No Candy/Cookies Rules

In an effort to make students eat healthier foods, lots of schools have also instituted rules banning cookies, candy, and other sweet foods except on certain school-approved occasions. These rules can vary in scope (for example, one school might ban cookies outright while another allows a certain amount per day), so ask specifically about what your child's school will do.

Provided Foods

Also check if the school provides any foods. Whether or not the school has a cafeteria, it can also provide things like milk cartons during recess or juice during lunch. Take advantage of these opportunities if they are there. But ask ahead if the school does anything like this so that you don't make your child lug a bottle of milk to school only to find it would have been provided anyway.

Each school will be different, and rules can change year to year. Contact your child's school to find out what rules the kindergarteners have to abide by to ensure lunchtime doesn't become stress time.