Back in my day lunch times at school were called little lunch and big lunch and we had a tuckshop at the school where you could get a lunch order or just buy a snack over the counter. I remember in grade one, the tuckshop was about 15 meters away from our class room and the smell of pies and sausage rolls heating up through the morning used to make me so hungry. On a hot summer's day in Queensland you could buy a sunny boy triangular pyramid shaped ice block that would last all the lunch hour because it was frozen solid. Usually at the end of the lunch hour you'd be left with a tasteless blob of ice as you sucked the juice out of it.
Today my boys call their little lunch recess and big lunch is just lunch time, tuckshop is now canteen. At my boys school there is only one day in the week that the canteen is open all day and on Fridays it's open for recess only. During the early years of my first son's schooling we never really did lunch orders, but since my second son started school it's been a habit in the last year or so every Tuesday to have a lunch order. I look forward to Tuesdays, not only does it give me a break on Tuesday mornings from making lunches, but if the cupboard is bare I don't have to worry, unless of course we have run out of small change...then we have to raid the money boxes.
The lunches I make for my boys every day is fairly simple. The only pre-packed thing I sometimes use is a little pyramid of laughing cow cheese to pop into their recess. For their recess, I cut up a piece of fruit and have crackers and cheese or a little container that I put some dip into. This recess had some carrot sticks for dipping, a few water crackers, grapes and spinach and pine nut dip in a tiny sealed container. Sometimes it's just cookies or muffins that I have made, but there's always a piece of fruit.
For lunch it's always a sandwich. Ham, cheese, tomato, lettuce and a little mayo on whole grain bread. It varies sometimes, ham, cheese and avocado, chicken, tomato and avocado etc depending on what I have in the fridge. We don't do peanut butter at school because of children with allergies, so we save peanut butter sandwiches for the weekend. My boys like the same things for lunches pretty much every day. I just vary the fruit and the sandwich fillers. I love this time of year, the fruit, especially mandarines are fantastic for putting in lunch boxes whole, if it's an apple I usually quarter it and cut out the middle seed section and give half to each child and throw in a few grapes or half of a banana.
My theory about school lunches is if you make it bite size they can pop it into their mouths easily and have enough time for play. If they eat their lunches, which they do, then I know they are pretty much getting a balance of all the right food groups and we can have something yummy for afternoon tea.