Bag Lunches & Canned Drinks for Field Trips

By Sherrie Voss Matthews

Elementary school students live for the moment when teachers say, "Field trip!" Parents, however, are often left to wonder what meals to pack in the lunchbox that will survive a day out in the sun without refrigeration. There are some tried and true tricks that parents can use to make sure their little field trippers have a healthy lunch to eat, one that will not spoil while the class is out and about exploring.

Double-Duty Drinks

The drink you choose for field trip lunches can do double duty. Some canned or prepared drinks, such as Capri-Sun drink packs, can be frozen ahead of time, according to Once inserted in the lunch box or paper sack, these drinks will defrost during the morning. They offer an added ice pack to the lunch, and when your child is ready to eat, the drink should be thawed and ready to sip.

Simple Sandwich Ideas

Consider eliminating from your sandwiches condiments that might spoil, such as mayonnaise. Food spoilage is an issue at temperatures between between 40 and 140 degrees F, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Vinegar-based dressings, such as ketchup, mustard and some salad dressings, would be better bet for dressing sandwiches.

Consider skipping sandwiches altogether for field trips. Instead, pack hard-boiled eggs, hummus and pita chips, beef or venison jerky, almonds, trail mix or string cheese. Pita pockets of vegetables, tortilla roll-ups or Thai-style lettuce wraps--recipes can be found at a change from the typical field trip fare.

Vegetables and Fruits

Field trips mean that lunch bags might be jostled and bounced during travel. Pack vegetables such as carrots, pea pods or edamame, which can withstand knocks and bumps and will not spoil quickly. Fruits such as oranges and apples will keep better than ones that are easily squashed. Frozen-yogurt tubes also can offer added cold packs, and they are a cool treat for dessert.

Food Allergies

According to, peanuts and other allergens can spread easily. Take into consideration other children. Be sure that no classmates have peanut or other allergies before packing peanut butter and jelly. Watch granola bars, which can be a hidden source of nut allergens.

About the Author

Sherrie Voss Matthews is a freelance writer based in San Antonio, Texas. She has expertise as a writer/editor/researcher. She has edited multiple books and has written for Planning magazine, 417, and MomsLikeMe.