For parents, it means 10 months of packing lunches they hope their children will actually eat.
"The excitement of a new lunch bag and fancy new containers wanes after the first few weeks," says Cate, mom to three school-age children. "Over time, the foods they loved in September start coming back uneaten and you're forced to use your imagination and stay up-to-speed with what their classmates are bringing for lunch."
To think packing lunches is only about the food would be misleading. As with any social gathering, a school lunch period is full of dos and don'ts. What foods should you avoid packing in your child's lunch box?
"Sandwiches with ingredients that make the bread soggy like chicken or tuna salad...but most importantly, you should completely avoid foods with a strong odour," says Cate. "Kids don't want to draw attention to themselves in a negative way, so last night's leftovers, even boiled or devilled eggs, may not always be a great choice."