Easy and Healthy Kids School Lunch Ideas

Healthy Lunch Ideas for KidsBack to school means busier schedules and more planning for many families.  Breaking down lunch preparation into a standard formula and planning ahead for the week can simplify the process, save money and time!

To make your child’s lunch healthier, a nice goal can be to aim for one food from each of the following categories:

1 – Protein
2 – Whole Grain
3 – Fruit
4 – Vegetable
5 – Milk or Water

Tips for Easy and Healthy Kids School Lunches

  • Include your kids in lunch planning (and packing if they are old enough!). Kids are more likely to actually eat their lunch if they pick it out.  Take them grocery shopping and let them choose some healthy foods to include.
  • Use leftovers to your advantage! Who doesn’t love leftover pizza in their lunch box?   When planning weekday meals, make extra of your kids’ favorite dinners that can be eaten cold and send it packed for lunch.
  • Use leftover meat in a sandwich or wrap, or cut into bite size pieces and serve with a dip.
  • Send hearty soup or oatmeal in a thermos for a warm, filling treat.
  • Combine fruit and vegetable such as dried cranberries and carrots for a colorful and tasty dish.
  • Increase the fun factor by cutting food into interesting shapes. Use a cookie cutter for soft foods like sandwiches or cheese.  Try using a vegetable peeler to make thin slices of carrot, cucumber or zucchini.
  • If your kids like to eat the same lunch every day, go for it! If it is something they will eat, it’s better to serve it than have their lunch end up in the garbage!
  • Low fat dairy foods such as yogurt or cottage cheese are quick, easy and good sources of protein that kids often enjoy.
  • Instead of relying on my often-tired and multitasking brain to come up with fresh meal ideas each week, I find making a list of foods and meals my kids usually accept and referring to it when planning my grocery trip helps make the process easier.

Helpful and Fun Lunch Ideas for Kids that are Bored with the Traditional Sandwich

Try these protein-packed ideas coupled with a side of fruit and vegetable!

  • Ham or turkey rolled with a thin slice of cheese in the middle
  • Pasta salad with whole wheat pasta, cheese, beans or meat and veggies
  • Edamame
  • Yogurt parfait
  • Cubed tofu with soy sauce
  • Tortilla spread with seed or nut butter and banana
  • Apple or celery with seed or nut butter
  • Pizza with whole wheat crust
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Stuffed pita
  • Bean and cheese burrito
  • Whole wheat pancakes
  • Hardboiled egg
  • Pear and cheese kabob made out of straw