Best Healthy School Lunch Ideas – Moms don’t have to worry about packing brown bag lunches for their kids. There are many healthy lunch ideas in this blog article to help your family enjoy lunch time.
You might think I’m crazy for calling these ideas “healthy” considering the ingredients, but when you make these yourself in your kitchen you’ll know that they are not only healthy but delicious!
Best Healthy School Lunch Ideas
Thinking of healthy and exciting packed lunch fillings can be a daily challenge – especially if you can’t envisage your child happily trotting off to school with a box of sprouting mung beans, and you’re not bowing to the crisp and chocolate demands. Here are some simple, fast and scrumptious ideas to bring new life to the dreaded lunchbox – and remember, the power of novelty is not to be underestimated.
Healthy and happy
According to NHS choices a balanced lunchbox should contain:
- Starchy foods like bread, rice, potatoes or pasta
- Protein foods like meat, fish, eggs or beans
- A dairy item, like cheese or yogurt
- Vegetables or salad and a portion of fruit
Try something new
Cheese and pickle is not to be knocked, but if your kids are tired with the same old sandwich fillings then why not try something new?
Omelette in a bun
Combine two lunchtime favourites for the ultimate mealtime mashup your kids will love. These hearty omelette rolls can either be served warm for a quick dinner or wrapped up for a satisfying veggie packed lunch the next day. Fill the omelettes with juicy cherry tomatoes, crumbled feta and spinach for a mouthwatering bite. You could add extra salad if you like, and older children may like a touch of salsa or pickle as well.
You’re a star sarnies
Use a star-shaped cutter to stamp out six bread stars from the wholemeal bread (freeze the off-cuts to make breadcrumbs). Swirl the red pesto through the cream cheese and spread onto both sides of the stars. Close the sandwich, wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge if making the night before.
Green club sandwich
Double decking bread just makes sandwiches more exciting – fact. But it also gives you license to squeeze in extra good stuff. This green club sandwich is high on energy, so kids should feel extra alert all the way through double maths. Lesley Water’s sandwich filler ideas are also a great way of adding extra variety by getting creative with simple ingredients.
Super salad wraps
Help your kids to pack in the veggies with these super tasty and colourful salad wraps. We’ve added lots of crunchy veg for texture, whilst cheddar cheese and hummus give a flavour hit. Alternatively, add tuna, chicken or egg.
For more tasty tortillas, try our carrot & hummus roll-ups or chicken roll-ups.
Cheese and apple
Mix their favourite grated hard cheese with grated apple, chopped spring onions, a squeeze of lemon and a little mayonnaise. Delicious with wholemeal bread or rolls.
Creamy smoked mackerel
Skin and flake smoked mackerel fillets, then mix with a little mayonnaise and Greek yogurt. Spread onto thick wholemeal bread and top with crisp lettuce leaves.
Marmite, cheese and cucumber
Try Marmite, grated cheddar and sliced cucumber in a crusty baguette or ciabatta roll. They’ll either love it or hate it.
Want to bin the sandwich altogether? There are plenty of carby options that kids should love and that can help add a bit of variety into your child’s diet.
Perk up their lunchboxes with a gorgeously creamy pesto pasta salad. Customise with cooked veg such as peas, green beans and courgettes, as well as an assortment of protein. Chicken, ham, prawns, hard-boiled egg or cheese are all good options, depending on dietary preference.
For more pasta inspiration, follow the ‘make it for kids’ swap on the store cupboard pasta salad; whip up a speedy Mediterranean-style tortellini with pesto & broccoli; or try this flavourful BLT pasta salad for a lighter version of a classic British sarnie.
For something a little lighter yet still filling and flavoursome, make our speedy coronation chicken salad. This deliciously creamy recipe uses pre-cooked roast chicken pieces along with a grain pounch to save time.
Our chicken taco salad and two-bean tuna salad also work really well in the summer months. If you’re worried about keeping your child’s lunchbox cool, why not freeze an extra bottle of water overnight to work as a cooler – it’ll give them a refreshing afternoon drink, too.
Feasts in a flask
If your kids fancy something warm and comforting for lunch, why not stir them up a tasty soup, a veg-packed curry or even some Swedish-style meatballs. Pack them in a wide-necked thermos flask to take to school. With these super satisfying recipes, they’ll be the envy of the class on chilly winter days…
Big-batch chicken soup
Creamy lentil & veggie curry
Crisp and chocolate swaps
Cutting out foods that are high in salt and sugar is a huge step to creating a healthy lunch for your child. Simply swapping crisps, sweet biscuits and chocolate bars for foods like unsalted nuts, dried fruit, chunks of cheese or a low-sugar yogurt is a huge step forward. But if you want to get creative, we have plenty of interesting ideas for lunchbox snacks that kids should fall in love with…
A sweet and fruity treat for kids needing a boost at lunchtime – yogurt swirled with mashed strawberries and topped with berries.
These super easy and moreish oatmeal bites are not only bursting with wholesome flavour, but also only take 30 minutes to prep and bake. Your kids might never ask for shop-bought versions again…
If your child is known for returning their fruit untouched in their lunchbox then this might be the answer. Who can resist a chocolate orange in fruity form?
Sweet potato crisps
This super-simple veggie snack takes no time to make. Thinly slice a sweet potato and roast in olive oil – no added salt is needed.
Sweet potato crisps
Spiced apple crisps
These spiced apple crisps take a bit of time to bake, but couldn’t be simpler to make. Try packing them in a paper bag to make them look more like sweets.
Spiced apple crisps
If your child needs a sweet fix, then this quick and easy popcorn makes a great alternative to a chocolate snack bar.
Melon & crunchy bran pots
Fibre, yogurt and fruit make a winning combination in these scrumptious crunchy melon pots.
Melon & crunchy bran pots
Welsh rarebit muffins
Get the kids to help make up these yummy muffins, and they can show off the results to their friends at lunchtime.
7. Four Cheese Pepperoni Pizza Knots, carrot sticks, a cup of diced unsweetened peaches
8. Southwest Pepper Turkey Egg Cups, watermelon cubes, fruit leather, celery sticks
9. Veggies and dip, cheese stick, banana mini muffin, trail mix
10. Tuna fish on a croissant, mini chocolate doughnut muffins, baby carrots, yogurt
11. Tuna Pasta Salad with Dill & peas, unsweetened applesauce pouch, red pepper slices
12. Basil & Pecan Chicken Salad, crackers, cucumber slices, blueberries
13. Macaroni Salad, cheese stick, apple, fruit leather, cauliflower pieces
14. Tuna California Club Sandwich, babybel cheese, dried fruit, celery sticks.
15. Hummus, pita, cucumber slices, carrot sticks, homemade granola bar
16. Cottage cheese, peanut butter sandwich crackers, strawberries, baby carrots
17. Roasted Red Pepper Dip, deli turkey, soft pita, veggies, grapes
18. Coconut Curry Chicken Salad, tortilla chips, cherries, tube yogurt
19. Turkey and cream cheese tortilla pinwheels, dried fruit, baby tomatoes,
20. Cucumber tea sandwiches, apple slices with peanut butter, cheese stick
21. Chicken Caesar Pasta salad, homemade granola bar, strawberries
22. Homemade Lunchables with meat, cheese, crackers + juice box, raspberries, unsweetened applesauce pouch
23. Mini Salad Pita Pockets, pretzels, carrot sticks, mandarin oranges
24. PB&J tortilla roll up, Cocoa-Nut Almond Energy Balls, grapes, bell pepper slices
25. BLT on a soft roll, fruit leather, cheese stick, sugar snap peas
26. Ham & Cheese Melt Deviled Eggs, tube yogurt, strawberries, celery sticks
27. Laughing cow cheese wedges, pretzels, fresh cherries, lemon poppyseed mini muffin
28. Chicken & Ranch Wraps, goldfish crackers, peach, celery sticks
29. Sesame Noodle Salad, mixed fruit cup, yogurt, watermelon cubes
30. Turkey and cheese roll, goldfish crackers, green pepper slices, strawberries, nectarine
31. Fancy Chicken Salad on a mini bagel, dried fruit, black olives, cauliflower pieces
32. Green smoothie, peanut butter sandwich crackers, pear slices, trail mix
33. Jalapeño Artichoke Dip, crackers, orange bell peppers, sugar snap peas, watermelon, dried apricots
34. Homemade Pizza Lunchable with pita, pizza sauce, grated cheese, pepperoni, grapes, black olives, broccoli + ranch
35. Chicken soft taco, banana, unsweetened applesauce pouch, mini muffin
36. Apple slices turned into peanut butter sandwiches, yogurt raisins, cheese stick, baby tomatoes
37. Mini bagel ham sandwich, cheese stick, cucumber slices, apple, pretzels
38. Leftover slice of quiche, cherries, celery and carrot sticks, homemade crackers
39. Mini Cheese tray: Brie cheese wedge, crackers, grapes, strawberries, baby carrots
40. Tuna Fish, crackers, cheese cubes, pear, yogurt covered raisins
- chicken guacamole wrap
- very easy pasta salad
- mini ham rolls
- cheese ploughman’s lunch
- sweet potato & chickpea soup (all recipe ingredients below)
- STEP 1
Chicken guacamole wrap Take 1 tortilla wrap and spread 2 tbsp shop-bought guacamole down the middle. Lay ½ shredded chicken breast and ½ sliced red pepper on top. Sprinkle with 30g grated cheddar and roll up tightly. Wrap in baking parchment and tie with string, or roll tightly in cling film (serves 1).
- STEP 2
Very easy pasta salad Cook 85g pasta shapes, adding 3 tbsp each frozen peas and frozen sweetcorn for the final min. Drain; rinse in cold water. Mix 1 tbsp each natural yogurt and shop-bought balsamic dressing, with 1 tsp mayo. Pour onto the pasta, then stir in 1 tbsp chopped basil and 3 halved cherry tomatoes (serves 1).
- STEP 3
Mini ham rolls Mix 1 tbsp mayo with 1 tsp each wholegrain mustard and honey. Split 2 small wholemeal rolls in half and spread each side with the mayo mix. Stuff each roll with 2-3 slices cucumber, 1 Baby Gem leaf and 1 slice ham (serves 1).
- STEP 4
Ploughman’s lunchbox Cut a chunk of cheddar and 1 apple into wedges (squeeze over some lemon juice to stop them going brown). Place 2 Baby Gem leaves in a container, then spoon 2 tbsp chutney into one leaf and use the other leaf to hold a salad made of 1 small grated carrot, 3 cherry tomatoes and 1 tbsp cress. Serve with a selection of crackers, if you like (serves 1).
- STEP 5
Sweet potato & chickpea soup Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan; soften 1 finely diced onion for 3 mins. Add 2 sliced garlic cloves, cook for 3 mins more. Add 1 tsp each ground cumin and ground coriander, cook for 1 min. Add 1 sweet potato, cut into 1cm cubes. Fry for 2 mins, then pour over 600ml hot vegetable stock. Boil for 10 mins until potato is tender. Add 220g can drained chickpeas. Heat through before whizzing until smooth. Stir in 1 tbsp soured cream and 50ml milk. Pour into a thermos when hot (serves 2).