Enjoy these healthy back to school lunch ideas and start the new year right with healthy lunches! More parents are encouraging their children to bring healthy lunches to school. That is a good thing, but it can get tricky to come up with new lunchtime ideas that are appealing to kids. These twenty-one healthy and fresh back to school lunch ideas will help you keep those elementary and middle schoolers fueled throughout the day!
HEALTHY BACK TO SCHOOL LUNCH IDEAS
It’s that time of year. Everyone is posting their adorable pictures of their children going back to school and the excitement on the parents and kids’ part is undeniable! With a new school year here, that means lots of packed lunches. Maybe you are one of the lucky few that has a school wtih a great lunch program and you don’t have to pack any lunches. If that is the case, count your blessing! For everyone else, whether you aren’t a fan of school food or your child just refuses to eat on Tater Tot Hotdish day, we have got lots of Healthy Back to School Lunch Ideas for you.From easy wraps and pinwheels for lunch to snacks like energy bites and trail mix, there are ideas for the whole lunch box. You don’t have to have an adorably arranged bento box with cut out sandwiches and fruit to make your child’s lunch special. They are fun some of the time, but not very realistic for most parents every day. Simply having a lunch filled with nutrition and wholesome bites will leave you and your children happy camper
PBJ SURPRISE ENERGY BITES BY THE CREATIVE BITE
LIGHT RANCH BLT CHICKEN SALAD SANDWICH BY THE CREATIVE BITE
SWEET & SPICY BACON WRAPPED TURKEY TENDERS BY THE CREATIVE BITE
FRUIT KABOBS BY DINNER AT THE ZOO
CRUNCHY APPLE PEANUT BUTTER WRAP BY FINDING ZEST
PEPPERONI CHICKEN FINGERS BY THE CREATIVE BITE
HEALTHY SCHOOL LUNCH IDEAS
ZUCCHINI & CORN MUFFINS
“Very moist and yummy muffins with a nice crunchy crust — YUM! I liked how easy these were to prepare and how quickly they came together.”
NO-BAKE GRANOLA BARS
“This gets a ‘seriously yum’ rating from me! They were easy to make and are pretty healthy too!”
“What a wonderful lunch idea. These are just delicious.”
“Really easy and tasty. I added mushrooms and onions to mine.
YOGURT FRUIT BARS
“I made these to freeze and pack in the kids’ lunches — they’re so good! It was easy to sub in the ingredients I had on hand for a yummy treat.”
HAM & CREAM CHEESE ROLL-UPS
“These roll-ups taste great. They’re super easy to make and just delicious.”
“These are so easy, yummy and a fun alternative to another boring sandwich. I used Hawaiian sweet rolls with turkey and Havarti, and they were delicious!”
LUNCHBOX PIZZA QUESADILLAS
“The whole family loved these. I used pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese. I will try freezing them for quick snacks for the kids.”
PEANUT BUTTER & JELLY SUSHI ROLLS
“I made these for my 7-year-old’s lunch. She was so excited! I put the whole rolls in the fridge overnight and sliced in the morning. They were much easier to slice cold.”
COPYCAT PIZZA LUNCHABLE
“I’ve been making the cheese-and-cracker Lunchables at home, but I never thought to make the pizza ones. My kindergartener loved it.”
“I made these for my grand kids and they loved them — as did their parents.”
KIDDOS FAVORITE TRAIL MIX
“We had a blast making this. My kids polished off the whole batch and asked to make more.”
BANANA & OATMEAL SPONGE COOKIES
“My kid love these cookies. They’re a great, healthy snack on-the-go.”
APPLES & PEANUT BUTTER
“This is a delicious and healthy way to start the day.”
ANTS ON A LOG
“I made up a batch of these for school lunchboxes. They are very good! We like these better than the ones with the peanut butter.”
“What a fun idea! I just used one cookie-cutter shape — a teddy bear — for my daughter’s lunch yesterday. It worked great and she loved it!”
HAM & CHEESE MUFFINS
“Easy to make and delicious! Great for a quick snack, but would also be great for breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch or tea — or elevenses, anyone? Yum!”
FROZEN FRUIT CUPS
“My kids loved these, and I love the fact that they don’t have a lot of extra sugar. I put some in a large container for dinner and some into one-cup plastic freezer jars to use in lunchboxes.”
SCHOOL OF FISH
Your kids will go gaga for these little swimmers. It’s amazing what you can do with four simple ingredients!
“This is a fantastic idea. They are everyone’s favorite snack at my house.”
CINNAMON APPLE CHIPS
“Fun and easy to make. Not very sweet at all, which I liked. Made a great snack alternative to potato chips.”
“I love these. They are perfect for my kids’ lunchboxes, as they don’t love traditional sandwiches. I will be using this recipe forever!”
CHEESY TACO POCKETS
“These are very family-friendly, and the cheese ties the ingredients together well. They are awesome with sour cream and salsa!”
THERMOS NOODLE SOUP
“I’m giving this recipe five stars for sheer simplicity. It also happens to taste really great. Soup with no stove? Yes, please.”
“These are great! My 4-year-old is super picky, so her lunch-box gets a little boring — these are perfect. Next time I’m going to make a double batch!”
“Wonderful! This is such a great idea. My daughter isn’t a big sandwich fan, so this really was right up her alley.”
For a fun twist on a lunch-room favorite, try packing the veggies separately so your kiddo can build his or her own pizza at lunch.
SNACK STACKERS (LUNCHBOX SURPRISE)
“Great idea! My first-grader loved it. He’s always begging for the ones already made up at the store, which I refuse to buy.”
“My daughter and her friend ate these and loved them. There are some more in the freezer that I am sure will be great!”
ANGRY BIRDS BENTO BOX
“My son loves rice balls (onigiri), so I decided to make him an Angry Birds lunch box! My hubby was more impressed and snatched it for his office lunch instead!”
“I made this for my grandson. He loves avocados, so that made it easy to sneak in other veggies.”
ANTS ON A RAFT
“This is a yummy snack. I love that they’re made with things that I always have around the house.”
Healthy Back to School Lunch Ideas
School Lunches – how healthy are they?
First, let’s dive into the traditional lunches served in our kids’ schools. In 2012 the standards for school lunches were updated for the first time in 15 years, requiring cafeterias to offer more fruit, vegetables, and whole grains.. While these guidelines are a little outdated, school lunches are a great choice for busy parents who are looking for an alternative, affordable options to add to their weekly lunch line-up. For all those who are looking to put a little extra TLC into their child’s lunchbox, we have you covered with easy and healthy kid-approved options you can add to your rotation this fall.
Basic Lunch Ideas
From allergies and dietary restrictions to picky eaters, we’ve seen it all! We’ve got you covered with inspiration to get you started this school year and tips and tricks on meal prep for the whole family.
- Start with the basics — real food: Pack your kids’ lunch boxes with high-quality protein, healthy fats (like avocados and nuts), veggies, and fruits. We love the way Mama Natural divides meals into compartmentalized bento boxes, designed to keep foods separate and picky eaters happy!
- Plan it out: Just as you would for your own meal prep, before you head to the grocery store, think about what you are going to prepare for lunch during the week. Another idea we love – make dinners that can be repurposed into a healthy lunch. Focus on what will pack well and taste yummy cold.
- Keep it simple: You don’t have to try to be a gourmet chef. Keep it simple with ingredients like deli turkey, carrot sticks, fresh berries, and nut butters, especially if you’re crunched for time. Nutrient-dense, tasty foods don’t always have to take hours to prepare.
- Find a buddy: We get it, it’s really hard to feel inspired every week! Find a friend (IRL or online) and share lunch box selfies. If you live in close proximity you can also split up some of the meal prep – whip up a big batch of muffins or granola to share!
- Involve your kids: If you really want to make sure they are eating well at school, you have to first make sure they are eating, period! Talk to them about what they are excited to find in their lunch box and then strike a balance between what is healthy and what they will actually eat.
Healthy Lunch-Box Options
Our team at Snap knows a little something about delicious, nutritious food. Below we’ve shared a few examples of easy, healthy, lunch box options to get you started!
- Snacks like vegetables with hummus, popcorn, full-fat dairy, and roasted chickpeas help keep your kids’ bellies full with healthy fats and fiber.
- Fruits are a great way to add a little sweet treat to a meal. To help balance their blood sugar and keep them focused throughout the day, always pair their fruit with healthy fat like nut butter or full-fat cheese. Here at Snap, we love berries because of their high fiber and antioxidant content.
- Protein is essential, especially in children, and chances are your child is likely not getting enough! Protein is crucial for everything from muscle strength and repair to boosting metabolism. These days, there’s an abundance of both plant and animal protein options available. Choose meat and poultry, seafood, eggs, beans, peas, and nuts and seeds.
- Preparing full recipes ahead of time like this chicken soup, Asian stir-fry or any of these lunch meal ideas allows you to pack a real meal into your child’s lunch box. This is an especially good option if your little one has gotten used to having a home-cooked meal at lunchtime over the past school year.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with the changing seasons and everything that autumn brings, don’t worry! Food is one thing we know a lot about. From meal planning and preparation to delivery, order from Snap Kitchen to make sure you keep on top of your nutrition as the world ramps up this fall!. You got this!