What Are Some Good Lunches For School

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What are some good lunches for school? Balancing dinnertime and school has always been challenging for family dinners. However, lunchtime has become an even more important part of scheduling with the new back-to-school time crunch. With less time between breakfast and getting kids off to school there are a lot of options to consider.

What Are Some Good Lunches For School

Does that bland turkey sandwich keep coming back half-eaten in your kid’s lunchbox? When your go-to meal has grown tired for even the pickiest eater in your home, it’s time to shake things up. But coming up with creative school lunches that they’ll actually like can be daunting. No worries, though: We’ve got your back with exciting sandwiches, comforting pasta dishes and inventive handhelds. Think chicken salad-stuffed peppers, BLT pasta salad, hummus wraps and beyond. Read on for 60 easy, kid-friendly school lunch ideas that will put the cafeteria’s food to shame.

TIPS FOR PACKING SCHOOL LUNCHES

Just like when you’re cooking for adults, presentation is everything. Here are a few pointers for packing a lunch your picky eater is bound to love:

  • Get them a fun lunchbox. We love bento-style lunchboxes that keep all their snacks organized. Some metal ones even come with fun magnets that the kids can play with while they eat. Let your kid help choose their lunchbox at the beginning of the school year, then help them decorate it with markers, puffy paint, stickers and beyond.
  • Spend a few minutes making their lunch visually appealing. For instance, rolling their sandwich and cutting it into pinwheels, or skewering their fruit salad on toothpicks. Keeping their lunch creative and surprising will likely make it more appealing. Slicing and assembling the least appetizing elements (aka the fruits and vegetables) of their lunch in a fun way may help warm them up to eating things they don’t want to eat. Think ants on a log, veggie sushi or fruit sliced with pretty, fun-shaped cookie cutters. (Oh, and a sweet note from Mom never hurts.)
  • Let them help choose and make their lunch. Whether it’s spreading cream cheese on a bagel or sprinkling Parmesan on pasta, kids love getting their hands dirty. And if they see dumping croutons into a salad as a fun activity, they just might be more willing to actually eat the salad. Also, if your picky eater is involved in the packing process, they’re more likely to enjoy their meal with no complaints, whether it be choosing sandwich fillings, picking a juice box flavor or packing their favorite snack.
school lunch ideas blt pasta salad

1. BLT PASTA SALAD

Give the typical sandwich routine a fun upgrade and change up the carbs in your kid’s lunch with a deconstructed BLT (see ya, soggy bread). This pasta salad boasts a pleasing combination of textures and plenty of savory flavor.

school lunch ideas lunch kebabs

2. LUNCH KEBABS WITH MORTADELLA, ARTICHOKE AND SUN-DRIED TOMATOES

The novelty of eating lunch off a stick will likely be enough to win ’em over—at first. But kids will keep coming back for more of this kebab, thanks to the mouthwatering mix of artichoke, salty olives and decadent mortadella. Bologna who?

school lunch ideas avocado chicken salad

3. AVOCADO CHICKEN SALAD

A tired cafeteria classic gets a surprising makeover in this updated chicken salad recipe, which calls for only a sparing amount of mayo. Plenty of herbs give the protein-packed meal a bright, fresh flavor profile.

school lunch ideas italian deli pinwheel sandwiches

4. ITALIAN DELI PINWHEEL SANDWICHES

The salty, peppery trio of Italian deli meats in these pinwheel sammies pairs so well with the mildly sweet taste of provolone that kids won’t even be tempted to pick out the kale. (Maybe.)

school lunch ideas roasted broccoli and bacon pasta salad

5. ROASTED BROCCOLI AND BACON PASTA SALAD

Bacon makes it better: A well-known fact that will absolutely get your kid to eat more greens. Case in point? This scrumptious and savory pasta salad, which cleverly disguises a heaping serving of cruciferous vegetables with a dose of crispy, salty deliciousness.

school lunch ideas peanut butter and banana roll up snack box

6. PEANUT BUTTER AND BANANA ROLL-UP SNACK BOX

Peanut butter brings plenty of protein and healthy fat to the table and bananas provide energy-boosting carbs. What happens when you roll ‘em up together? A satisfying, healthy lunch that tastes like dessert (but definitely isn’t).

school lunch ideas mini deep dish pizzas

7. MINI DEEP DISH PIZZAS

Let’s be honest, everyone enjoys a cold pizza snack. That said, your kid’s lunch will look and taste infinitely better if you cook up some of these cuties instead of throwing in a soggy slice from last night’s delivery.

school lunch ideas chickpea salad bento box

8. CHICKPEA SALAD BENTO BOX

Mild, creamy chickpeas are arguably the most likable legume, which is why kids won’t whine when they encounter this healthy no-cook salad at lunchtime. The red onion, celery and dill keep the mash fresh and light, while mayo gives the dish a rich mouthfeel.

school lunch ideas taco pinwheels

9. TACO PINWHEELS

Cute, colorful and packed with chicken and veggies, these Mexican-inspired pinwheels are held together by the most kid-friendly ingredient in your kitchen: cream cheese.

school lunch ideas avocado and black bean pasta salad

10. AVOCADO AND BLACK BEAN PASTA SALAD

Kids are suckers for corkscrew pasta—and really, who isn’t? Capitalize on that with a pasta salad that scores high on nutritional value by delivering healthy fats, protein, fiber and a whole lot of flavor. (Pro tip: Feel free to skip the jalapeño.)

School Lunch Ideas: Healthy Kid Lunches to Keep You Inspired

Here are some healthy school lunch ideas to keep you inspired! See school lunch idea photos and get tips for making school lunches easier.

Nothing says “back to school” like packing endless (and often dreaded) school lunches. If you’re anything like me, you start out with good intentions and then run out of ideas two weeks into the school year. While you can certainly use some of these kitchen hacks to make things easier, it doesn’t help if you have a case of “lunch packer block” (that is, you can’t stop packing the same things lunch after lunch after lunch.) That’s why I wanted to create this healthy school lunch ideas post: to keep you inspired when the going gets rough.

Finding JOY in packing school lunches

Truth be told, packing school lunches can be bothersome, boring and relentless. If your kids go away to school each day, it can be even more dissatisfying since you don’t get to actually see them oohing and ahhing over your amazing culinary skills. But, what if we flipped the whole thing on its head?

After all, we have the opportunity to fill our kids’ bellies with nourishing, delicious and even inspiring food day after day after day. We also get to “love” on our kids in this very simple and yet important way. That’s how I’m choosing to approach school lunches this year.

Sprouted wheat pretzels, Bubbies pickle, seeds, berries, cheese & chocolate.

Mama Natural kids school lunch ideas 34

Apple, bacon & lettuce “sandwich”, various crackers, cheese, & goji berries.

Mama Natural kids school lunch ideas 32

Veggie pasta, cucumber salad, avocado, crackers, seeds and beans.

Mama Natural kids school lunch ideas 31

Blue potato chips, berries, cucumbers, cheese and nut/date bar.

Mama Natural kids school lunch ideas 26

Organic turkey on oat bread, tomatoes, Lara bar, berries and almonds.

Mama Natural kids school lunch ideas 25

Quinoa & beans, cheese, purple grapes, tomatoes, and date treat.

Mama Natural kids school lunch ideas 24

Veggie pasta salad, beef jerky, melon, avocado, and fruit/nut treat.

Mama Natural kids school lunch ideas 22

Yogurt with granola, almond butter sandwich, carrots, and strawberries.

Mama Natural kids school lunch ideas 21

Sprouted corn tortilla, trail mix, black beans, tomatoes, cheese, zinc drop.

Mama Natural kids school lunch ideas 20

Turkey sandwich, olive oil potato chips, berries, tomatoes & zinc drop.

Mama Natural kids school lunch ideas 19

Sprouted pretzels, tomatoes, grapes, cheese, walnuts, and ginger chew.

Mama Natural kids school lunch ideas 18

Beef jerky, berries, tomatoes, seed crackers with butter, & zinc drop.

Mama Natural kids school lunch ideas 17

Hot pretzel with mustard dip, salami/cheese, broccoli & dried fruit.

Mama Natural kids school lunch ideas 16a

Rice & beans, tomatoes, cheese, walnuts & coconut-rolled date.

Mama Natural kids school lunch ideas 14b

Homemade “goldfish” crackers, berries, tomatoes, & cheese.

Mama Natural kids school lunch ideas 14

BBQ chicken, coleslaw, carrots with dip, seeds & plantain chips.

Mama Natural kids school lunch ideas 13

Cheese crackers, peas, berries, cheese, seeds & elderberry drop.

Mama Natural kids school lunch ideas 12

Almond butter & jelly, slaw, bananas & strawberries, & carrot sticks.

Mama Natural kids school lunch ideas 11

Tortilla with butter, pineapple, red peppers, cheese & chocolate treat.

Mama Natural kids school lunch ideas 10

GF chicken nuggets w/ dip, sweet potato chips, veg/fruit & gummy star.

Mama Natural kids school lunch ideas 09b

Rice pasta, hummus/veggies, pistachios, cheese, and chocolate.

Other pro tips for school lunch ideas:

Pack your lunches the night before.

While Papa Natural is getting the kids ready for bed, I’m in the kitchen making their lunches for the next day. (I eventually want to partner with Griffin to make lunches but for now, this is working for us.) I’m rather rushed in the mornings so prefer being free of this task. If you take a morning quiet time or do an a.m. workout, packing at night might also appeal to you so it doesn’t interfere with your spiritual or physical fitness ??

Buddy up with a friend or neighbor.

My dear friend and fellow foodie, Savanna, has the most amazing school lunch ideas (as you’ve seen above!). We snap pictures of our lunches each day and text to each other for moral support. We inspire each other and also commiserate on Fridays when we’re so done with packing lunches ?

Find a friend who is also committed to packing healthy lunches and share school lunch ideas regularly. Or better yet, buddy up with a neighbor and swap bulk food items to take some of the burden off of each of you. For example, you could make a big batch of healthy muffins and she could make extra rice & beans; you then swap portions to each other to help round out your lunches.

Taste the rainbow.

To ensure that your kids are getting a wide-spectrum of nutrients, try to bring lots of color into their lunches. Not only is it visually appealing but it provides a rich diversity of phytonutrients and other vitamins and minerals. Here is a list of food by color to get you inspired:

Purple
Plums
Red grapes ?
Kidney beans
Beets

Blue
Blueberries
Blue potatoes
Blue corn (high in selenium!)

Green
Broccoli
Green Peppers
Pear ?
Kiwi
Snap peas
Avocado
Seaweed (like these snacks)

Red
Pomegranate
Red meat
Most apples

Cherries

Tomatoes

Pink
Watermelon
Grapefruit
Rhubarb
Raspberries

Orange
Apricots
Sweet potatoes (these are delicious!)
Cantaloupe
Oranges/tangerines/clementines ?
Papaya

Yellow
Pineapple ?
Summer squash
Mango
Honey
Egg yolks
Butter

White/tan/brown
Mushrooms
Coconut
Chicken/turkey ?
Lentils
Dates

Black
Black beans
Blackberries
Black olives
Black rice (like these crackers)

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