So many parents dread packing school lunches because (by November) they feel that it takes too much effort to pack healthy school lunches. That all changes now with this super simple system to keep school lunches healthy and interesting.
Whoop Whoop! It's back to school time!
I'm super excited (and only a tiny bit sad) for the kids to go back to school. They have had so much time together over the summer that they need a break from each other in a big way.
And yet, I have no idea where the summer went- wow, did it fly by.
In the past, I have organized everything in sight right up to the first day of school. And I always had a goal of packing healthy (creative) lunches all year long. Oh, and healthy, filling breakfasts too.
Unfortunately, by the time November comes around, I'm starting to pack them the same thing every day.
Then when May arrives, their lunches hardly resemble anything healthy – or creative. By then it's pretty much all prepackaged stuff accompanying bagels with cream cheese on them.
But at least I start off strong!
But this year IS different. I've got a different (simple) system in place and have already meal planned all the way through September.
Seriously, meal planning is the majority of the battle. If I can just get a game plan on paper, I can follow through on it!
**The key to success is in the planning**
I'm banning the daily request of bagels with cream cheese. Instead, I came up with a huge list of ideas and have my kids choose from the different options to keep lunch interesting.
I am sharing my list of some healthy school lunch ideas for kids with you! ❤️️
Healthy Main Meal School Lunch Ideas
- Sub sandwich
- Bagel + Cream Cheese
- Veggie +Hummus Wrap
- Pita Bread + Hummus
- Cheese + Crackers
- Turkey + Cheese Roll-ups
- Hard Boiled Eggs
- Pasta Salad
- Meat + Cheese Kabob
- Chips + Guacamole
- Ham + Cheese Sandwich
- Almond Butter + Jam Sandwich
- DIY “lunchables”: crackers, deli turkey or salami, sliced cheese
- Sandwich or sandwich kabobs: disguise their sandwich by threading turkey, cubed string cheese, and squares of bread on skewers.
- Tuna salad sliders
- Tortilla pinwheels (cream cheese, sliced cheese, deli turkey, thinly sliced tomatoes, shredded lettuce or spinach – roll tightly and slice into rounds).
Fruit and Veggie School Lunch Ideas
- Natural Applesauce
- Baby Carrots
- Grape Tomatoes
- Snap Peas
School Lunch Sides and Snack Ideas
- Granola Bars
- String Cheese
- Trail Mix
- Lara Bar or Cliff Bar
- Nut Butter (of your choice) & Crackers
- Fruit Leather
- Chips + Salsa
- Fruit Cup
- Pudding Cup
- Graham Crackers
Drink Ideas for Healthy School Lunches
- Water Bottle
- 100% Juice Boxes
- Milk — Plain, Strawberry, or Chocolate
Healthy School Lunch Treats:
- Homemade muffins (Try: Banana Protein, Zucchini, or Pumpkin)
- String cheese
- Pretzels or Goldfish crackers
- Fruit snacks or fruit leather
- Dried fruit (raisins, craisins, banana or apple chips)
- Z-Bar or fruit bars
- PB and Oat protein bites
- Rice Krispie Treats
- Granola bars
Healthy Hot Lunch Ideas (with a Thermos):
Thermos Use Pro Tip: Pack hot thermos in the morning (5 hours before it’s eaten). Heat the thermos first: add boiling water, cover and let sit 5 min then drain. Heat food until it’s hot. Place into heated thermos and close tightly with lid. Food will be warm at lunchtime.
What to put in a hot lunch thermos:
- Soup (try: chicken noodle soup or chili or turkey rice soup)
- Pasta (try: penne with marinara or spaghetti with pesto)
- Pilaf/rice, or stir fry (try: creamy chicken and rice, or Vietnamese-inspired noodle bowl)
- Leftovers! (try: casseroles or lasagna, You can really get creative with a thermos. Just avoid foods with very strong aromas (i.e. broccoli and cabbage).
Combination Ideas for Healthy School Lunches
Just in case you're saying “Heather, this list is great and all, but it's so hard for me to put combinations together to make a lunch out of it”…stress no more!
In addition to giving you this list of food ideas, I'm also giving you a week's worth of combination ideas to make it even easier to rock making school lunches.
Turkey + Cheddar Roll-up
Deli Meat + Cheese Kabobs
Red Pepper Slices
Fruit Leather or Snacks
Grab our FREE Healthy School Lunches Mega List printable with even more healthy food ideas and more lunch combinations!
Our Favorite School Lunch Box Supplies
With so many options out there, it can be overwhelming to pick a lunch box and hard to know which ones are worth the money.
That doesn't even include everything else you put inside the lunch box!
That's where we come in! We have tried so many different products, it's embarrassing.
But the benefit, I guess is that we know which ones are worth the money and which ones are worthless.
Best Lunch Bag:
My Favorite Lunch Containers:
Make packing healthy school lunches full of variety a breeze with this simple system for planning ahead of time. Want even more variety and ideas? Download our free Mega List of Healthy School Lunch Ideas!