The new school year is upon us and most of us are back to packing school lunches and snacks for our kids.
I’m always trying to think of healthy options I can provide my kids. My oldest gets bored of the same old thing, so I try to mix it up to keep lunch fun and exciting for him.
A great way to get your kids to eat healthy is to get them involved in helping you make their lunch. Also, when you are at the store allow your kids to pick out new snacks (as long as they are parent approved) for their lunch boxes. My boys love doing this and it makes them feel as though they have choices in what they eat.
There are four parts to a healthy lunch:
- Protein: this will help keep their energy lasting throughout the day.
- Fruits and/or Vegetables: make it fun with dipping sauce.
- Whole Grain: bread, crackers, etc.
- Calcium/Vitamin D: think milk instead of juice.
I’ve decided to put together the ultimate school snack & lunch guide. When you are low on ideas, just take a look at the list below!
I love your feedback. If you have an idea, leave a comment and I’ll put it on the list.
Snack and lunch ideas:
- Veggie burger in bite-size pieces
- Fish sticks
- Bite-size pieces of quesadilla with sour cream
- Rolled up lunch meat
- Ham, cheese and cherry tomato kabobs (use popsicle sticks instead of skewers) with dipping sauce
- Hummus and veggie pita pocket
- Penne pasta salad
- Left over chicken and rice
- Salad with veggies
- Taco salad
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwich (or on crackers)
- Tuna fish on crackers or bread (tip: flatten bread, spread tuna & add slivers of carrots, roll up and you have tuna sushi)
- Mac and cheese baked in mini muffin pans to create individual portions
- Pin wheels filled with your favorite items
- Homemade chicken fingers and dipping sauce
- Ritz crackers with sliced cheese and peperoni
Fruit & Veggies
- Toasted sweet potato sticks
- Diced fruit; strawberry, kiwi, peaches, apple, pear, etc.
- Slices of cooked carrots
- Diced cooked veggies and ranch dressing; broccoli, green beans, asparagus, snow peas, etc.
- Cubed banana rolled in Rice Krispies
- Dried fruit
- Bugs on a log; celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins
- Cooked chickpeas seasoned w/paparika & cajun seasoning (tip: go light on the seasoning to prevent it from being too spicy)
- String cheese
- Fig newton
- Oyster crackers
- Granola bars
- Mixed nuts
- Small container of pickles
- Teddy Grahams
- Chips and salsa
- Raisins or cranberries
- Chex mix
- Graham crackers
- Hard boiled eggs
- Small container of applesauce
A few tips & tricks:
- Kids love to dip and dunk: Add dipping sauces like peanut butter, ranch, yogurt, almond butter, hummus, salsa, fruit dip, etc.
- Make it fun: Cut cheese into fun little shapes like stars, squares or their favorite character.
- Create your own trail mix: Let the kids help put together their own mix with their favorite ingredients.
- Save the apple: Apples can brown quickly so add a splash of lemon juice to preserve the apple.
- Grab and go: In the beginning of the week, create individual snack bags (using ziplock bags) labeled and put away for easy access.
- Use leftovers: Don’t let dinners go to waste. Create a yummy lunch out of them.
- Create bite size or mini versions of food: Small portions are more likely to be eaten by kids.
- Pack antibacterial wet wipes or include hand sanitizer so they can clean their hands before and after lunch.
- Always wipe out the lunch box at the end of each day to prevent odors.
- Include a little note to surprise your child!
More great resources and posts to check out:
School Lunch Ideas Kids Love via Disney Family
School Lunch and Snacks via SheKnows
15 Nut-Free Lunch Recipes and Snacks via Parenting.com
Cute School Lunches For Kids via SkinnyTaste
10 Sandwich-less Lunch Ideas via Inspired By Family Magazine
Easy Lunch Box Time Savers & Recipes via Life At The Zoo
100+ Healthy, Delicious and Easy Lunchbox Snacks via Family Fresh Cooking
The Only Back-To-School Lunch Post You’ll Need via One Hungry Mama
Lunch Prep and Packing Tips via Easy Lunchboxes
Meal Planning for the School Daze via Life As Mom
Operation Awesome School Lunch via Crazy Adventures in Parenting
*Make sure to check out my Pinterest board for “Food for Kids”.