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Healthy School Lunch Ideas
It’s that time of year again…
We’re all doing back to school shopping and prepping for the busy mornings ahead.
I don’t know about you, but last year I really struggled with coming up with different school lunches. Lunches that would actually get eaten anyway. So I resorted to making some of the same things over…and over…and over. Which is fine, if they get eaten, but this year I’m hoping to change it up more and try to make some even healthier lunch options.
First of all, you can’t have lunch without breakfast. My favourite thing to prep this time of year is Egg Muffins. All you have to do is warm them up in the morning, for yourself and the kids, and then you can start making lunch!
Better yet, prep what you can the night before, like fruits and veggies, and then make the rest fresh in the morning.
Think Outside the Food Box
Or in this case… The Lunch Box. Having a great lunch box just helps make things easier for the school lunch routine.
Separate compartments allow you to easily add fruits, veggies, crackers, cheese, etc., without wasting plastic wrap. Plus a hard container reduces the risk of items beings crushed and suddenly no longer appealing to young eyes.
You can get great containers with multiple compartments, and even thermos lunch boxes, for warm lunches. Of course, there is the standard shape thermos container, which also works great for warm healthy meals like lentil pasta and homemade soups. Or even to keep milk or coconut milk cold, for cereal. My kids are cereal obsessed…anyone else?
For the uber health conscious, there are great stainless steel compartment lunch box options too. Most plastic ones are BPA free now (double check), but stainless steel is more durable and more dishwasher friendly.
School Lunch Ideas
Hydration is so important throughout the school day. They’re working hard, running hard, trying to pay attention… That little brain needs water! I always pack a stainless steel insulated water bottle. And I put water in it! The water will stay cold all day in a good bottle.
Make a big batch of hummus on Sunday and use it throughout the week in different ways.
- Hummus with carrot and celery sticks. Maybe a few pretzel sticks too.
- Hummus with cucumber sticks.
- Hummus in a whole grain wrap with thinly sliced cucumber, wrapped and cut like sushi.
- Hummus with grilled peppers and black beans in a whole grain wrap.
- Hummus with spinach, feta and tomato.
- Cherry Tomatoes with hummus and chia seeds. Provide one toothpick to dip in hummus, then dip in chia seeds.
- Hummus with mini pita or mini naan bread.
These things are just awesome. You only need a few…well, depending on how many kids you have…Haha!
Think about how much you spend over the course of just one year, let alone years and years, on plastic baggies. You’re saving yourself money and helping to reduce waste by using reusable, washable bags. Plus again, you can get different characters and colours to match your child’s unique interests.
I like to use the cloth ones for crackers and sandwiches…anything dry. And the silicone for veggies sticks.
Must Have School Lunch Items
- Stainless Steel Water Bottle
- Compartment Lunch Box
- Little containers
- Silicone muffin cups
- Reusable lunch bags in different sizes
- Insulated lunch bag or box
Some people go to great lengths to make creative lunches, animal shapes, under the sea theme, teddy bear picnic… Who really has time for that every day though?! The creative lunch is fun every once in a while, but I find it easier to just use containers that they like. Whatever their favourite is… Paw Patrol Thermos or Star Wars containers. Frozen, Ninja Turtles, etc, etc.
More ideas for thinking outside the lunch box
- Mashed avocado and sprouted bread or toast fingers
- Do it Yourself Naan bread mini pizzas
- Kamut or lentil noodles with pest and parmesan
- Noodles with homemade cheese sauce
- Scrambled eggs in a thermos
- Egg Muffins in a thermos
- Chickpea and feta salad
- Homemade soup
- Smoothie with oats in a thermos or frozen, will start to melt by lunch time
- Oatmeal in a thermos
- Yogurt with seeds and fruit
- Fruit or Veggie Shish Kebob
- Sweet potato fingers for dipping
- Mason jar salads
- Tuna wrap
- Tuna and macaroni salad
- Homemade granola bars
- Cooked vegetables
- Quinoa Salad
Label, label, label!
Lastly, remember to label everything. When I was a newbie school mom, ie. the first day of kindergarten for my oldest, I remember being so disappointment when items were lost on the very first day of school! And that very night I ordered some Mabel’s Labels.
These labels are truly wonderful. I had heard of them before, but never bothered. But man! They are awesome. So cute. Completely customized. They don’t come off in the wash. Simply perfect for labeling clothes, shoes, backpacks, lunch boxes, water bottles, you name it!
If you build it, they will come. If they’re hungry, they will eat it.
School rule #1, Label it!
More School Lunch Ideas
Pinterest has oodles and oodles of school lunch ideas. Check out my Lunch Board here. And be sure to follow for more great healthy eating and healthy living ideas.
Pin to share on your lunch board or save for later!
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