10 More Healthy Lunch Ideas for Kids (for the School Lunch Box or Home)
With the back to school season upon us, something that’s been on my mind is what to pack in my kids’ lunch boxes. We want to have plenty of ideas ready before school starts so that lunch packing is easy, not stressful.
Are you stuck in a lunch rut? These 10 healthy lunch ideas for kids are simple, healthy and fun to eat! I really enjoy thinking up new lunch ideas and creating these lunchbox posts. Last summer I shared these 10 healthy school lunches for kids and these no fuss school lunch ideas that can be made ahead of time. Those two posts are full of ideas that I rely on when packing my kids’ lunch boxes.
Recently I challenged myself to come up with ten more lunchbox ideas. That’s two week’s worth of school lunches. You can mix and match the mains and sides to create lunches that work for you and your family. Today I’m sharing these easy, healthy ideas to help you freshen up your back to school lunch-packing routine!
I like to get my kids involved in packing their own lunches. Even from a young age, kids can help with planning what to buy for the week, choosing foods at the grocery store, and packing their own lunchboxes. Having your kids help with the process teaches them about healthy food choices and makes them more likely to eat their lunch at school.
With kids, just like with adults, presentation of food is so important. If your child opens up their lunch box and their lunch looks appealing, they are more likely to eat it. I try to pack a variety of colorful foods in my kids’ lunches each day. A rainbow of fresh fruits and vegetables is both good for the body and appealing to the eye. 🙂
The lunch containers that you use also play a part in presentation. I love to use bento-style containers because when my kids open up their lunches they have the whole meal visible and ready to eat. This type of container also avoids plastic baggie waste and makes lunch packing more fun!
I’ve recently discovered LunchBots stainless steel containers and I love them! (This post is not sponsored, I’m just sharing in case you need a lunch container recommendation.) They are the containers I’ve used to pack all of the lunches you see in this post (I have two different styles of 3-section containers-this is the second type), and they also have 1, 2, 4, and 5-section containers.
I like the 3-section containers for younger kids (they’re perfect for preschool lunches) and kids who aren’t big eaters at school (my 3rd grader falls in this category). When you pack a balance of protein, fruits/vegetables, and carbohydrates in them, the 3-section containers really do hold a good amount of food. I also like that they leave some extra room in the bigger lunchbox , so that you can pack a drink or snack for recess time.You can see what I mean in this photo:
The LunchBots containers aren’t leak-proof, so if you want to pack something like a container of yogurt it’s also nice to have a space in the bigger lunchbox to do that.
Other tools I find useful for packing school lunches:
- These silicone cups (which I also use for baking muffins) are great dividers when you’re packing things like hummus.
- This 8 ounce stainless steel container works well for packing yogurt and other sides.
- If you want more space/compartments for packing your child’s lunch try this 5-section container.
- I always include an ice pack in my kids’ lunchboxes, to keep cold foods fresh.
Once this school year starts, I’ll have a 3rd grader, Kindergartner and preschooler. (Plus a new baby arriving shortly after school starts!) Our Kindergarten is half day, so my son will be eating lunch at home. Even so, I plan to make his lunch at the same time as I pack my daughter’s and just keep it in our refrigerator until lunch time. I’ll also pack one for my preschooler for both the days she’s at home and the days she’s at school. That way, I only have to make lunches once a day.
I may even pack a lunch for myself! I’ll definitely have my hands full with a new baby and multiple school pickups, so I’m sure I’ll appreciate having a healthy meal ready come lunchtime. 🙂
Here they are… 10 more healthy lunch ideas!
Homemade granola, plain Greek yogurt (on the side), hard boiled egg, fresh fruit salad.
- Tortilla pizza (Spread a small amount of tomato sauce on whole grain tortilla, top with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 425 degrees F for 4-8 minutes, until cheese is melted. Cool before slicing and placing in lunch box.)
- Carrot and bell pepper sticks, olives.
Cream cheese and cinnamon sandwich on whole wheat (cut into cubes), tomatoes and chickpeas, apple slices.
Carrot and bell pepper sticks, high protein chocolate black bean muffin, trail mix (in this mix I put almonds, pumpkin seeds, dried apricots, raisins, pretzel thins and Cheerios).
Mini blueberry pancakes (I used this healthy pancake recipe and added fresh blueberries), hard boiled egg, apple slices.
- Whole wheat pita bread, grapes.
- Greek couscous salad (recipe below).
- Crackers and cheese, dark chocolate chips, honeydew melon.
- Roasted sweet potato rounds (Thinly slice sweet potato and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place in single layer on a baking sheet. Roast at 425 degrees F for about 20 minutes. Cool before packing in lunch box.)
Note: As pictured, the juicy melon seeped into the cracker compartment and the crackers got soggy. No good! I’d recommend storing the melon in a separate container. Next time I would also stack the cheese separate from the crackers, to keep the crackers as crisp as possible. 🙂
Mini banana muffins, strawberries and grapes, hard boiled egg.
Almond butter and strawberry sandwich on whole wheat bread, sliced bell pepper, crackers and cheese.
- For this last lunch idea, I’ve photographed the lunchbox two ways. Above I made white bean dip and veggie pitas with thinly sliced cucumber, carrot and bell pepper. I love these, but my kids prefer the deconstructed version pictured below.
- Also in this lunchbox: mini banana muffins, strawberries and blueberries.
What are your kids’ lunch box favorites? Leave a comment and share your ideas.
Greek Couscous Salad
- 10 ounce package plain couscous
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
- 1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- Cook couscous according to package directions. Let cool.
- Whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Stir into couscous.
- Stir in halved cherry tomatoes, halved pitted kalamata olives, chickpeas and feta cheese.
- Salad will last for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
Kids eat better when they’re involved in the process and these are such great lunch ideas! That’s great you’ve got your kids planning their lunches out at an early age…there’s a good chance it will translate over when they’re older!
Thank you, Marcie! It’s always a challenge to find new ideas that the kids will actually eat!
First of all, packing lunches for 3 kids every day is NOT easy, so congrats on doing it so well! My favorite aspects of this are the hard-sided bento style lunch boxes, because who likes a squished lunch, and the silicon cups. I feel terrible wasting plastic baggies for things like hummus, these are definitely going in my bag of tricks!
Thank you, Graham! I agree, these type of containers are great for avoiding plastic baggie waste.
I don’t have small children anymore & no grandkids yet, however, I have alot of weight to lose before I have both knees replaced. These are great ideas for me! I have recently purchased the 3 compartment containers so I’m ready to start eating healthy! Thank you for posting this!
I’m so happy to hear that this post is helpful to you, Lorri! I hope you enjoy your lunches. I love eating lunches like these, too. 🙂
Packing kids’ lunches can be quite frenetic! They can be so fussy about eating.
But these lunches that you packed look so vibrant and savory. I bet they are packed with nutrients!
Definitely trying this for my little nephew !
Thanks for sharing Kristine! x
Thank you, Ushmana!
Thanks so much for sharing this. These are great ideas and my son is going to love them X
Thank you for sharing your views especially for fussy eaters who always not satisfied with the food items that are to be served to them.The lunch ideas that you served are so interesting and vibrant as well.These ideas are really great as it helps kids to take a proper nutritious food.
Love this idea. I can not imagine a 4 yr old eating all of this food. She eats 1/2 hot dog no roll. That’s it. No fruit veggie. Your kid eats so well. Mine eats broccoli and pasta mixed. Separate no way. No bread either. No mayo. No mustard. Breakfast is great. The other 2 meals forget it.
My kids are not the best eaters, either. I just keep offering them healthy foods and sometimes they eat them, sometimes they don’t. I always make sure there is at least one thing on their plate that they like. It is a challenge!
thanks for the tips.
What time do you prepare these? For example the Pizza wraps, if you make them the night before, would they still be good to add to the lunch box in the morning?
Thanks, Rosana! You can make them the night before, refrigerate, and pack in the lunchbox in the morning.
Many kids are picky, so I find this blog very helpful in finding new options for their school lunches! Can’t wait to try some! Thanks!
These are so great and so far we have successfully attempted and enjoyed two of them (i admit – I am not very good in the kitchen). But today I tried making the blueberry pancakes and I need help! I tried using blanched almond flour (everything else was the same except I used 2%milk). The batter was not thick at all and when I put it on the “griddle” I couldn’t turn it until the bottom was burned – and even then it was too liquidy to turn easily. Please help!! (I will say that the little pieces that cooked properly and weren’t burnt tasted SO good – my kids and I were disappointed that we won’t have them for lunch tomorrow). Thank you!!
Hi Allison, I’m glad that you are enjoying the lunch box ideas! Unfortunately, almond flour doesn’t substitute easily for wheat flour without modifications. I haven’t tested almond flour pancakes myself so I can’t give recommendations. I’d suggest searching for an almond flour pancake recipe. 🙂
The search for a healthy lunch box is never ending. These are some really great ideas, Thank you.
Hi, I just wondered where you got that lunch box from? I really like it and would love to get one like that:)
The pictured metal lunch box is the medium one from LunchBots which you can find on Amazon here, Medium LunchBot