Healthy School Lunches for Kids

Written by Tela Kayne
Bento Box for Kids Lunch

Bento Box for Kid's Lunch

I recently came across a forum on that discusses ideas for packing lunches for your child. There are some great ideas and I thought I’d share those as well as some of my own. I’ve written a previous post about the poor nutritional quality of most school cafeteria lunches, which makes me even more motivated to pack Britton’s lunch when the time comes. Even at her Montessori school, where you would think they understand the ties between diet an behavior, the school-provided lunches leave a lot to be desired. Monday is Chick-fil-A day, Wednesday is lunch from a local sub shop and Friday is pizza day, likely from Domino’s or Pizza Hut. There are so many possibilities for lunchboxes especially if you also use a Thermos! And creative presentation is key!! Bento boxes are a great way to assemble lunches in a way that makes them even more appetizing for children (see example above).

Healthy Snacks and Lunches for Kids:

  • Peanut Butter/Almond Butter & Jelly on Whole Grain Bread
  • Bagels and Cream Cheese
  • Celery Spears/Cucumbers/Carrots and Dip of Choice
  • Ants on a Log – celery sticks with cream cheese and raisins
  • Freshly Cut Tomatoes
  • Pretzels
  • Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Cheese (and crackers sometimes)
  • Cottage Cheese and Peaches/Pears
  • Granola
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Chicken Caesar Salad (assemble yourself)
  • All-natural Lunch Meat with Crackers and Cheese
  • Hummus and Pita
  • Spanakopita
  • Vegetable/Fruit Kababs – spear fresh vegetables with tofu or fruit and cheese
  • Anything in a Wrap
  • Avocado and Mushroom Sandwich with Dijon mustard and Shredded Cheese
  • Baked Potato with Broccoli and Cheese
  • Bean and Cheese Burrito
  • Annie’s Cheddar or Sour Cream crackers
  • Sweet Potato Chips
  • Yogurt
  • Fruit
    • Grapes
    • Dried or Fresh Strawberries
    • Pineapple
    • Bananas
    • Pears
    • Peaches
    • Blueberries/Raspberries
    • Kiwi
    • Pomegranate (in the winter)
    • Cantaloupe
    • Watermelon
  • Fruit/Veggie Breads or Muffins
  • Frozen Pancakes or French Toast (put it in the lunchbox frozen, by lunch it’s thawed & ready-to-eat!)

Healthy Thermos Meals for Kids:

  • Smoothies
  • Rice Pilaf
  • Beans and Rice
  • Meat and Rice
  • Couscous and Vegetables
  • Pasta and Garlic and Oil
  • Pesto Pasta
  • Macaroni and Cheese (We love Annie’s!!)
  • Any Soup – chicken, pea, vegetable
  • Ham and Beans
  • Assemble Yourself Tacos
  • Veggie mix in the Thermos (favorite veggies like broccoli, corn, peppers, cauliflower, peas, beans, etc. mixed up, steamed and topped with a bit of cheese of choice)

This is just a start! There are so many great ideas out there if you look hard enough. Please share your own ideas for healthy kid lunches by leaving a comment.

This post was so popular we added a Healthy School Lunches Part 2!  Check it out here.

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