School Lunches: 50 Healthy Ideas & Tips

Lifestyle, Nutrition Posts, Snacks

I have a new appreciation for my mom.  Seriously.  This whole school lunch thing isn’t easy!  And gone are the days where you can throw a good ol’ PB&J sandwich into the bag in a pinch (thank you, nut allergies).

Photo 2016-09-02

I must say, I’ve received an overwhelming number of requests for healthy lunch ideas lately.  By far the most requests for a single topic that I’ve ever received!  Not one to shy away from a challenge, I put my head down and came up with a list of 50 different tips and ideas for healthy kid’s lunches and snacks to help make life a bit easier on the parents!

Photo 2016-09-02-2

I couldn’t help but link some amazing lunch kits below (click on the image to take you to the site if you want to purchase them, the silicone expandable lunch kit pictured here is from Nature’s Fare Markets). Ahem, where were these when I was a kid? A bit of a departure from the brown paper bag I had…

BOYS LUNCH BAGS

 

GIRLS LUNCH BAGS

 

A few tips to get you started:

  1. When you think about dinner, keep lunches in mind.  It is so easy to make a bit extra at dinner and use the meal, or even part of it, in the lunch.  For instance, if you have roasted chicken or a pork tenderloin for dinner, why not use that meat in a sandwich instead of using processed meats?
  2. If you make pasta sauce, freeze small portions of any extra for lunches in a pinch on top of some pasta. Same thing with taco night, you can freeze extra taco meat (or the veggie meat alternative which tastes nearly identical once dressed up with the spices) and have extra tortillas on hand in the freezer for a quick burrito.  Get my drift?
  3. Make lunch fun – without the garbage food!  I’m all for a treat once in a while, but why not make lunches fun in other ways?  Send a little note or some stickers in the lunch kit instead (you can put it in a plastic Easter egg to make it even cuter).
  4. Use cookie cutters to make cute shapes out of the food: heart shaped cheese or a larger fun cookie cutter for the sandwich are a couple of ideas.
  5. Use colourful silicone moulds to separate items in bento box style lunches.

FUN LUNCH ESSENTIALS

 

Top 25 Lunch Ideas:

  1. Fajitas (chicken, beef or tofu)
  2. Bento Box: filled with fruit, veggies, crackers, cheese, and diced roast chicken
  3. Egg Salad Wrap with spinach and red pepper on a wholegrain wrap
  4. Lasagne Roll-Ups (lasagne noodles layered with cottage or ricotta cheese, spinach and parmesan rolled up and topped with sauce)
  5. Pita with Tuna Salad
  6. Cucumber & Cream Cheese Sandwich
  7. English Muffin Pizza (toasted English Muffin cheese and pizza sauce)
  8. Spring Rolls (Tofu, Shrimp or Chicken) (just skip the peanuts and dipping sauce)
  9. Corn Chowder Soup
  10. Bean & Cheese Burrito
  11. Chilli with Cornbread Muffins
  12. Turkey Meatball Pasta
  13. Hummus, Pita & Veggies
  14. Pasta Salad (pasta with tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, red pepper and chicken if desired with a vinaigrette dressing)
  15. Quiche (tastes great at room temperature)
  16. Whole wheat waffles cut into sticks with Greek yogurt dip
  17. Chicken Strips (can also be put into a wrap)
  18. Lentil soup with crackers
  19. Turkey Roll Ups (sliced turkey meat with cheese, spinach and mustard
  20. Homemade Macaroni & Cheese
  21. Leftover Crêpes: rolled up with cheese, spinach and ham
  22. Turkey Meatloaf Muffins
  23. Chicken Noodle Soup
  24. Hamburger (made with lean meat), Chicken Burger or Veggie Burger on a whole wheat bun
  25. Stir Fry with Tofu or Chicken and Rice

 

Top 20 Snack Ideas:

  1. Fruit kebabs (can add cheese)
  2. Double Apple Muffins (you can make any of the bread/muffin recipes into mini muffins just adjust the baking time to 8-10 minutes)
  3. Omega-3 Double Chocolate Zucchini Loaf made into mini-muffins
  4. Veggies & dip (I love the Epicure dip mixes)
  5. Apple slices & cheese
  6. Edamame beans
  7. Healthy cookies (like these Pumpkin Pie Cookies)
  8. Hard boiled eggs
  9. Greek yogurt
  10. Homemade nut-free trail mix (seeds & dried fruit with mini chocolate chips)
  11. Homemade granola bars (like this Chocolate Coconut Cherry version)
  12. Roasted Chickpeas (I did a Chickpea & Kale version)
  13. Chickpea or Black Bean Brownies 
  14. Guacamole & Whole Grain Tortilla Chips
  15. Popcorn (Epicure has some great flavouring for popcorn!)
  16. Pretzels
  17. Graham Crackers with Baby Bell Cheese
  18. Corn on the cob
  19. Whole wheat fig bars
  20. Homemade Applesauce (just cook diced apples on the stove with a touch of cinnamon & brown sugar and freeze in small containers)

Happy Back-To-School! xx Tori

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2 Comments on “School Lunches: 50 Healthy Ideas & Tips”

  1. Amanda

    This is great. I don’t even have kids but this is great inspo for some lunch ideas even for adults! Thankyou !

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