Healthy Lunch Box Ideas
- Breakfast for lunch? Make pancakes and freeze the leftovers. You can warm them up and pack them up for a fun lunch. Scrambled eggs or a sliced boiled egg can be a hit too (remember the ice pack though).
- Some kids don’t like peanut butter but will enjoy cashew or almond butter as a spread.
- Sliced mango, kiwi, or apples are a good snack (use orange juice to help prevent browning) (Meatless)
- Use leftovers for school lunch. If your child ate the beef stew last night for dinner, serve
it up for lunch (place an ice pack in the lunch box though to prevent food illness).
- Use leftover chicken from dinner last night and make a sandwich vs. processed sandwich meat
which is high in sodium (salt).
- Get out the cookie cutters – no not for cookies, but for sandwiches. Kids love food in shapes. Surprise them with different shapes over the week.
- Other bite-sized food includes cucumber and avocado rolls (many grocery stores now
have a section of Japanese food). (Meatless)
- Toothpicks can add some fun too – kids love bite-sized food. So make a mini-sandwich
and place a toothpick in it.
- Make your own Japanese rolls: Use Korean roasted seaweed (this has a nice sesame flavor to it) and sticky rice. Just roll up the rice like into a mini-cylinder shape. Have your kids help you make it the night before.
- Edamame (soybean) or sugar snap peas (good source of protein) (Meatless)
- Try a garbanzo and kidney bean salad. (Meatless)
- Cube cheese and offer it on a toothpick. (Meatless)
- Make a face - Open faced bagel with cream cheese and a face (use raisin for the eyes, a
cashew for the nose etc.) Kids love to help create a face. (Meatless)
- Vanilla yogurt with raspberries and granola or nuts on top (place it in a small plastic container (use an ice pack to keep it cold) (Meatless)
- Pasta: Use mini-penne or bowtie pasta. Just throw on some pasta sauce. If you make it the
night before, add a tsp of olive oil to prevent sticking. (Meatless)
- Use these thin, curly noodles and serve with peanut sauce or just plain. During winter
months, use a thermos to serve up warm noodles (boil them in vegetable broth and use
about 1/3 of the liquid for added flavor). (Meatless)
- Add dips- kids love dipping foods - Fruits and veggies are great for dipping! Serve mini-carrots or jicama with ranch dressing, or slightly steamed broccoli with light mayo. (Meatless)
- Burritos: Just use mini-tortillas and serve with beans and cheese. Many kids don’t need to
have their foods warmed up to enjoy. Similarly, offer baked beans and a whole wheat
tortilla separate; many kids like to enjoy food separately and may not enjoy pinto or black
- Serve sliced ham, chicken, tuna or egg salad sandwiches on 100% whole
wheat or other bran. Go with what your child likes.
- Fresh mozzarella cheese in a tortilla. (Meatless)
- Trail mix (nuts, dried cranberries stick pretzels) (Meatless)
- Cereal. Just make sure it is high in fiber (5 grams) and low in sugar (under 10 grams). Provide a container with a top and a spoon; your child can add the milk provided at school. (Meatless)
- Offer half of a sweet potato with a sprinkle of brown sugar or even slice it into circular shapes, Take advantage of tropical fruits such as mango slices or kiwi (easy to scoop out with a spoon). (Meatless)
- Serve sliced meat rolled up into tubes and offer the bread separate.
- Tuna salad can be offered with crackers. Remember, bread doesn’t have to be sliced
bread; offer whole wheat bagels or tortillas. Even just plain sticky brown rice or couscous
can be a hit.
- Peanut butter and banana sandwich – apples will work too. (Meatless)