Easy healthy school lunches

Easy healthy school lunches

No matter what time of year, along with getting school supplies for your kids, you’ll probably be packing lunch every day. It can be a huge challenge to pack easy healthy school lunches and snacks, and unfortunately way too easy to throw in prepackaged snacks and awful sandwiches.  

The good news is that with a little bit of effort at the beginning of the week, you can packing a school lunch fast, simple, healthy and delicious! Even better news is that this advice doesn’t just work for school lunches, but for your lunch as well. A win-win for the whole family!

*Disclaimer: These healthy school lunch box ideas are designed for a healthy plant-based diet, and you won’t find lunch meat and a carton of milk here. Studies show that a plant-powered diet is the key to health and longevity.

Supplies

Make sure you are stocked up on everything you’ll need to make a healthy school lunch. Containers with a lot of compartments are best, but you can also utilize small food storage containers in your preference of glass or plastic, and small plastic bags as well. It all depends on the type of food you will be packing.

Glass is the most ideal if you are at all worried about BPA and leeching plastic, but for foods that won’t need to be heated up, plastic will work just fine (BPA-free, of course), and you don’t have to worry about glass breakage or extra weight in their backpacks.

Make sure you have enough food containers to last for the entire week, or at least for a few days so you can prep a few days’ lunches in advance.

Food Groups

Imagine the food pyramid as you plan out what you’re going to pack. Make sure all the major food groups are represented, such as carbohydrates, protein, fruits and vegetables. 

Here are some general ideas for each food group:

  • Carbohydrates: a small serving of rice or pasta, bread, pita bread, or a tortilla wrap.
  • Protein: hummus, almond butter, or bean spread. 
  • Vegetables: broccoli, carrots, celery sticks, sliced bell peppers (Peppers must be organic! Read about the Dirty Dozen!)
  • Fruit: apples, bananas, an orange, some grapes, or berries.

Preparation

Once you’ve purchased everything at the store, it’s time to prep your lunches. This can all be done on the weekend, so you don’t have to even think about lunches during the week. Your older kids can easily pack their own.

Cook any protein and carbohydrate that needs to be cooked. You can cook up a large portion of beans for the week as well as rice or pasta, and divide them into the appropriate serving sized containers.  

Here is a delicious recipe for Adzuki Bean Burgers — so easy and delicious! Whip up a batch that will last all week. 

Wash and chop up all fruits and vegetables that need to be cut to size. I highly recommend the Veggie Bullet which not only saves time, but slices and spiralizes into fun “spaghetti” — which can be eaten raw and will stay in your kids’ lunch box for the morning.

Cut up bell peppers into spears as well as celery. Cut broccoli into florets. You can include a whole apple or orange, or divide them up as your child prefers. A spritz of lemon juice will keep apples from browning once cut.

Small ramekin type food containers are perfect for dips. Portion out a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter or hummus into each one for your kids to dip their fruits and vegetables into.

Designate a place for lunch containers in your fridge or pantry so it’s easy to just grab one of each food group to place in the lunch box. Your child can be free to choose which sides they’d like with their lunch.  

<< This set below is something I have used for years and highly recommend! >>

School lunch boxes

Extras

If your child needs an extra snack during the day, make sure you’re prepared to add these as well. This is where prepackaged snacks can come in handy if you buy the right ones. Try to find healthy granola or protein bars (some of them contain as much sugar as a candy bar, yikes!) or prepare your own grab-and-go snacks to throw in their lunchbox.

A small package of nuts can also make a good snack if your child’s school allows them, as well as pretzels.

Kids water bottle elephantDon’t forget a drink! Avoid the child-sized drinks in the supermarket as they’re usually full of sugar. A large water bottle is the best option, flavored with organic lemon or lime juice, with a pinch of stevia.

Juice should be avoided for the most part as they also contain too much sugar, sometimes more than soda does. Soda, it should go without saying, has no place in your child’s lunchbox either.

Lunch Combo Ideas

Here are some ideas for putting together a full lunchbox meal:

  • Rice and beans (a complete protein) with an apple and carrot sticks.
  • A wrap with peanut butter and banana slices, bell pepper slices, and hummus.
  • Whole wheat bread, peanut butter and natural jelly, with a side of broccoli.
  • Pasta (or vegetable zoodles), and tomato sauce, with berries and celery sticks.
  • A small burrito filled with bean spread or hummus and cucumbers, with some cherry tomatoes and an orange.
  • Try meatless alternatives to kid-friendly staples such as chicken nuggets, paired with a banana and some broccoli.

With just a little planning, your kids could be well-prepared with easy, healthy school lunches and snacks to sustain them for their day at school…!

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave


SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Please follow and like us:


9 thoughts on “Easy healthy school lunches”

  • Hi Amy
    I really like idea of doing the prep for lunches at the weekend and not have to spend time doing it every day. This would save a lot of time and also take away the chore aspect of the preparation.

    Great post!

    Thank you

  • Amy,
    Thanks so much for your website for lunch box ideas. I am going to use it for my two grandsons where I go over to sit. Is it cheating if I use it for myself, too?
    I spend lots of time trying to figure out how to balance my day, although I am retired. If I use your ideas about how to make a healthy lunch and get it ready, it will surely be more relaxing to set down and eat without all the planning, cooking and clean up in the middle of my schedule for the days I am really busy. I already have my shopping list ready! Thanks again, DDee

    • Hi Dee — so happy you found this to be valuable! Of course you can use it for yourself…! Yes the whole point is to prepare in advance — healthy and quick — its the only way to stay focused…! Thanks for writing!

  • Amy,
    Thanks so much for your website for lunch box ideas. I am going to use it for my two grandsons where I go over to sit. Is it cheating if I use it for myself, too?
    I spend lots of time trying to figure out how to balance my day, although I am retired. If I use your ideas about how to make a healthy lunch and get it ready, it will sure be more relaxing to set down and eat without all the planning, cooking and clean up in the middle of my schedule for the days I am real busy. I already have my shopping list ready! Thanks again, DDee

  • I love your ideas for healthy lunches! As a preschool volunteer I see firsthand what types of foods parents are sending to school with their children and it can,at times,be appalling. Today I saw cookies, Doritos and pringles! I also saw veggies, yogurt and peanut butter with apples. Those Rubbermaid containers look like they’d be really helpful for easy packing of children’s snacks and lunches.

  • I don’t have a child so I don’t have to worry about that but diet definitely could use a lot of work. More and more people are trying their best to eat healthy now that we are more aware of how bad some of the things we eat are for us. I can tell you really practise this in your life and I really like the recommendations because I couldn’t think of something to do with most of that food on my own. Keep up the good content.

  • Hey Amy

    It’s really an interesting post, i always bring my lunch box when i go to work, lunch box is for everyone i guess 🙂

    I totally agree that lunch box with lots of compartments is the best way to fit all the good and healthy things inside,, fruit and carbs is the mandatory items to eat throughout the day !

  • I love how your first point is to stock up on supplies. That’s so true! For me, having healthy food and snacks in my kitchen makes it much more likely for me and anyone else who comes by to eat something nutritious. I’m so much more likely to eat what’s in the vicinity than to hunt down some unhealthy treat. Good advice!!

    xx

    Helen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)