Fall is approaching and that means it’s back-to-school time across the country. Whether your kids are already in the swing of things, or waiting to go back after Labor Day, we’ve put together some school lunch ideas that will make packing (and eating!) lunch a much more fun process. All of these ideas are nutritionally balanced, meaning they’ll fuel a busy afternoon at school via a mixture of protein, high fiber carbohydrates, healthy fats, and fruits and veggies. And while they all use simple ingredients, they do so in creative ways that can increase the likelihood that your little one actually eats them!
Two Peas and their Pod had the incredible idea to put sandwich fillings onto skewers. Since many kids like to eat individual components separately, this is a fun way to ensure a lunch gets eaten. You can pack both fruit and veggies onto the skewers, in addition to the bread and protein components. We love the mini peanut butter sandwiches skewered with fruit, and the tomato, cucumber, pepper, havarti, and whole grain pita combo.
We love the simple, balanced option this lunch provides, with a quesadilla on a whole grain tortilla, white beans (can put in the quesadilla or leave separate for eating), berries, and a piece of whole fruit or veggie sticks. Amelia, from Eating Made Easy, likes to make lunches with one fruit and one veggie serving, but adjusts to two fruit servings when her kids are going through a picky phase.
3. Smashed Chickpeas with Pita
This fun take on sandwich filling delivers protein and fiber, along with lots of appealing flavor and texture. Paired with whole grain pita, sliced fruit, and some cucumber wheels, you’ve got a no-cook, healthy lunch in a hurry.
Pack a small thermos full of this chili and you’ve got the veggies, protein (turkey), and high fiber carbs (beans) covered in one dish. Pair with a few tortilla chips for dipping and a piece of fruit. To make lunches feel different, without a lot of fuss, leftover chili can also be used as a burrito filling or served with corn tortillas to create tacos.
Your kids may or may not love traditional sushi, but these roll-ups are fun finger food, and a great way to infuse Solid White Albacore Tuna into your kiddos’ weekly meal rotation. They can be made the night before, too. Flatten their favorite bread with a rolling pin and smear with a classic tuna salad, along with their favorite crunchy veggies like thinly sliced carrots and cucumbers.
One bonus resource we wanted to share is this lunchbox card, from The Feeding Doctor, which explains to any adult who may want their child to eat his/her lunch in a certain order, that their child has permission to eat his/her lunch in the order that feels right to them.
And for a final bonus, here are TEN bento box style lunches Weelicious put together to help keep kids excited about a balanced lunch.