Back to School: Healthy and Tasty Lunch Ideas for Kids

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Back to School: Healthy and Tasty Lunch Ideas for Kids

Are you ready for more than 50 healthy and tasty lunch ideas for kids? Me too! But first, I would like to talk (just a bit) about breakfasts.

We are known for unusual breakfasts at our house. They are not really unusual for us as my kids are used to them by now 😉 .

Breakfast for my kids

This is what my kids eat sometimes for breakfast (Happy salad with spicy dressing, Vegetable soup, Fudgy chocolate cherry banana cake).

Do you see what I did there? Yup, soup and salad for breakfast. But do you know what keeps my kids from commenting? The third item on their placemat: the cake. When they see that, it makes them happily eat whatever I put in front of them until they get to the cake which they even more happily enjoy.

Why am I sharing this with you? Because I want to encourage you to spice up your breakfast. Breakfast foods shouldn’t always be eggs, oatmeal, pancakes, cereal, and waffles. They can also be soup, salad, or anything else that you won’t necessarily serve for breakfast. Because, why not?

OK, let’s go back to lunch ideas for kids. That’s why you are here, right?

My goal for today is to share with you nutritious and delicious simple lunch ideas for kids. I hope you’ll find many good food ideas that your child will enjoy at school and won’t bring back home.

I divided the foods into a few categories. An ideal lunch includes at least one item from each category. I realize that this is often not possible. A good alternative is to ensure that your child’s daily diet includes at least one item from each category.

More than 50 lunch ideas for kids

Vegetables (fresh, cooked, frozen, or chips) – with or without a dip (hummus, yogurt, etc.)

  • Broccoli pieces
  • Cauliflower pieces
  • Carrot sticks or baby carrots
  • Celery sticks
  • Cucumber rounds (or cut them in fun shapes such as stars, hearts, etc.)
  • Snap or sweet peas
  • Frozen or steamed green peas
  • Steamed green or yellow beans
  • Bean sprouts
  • Grape or cherry tomatoes
  • Bell peppers (yellow, red, green)
  • Sweet corn
  • Baked sweet or regular potatoes
  • Kale chips
  • Zucchini chips

Fruits (raw, cooked, dried, or frozen)

  • Apple
  • Banana
  • Banana chips
  • Banana wrap
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • Watermelon
  • Frozen or fresh grapes
  • Pineapple
  • Mandarin
  • Orange
  • Kiwis
  • Apple sauce
  • Fried plantains
  • Dried fruit such as raisins, mango slices, cranberries, prunes, apricots, mulberries, goji berries, etc.
  • Fruit roll-ups

Whole grains

  • Whole grain sandwich
  • Whole grain wrap (with chicken and vegetables)
  • Popcorn
  • Whole grain crackers (rice, corn, etc.)
  • Muffins made with whole grain flour
  • Waffles made with whole grain flour
  • Pancakes made with whole grain flour

 Delicious lunch ideas for kids

Protein and healthy fats

  • High quality sausages (we get ours from farmers’ market)
  • High quality meat
  • Breaded chicken
  • Canned beans (they are a great source of protein and fiber if your child likes simple, cooked beans)
  • Pancake sandwich with nut butter in the middle (or seed butter for a nut-free alternative)
  • Baked or broiled salmon
  • Smoked salmon
  • Seaweed snack
  • Avocado
  • Boiled eggs
  • Plain yogurt (mixed with fresh slices strawberries, other fruit)
  • Cheese cubes
  • Olives
  • Nuts – walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, pistachios, etc. (if the school allows nuts)
  • Seeds – pumpkin, sunflower, sesame (seeds are a good alternative for a nut-free snack)
  • Beet pancakes
  • Banana pancakes

Main meal

I am going to suggest only one thing: leftovers from last night’s dinner. This is big one at our house and I think it should be at your house too. It saves a lot of time and stress. After we eat dinner (sometimes even before we do), I pack a bit of food from dinner in one my son’s lunch containers for him to take to school the next day. All I have to do in the morning is take the container out of the fridge and add a fruit and a vegetable to the lunch bag.

Here are some delicious dinners at my house:

Last year I shared with you what I packed for my son for the first 2 weeks of grade 1. Here they are, if you would like to check out not only what I packed, but also what he brought back home.

School lunch ideas (with photos) and surviving the first 5 days of grade 1

School lunch idea with photos – Part II of surviving the following 5 days of grade 1

This year, unlike last year, I noticed after the first 2 days of school that giving him 5 food choices is again, too much. He doesn’t have time to eat as he wants to go back to play as quickly as possible. Giving him 3 food choices ensures that he eats all of his food and there is no food wasted. Happy child, happy mom!

Here you have it, more than 50 healthy and tasty lunch ideas for kids.

I would love if you would share some of your child’s favourite foods that you pack in their lunch on a regular basis.

2016-10-19T08:29:28+00:00 By |Categories: Lunch recipes, Meal planning, Nutrition|Tags: |10 Comments

About the Author:

Alina Muresan is a Holistic Nutritional Consultant who specializes in family nutrition and health. Visit her website, Orgali.ca to find great advice on your child’s nutrition and delicious recipes that are healthy and fast!

10 Comments

  1. jehava September 9, 2016 at 10:52 am - Reply

    Really great ideas! My kids pack their lunch every day so this is super helpful.

    • Alina September 9, 2016 at 11:25 am - Reply

      Thank you, Jehava. My 7 year old doesn’t pack his lunch yet, but this year he is allowed to choose (from a wide variety of healthy foods) what goes in his lunch :).

  2. Chanel September 9, 2016 at 1:24 pm - Reply

    These are amazing ideas! I just bookmarked for my son 🙂

    • Alina September 10, 2016 at 6:41 am - Reply

      I am so glad they are helpful, Chanel!

  3. Carolyn September 9, 2016 at 1:40 pm - Reply

    Great ideas. I need new ones because my boys aren’t eating anything I put in their lunch. I think I need to put more hot food items in because they hate sandwiches.

    • Alina September 10, 2016 at 6:43 am - Reply

      Have you tried to ask them what they would like in their lunch? What about a pancake or a waffle sandwich? Still not a favourite to them?

  4. Megan September 9, 2016 at 8:48 pm - Reply

    Great ideas! This will come in handy!!

    • Alina September 10, 2016 at 6:45 am - Reply

      Awesome! So happy to hear that the lunch ideas were helpful, Megan.

  5. lesley sullivan September 10, 2016 at 6:09 am - Reply

    Great ideas! I’ve been trying to stay away from the traditional PB&J… my son would love a pancake sandwich! Thanks for the tips

    • Alina September 10, 2016 at 6:46 am - Reply

      What about a waffle sandwich, Lesley?

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