Need more ideas for what to pack for your child’s school lunch? Try one of these nutritious and delicious ideas that don’t take a lot of time.
It’s that time of year again – alarm clocks, school, homework and busy after-school schedules. Add packing school lunches to that list, and it’s enough to put parents over the edge. I’m with you!
I’m always so organized in the first few weeks of school. I make sure we have a huge supply of pencils, lots or school clothes to choose from, and my refrigerator is stocked with foods to pack healthy lunches. Four weeks in, I’m looking back wondering what happened to my organizational skills.
If your kids are like mine, they’re happy with the same thing in their lunch day after day. That makes it easy – until they get sick of it and never want to see the food again! Then, you have a bigger problem on your hands – you have to find something new that holds up in a lunchbox. That’s why it’s important to keep variety from the beginning.
To prevent food burnout, rotate through a few favorite lunches, incorporating seasonal produce and new sides on occasion. Try a few of these quick, nutritious lunchbox ideas to minimize boredom and make your mornings easier.
Healthy Packed Lunches For Back-To-School
- Tuna or Chicken Salad Wrap– filled with vegetables and shredded cheese. Serve with pretzel sticks
- Ham or Roast Beef Wrap– roll roast beef or ham inside a tortilla with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, cheese spread or other vegetables. Serve with blueberries or strawberries.
- Pasta Salad – mix left-over grain pasta with diced vegetables (such as orange, red and green peppers, onions, celery, snow peas and shredded carrots) and shredded cheese (such as feta, mozzarella, cheddar, Monterey jack). Serve with grapes.
- Turkey Sandwich on Whole Wheat – filled with lettuce, tomato and low fat cheddar cheese. Serve with fresh fruit. Tip: switch it up sometimes by using a wrap or pita in place of bread.
- Cold Pizza– pizza is one of those foods that many kids will eat cold, making it a great school lunch option. Take your leftovers from the night before and pack a vegetable side-salad to eat with it. Try this homemade pizza recipe.
- Bagel Sandwich – whole grain bagel halves with reduced-fat cream cheese. Top one half with raisins and enjoy a cream cheese and raisin bagel. Could also be topped with cranberries or dried blueberries. Serve with a handful of mixed nuts and juice.
- Cottage Cheese and Fruit Plate – ½ cup cottage cheese served with diced melon (watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew). Serve with 4-6 whole grain crackers.
- Large Vegetable and Protein Salad: pack a vegetable salad with mixed greens (toss some dark greens ones in there, too), tomatoes, cheese, hardboiled eggs, olives, croutons and whatever other vegetables your child will eat in a salad. Serve with a banana.
- Bean Burrito–spread a whole wheat tortilla with homemade refried beans. Top with diced tomatoes, scallions diced green pepper and shredded cheddar cheese. Roll up and serve with a peach or banana.
Tips For Packing A School Lunch
Pack Foods Separately
Depending on the food, you may want to keep items separate until it’s time for your child to eat. Doing so helps to keep foods crisp and helps items to stay cooler. For example, pack salad ingredients separately, and teach your child how to assemble their own salad. This works for many foods, like packing a burrito, tacos or Greek yogurt bowl.
Invest in Lunchbox With Temperature Control
A firm, high-quality lunchbox that has some build-in temperature control helps to keep food at the right temperature until your child’s lunch period. It works to keep cold food cold, or hot foods warm.
Use Ice Packs
Ice packs helps to keep cold food a at a safe temperature until it’s time for your child to eat. Pack an ice pack in the lunch box to maintain a safe temperature of the food
Pack Healthy Beverages
Including healthy fluids in a childs lucnh box is key to increading their fluids. It also helps you to control what they drink. Milk provides some additional nutrients that growing kids need, while water helps to keep kids hydrated as they work hard throughout their day.
Do you have a favorite school lunch that you pack for your kids? Share it in the comments below.