We all care about our health and the health of our children, but there are times when the effort to eat healthy slips off our priority list, despite our best intentions. Packing our kid’s school lunches seems to be one meal we tend to let slide only because we think it is too complicated or time-consuming to create a healthy meal. I’m sure you have seen the beautiful and creative school lunch ideas on social media. However, it’s not always easy keeping up with the expectations we place on ourselves when we look at Pinterest and Facebook on what they present. Some days you have to do what is quick or available, and there’s no shame if you don’t pack a Pinterest-worthy lunch every day!
Despite my reservations, I did resort to occasionally purchasing the little pre-packed lunches because they were so inexpensive and I didn’t know what to make outside of a PB&J sandwich. As he grew, so did I. I learned to utilize our leftover food from the night before and to gather little bags of finger food.
To stimulate healthy lunch ideas, I’ve put together a few suggestions for school time munchies. (Frankly, they are good enough for our lunches too!)
- HAM AND CREAM CHEESE ROLLUPS: Meat roll-ups are so easy! Even my husband loves them. Pick your favorite lunch meat (choose organic meats without nitrites or nitrates), spread with cream cheese, add a veggie such as green onions, carrots, bell pepper, or for a bit of flavor, pepperoncini. Yummy! (Click on image for link to recipe)
- STRAWBERRY BANANA SUSHI ROLLS: Adjust this recipe to your tastes or dietary needs. Try almond butter or cashew butter. Using grain-free, sprouted, or coconut flour tortillas add more nutritional value as well. (Click on image for recipe)
- PEPPERY TURKEY, BLUE CHEESE, AND CELERY ROLLUP: Another great idea for using deli meat with no bread. (Click on image for recipe)
- SLICED WATERMELON: As much as we tell our kids to drink lots of water and send them to school with water bottles, they will usually forget to drink as much as they should. I found that my son would eagerly devour sliced watermelon, but he always forgot to drink his water. At least he is getting quite a bit of hydration with the watermelon! (click image for instructions)
- PRETZEL KABOBS: There are dozens of options for a pretzel kabob. When my son was little, I would make pretzel kabobs to stir up interest in healthier foods. One of his favorite combinations was goat cheese and spinach on a pretzel stick. You can also use leftover meat, raw veggies, cheeses, fruit. The possibilities are endless!
- HOMEMADE HUMMUS WITH VEGGIES AND CHIPS: Better than ranch dip and veggies. Get your kids to snack healthy and fill their bellies with vegetables and hummus. For a little fun, pick their favorite chips to dip, such as kettle chips, sweet potato chips, rice crisps, etc. (click on image for hummus recipe)
- STUFFED DATES: This recipe calls for coconut butter which is super healthy, but your child may not be used to the taste of it yet. Try cream cheese or other favorite cheese, nut butter, hummus, or anything else you can imagine. Dates are healthy and fun to eat. (click on the image for the recipe)
- BREAKFAST OAT COOKIE: Ok. I know it says “breakfast”, but this doubles as an easy, yummy lunch snack. Pack it with a couple of pieces of lunch meat and fruit if your child has a big appetite. (click on image for recipe)
- PROTEIN BISTRO BOX: Instead of purchasing the easy, prepackaged lunch packages, create your own. Hard-boiled eggs, nut butter or hummus, and cut up veggies. (click on image for recipe)
- LUNCH BOX PIZZA: I admit, this isn’t the healthiest lunch, BUT your kids will love it (and it is better than the store bought version). Make it healthier by using pepperoni without nitrates or nitrites, use homemade crackers, and sheep or goat milk cheeses. (click on link for recipe)
When we plan ahead, it is much easier to pack healthy lunches for our kids. Done the night before, you almost always have a healthier lunch AND a less-hectic morning.
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