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30+ Out-of-the-Box Ideas for Healthy School Lunches

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A good lunch is an essential component to a successful school day, so we wanted to share 30 out-of-the-box ideas for healthy school lunches.

Mozzarella, Tomato, and Pesto MeltsSchool has started, and that means for many of us it’s time to figure out not only what to make for dinner every day, but what to pack in the kids’ lunchboxes. While some kids are perfectly content and maybe even comforted by eating the same lunch day after day, other children prefer more variety.  Below we are sharing ideas for healthy school lunches that are simple to prepare and will make lunch fun again.

Sandwiches/Wraps

Crunchy Veggie Wraps1. Your child’s favorite cold cuts like turkey, ham or salami, cheese and lettuce on whole wheat bread

2. Turkey or ham or other cold cuts, red bell pepper strips, and cheese wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla, with mayonnaise, spicy mustard or salsa

3. Whole wheat tortilla with your child’s favorite cold cuts, shredded cheese (or leave out the meat and use cream cheese) and shredded carrots, rolled into a wrap

4. Tuna, chicken, or egg salad with whole grain crackers or pita chips or on a bagel with lettuce

5. Your child’s favorite cheese and sliced tomato sandwich (put the tomato between the slices of cheese so the bread doesn’t get soggy) with a little mayonnaise or mustard

6. Fresh mozzarella, basil or pesto and tomato (or tapenade) on a soft baguette.

7. Peanut or other nut butter on whole wheat with jelly, sliced bananas, honey, raisins, or apples

8. Bean and cheese burritos (warm black beans & cheese on tortilla in microwave & wrap in foil) or quesadillas

9. Rice cakes with natural peanut or other nut butter

10. Whole grain bagel with cream cheese and sliced cucumbers

Hot Foods

Tomato Soup with Basil and Goat Cheese11. Leftovers like pasta, tortellini with tomato sauce, pizza, chicken, meatloaf or steak (kids don’t seem to mind eating them cold).  Bonus tip: Save little condiment packages from takeout food to use as dips.

12. Black beans and rice or other rice pilaf or salad

13. Healthy soup or chili in a thermos (try The Scramble’s Tomato Soup with Basil and Goat Cheese, Roasted Sweet Potato and Apple Soup, or Veggie-Loaded Slow Cooker Chili)

14. Morningstar Farms Veggie Nuggets with ketchup (bake in the morning and wrap in foil)

15. Cooked oatmeal in a thermos with brown sugar and berries on the side

Additional Protein Options

Hummus Deviled Eggs16. Turkey or ham and sliced cheese roll ups (secure with toothpicks)

17. Cheese and whole grain crackers

18. Hard-boiled eggs, deviled eggs, or egg salad

19. Low fat yogurt or cottage cheese with fresh fruit and granola or other cereal (keep them separate and let your child combine them at lunch)

20. Diced tofu drizzled with teriyaki sauce

21. Drinkable, spoon-able, or squeezable yogurt or kefir

22. Proteins like cheese sticks or cubes, sunflower seeds, nuts, chickpeas, edamame, or other beans

Snacks and Grains

Chewy Protein-Packed Granola Bars23. Overnight oats

24. Trail mix made with raisins, peanuts, and chocolate chips (or your kids’ favorite items) or granola bars

25. Healthy dried cereals (milk is optional)

26. Homemade whole grain muffins such as Blueberry Raspberry Oatmeal Muffins

27. Popcorn (a whole grain!), alone or mixed with raisins and nuts

28. Whole grain tortilla chips and salsa (look for a brand without added sugar) or black bean dip or guacamole

Fruits & Vegetables

Bento Box Snack Foods

 

28. Sliced apples and cheddar cheese

29. Caesar salad (pack dressing separately)

30. Baby carrots, celery, sliced cucumbers, snap peas, red bell pepper strips and/or pita chips with hummus, ranch dressing, or other dip

31. All varieties of fresh fruit (cut apples, mango, oranges, and other hard to eat fruit, if needed)

32. Smoothies

Further Inspiration

Want more ideas for feeding your kids? Check out these other resources from The Scramble:

The Formula for a Healthy Lunch

How to Make Lunch Packing Easier

Our Favorite Lunch Packing Tools

Navigating Treats & Snacks in School Lunches

Healthy Lunch Ideas for Teens

Do you have ideas for healthy school lunches? We’d love to hear about them in the comments. And for more mealtime inspiration, check out The Scramble’s family-friendly meal plans

 

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