The school year has already started and we need new lunchbox ideas! Every year I come up with a handful of easy lunchbox ideas.
A healthy school lunch needs these ingredients:
- grain (whole grains are best)
Sandwiches are great, but kids can get tired of the same old PB&J. Consider some other healthy and easy options.
Bean burrito or soft taco:
Tacos are one of those things that can be simple or complex depending on your child’s tastes. My daughter doesn’t like cheese or lettuce. But she loves a simple refried beans wrapped in soft, flour tortilla. It keeps well if you wrap it in some tin foil. Filled with protein, this is an excellent brain food to keep your kiddo going for the rest of the day.
Lunch box taco:
Ingredients can include:
- Refried pinto or black beans
- Whole grain tortilla
- Lettuce or spinach
- Shredded cheese
I recommend putting veggies on the side, rather than inside the taco.
How to wrap a taco
- Put a healthy scoop of beans on the inner strip of the tortilla.
- Wrap the taco and then wrap it in tinfoil to preserve as much heat as possible.
Peanut butter banana wrap:
Peanut butter banana wrap is a dense and nutritious lunch. Using a tortilla or pita bread wrap, smear peanut butter or some other type of nut butter all over the tortilla. Roll in a banana and you’ll give your child a great vegetarian meal with three of the necessary ingredients for a healthy meal.
Tip: Use a whole grain wrap for a healthier version.
Bagels with cream cheese:
My daughter loves bagels and with full fat cream cheese (never low fat for kids), this is a quick, easy, and nutritious lunch. She loves it when she gets a bagel for lunch.
Tip: To make it healthier, choose a whole grain bagel and add some vegetable slices on top. Cucumbers or carrots make a nice crunch.
My daughter won’t eat egg yolks to save her life, but if I make deviled eggs, she’s all over them! Egg yolks are the healthiest part of the egg unless you’re avoiding fat. But children shouldn’t be avoiding healthy fats, so an egg or two makes a great lunch. The protein from the egg whites will keep them going and the egg yolks make for some great brain food.
Deviled Egg Recipe:
- Two boiled eggs sliced in half
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons mustard
- 1 tablespoon relish
- Optional: a dash of paprika
Slice eggs in half and scoop out the yolk. Mix the yolk with mayonnaise, mustard and relish. Spoon the mixture back into the whites and dash the tops with paprika.
Adding in some of these options along with the typical sandwiches and soups can make for more interesting and nutritious lunches for your kids.
Add in Some Fruits and Veggies
In addition to these protein main dishes, don’t forget to toss in some raw vegetables and fruit as side dishes.
For sides I recommend:
- Carrot sticks
- Cucumber slices
- Cherry tomatoes
- Celery sticks
- Raw spinach leaves with a dressing of oil and vinegar
- Sliced strawberries
- Sliced grapes
- Mini oranges
- Kiwi fruit slices
Nutritional Lunches Help Kids Learn
Children need a healthy, balanced lunch in order to stay focused on their schoolwork. It’s important to make sure their lunches are dense with protein so they will not feel hungry soon after they eat.
Adding raw fruits and vegetables to their meals ensures a well-rounded diet and keep them from feeling sluggish in the afternoon.
Make sure your children are eating healthily for all meals!
May Clinic: Nutrition Guide for Kids