The school bell is a-ringing, and so are the hungry tummies! But fret not, because this isn't the time for plain ol' PB&Js or mystery meat mush. We got the best quick and healthy back-to-school lunch ideas that are so good that even the cafeteria lady would give them a standing ovation!
So you’ve got your snacks all prepped for back to school, but now you’re wondering what to give your munchkin for lunch? No worries, we've got you covered! Lunch is one of the most important meals of the day, not just for kiddos but also for us adults and parents. It's the daytime meal that keeps the energy up for recess right afterwards and keeps us powering through the day. While some kiddos have boundless energy, it never hurts to send them off to school with a nutrient-dense lunch that keeps the good vibes and energy going, especially during those brain-heavy subjects, and even more so when they have particular palates. We always want to avoid having food come back after a school day, especially for those fruits and vegetables that are necessary for their little minds and bodies! So here are a few lunchbox ideas that you can add to your rotation so your kiddo can be surprised each time and look forward to their lunch every day!
For the kiddos who love their fruits, or love one particular kind of fruit but you want to expand the ways they enjoy it, here are some lunch ideas that are fruit and nutrient-dense that can be added to their lunchboxes!
You can never go wrong with a PB and J, but you can swap out the PB for any kind of nut butter like crunchy almond butter, pistachio butter or even macadamia butter! And for the J part of their PB and J sandwich, you can get fruit jam with added things like strawberry jam with chia seeds for extra fiber, or raspberry jam with no added sugar in case you want to tone down the sweetness! And for the bread, you can opt for a keto gluten free version!
If your kiddo would prefer fruits as they are though, a fruit salad may be perfect for them! Fruits like kiwi, strawberries, mangos and bananas all diced up and topped with some sweet syrup or honey for added sweetness will be a meal that’s both colourful and pleasing to their eyes as well as delicious! You can even have fun with it and coordinate the colours of the fruits into a rainbow rather than mixing them all together so that your kiddo can see how fun it is to eat colour by colour!
If your little gremlin loves those cheese sticks as snacks or just enjoys eating the shredded cheese in those make-it-themselves mini pizza boxes and you’re worried they’re not getting enough nutrients on just the cheese shrapnel they munch on throughout the days, then these cheese and cheesy alternative lunch ideas may be perfect for them!
Mac n’ cheese is probably the most obvious choice for a cheese-based lunchbox and what’s great about mac n’ cheese is that it’s a dish that has evolved with the times! If you want a mac n’ cheese that’s high in protein, try out Goodles because they’ve reinvented the mac n’ cheese game with their high protein macs that come with 21 different nutrients from plants, protein, prebiotics and fiber!
Another cheesy lunch option is a classic BLT with cheese, or a cheese bagel! But if you’d rather a bagel with less carbs and more ‘oomph’, Better Bagels are a low carb, high protein bagel that’ll keep your kiddo full and not just for a moment, but until they get home for the day!
A sweet lunchbox for your sweet munchkin doesn’t have to be dense with sugar! When we think of the word sweet, we automatically think of candy, sugar and all that jazz, but there are loads of sweet lunches that are both healthy and nutritious!
Now you might not think that yogurt is considered a sweet kind of lunch, but it definitely can be when it’s topped with nutrient-dense oats, granola and fruits! You can also add some natural sweeteners like honey or even a real fruit topping to swap out for the fruits in case your kiddo is having a hard time getting those fruits in their diet.
Or, if your little one has a penchant for breakfast foods, there’s nothing wrong with having that for lunch too! Some can’t get enough of their cereals or pancakes, but instead of the high sugar or high carb options that’ll likely give them a sugar rush and then crash after lunchtime, swap out for a healthier cereal like Truly's peanut butter high protein cereal or pancakes that are sweetened with coconut sugar rather than refined sugar so that your little one can have that boost in energy without feeling the crash that comes with refined sugar. You can top with fruits and a sugar-free keto syrup to keep the sugar low and the energy high!
Vegetables are probably enemy number one for some youngins out there, and we totally get it, right? There was a time when we all sat at the dinner table, staring down the lone broccoli or pepper on our plates and we couldn’t get up until we finally managed to scarf them down. The number of little veggies and veggie snacks that we see come back inside a lunchbox are probably the highest too, so to avoid as much food coming back and going to waste, there are new and fun ways to get those veggies and necessary nutrients in.
Tacos are a really easy and not to mention a delicious way for your kiddos to get in those veggies, and it’s also a fun activity for them to prepare their own tacos during lunch too, they’ll feel like their own personal chefs! And you can add in fun and healthy ingredients so they can assemble their tacos with healthy things like pinto beans, lettuce, tomato, onion, cilantro, even sweet potato!
Who doesn’t love some pizza? Cheesy, saucy goodness and the perfect cover to add in those secret veggies! You can hide things like olives, red peppers, and even little broccoli bits under the cheese and boom! Your kiddo will be eating veggies without them even knowing.
We hope these lunchbox ideas will keep your kiddo energized throughout their school days!