Follow my blog with Bloglovin Healthy Back to School Lunch Ideas -

Can you believe it? We are already almost half-way through August, where did the summer go?! Here in Michigan, we don’t go back until after Labor Day, but I know many schools around the county have already started and some are starting very soon. With that in mind, I thought it would be great to provide my readers with a list of healthy school lunch ideas for your kids of all ages. I’ve also included some of my favorites lunch boxes/totes & food storage options that won’t cost you a fortune.

(The links in this post contain affiliate links at no cost to you. I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. I only recommend products I believe in or have tried myself).

LUNCH BOXES & TOTES

Finding a good lunch box is key. You want one that will keep your child’s food cold (or warm for that matter), is easy to carry and of course looks cool. If you are a bento box lover, you can still use a lunch tote to carry it in, which most families I see do anyway, or simply skip to the next section for food storage options (hint: bento boxes I like are listed). See below for my 3 favorite lunch boxes/totes. Be sure to click on them as they also come in other color/pattern options than shown.

 

            

 

FOOD STORAGE

I am all about not using a million storage bags when packing my kid’s lunch for two reasons; it is expensive and bad for the environment. They have their purpose, but not every day for lunches if I can help it. See below for my favorite food storage containers.

Bentology – fits perfect in 3rd lunch tote above and offers ample storage for any possible meal.

Freshware – I own these myself and will be using along with my son’s Addidas Lunch Box above. They fit perfect.

Bento Kids – This one gets great reviews, is leak proof and many of my friends have them for their kids.

PlanetBox – if money isn’t an option and you are sure your kid won’t lose it, the PlanetBox is the best there is. This also comes with its own tote, so no need to buy.

Fit & Fresh – this one offers great dividers, ice-packs, and its own tote. A great value.

          

 

FOOD IDEAS

Now that we have the food containers and lunch boxes out of the way, let’s get to the important part, packing food your kids will actually eat and is healthy. Personally, my kids are great eaters (got lucky I guess) and mind pretty well when it comes to meal-time but I know there are many picky eaters out there.  Also, Moms, don’t feel pressured to spend time making cute animals, fun shapes, etc., just spend the time focusing on healthy foods they will eat. No offense to those moms who Pinterest up their kids’ meals, just not something I’m personally going to spend time on. I’d rather send a note to cheer them up throughout their day. See below for my favorite lunch staples, Each includes a protein, vegetable, fruit and something extra:

Option #1: Simplistic

This option includes something like Crackers, cheese, peanut butter (use a substitute if allergies are an issue), apples, blueberries & cucumber. Very simple, but most kids like that. It covers each food group, gives them enough protein and is something they will actually eat.

 

 

 

Option #2: Protein Pasta

This is by far my son’s favorite lunch. Now that he is going into Kindergarten, I’ll probably send this protein pasta at least 2 – 3 days per week. I make it all ahead on Sundays, then heat up in the morning and place in a thermos. I’ll pair with at least 1 fruit (usually strawberries or blackberries), 1 veggie (always cucumber) and yogurt.

 

 

 

 

Option #3: Peanut Butter Crackers

I love this option because let’s be honest, is there really anyting different between a peanut butter sandwich and peanut butter crackers? No! Make your life easier and pack the crackers. If you are dealing with a nut allergy for your child or someone in the classroom, you may have to make them a nut substitute sandwhich (or crackers) instead. Again, I pair this with a dairy, fruit and a veggie (zukini muffins shown).

 

 

 

Option #4: Protein Waffles

Once I discovered Kodiak Power Cakes, there was no turning back. I make these all the time and then just live off of the left overs for the week. Feel free to add fruit or even eggs/bacon to them for even more nutrients. I will again pair these with a veggie, fruit and something a little extra or a yogurt.

 

 

 

 

Option #5: Muffins & Yogurt

There are many different types of muffins I’ll pack for my son, but one thing is consisent, I make them and they include added protein. I’ll either make him my Egg Breakfast Muffins or a Peanut Butter Banana Muffin that he loves. If you are dealing with a nut allergy for your child or someone in their class, feel free to use a nut substitute. I pair this with a fruit, veggie, yogurt and something extra my child chooses (within reason).

 

LUNCH PREPPING TIPS

  1. Pick 1 – 2 lunch options for the week and rotate so you aren’t prepping a million things.
  2. Prep everything on Sundays (Wash & cut your fruit and veggies, cut cheese, divide up yogurt, make pasta, waffles, etc. ). Do any last minute packing the night before (except pasta, that needs to be done in the morning so it stays warm, unless your child will eat cold pasta).
  3. Snacks – most likely your child will need snacks also during/after their day. Place those seperately in their lunch tote so they know it is not for their lunch. Place snack options (divided into portion sizes) in bins in your refrigerator and pantry so kids know what their choices are ahead of time.

See my food prepping post for more options for adults too. If you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to reach out. I’d also love to hear about your favorite go-to school lunches. Please share below or on any of my social media profiles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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