What are your favorite healthy lunchbox items?

It can be tempting to slap some peanut butter and jelly on white bread, throw in some fruit snacks, and call it a day, but if you're concerned about making healthy school lunches for your children, what are some healthier alternatives for lunchpail menus?

If you have any questions, please check our FAQ page

30  Answers

2 15

My son won't take sandwiches in his lunch box so I've had to get creative.
I go to Little Tokyo here in Los Angeles and get bento box supplies like cute egg molds that turn
hard boiled eggs into cars, fish or bunny shapes. Check out link below:
http://justbento.com/handbook/bento-decoration-techniques/fun-japanese-egg-molds
Here are some ideas for the sandwich alternatives:
Sugar snap peas and cherry tomatoes.
Blueberries.
Orange slices with dates.
Banana chips with shelled pistachio nuts.
Pasta salad with veggies and cheese. (I use Barilla plus pasta which is very high in protein)
Or rice pasta from Tinkyada called "Little Dreams". It has adorable kid friendly shapes.
Apple slices sprinkled with lemon juice and a dash of cinnamon with walnuts.
Caesar Salad with dressing on the side.
Small pizzas or focaccia bread.
cheese and whole grain crackers
Sushi rolls with avocado, cucumbers and carrot. (or what you have on hand)
Celery filled with organic peanut butter or soy cream cheese.
Banana bread with cream cheese

11
0 4

Thanks for all these great ideas!

0 9

Awesome, where can I get soy cream cheese?

View More
101 48

I sometimes make little skewers with precooked meat (ham, chicken, turkey), cubes of cheese, and various raw veggies that my kids like... (cucumbers, bell peppers, olives).

Leftovers from the night before are the other healthier options... chicken teriyaki, a bowl of chili, pork lo mein, and then I try to include some kind of fruit (grapes, banana, apple, orange slices, apple sauce as a last resort), milk, and something small and sweet to finish off.

7
0 18

PROBLEM WITH LEFTOVERS AND FOOD FROM HOME IS HEATING THE STUFF UP.

18 22

Nicole, have you tried using a thermos? Soup and hot liquids tend to stay hot in there just fine but the other items like the lo mein mentioned above got cold until I tried this method with the thermoses. I boiled hot water in the morning, let it sit in the thermos a while to warm it up and then when then leftovers were heated, dump out the boiling water and fill it up and pop the lid back on. My kids say doing that helps keep the other kinds of leftovers warm, good luck! :) And thanks for the skewers suggestion Francesca, I have never thought of that one. Plan on doing that one tonight for their lunches tomorrow now. :)

View More
0 3

raw almonds or dried fruit, and here in SA, biltong.

2
1 0

I am grateful for a lot of these answers. Regardless of the items I pack a protein, a fruit and a veggie. I do get creative and have a gazillon cookie cutters that I use for sandwiches and I am always changing the reusable lunch bags from bugs to spider man. This helps keep meals interesting! For all my kids good eating started at the beginning. I ate a lot of fruits and veggies while pregnant or breastfeeding and then I only gave veggies for the first few months of their eating. I avoided the sweet fruits until all the veggies had been accepted and then I continued all along. I know this sounds crazy but I also took a Nutrition class on-line via my local community college and it was a real eye opener to the food and drink we consume or how we prepare.

1
167 19

I just discovered red, sweet bell peppers. Slice them up and you can eat them raw---they are a tiny bit sweet and really pretty good!

1
11 62

There are so many different options for a healthy lunch to send for your child to school. My daughter packs her lunch every day and I require: 1 serving of protein, 1 serving of grain, 1 serving of a fruit and veggie OR 2 serving of either, and 1 serving of dairy. If she takes a yogurt that can be her dairy and then she will take water sometimes with a crystal light pack. There is no sugar in that and it gives her a little extra flavor. She is however a big water drinker so that's not a problem for her to just take plain cold water. I also let her add extra snacks from my snack bucket which has fruit cups, chex mix, white cheddar pirated booty snacks, pretzels, granola bars, peanut butter crackers and other healthy snacks. :0)

1
0 40

In my opinion... Crystal light should not be allowed on the shelves let alone be given to a child. I understand that it's sugar free an all but it's definitely not a healthy choice. If you look at the ingredients and do yourself a favor... Look up the side effects of aspartame or sucralose or whatever name they use for the 'sweetener' used in the package. Your better of giving the kids kool-aid... Because in all reality all that stuff is is an adult koolaid. Lol! But without the 'calories' that seem to be more Important than the actual ingredients that we put into our bodies.

0 9

Crystal light for a kid? No no no...you would be better sending her off with a mountain dew. Artificial sugar and a bunch of chemicals? Yuck

0 2

crystal light is a definite NO.... those chemicals are very harmful for young growing bodies... you might as well pack her a diet coke. also, you are undoing all of what is healthy in her lunches.

0 0

Crystal light now makes a product called Pure that uses Truvia not aspartame. Truvia is all natural.

View More
0 20

We do pb and apple, or banana sandwiches, or turkey sandwiches, never on white bread. Some pretzels, or crackers, and fruit. And a real fruit juice pack.

1
0 1

Some common items that go into my daughter's lunch box are: coconut milk yogurt, carrot sticks, turkey sandwich, clementine, grapes, blueberries, celery, macaroni with light sauce in thermos

1
0 9

Where do you get coconut milk yogurt?

1 21

anything home-made out of scratch is a healthy choice I believe.
mon: pasta with parmesan cheese and steamed broccoli,
tue ; turkey sandwich with lettuce and cheese, apple and carrot pieces,
wed :grilled chicken fingers and grapes,
thur: fish fingers and carrots, cheese string
fri: rice and sausage with steamed broccoli, and yogurt tube
with milk box or juice.

1
7 8

Homemade granola bars, cheese strings, yogurt tubes, pita and hummus.

PB and EGGS and SHELLFISH and MAYO and SESAME SEEDS are a no go in our school. Makes for a very boring lunch from day to day.

1
0 10

Wow, that really stinks for you and the kids. I realise that allergies are serious but for the school to ban the food? Why can't the allergic kids stay away from the kids eating the food they are allergic to? That's the way it worked when I was a kids. I mean it's not like the kids are forcing the allergic kids to eat the food, are they? I don't think the school should have the right to do that. If the parents of the allergic children can't trust their own kids to make their own decisions after it is explained, then they should home school. I think we coddle our kids too much. And before anyone bitches me out, yes I have a child with nut allergies who made it through 12 years of school and 2 years of culinary school without the school having to ban all nuts. I explained to him at a very young age that anything with nuts was very dangerous and to always make sure not to eat food other people offered him if he wasn't sure if there was nuts in it. He also ALWAYS has his emergency kit. My son is now a chef and amazingly the nut allergy has gone away now that he is an adult.

0 8

So true. We live in a cotton wool wrapped society it seems. I can understand the school is in a position where they must be held accountable for children during the day so they're kind of cornered into a position to enforce these bans on certain food groups, especially with allergies becoming so common nowadays. However seeing your perspective made me think twice. I was thinking as i was part way through reading your blog "how would she know, i bet she doesn't have any idea what it's like to have a child with an allergy!" Could've made a right fool of myself if this had been a live conversation lol! Seeing what you wrote as a parent who had years of dealing with child with a severe nut allergy has brought a sense of enlightenment to the fact that they can grow out of it and and it can be dealt with minus the fear of something bad happening. So much bad press goes around and around, half the time it causes unnecessary angst, fear and pressure amongst our society. Well done to your son who just got on with it and overcame the odds. He's living proof that allergies don't necessarily mean life or death. If you know how to manage your allergy carefully it doesn't have to interfere with day to day things.

1 50

Some kids have airborne reactions to allergenic foods. This is especially common with peanuts and shellfish. Banning these foods truly is the safest way to prevent allergic reactions in schools. It is so easy for a child to eat these foods and transfer the residue to other points of contact, such as drinking fountains, door knobs, classroom utensils and fixtures. Some schools opt to have lunch room staff do thorough cleanings between lunch shifts, and have all children wash hands after meal and snack times. This is another option that can help prevent reactions in children who face reactions from contact, but will not prevent airborne reactions. With food allergies on the rise (15 % increase since 1990s), I expect this to be more of an issue than it was when we were children.

3 9

Thank you Jessica!!!!! and btw Dina....not all kids outgrow nut allergies. And there are some bullies out there who will put nuts in your child's face when they're allergic. Canada is nut free in ALL schools.....not that hard but could be life saving.

0 0

Jessica is right on this one. For some kids with severe allergies it doesn't have to be ingested for an allergic reaction to be deadly. They had to ban peanut anything in a school here due to a child bringing a peanut butter sandwich to school. That child then played on the bars during recess. The child had some oil residue from the peanut butter on their hands. Another child (who's lunch was an hour later) played on those bars and almost died. Remember, everyone's child is different and no 2 kids react to allergies the same way. Yes they may outgrow it, but as a parent if my child had a severe enough allergy I would want every precaution taken to make sure my child was safe. Yes they need the emergency kit but at the same time, if you were that child would you want to be put in a situation where you have to use it? And before anyone else starts the "then they should homeschool" crap, lets not forget that here in the USA everyone has the right to an education and homeschooling isn't an option for working parents. Don't start with the one parent should stay home crap either because how would that work in a single parent household or a household where both parent;s have to work just to make ends meet. Also, lets not forget that the USA has become a sue happy nation so a lot of schools will ban certain foods to avoid a lawsuit. Our schools here in Cali are already struggling to stay afloat.So before you knock another child or parent to the dirt, remember you would do whatever it takes to keep your kid safe. including making a boring lunch lol

0 0

For those of you who say that the allergic kids should just stay away, imagine that I sprinkled the lunchroom table with rat poison and just asked your kids not to touch it. Would you be ok with that? It's really the same thing for the kids with life threatening allergies.

View More
0 9

we boil eggs on sunday and keep them in their separate labeled carton. My nut-allergic kids cab;t have PB&J, so this protein-rich low calorie addition to their lunches is a true life-saver. Boiled eggs keep for 1 week in the fridge. (Don't think they'll all go in brown bags? Serve on salads for lunches, use for breakfast) Other favorites are lettuce wraps filled with mango salsa and cubed chicken (put the filling in a container, the lettuce in baggies and have them make their own "green taco") we do simple cheese slices and buy halloween pretzels (bought the day after, naturally) for pre-package convenience

1
0 9

sliced cucumbers are hugely popular

2 15

Lettuce wraps sound yummy. Do you make your own mango salsa? Have a recipe or recommend a jarred one? Thx!

View More
1 1

There are so many healthy snacks! You can cut up apples, sprinkling a little lemon juice on them so they don't turn brown in the baggie - same with banana slices. Clementines (small tangerine/orange alternatives) are great and very easy to peel. Grapes, strawberries, raspberries are favorites. For vegetables, my son loves a pickle, carrot sticks with a little tub of ranch dressing, celery sticks with a little tub of peanut butter. Almonds are healthy, low-fat yogurt, cheese sticks . . . the list goes on and on!

1
0 0

if you dont have lemon juice any juice with citric acid in it will do the trick!

56 0

sandwich thins are a good start, just those whole wheat thin pieces of bread
PBJ isn't bad but if they are sick of it maybe
turkey and cheese roll up (turkey cheese in a tortilla rolled up)
egg salad or tuna salad
ham and cheese on a hawaiian roll
carrot sticks with hummus
raisins and celery and hummus
pasta salad
a little smoothie in a cup with a sandwich
the smoothie can be like half spinach with orange juice and banana and apple, simple but yum and healthy ;) so many vitamins in a yummy yummy drink
some people do those like like lunch able style lunches with crackers, cheese, and turkey
HONESTLY as much as this is a lot of fun thinking of all this KIDS DONT CARE that much unless they are like preteens or something then they can make their own lunches, they was old enough.
kids like consistency.
maybe pick some lunches like 5 diff ones, and just rotate, you can rotate week to week or make then all ahead and freeze and use them monday - friday style so your kid can kinda have something to look forward to different but consistent each day like monday pasta salad day, and throw them in your kids lunch box in the morning of school and it will be good for lunchtime! GOOD LUCK

0
5 0

MY SON AKSHAT DOESNOT TAKE EATING ANY THING SERIOUSLY
BUT HE LOVES INDIAN FOOD .HE DOESNOT LIKE MAGGI AND ALL.HE LOVES STUFFED PARATHAS ,SALAD ,PIZZA

0
0 33

I love hummus with carrots or cottage cheese and some fruit. Easy to fix the night before.

0
2 0

my kids love organic humas & fresh veggies!

0
0 21

Fruits, and where i live we have some great one.

0
0 9

I think their lunch depends on age & level of activity...my daughter is 13 & has grown 10 inches in the last 18 months. She runs cross country (3) miles every morning so I pack her a lot in her lunch including carbs. I always include fruit & cheese crackers or granola but she needs a big sandwich usually turkey & swiss on wheat she loves tuna shes allergic to all nuts except peanuts so I pack her pbs & j occasionally ass more of a treat of if we have practice for another sport after school. I try to help her make good choices but she eats a ton & needs to with her activity level.

0
0 4

String cheese, clementines, grapes, strawberries, lowfat yogurt, whole wheat bread with lite mayo, turkey, and lettuce, lowfat pudding cups, cucumbers, etc. etc

0
1 0

I pack my son some homemade dip or salsa and cut up vegetables such as carrot, celery, capsicum, mushrooms, etc. He also likes lettuce leaves and takes a can of flavoured tuna, opens it at school and puts the tuna in the lettuce leaf.

0
32 21

I put in cherry tomatoes, grapes, baby carrot sticks, fresh peas-in-the-pod (when they're in season, straight from the garden, that's when they're sweet), or other "finger-food"-type fruits and vegetables, makes it easy to eat. Also easy to put in little baggies.
Still experimenting with sandwiches; sometimes they're eaten, sometimes not. I always include yogurt. But no matter what I include as a drink, it always returns untouched.
Thanks for the tips, guys. I'll see whether any of them work.

0
32 21

Doing it on a tiny budget is a trick

30 6

Pita bread , i stuff it with hummus w a dash of olive oil , my doughter loves it , i also stuff it with turkey and cheese , its easy for her to hold it , she is three :)

0
71 40

I found a really cool website www.school-lunch-ideas.com and there are tons of lunch ideas! I even started making my own 'lunchables' using ham sliced by the butcher at the deli counter of my local Fry's. I have them slice up two medium thick slices of ham and I take a small glass jar (or a shot glass) to cut the meat into rounds, along with sliced provolone cheese - also cut into rounds. The Ritz crackers, meat and cheese all get put into their own snack bags and put into the lunch box. I will include either a pudding, yogurt or applesauce (with a plastic spoon), a juice pouch and a snack of either animal crackers, Goldfish or fruit snacks. I place the lunch box - ok, brown paper lunch sack - in the freezer until time to take my child to school. That way the juice box is cold enough that it should still be cold until lunch time. By using the meat from the deli counter instead of the processed meats, I am providing a much healthier alternative and I am saving more money and making less waste (cardboard and formed plastic containers) by making it myself. And I know my child is eating better meats and cheeses.

0
Profile Picture
5 4

I make bread dough in the breadmaker and roll it out put a topping on (tomato paste and cheese, chutney and cheese or even brown sugar and cinnamon for a treat) roll up and cut into pinwheels, into the oven for 15 min, into the freezer when cool and the kids help themselves, they thaw out by lunch. Big fav in our house and the best thing is I make them at the beginning of the week and don't have to worry about it for the rest of the week.

0
0 8

I usually made sushi for my twins ( 8 year old ) . Roll the rice into an oval , and put salmon fillet on the top . And put some soy sauce. And always got finished by them

0
0 27

My kids like to take lunchmeat with the cheese and make roll ups. Not use bread at all...Sometimes they will roll them up with a pretzel rod in the middle. Or use tortilla roll ups with lunch meats/cheeses...They like the shish-k-bob deals too. Rice cakes with fruit flavored cream cheese is another good option. My 2 oldest have access to microwaves, so that makes options easier for them...but my youngest is 5. He likes beanie weanies cold, so that works too. They love cheese/crackers. All fruits. Fruit snacks, the 100 calorie packs...would love more ideas for the youngest tho... :-)

0
317 9

String cheese, fruit, carrot sticks and nuts are always favorites for us. (if your school allows nuts, that is)

0
19 84

Beef / Pork / Chicken either fried, baked and match with steamed rice, mixed with either pesto sauce (the one made from Moringa leaves is the best due to nutritional content - usually available conveniently packed in groceries) or hard boiled egg (at least 2x a week). If the main dish goes with good sauce already, hard boiled egg can be nicely sliced and served on the side.

0
1 0

Here are some healthy lunchbox ideas: http://rebalancelife.wordpress.com/2011/07/19/build-a-healthy-lunchbox/

0
Profile Picture
0 0

Their favorite fruit......

0

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms