Ready to retire the PB & J sandwich, but stumped by what else to put into your kid’s lunchbox? Try these easy school lunchbox ideas shared by Circle of Moms members – they’re all healthy, simple to make, and will appeal to your kids.
1. Meat and Veggie Wraps & Rolls-Ups
Wraps and roll-ups are recommended by many Circle of Moms members as an easy and enticing alternative to sandwiches. Monique S.'s son likes wraps with sliced turkey, tuna, roast beef, or leftover chicken or steak, while Jacolyn L. suggests veggie wraps: “Spread a thin layer of cream cheese on a wheat tortilla. Layer carrot sticks, slice grape tomatos, fresh spinach and anything else they like.”
2. Hummus, Pita, & Veggies
"My daughter's number one favorite school snack is hummus and pita bread," Carly C. relays, and Hilary S. agrees: "Pita pocket sandwiches are always a hit (hummus with veggies is always good)." If you're going the dipping route, easy veggie options include strips of bell pepper, baby carrots, grape tomatoes and cucumber rounds.
3. Homemade "Lunchables"
An assortment of whole-grain crackers, low-fat cheeses and low-sodium cold-cuts can offer kids all the fun of building their own meals at school, without sacrificing nutrition. As Amalea S. shares: "With the high sodium and fat in most Lunchable-type foods, I make my own kinds of Lunchables, with cubes of cheese, ham, turkey pepperoni, and different fruits.” Melinda W. takes a similar tactic: “I make homemade 'lunchables' with cut up lunchmeat, cheese and crackers. My kiddos like 'making' their own mini sandwiches.”
4. Peanut Butter & Banana “Sushi” Rolls
Don't be scared by the name — this fun lunchbox option is easy! Asya K. explains: "I got this recipe from a Rachel Ray show and my daughter loves it. Take a large piece of whole grain bread and roll it as flat as you can, then spread peanut butter on it, place a whole peeled banana lengthwise across the bread and roll it up and cut like sushi."
5. Frozen Go-gurt
“My 7-year-old loves getting a frozen Go-gurt in his lunchbox,” Amanda G. shares, and many Circle of Moms members agree. Simply freeze a box of Go-gurts, toss one in your kid's lunchbox in the morning, and it'll be perfectly thawed by lunchtime!
6. All Kinds of Fruit
Apples are easy, but so are many other fruits! Shaista K. suggests strawberries, diced mango, cantaloupe or pineapple sticks, while Melissa C. recommends raisins, grapes, mandarin oranges, and cherries.
"Try quesadillas!" suggests Jana S. "[Take] some leftover chicken bits, cheddar cheese and salsa, and put in between two tortillas. You can microwave it or put it on a frying pan. My [kids] love it!" Mary G. offers a similar recipe: "Tortilla, folded in half with cheese, grilled, and cut into little sections like a pizza, with a little mild salsa and lite sour cream for dipping." To amp up the healthy factor, opt for whole-wheat tortillas and low-fat or part-skim cheeses.
8. Pasta with Vegetables
Have leftover pasta from last night's dinner? Why not toss it in some tupperware for your kid's lunch? Heather W. suggests "bow-tie pasta with shredded veggies (broccoli, red peppers, zucchini, celery, carrots)" while
Shaye R. recommends “child-size ravioli with steamed peas or other veggies and sprinkled with parmsean cheese or a little honey mustard salad dressing" as well as "pasta or rice with steamed veggies and organic sausage links, cut up.”
High in protein, fun to eat, and requiring zero prep work, edamame (soy beans) are a great item for school lunches. Karey M. shares: "My 5-year-old loves edamame (soy beans)...Not your usual kid fare, I know." Look for them in the frozen foods aisle.
10. Hard-Boiled Eggs
"[My kids] really like to have boiled eggs in their lunches," shares Kelly D., one of several Circle of Moms members who recommended this as a protein-packed lunch item. To maximize convenience, boil eggs for several days' lunches at once. It's best to pack them with something cold in the lunchbox — perhaps #5 on this list!
What easy, healthy, kid-friendly lunchbox ideas did we miss?