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10 Easy, Healthy Lunchbox Ideas

10 Easy, Healthy Lunchbox Ideas

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.

7. Quesadillas

"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.”

9. Edamame

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?

Join The Conversation
LiandaPeric LiandaPeric 5 years
nutella... peanut butter... a lot of schools ban any type of nuts these days because of anaphalaxis... be careful
KattiaPoyauEdwards KattiaPoyauEdwards 5 years
Nuttella is great and easy. Fruit salads my kids love picking out the fruits they want( a spritz of lemon keeps it from browning). I also make my own pizza pockets. I buy pre made pizza dough(my local trader joes has it for $0.99). I use either leftover meats or cook fresh sausage(casing removed) & fresh mozzarella. Sometimes I make a few small pockets per kid sometimes I just make one big sized. I prepped them the night before, place them on tray, put in fridge. In the morning 1st thing I do is place tray in oven. Takes 15-20mins depending on size. Wrap them in foil, and place in a container. They are still warm at lunch time. Squeezable apple sauce are also great. I open it and recluse it because my 5th has a hard time with the cap. I also freeze their water bottles. Works better than ice packs. They have cold water and everything stays cold, even when they get home in the afternoon
JessicaSeneca JessicaSeneca 5 years
These are great ideas but my 5 year old is so picky I'm run out of ideas to try and get him to est anything!!
AmandaVillarreal AmandaVillarreal 5 years
Some of you commented on soy being unsafe. Again, as long as it is non-gmo it is safe. How can other countries like China and Japan use soy as a main staple of their diet and they are some of the people?
MistyMcAnally MistyMcAnally 5 years
My 11yr old is very picky! I understand that several children have allergies to peanuts/oils, etc. but peanut butter is the one & only thing that he will eat everyday. I have never "catered" to him either as far as only giving him what he wants but at 11 there has came a time when I have realized he is not going to eat or try certain things! I will be trying a few of the ideas mentioned here. Fingers crossed he will like it!
MelissaEllard MelissaEllard 5 years
oh and just to let you know for those who have really severe allergies, the oils from the peanut butter can be on the table, so if a child does not clean up well it can be on the table, it can be on the faucet, so even if a child sits at another table it does not help, that is why schools are peanut free, i thought i would post that after reading the one comment, i have an aunt with a nut allergy, all nuts have an oil on them that leave a residue!
MelissaEllard MelissaEllard 5 years
peanut butter is usually not allowed in MOST schools anymore so i am wondering why it's on a top 10 list because it is one of the top not to's now!
CindySoto CindySoto 6 years
These are great ideas, except for the quesadillas. Not realistic to microwave or grill a quesadilla when they will be eating it 3 or 4 hours later.
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