With back-to-school time comes rushed mornings, busier afternoons, and hectic evenings. The one positive is that you’ll have fewer adult responsibilities so you’ll have more time to focus on making school lunch. Whether your child is in preschool or high school, packing a healthy lunch can be challenging.
There is so much information out there about what not to feed your kids. But they are still growing kids, and they need fuel to get them through the day. School lunches should not be an afterthought but rather a priority that needs just as much planning as anything else. These 15 easy school lunch ideas for kids will help you make wholesome packed lunches that are also delicious and quick to assemble. Let’s take a look at some great ideas!
1. Eggs and grain bowl lunches
Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. With only 70 calories in an egg, they are a great source of protein that will help build and repair muscles. Eggs are also a great source of choline, a B vitamin that is important for brain health.
They are also rich in vitamin B12, which is important for energy levels. A grain bowl is a packed lunch that can be eaten hot or cold. You can easily change up the grains and proteins depending on what your child likes.
Start with a base of grains like quinoa, farro, or brown rice. Add proteins like edamame, Greek yogurt, or roasted vegetables. Finish it off with fresh greens like kale or spinach, shredded carrots, chopped apples, and a sprinkle of cheddar cheese for crunch. No matter what the age of your child, a grain bowl is easy-to-make and nutritious school lunch.
2. Bento box lunches
Bento boxes are a great way of introducing healthy eating habits early. They are also a great way of meal-prepping your lunches for the week ahead. Bento boxes are usually packed in small containers that are stacked together in a rectangular box. There are tons of different bento box designs and patterns, making them ideal for kids of all ages. Bento boxes can be either hot or cold, so they are great for any time of year.
There are tons of websites and Pinterest boards dedicated to bento box ideas. You can make them as healthy or as unhealthy as desired. Bento boxes are ideal for kids of all ages, letting you pack anything from hot dogs to vegan sushi. Bento boxes are great for all weather, letting you pack hot or cold foods as needed. They are also great for encouraging healthy eating habits.
3. Sandwich lunches
Sandwiches are a classic packed lunch and can be tailored to fit any child’s tastes. Great sandwich fillers include peanut butter and jelly, ham, turkey, cheddar, and cream cheese with apple slices. Sandwiches are easy to make and can be eaten at room temperature or cold.
They also travel well, making them perfect for school lunches. Sandwich wraps are another great option for school lunches. They can be filled with anything from a classic sandwich to Asian-inspired fillings like chicken teriyaki or vegetables and edamame. Wraps are also a good option for kids who are sensitive to gluten.
4. Morning muffin bento box lunches
Muffin tins are great for kids of all ages. They are perfect for making morning and afternoon snacks, and they are also a great tool for packed lunches. Start by baking muffin tins with your child, letting them choose what they want to put in their muffins.
Once they are baked, let your child choose which foods they want in their lunches. Some great choices include chopped vegetables, chopped fruit, hard-boiled eggs, shredded cheese, chopped nuts, and small pieces of meat like bacon or turkey. Once everything is packed in the muffin tins, wrap each muffin tin in aluminum foil, adding a napkin and a fork. This is a great bento box option for kids who are sensitive to gluten.
5. Pasta bento box lunches
Pasta is a staple for many children’s lunches. It’s a quick and easy meal to make. It can be eaten hot or cold, so it’s versatile for packed lunches. Pasta can be packed in a lunch box or placed in a bento box. Add toppings like chopped vegetables and a homemade sauce.
Pasta is a great option for growing kids, as it is high in protein and carbohydrates. It is a great source of B vitamins, vitamin C, and iron. By adding lots of vegetables and legumes to your pasta, you make it a balanced meal, high in protein, carbohydrates, and vitamins and minerals.