Healthy lunchbox ideas to fuel for school!

Where did the summer go? Hard to believe it’s already time to pack kid’s lunchboxes!

Explore breakfast basics to start the day out strong and use our guide for planning healthy lunchbox ideas for the kiddos.

Start with a Strong Breakfast

Studies show that kids who eat breakfast do better in school because the brain is getting proper fuel to think and process. Make sure to include protein for staying power and complex carb from whole grains or fresh fruit. Here are some easy, quick  breakfast ideas for those rushed mornings:

  • Whole grain wrap with nut butter and sliced banana, strawberries or other fruit
  • Boiled egg or egg muffin and fruit
  • Whole grain cereal with milk, topped with fruit and nuts
  • Cheese toast and fruit
  • Smoothie with nut butter, fruit, handful of spinach and almond milk
  • Protein bar or shake and fruit
  • Oatmeal with fruit and nuts
  • Whole grain waffle with nut butter or egg and fruit

Kid’s Lunchbox Basics

When planning lunch, first think of protein and whole grains, next, the fruit and veggies and finally, add in fun foods. Make sure to add freezer packs to keep proteins from spoiling. Use this as a guide for kid’s lunchbox ideas:

Main course – Proteins and Whole Grains:

  • DIY  lunchables – deli ham, turkey or roast beef, cheese slices, nut butter, hummus, whole grain crackers, nuts and seeds,  raw veggies, dried  or fresh fruit.
  • Sandwich ideas – vary whole grain bread, with wraps, and flatbreads and add deli meat or chicken, cheese, tuna, chicken or egg salad, hummus or bean spreads. If your kids are smaller try sandwich kabobs by threading meat and cheese on skewers and add crackers on the side.  And don’t forget peanut or other nut butter with all fruit jelly!
  • The sky is the limit for hot food – chili, or soup in a thermos, grain bowls, pizza, tacos or leftovers can all be great options especially if kids have access to a microwave.
  • Pasta or veggie salad with meat, poultry, seafood, beans or peas.

More Veggie Proteins:

  • Edamame, whole beans and peas or hummus
  • Cooked tofu or tempeh
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Nut butters – peanut, almond, soy, or sunflower seed
  • Cooked quinoa

Fruits and Veggies

  • Grapes, berries, peeled clementines and oranges, whole or cut up fruits such as apples, bananas, pears, peaches in a bit of orange juice to keep from browning, watermelon, peaches – whatever is in season or on sale!
  • Packaged fruit packed in its own juice – applesauce, peaches, pears or fruit cocktail
  • Baby carrots, celery sticks, avocado slices (drizzle with lemon and wrap tightly in plastic wrap to avoid browning) grape tomatoes, cucumber slices, green salad, snap peas, pepper slices with dressing

Fun Foods – Crunchy Munchies and Sweet Treats

  • Yogurt or pudding
  • Fig newtons or Cookies
  • Trail mix
  • Pretzels
  • Whole grain goldfish
  • 100% fruit leather or gummies
  • Snack bars

Add milk or water for a beverage – juice, juice drinks and soda contains sugar that kids don’t need. If your kid wants school lunch plan it in and look at the menu ahead of time to make sure it’s something they like and will eat.  

Thinking and planning ahead will help make sure your kids have a balanced breakfast and healthy lunchbox meals to keep them fueled for school!