Creative and Healthy Back to School Lunch Ideas

Your little one might not be ready to grab their backpack and jump on the big yellow school bus but many parents of toddlers wonder what foods are good for packing for daycare, preschool and even family day trips. What better time to refresh your little one’s lunch box with a healthy kick than back to school time!  Here are a few tips on creating healthy lunches for on the go kiddos.

Build a healthy lunch.

  •  Start by building a healthy lunch with the following valuable nutrients:
    • Protein– Protein is essential in a growing child’s diet. Great lean sources of protein that are great for lunch boxes include: turkey slices, hard boiled eggs, string cheese, grilled chicken slices and milk. Nuts and seeds are also a source of protein and travel easily.
    • Calcium– Calcium is important for strong healthy, bones. Milk, cheese and yogurt are loaded with calcium and all travel pretty well. Dried figs, nuts and seeds are also a good source of calcium. If your little one is not fond of dairy products try creating a yummy trail mix instead!
    • Complex carbohydrates– Most adults cringe when they hear the word carbohydrates but they are actually a very healthy source of energy. Complex carbohydrates are great because they release energy over time rather than in a short boost. Try to choose whole grain products such as whole wheat breads, brown rice, whole grain cereals, pasta and legumes.
    • Fruits and veggies– Try to add both a fruit and veggie to every lunch you pack. Some easy ideas include fresh cut fruit, dried fruits, 100% fruit juice, and cut veggies with dip. I like to use hummus, avocado dip or yogurt dip .

Is your little one bored with traditional sandwiches? 

For a simple change, try using cookie cutters to create fun shapes. Another easy change includes putting the sandwich fillings into a fun wrap or pita half. For some ideas on sandwich fillings, try these delicious combinations or create some of your own!

  • cream cheese and cucumber
  • sliced turkey with lettuce and cranberry sauce
  • Peanut butter and banana- monkey bites
  • hummus with turkey and lettuce
  • hummus with sliced cucumbers and grated carrots
  • Turkey slices rolled around a string cheese

Include a variety of different foods in your child’s lunch box. 

Packing a variety of foods will add interest and an element of surprise. Go for colorful foods which are much more interesting to a child. For example try, Summertime Pasta Salad, a yogurt parfait or kale chips.

Don’t forget to let your child help out in preparing their meals when possible. Let them spread the hummus on the sandwich bread, put the mini carrots into a small container and practice counting, or add ingredients when preparing salads. Kids are great helpers plus you are teaching them how to prepare healthy meals!  Good luck in creating fun new lunch ideas for your little one!


What is your favorite thing to pack for lunches? *** GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED*** Leave a comment below and you will be entered for a chance to WIN Designed to Nourish™ Divided Plates, Feeding Bowls & Spatula Spoons. TEN winners will be randomly selected from all comments (U.S. residents only). Check back on Monday, September 10th when we will post the winners!


Here are the WINNERS: Michelle, Christina, Vartika, A T Lwin, Selena, Crystal, Mikheal, Cris, Kelly and Vinita. If you are one of the winners, you will be contacted by e-mail. Thanks to everyone for commenting! .


Michelle Johnson says:
August 31, 2012 at 10:28 pm
My twin boys love to eat cold steamed carrots, turkey in pita bread with guacamole (but they turn their noses up at plain avocado), yogurt smoothies, and sliced or frozen grapes :)


Christina says:
August 31, 2012 at 10:23 pm
My favorite thing to pack is pb&j sandwiches, yogurt, cheese, fruits and veggies. I usually make lunch fun. Ill make animals and cars.. flowers.. I love to do little things that my kids remember. And I always pack them a little note for the day :)


Vartika says:
September 1, 2012 at 1:43 am
Grilled Veggie and chicken wraps and deconstructed savory crepes


A T Lwin says:
September 1, 2012 at 1:10 pm
Whatever I pack my boys lunch, I just make sure there’re protein, vege and fruits in every meal. Nutella & Strawberries or Banana Sandwiches, Ham & Cheese Sandwiches, Yogurt & Fruits or granola, Ham & Vege Fried Rice or Noodles, Pasta olive oil & cheese/meat, etc.


Selena Dickherber says:
September 2, 2012 at 3:07 pm
Sandwiches and fruit along with a surprise treat!


Crystal A. says:
September 1, 2012 at 3:52 pm
Fancy cutout sandwiches with shapes and zero crust. cookie cutter homemade fruit roll ups. I usually add a muffin and veggie sticks.


Mikhael Reamer says:
September 1, 2012 at 1:42 am
Jelly Sandwiches cut out with cookie cutters are our fav!


Cris D says:
August 31, 2012 at 10:59 pm
I love the new Go Go Squeezes. They are really easy to tuck into a lunch bag.


Kelly Cusati says:
August 31, 2012 at 11:11 pm
carrot sticks, turkey on wheat, an apple, and a yogurt.


Vinita says:
August 31, 2012 at 10:33 pm

I make tortia rolls filled with rice and lots of veggies. My DD loves it.

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