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Back-to-School Nutritious Lunches Kids Will Love

Photo Credit: Andrew Angelov

Back-to-school season is here, and while parents everywhere are thrilled to get their kids out of the house and into the classroom, the dread of making lunches returns with it. Before you go pulling your hair out, I have some tips and lunch ideas that will remove the lunch-making dread. These are back-to-school nutritious lunches kids will love. 

Every year when school starts, one or both of my children come home daily with a completely full lunch. I have learned from past years that adding a little fun and change goes a long way. After all, would you want to eat the same boring sandwich day in and day out? Here are some great options to try:

  1. Peanut butter or sunbutter roll-ups: Sometimes bite-size pieces go a long way when it comes to kids finishing their lunches. This year, try little roll-ups. Spread peanut butter or an alternative like sunbutter on a tortilla, add banana in the middle, roll it up and slice into bite size slices. Your kids will love it. As an alternative, try it with cream cheese and cucumbers.
  2. Meatballs: These are another great healthy, bite-size alternative for lunch. Make meatballs with turkey, beef, or chicken.
  3. Easy healthy homemade pizza: Kids love making their own pizza and this is a good way to get them to help you make lunch. Spread tomato sauce on a tortilla (don’t forget to leave some space around the edges for the crust). Sprinkle some cheese and their favorite toppings for a delicious lunch. 
  4. Mini quiche: Another amazingly easy and yummy lunch are mini quiches. Mix up a bowl of scrambled eggs. Add in a pinch of salt and pepper, shredded cheese and any chopped-up vegetables your kids enjoy. Pour the mix into muffin tins and bake at 350 degrees. These are the perfect size for a healthy and nutritious lunch.
  5. Baked macaroni cups: There are so many amazing baked macaroni recipes out there. Pick your favorite and make baked macaroni cups. 
  6. Make any regular lunch fun with a sandwich cutter or reusable food picks. Use food picks to make a fruit kabob, chicken and cheese kabob, or stick them in a club sandwich.

Before you begin, make a list. Not unlike my kids, when it comes time to packing lunches, I find myself standing in front of the snack cupboard staring at all the options without knowing what to pick. To prepare lunches, I make a few lists to keep on hand in the kitchen. Before the start of school, I sit down with the kids to make a list of snacks that are approved by them and me. We include everything from fruits and veggies to crackers and chips. We always make sure to check the class allergy list to make sure we don’t send anything that is not allowed. We also do the same for their main course. I make separate main course lists for each kid as they like different things. When packing lunch, I take a quick glance at the lists, decide what I am going to pack, and then grab everything to get organized. Being organized and having some new ideas is all it takes for a successful lunch-making experience. Have fun with lunches this year and plan ahead.

Don’t forget to make the lunch hour more fun with a lunchbox joke.

This piece is part of a series focused on helping parents prepare their kids for back-to-school. For more tips on getting organized, mastering multiple schedules, and prepping for the 2021 school year, see our full back-to-school guide.


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