Busy school mornings are coming up, and you need quick & healthy lunch ideas to make the mornings run smooth.
It’s time to start packing lunches for the kids to take to school. The task of finding healthy, portable food kids will eat has begun! I have made it easy for you this year with my quick & healthy lunch ideas.
I scoured the shelves at Target and H-E-B, my local grocery store, to find what was available right now that I could purchase for school lunches next week. These quick & healthy lunch ideas are going to make putting together lunch boxes a snap.
It’s Time for the Kids to Take Responsibility for Their Lunch Boxes (under your careful eye).
I have a fantastic tip that will make lunches a breeze. The ideas below are for kids to put lunch together alone.
It is a game changer for the kids to learn to handle this themselves. These ideas are the perfect combination of convenience and health – real-world food for us busy moms trying to do right by our kids in so many facets of life.
This Quick & Healthy Lunch Ideas Method will change your life.
First and foremost, let’s talk about leftovers. Healthy homemade food is the best option for kids to take the next day to school. You have already preapproved everything in these dishes. When I cook, I make leftovers on purpose for this reason alone. However, when leftovers are not available, have your kids pick from the items below.
This Quick & Healthy Lunch Ideas Method teaches kids about choosing food, food categories, and what comprises a healthy meal. I tell my kids to select from each of the first four categories, Protein, Vegetable, Fruit, and Carbohydrate, the fifth category of Sweets is optional.
These ideas require minimal effort, which is a must for kids’ DIY lunches to be easy to put together.
Quick & Healthy Lunch Ideas – Proteins (Choose one or more):
(I opt for Organic and Pasture Raised Proteins when I can afford to do so. Learn more about my methods of feeding children from the Weston A. Price Foundation; see “links” at the bottom of this post.)
- Organic Turkey (Target & HEB) and Cheese (Target & HEB) slices to serve rolled up with a toothpick to hold it, or on whole grain bread (Target & HEB).
- Organic String Cheese (Target & HEB)
- Individual Almond Butter and Peanut Butter Packets (Target & HEB)
- Individual Servings of Wild Caught/Sustainable Tuna (Target)
- Organic Salami Minis (Target) to be stacked with Organic Cheese Bites (Target)
- Individual Pistacio Packets (Target)
- Organic Peanut Butter (Target & HEB). Peanut Butter is usually spread on bread with organic, low-sugar jelly.
- Organic Milk (Target & HEB), unflavored
- Protein Bars (Target & HEB), my last choice for protein
- Mixed Nuts (Target & HEB) If the nut mix has added chocolate or sugar, add it to the sweet category.
- Hummus Minis (Target & HEB) Hummus is not a high source of protein, so I try to combine it with another protein.
- Charcuterie Plate (Target). These are particularly expensive.
Quick & Healthy Lunch Ideas – Vegetables (Choose one or more):
- Mini Peppers (Target & HEB)
- Sugar Snap Peas (Target & HEB)
- Baby Carrots (Target & HEB)
- Olives to-go (Target & HEB) Olives are technically a fruit and fall more under the healthy fat category.
- Pickle Bites (Target)
- Seaweed Snacks (Target & HEB)
- Organic Cherry Tomatoes (Target & HEB). Cherry tomatoes are known for being high in pesticides.
Quick & Healthy Lunch Ideas – Fruit (Choose one):
- Pre-sliced, Organic Apples (HEB). Apples are known for being high in pesticides.
- Grapes (Target & HEB)
- Mini Raisin Boxes (HEB) The larger raisin boxes contain a fair amount of sugar.
- Whole bananas or apples (Target & HEB)
- Cuties (Target & HEB)
- Fruit Smoothies – dairy-free (Target) With the sugar in these, you may want to skip the sweet.
- Guacamole minis (Target) These pair great with carrots.
Quick & Healthy Lunch Ideas – Carbs (Choose one):
- Whole Grain Bread (Target & HEB) Sprouted bread (HEB) is the best option. Spread hummus or pb&j on the bread, or add meat and cheese.
- Kind Bars (Target & HEB) These are relatively low in sugar.
- Popcorn, many different forms (Target & HEB)
- Kids Protein Bars (Target & HEB), a sometimes substitute
Quick & Healthy Lunch Ideas – Sweets (Choose one or none):
- One small, natural peanut butter cup (Target & HEB)
- One individually wrapped chocolate mini (Target & HEB)
- Kind granola bars (Target & HEB)
- Larabar Minis (Target)
- Sweetened Organic Smoothies (Target & HEB)
- Organic, lower sugar Jelly (HEB) HEB usually has a lower sugar variety, but they were out. Read labels.
- Olipop, very low sugar soda (HEB)
- Hint, no sugar, flavored water (Target)
- Simply Gum (Target) A note about chewing gum: Not all schools allow children to chew gum. But, the physical action of chewing gum post-meal for 20 minutes is said to stimulates saliva, which helps prevent cavities.
A note about budgets: All convenience food comes with a higher price tag. If you are looking for the healthiest low-budget lunch, try peanut butter and low-sugar jelly on whole wheat bread, carrot slices, apple slices you cut up and dip in lemon juice, and a couple of small squares of dark chocolate.
Breakfast for kids to eat at school:
- Plain Organic Oatmeal (Target) Pack this with an organic milk box and a mini box of raisins.
- Lower Sugar Oatmeal (HEB) Pack this with a bowl, an organic milk box, and a mini box of raisins.
- Lower Sugar Granola (HEB) Pack this in a little baggie along with a string cheese.
- Tuck in a piece of whole fruit if your kids need something more.
For more quick & healthy meal ideas, check out my cookbook SHORTCUT REAL FOOD: 20-minutes meals cookbook SHORTCUT REAL FOOD: 20-minutes meals here.
For a low sugar afterschool snack, check out The Best Low Sugar Recipe for Fudgesicles.
To learn more about my methods for feeding children and eating healthy, see eating healthy, see The Weston A. Price Foundation..
Don’t forget to share your favorite posts with friends and family – get the word out about easy healthy eating!
This blog post is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to treat any health condition or to be prescriptive for anyone. Always be sure to work with your healthcare practitioner before making any changes.
Also, share your comments below. I’d love to know what you think about this recipe.
To keep your health on track or to get back on track, download my 9 Healthier Habits for a Healthy You guide by signing up below: