You know how most parents countdown the days until school is finished for the year?
Well, I’m that parent that counts lunches.
I think because lunch planning is akin to meal planning and I’m really not that good at that.
When I’m cooking at home, I can quickly throw together and cook a meal for my family. School lunches, however, need a bit of forethought.
However, the process of planning and making your child’s lunch doesn’t have to be a complicated ordeal.
Here, I’ve gathered 7 quick and healthy back-to-school lunch ideas you can easily throw together using ingredients you already have in your home:
Sandwiches are a quick and easy go-to when it comes to school lunches – and they can be a healthy choice, too!
Choose whole grain breads and lean meat options such as turkey or chicken to create the sandwich. You can even opt for tuna, which is a great source of Omega-3.
Depending on your child’s tastes, and pickiness, you can also consider a peanut butter (substitute) and banana sandwich, which is a good source of Vitamin A.
The great thing about quesadillas is that they can be served cold or hot, so you don’t have to worry about your kiddo heating them up at school.
Simply take some flatbread (whole wheat is a good choice) and spread on your toppings of choice. These can include salsa, cheese, chicken or refried beans.
Top with another flatbread and bake or fry until the outside is crispy and the middle is warmed through.
You can pack these up in your child’s lunch along with some sour cream mixed with a little bit of lime juice!
Salads are the quintessential fast and healthy lunch that pack a real nutritional punch.
Start with lettuce and add in whatever vegetables your child likes. Top with cheese and pack a small container of low-calorie salad dressing.
Shred the vegetables to make the salad easier to eat.
Also, consider mixing up the lettuce with dark leafy greens such as kale or spinach. This will give your little one a good boost of Vitamins D and K.
Parents tend to unnecessarily challenge themselves to create “fun” and “creative” lunches. Who has time for that?
You can, however, make your child’s lunch more interesting by creating lunch kabobs. Simply push a cocktail stick through whatever ingredients you want!
For example, you can skewer meat (such as pepperoni) and cheese with grapes or even mini pancakes with strawberries.
The novelty is great for your child and you can easily incorporate lots of yummy and healthy options.
Very few children would say “no” to some pizza in their lunchbox!
Pizza can be served warm or cold and doesn’t have to come from the restaurant to taste delicious.
To avoid the time-consuming hassle of making fresh pizza at home, create mini pizzas by using bagels or english muffins as the dough.
You can even get your child involved by helping you choose their favorite toppings and assembling the tiny pizzas.
Then pop them in the oven for a few minutes until the base is crispy and the cheese melty.
Lunchables are incredibly convenient but are not cheap when you buy them from the grocery store. Instead, make your own at home – it’s super easy!
Use cupcake liners (silicone ones are awesome and washable) to section out a food container. Fill each one with crackers, sandwich meat, cheese and a healthy choice such as carrots or grapes.
If you want to get really fancy, you can use a small glass to cut the meat and cheese into small, circular shapes to easily fit onto the crackers.
You can’t go wrong with soup, right?
You can either purchase it by the can (look for low-sodium options) or whip up a huge batch of homemade soup using fresh and healthy ingredients.
When it comes to sending the soup off to school, warm it up in the morning and place is in a thermos.
Come lunchtime, it will still be nice and warm!
Get the Gear
Since you’ve mastered how to make quick and easy lunches for your kiddos, you need some gear to store it in!
I’m not saying you have to buy anything fancy, but having the right stuff can make packing and storing those lunches infinitely easier.
Here are some lunchtime gear you should consider:
- Thermos. As I mentioned above, this is great for sending soup – but you can also use it to pack warmed-up leftovers!
- Bento Boxes. These super-cute lunch boxes are designed with sections, making it easy to send a variety of healthy foods.
- Water Bottle. Your child should have access to water all throughout the day. Look for a water bottle that is leak proof and easy to fill.
- Lunch Bag. When it comes to packing up lunch, go for functionality over style. Cute lunch bags are, well, cute but they usually aren’t big enough to hold everything.
There you have it! I hope this helps making and packing lunches for your kids a less stressful and tedious affair.
How about you? What are your go-to lunches for your kiddos? Let us know in the comments!