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25 healthy lunch box ideas (for kids)

August 27, 2018

we are in our second full week of school and I have been having fun meal planning my girls’ lunch meals for the last week or so. my dietitian brain starts working and I push the limits to see what combinations my girls will actually eat when I send it. its among the first two questions I ask when they get in the car after school..

“how was your day??! did you eat your lunch??”

when meal planning for the girls I always send things they have tried before (at home with me) and I tend to include them when I am making their lunches. I make lunches in the morning while they are eating breakfast so I can talk through what I’m packing so they arent completely surprised when they open up their boxes at lunch. they know what to expect! the one condition they requested for ALL their lunches is for me to include fruit snacks 🙂

the girls have been using bento boxes from Stuck on You and we also have the bento cooler bags that fit these boxes specifically. I keep their lunches cool with ice packs- the bottom of the Stuck on You lunch box has a zipper pouch to fit your own slim freezer pack. I got a set of 4 ice packs on amazon HERE.

  1. plain hummus, baby carrots, naan dippers, blueberries, yogurt drink
  2. chicken salad (mayo + canned chicken), raspberries, pretzel sticks, snap peas, cheese cubes
  3. honeydew melon, hard-boiled egg x 2, cottage cheese, pretzel sticks
  4. sliced apples, grilled chicken, peach greek yogurt, string cheese
  5. buttered noodles (macaroni noodles + butter), grapes, rotisserie chicken, yogurt drink, snap pea crisps
  6. deli turkey, bell pepper strips, strawberry greek yogurt, strawberries, ranch dressing
  7. naan, clementines, rotisserie chicken, sliced zucchini, plain hummus
  8. turkey pepperoni, baby carrots, palmier cookie, popcorn, yogurt drink
  9. corn tortilla, chicken meatballs, cucumber slices, baby carrots, cantaloupe
  10. corn chips, salsa, grilled chicken, shredded mozzarella, guacamole
  11. clementines, deli turkey, applesauce pouch, cheddar puffs (baked cheetos)
  12. dry roasted almonds, raisins, string cheese, rice cakes, sliced apples
  13. graham crackets + peanut butter stacks, greek yogurt, strawberries, crackers
  14. deli turkey, saltine crackers, string cheese, sliced sweet pepper, raspberries
  15. chicken burger patty, black bean hummus, corn tortilla, sliced zucchini + squash
  16. protein waffle + almond butter sandwich (Van’s frozen brand), greek yogurt, cottage cheese, clementines
  17. quinoa pasta salad (quinoa pasta, corn, peas, red pepper, Italian dressing), baby carrots, celery, pineapple
  18. turkey + cheese on hawaiian roll, baked chips, strawberries, celery sticks
  19. peanut butter, nilla wafers, applesauce pouch, raisins + almonds
  20. snap peas, chicken burger patty, ranch dressing, fruit leather, baked goldfish crackers
  21. turkey and cheese roll ups, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, ranch dressing, baked chips
  22. grilled cheese, blackberries, snap peas, yogurt drink, pretzel sticks
  23. chicken meatballs, corn tortilla, shredded mozzarella, shelled edamame
  24. peanut butter, sliced apples, pretzels, celery sticks, yogurt drink, string cheese
  25. grilled chicken, cheese cubes, crackers, sliced cucumber, carrots, ranch dressing

as far as what brand items I buy- I usually buy boar’s head turkey pepperoni and deli meat and stick to our grocery store brand cheese! I buy Danimals (yogurt drink) in bulk at Costco. the chicken burgers and chicken meatballs also come from Costco- my girls LOVE them and I usually each something similar for lunch, too! canned chicken is Costco brand (another bulk purchase option because Jordan and I eat this often, too!) the naan dippers I can find in the bakery section of my grocery store. fruit snacks come in a big box from Costco- its the Mott’s brand.

  • Katy Noel
    August 27, 2018 at 6:24 pm

    This post is forever my holy grail. I NEVER know what to pack for school lunches. Love the detail in this, thank you!

  • CC
    August 27, 2018 at 10:20 pm

    Love this post! My 10 year old is a picky eater, and so hard to pack a lunch for. This box would be great for him, he’d like more options, and less of one big item! Thanks!

  • Christine Johnson
    August 28, 2018 at 6:32 pm

    Mine also always ask for the gummies for dessert! =D

  • Erin
    August 28, 2018 at 6:55 pm

    Thanks for all of the great ideas. For the stuff that starts out frozen (e.g. chicken meatballs) – are you warming them up in the morning or do you just let them thaw out in the lunchbox?

    • amber
      August 28, 2018 at 8:23 pm

      Hey Erin! The meatballs we buy are refrigerated and I warm them in the morning before school.

  • Kristina
    August 30, 2018 at 11:28 am

    Love these ideas! I was wondering if you have any tricks to keep apple slices from going brown?

    • amber
      August 30, 2018 at 12:17 pm

      Hey Kristina! The lunchbox seals pretty tight and doesnt let the air get to them, but if you have trouble you could sprinkle a little lemon juice on them.

  • Ashlee
    August 31, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    I am living for this!!!!! My Parker just started kindergarten and she’s having a heck of a time with lunch. I try to have her help me choose the things she wants and then pack her lunch herself but sometimes it’s meltdown mode if I add something she’s not too keen on.

  • Amanda
    September 5, 2018 at 3:39 pm

    Thanks so much for the awesome lunch ideas!! Huge help! Does your bento box keep the warmed meatballs warm and the rest of the sections cold at the same time?

    • amber
      September 7, 2018 at 7:12 pm

      Hey Amanda! The meatballs are eaten chilled, like chicken on a salad. My girls don’t mind it as we eat chicken on salad a couple times a week! so its a great option for them at lunch!