Fresh Family Meals Made for Everyday Life

Healthy School Lunch Ideas

Healthy lunches do not have to be time-consuming or expensive. You can send these healthy school lunch ideas for every day of the week with these simple and easy-to-make meals for kids.

What can I put in my school lunch beside a sandwich?

There is a wide world of healthy packed lunches outside of sandwiches! Some of our favorite “main dishes” for lunchboxes include:

  • Ham and cheese cubes on skewers
  • Mac n cheese in a thermos
  • Meatballs (with or without a dipping sauce)
  • Quesadillas (chicken or black bean avocado)
  • Turkey and cheddar cheese roll-ups (we like to use pretzel sticks as skewers for these!)
  • Brunch—think yogurt, muffins, pancakes, or breakfast sausage
  • Pasta salads
  • Bagels and cream cheese
  • Pita and hummus

What can I pack a picky kid for lunch?

The real secret to packing school lunch that your kid will eat? Let them have input, and pack whatever you think they’ll eat that will fuel their brain and keep them full through recess!

We like to make sure all of our packed lunches include:

  • A fruit
  • A vegetable
  • Some form of protein
  • Some sort of carbohydrate

We may include more than that, but we consider a lunch complete if it checks those four boxes.

Get your kids involved in choosing what those fruits and vegetables are when you’re making your grocery lists. Blueberries are incredibly easy to pack (no cutting!), but if your kid isn’t feeling them this week, don’t include them.

Some lunch packing tips and tricks:

  1. Some fruits and vegetables tend to oxidize, or turn brown, when exposed to air (looking at you, apple slices). To avoid this, dunk the cut pieces in a lemon juice and water bath before packing, or treat them with Ball Canning Fruit Fresh.
  2. If your kid isn’t big on veggies, include a dip in a silicone cup or a condiment cup. Cucumbers and peppers with hummus, snap peas or baby carrots with ranch—don’t leave out a dip!
  3. If you want to pack liquidy foods like yogurt or applesauce, it is worth investing in a leakproof container or reusable silicone pouches to prevent leaks.
  4. Label everything. The lunchbox itself, the containers, the reusable utensils…if you want it to come back home, give it a label!

What are good school lunch ideas?

Find all of our favorite school lunch ideas and recipes below. We’ve got something for everyone—gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, and nut-free options can all be found below.

Want an easy-to-follow guide to all things school lunch? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Healthy School Lunches ebook!

Browse All Healthy School Lunch Ideas
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