Although you may have had good reasons for doing it differently based on the circumstances, the simple reality is that you can pack a cheaper and healthier lunch for your kids to eat at school than most schools provide. And believe it or not, there are lots of great lunches that you can give your kids for school that they will love and that will also not be too time-consuming for you to pack. Here are some of our best ideas!
Healthy and Balanced
The Basics of What to Pack for a School Lunch
Think carbohydrates, protein, fruits and vegetables. That’s it. Those are the four basic essentials that your kid needs for a healthy and balanced school lunch and here is why: growing bodies and developing brains use a lot of energy and your kids need carbohydrates to keep their energy levels up. Most active kids will appreciate some heavier energy-packed carbohydrates in the form of a sandwich, crackers or a granola bar. The healthy part is balancing those carbohydrates with fruits and vegetables.
Keeping it Real
Tricks for Easy School Lunches
Kids are also not always reliable for bringing home the lunchbox, let alone any packing containers! We recommend that you stay away from packing lunches in anything more than a plastic bag so that expensive storage containers don’t get lost or accidentally thrown away. Because we know that there is a balance between healthy and practical, here are some easy items to stock in your pantry for adding to your kids’ school lunches that will help to make your job easier!
- Rice cakes – inexpensive and they come in chocolate, caramel, apple cinnamon, sea salt, cheddar and more!
- Pre-packaged, single serving, peanut butter crackers or other combinations
- Box of crackers or bag of chips that you can portion out into a snack bag
- Pre-packaged string cheese
- Pre-packaged granola bars
- Pre-packaged Go-gurt – it doesn’t need a spoon.
Of course, the less pre-packaged and the more you purchase in bulk, the more you will be able to make affordable school lunches for your kids.
Five Lunch Combos
Ideas You Can Work With
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwich, apple slices, carrot sticks
- Deli meat sandwich, mandarin orange and cucumber slices
- Crackers, pepperoni slices, cheese stick, bell pepper slices and grapes
- “Ants on a log” (celery sticks filled with peanut butter and topped with raisins), rice cake, pear slices
- Tortilla wrap with cheese and refried bean spread, avocado slices, peach slices
Some of these foods may be new tastes to your kids so feel free to add a fun snack to the meal such as a granola bar or those beloved gummies here and there as both a surprise and incentive for your kids as they explore some new healthy food choices. These are just a few ideas, but we hope these suggestions will inspire you in creating terrific school lunches for your kids that are healthy, affordable, and enjoyable for your kids!