Back to School Lunches – lots of easy & tasty ideas for packing lunchboxes – from healthy treats to light meals and easy snacks.
It’s that time of year again! Where we live, all the kids are going back to school today. My son is heading into second grade and it’s my daughter’s first day ever at school. (Cue the tears 😭 )
I know I say this every year….but this summer seriously flew by way too quickly. As much as I love the regular routine a new school year brings, the return of school means back to that hustle and bustle, early mornings and the challenge of packing school lunches once again.
And since these these posts for: easy school lunches, healthy school lunches and bento box lunches are big reader favorites during the school year, I thought those of us on lunch packing duty could always use a little bit more inspiration.
My kids help to pack their own lunches and they love having different options to switch things up.
HELPFUL TIPS FOR PACKING SCHOOL LUNCHES
MEAL PREP AND PLAN AHEAD:
Make lunches ahead of time the night before and store in the fridge. Portion off and pack off any dried snacks that keep well on Sundays for the rest of the week.
INCLUDE A VARIETY OF DIFFERENT CHOICES:
Kids get bored so to keep things interesting, have lots of options. Switch things up and pair different snacks, fruits, carbs and protein. Leftovers like muffins, pasta salad or chilled noodles are some great choices.
OATMEAL CUPS / MUFFINS
- Baked Oatmeal Cups – 12 Ways
- One Bowl Banana Muffins – Belly Full
- Easy Blender Muffins
- Healthy Blueberry Muffins – Sweet Peas & Saffron
- 9 Breakfast Egg Muffins
- Fruit Explosion Muffins – The Recipe Rebel
- Healthy Breakfast Cookies – 12 Ways
- Paleo Snickerdoodles – Bakerita
- Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookies (Paleo) – Downshiftology
- Sugar-Free Oatmeal Cookies – Wholesome Yum
- Almond Flour Cookies – Ambitious Kitchen
- Healthy Granola Bars – 12 Ways
- Chewy Peanut Butter Granola Bars – Sweet Peas & Saffron
- No Bake 5 Ingredient Granola Bars
- Feel Good Hearty Granola Bars – Oh She Glows
- Chewy No-Bake Peanut Butter and Jelly Granola Bars
- Energy Bites – 12 Ways
- Cranberry Energy Bites
- Lemon Blueberry Energy Bites – The Recipe Rebel
- No Bake Almond Joy Energy Bites
- Cookie Dough Energy Bites – Pinch of Yum
- Cream Greek Yogurt Fruit Dip – Sweet Peas & Saffron
- Berry Fruit Salad
- Fruit Kabobs – Dinner at the Zoo
- Homemade Strawberry Fruit Roll-ups – Fifteen Spatulas
- Fruit Salad – Just a Taste
- Baked Cinnamon Apple Fruit Chips – Sally’s Baking Addiction
- Ants On A Log – Healthy Little Foodies
- Sweet Potato Zucchini Tots
- Fresh Cucumber Roll-ups – Super Healthy Kids
- Veggie Squares – Favorite Family Recipes
- Easy Mini Quiche with Spinach & Roasted Red Peppers – The Recipe Rebel
- Green Goddess Veggie Dips – The View from Great Island
SANDWICHES / PINWHEELS
- Egg Salad Sandwich – Just One Cookbook
- Avocado Egg Salad
- Tortilla Roll-Ups – The Recipe Rebel
- Rainbow and Veggie Pinwheels – Dinner at the Zoo
- Cheese and Turkey Kebabs – Yummy Healthy Easy
KEEP THINGS FUN WITH SOME DIY “LUNCHABLES”
Allow your child to put together their own DIY pizzas or wraps with dips and sauces to make things interesting.
Yogurt, hummus, guacamole and salsa are great for adding flavor to vegetables and fruit.
KEEP FOOD SEPARATE WITH A LUNCH BOX WITH DIVIDED COMPARTMENTS
Keeping your grains, protein, fruit and veggies separated also makes it fun for the kids when they open up their lunchboxes. It’s also perfect for picky eaters that don’t like various food to touch.
Adjust portion sizes based on your child’s appetite or age
Many items will keep at room temperature but be aware of which will require an ice pack to stay cool. Also make sure that you are aware of any peanut or other food restrictions that the school might have in place. I’ve included many nut-free lunches and included notes for substitutions.
Back to School Lunches - lots of easy & tasty ideas for packing lunchboxes - from healthy treats to light meals and easy snacks.
- Egg Cups
- Mini Quiches
- Oatmeal Cups
- Natural Applesauce
- Baby Carrots
- Grape Tomatoes
- Snap Peas
- Energy Bites
- Granola Bars
- Trail Mix
- Fruit Leather
- Fruit Snacks
Include a variety of ingredients from each category and divide into lunchboxes.