Healthy School Lunch Ideas (for parents who pack lunches!)
This blog is perfect for you if you like to feed your children healthy foods and pack their school lunches and snacks, like I do for my three little ones
At the Gillis home, we eat a 100% all-natural diet, which means nothing artificial, harmful, or fake. (I also “opt-out” of all birthday parties and artificial candies given out at school as rewards, because all that junk makes children sick – read about that here: how to opt-out of unhealthy foods at school).
Our 100% all-natural diet mean lots of fresh, real, delicious foods! And definitely some treats, too (like these organic chocolate chip cookies).
And I’m SO thankful that real food tastes better than junk, so my children enjoy their lunch while getting the nutrients their little bodies need to thrive!
KEY LUNCH PACKING STRATEGIES:
100% all-natural foods, and well-balanced meals.
A healthy school lunch (or any meal, really) is includes fresh, raw fruits and vegetables, and is balanced with healthy fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.
When packing my children’s lunches and snacks for school, I try for two fresh choices (usually fruits for my picky eaters!) and 2-3 protein / carbohydrate choices.
Raw fresh fruits
Raw fresh or lightly cooked vegetables
Anything fresh or lightly cooked is a go here!
Protein / fat choices:
Nuts and seeds
Peanut or almond butter
Cheese or yogurt
Fish, poultry, or other meat
Whole grain pasta
Whole grain bread
Fresh baked breads
As long as choices are 100% all-natural, they could be added into the mix!
Sometimes I will make a larger portion for dinner and pack it in their lunches the next day in the hot containers…like spaghetti, red beans and rice, or spinach pasta. I’ll just add a small side of fruit with the main dish, and make sure there is also a fresh choice for their snack.
As many fresh fruits and vegetables we can get in, the better!
Here are some healthy school lunch ideas to kick us off:
Canadian bacon (ham!) sandwich and orange for lunch, grapes for snack.
I buy fresh baked, all-natural french country bread from Costco and use them all week long! I do place the second one in the freezer until I need it so it doesn’t get mold (fresh bread molds quickly!). The ham I use is nitrate-free Canadian bacon…so so good!
I’ve been taking the fat / protein balancer out of the snack lately because it’s so very hot here in Florida and the kids requested a lighter snack. Still balancing the lunch though
Spinach ravioli with nectarine for lunch, baby carrots for snack.
I love to pack leftovers for lunch because 1) it’s easy and saves time to just make more at dinnertime and save it for the next day, and 2) my kids really enjoy a hot meal from home for lunch!
Costco (can you tell I love that place?!) carries this amazing frozen, all-natural spinach ravioli that takes just 8 minutes to prepare and my kids LOVE! Here’s a pic of the package:
That’s what I placed in my son’s batman container it stays warm for 6 hours!
Butter croissant and ham sandwich with strawberries for lunch, sliced apples for snack.
My kids love croissants, and the ones I get freshly baked from the Costco bakery are made with real butter and are all-natural – excellent! Croissants usually have hydrogenated oils or artificial flavors in the ingredients list. If you get them from a small bakery, just ask the baker to make you some with real butter.
I use Jones brand Canadian bacon because it’s nitrate-free and all-natural, another fit mom win! If your little ones eat a larger snack, add a healthy fat / protein combo, like organic string cheese or a serving of nuts.
Almond butter sandwich on sprouted grain bread and orange slices for lunch, black grapes and organic string cheese for snack.
I put a cooler pack in their lunch to keep the cheese cool. I use vinegar to wash my grapes, even organic ones, and it’s lovely that the smell doesn’t stay on them!
Croissant, egg, and Swiss cheese sandwich with grapes for lunch, yogurt for snack.
I truly LOVE these all-natural butter croissants sold at Costco! I keep buying them and pray they don’t discontinue them! It’s a lovely surprise to enjoy in either a hot or cold sandwich, and my entire family LOVE this hot egg and cheese option!
Simply grill the egg, place the cheese on either side of the croissant, and place egg in between. It works best – and stays warm – in an insulated lunch box.
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