We all want to have healthy kids, and that means sending them to school with food that is nutritious. Here are some ideas of healthy food for kids to bring with them to school that are easy to prepare and pack.
Healthy Food for Kids to Take to School
Raising healthy kids starts with their nutrition. Eating unhealthy options can really slow down their health and growth.
Faux Lunchables For Kids
My kids LOVE lunchables but I don’t love the lack of nutrition in these boxed meals! The problem isn’t the amount of food but the lack of nutrition. It is a packaged food, so automatically the fact that it is processed means it isn’t very good for your kids to eat. They contain no fruits or vegetables whatsoever and they always have candy and a sugary drink to go with it.
I’m not saying my kids never eat them but it is rare and always a treat. You can make your own version by replacing the highly-processed options in the lunch pack with something more nutritious, and adding some more nutrients to make it a well-balanced meal for them. Here are some different ways to prepare a faux Lunchables for your kids.
Add Lean Meat, Cheese, and Crackers
The basic combination of a Lunchables includes crackers, meat, and cheese. So you can still use this combination, but you want to go with healthier options. Start with the types of crackers you go with. Instead of using a high-fat and overly processed butter or cheese-flavored cracker, go with whole grain or 100% whole wheat crackers. Even rye crackers would be better for your kids.
Next, you want some meat and cheese. For sliced cheese, slice it yourself from a block of cheese. The same goes for the meat. If you want to use turkey or ham, which many Lunchables contain, get it sliced fresh right at the deli counter. That way, it isn’t processed like many of the other ones.
Provide Fruits and Veggies
For the side of the Lunchables, you want to add more nutrition to it. This is one of the main problems with them. To give your kids a healthier lunch, try to add both fruits and veggies on the side of the crackers, meat, and cheese.
Here are some different options:
- Grapes and tomatoes
- Celery sticks and sliced strawberries
- Bananas, blueberries, and carrot sticks
- Mandarin oranges and carrot sticks
Do not include the candy or sugary drink! Kids don’t need chips for snack or juice with their meal. Smoothies are fine or just water. Kids don’t need anything more than that.
Photo credit: Flickr
Self-Serve Bento Lunch Ideas
The next option available for making a kid-friendly healthy lunch is to use Bento boxes. These are a type of lunch box that includes different compartments inside. They are fun for kids because most lunches will have different finger food options, plus it is easier to organize multiple ingredients. As an added bonus, it helps the environment because you are not having to use different baggies for your kids lunch. The lunch boxes are small enough to fit in a backpack, so they are convenient as well.
Here are some different options for Bento lunch ideas, speaking specifically about “self-serve” lunches for your kids. This means they put the lunch together instead of choosing something already assembled. How fun!
Include Different Snacks in the Lunch Box
In my home, I’ve created an area of the refrigerator that my kids can access, see and choose their snacks, as well as drawers in the closet for their snacks. They like being able to choose what they want to eat that day at school and I know that I have approved them all. As long as they have a combination of different things everyone can be happy.
Here are some different combinations your kids can try:
- Turkey slices, cheddar cheese cubes, green grapes, carrot sticks, celery sticks
- Leftover chicken, cherry tomatoes, black olives, strawberries, banana slices, almonds
- Prepared chicken salad, dried cranberries, walnuts, celery sticks, broccoli and cauliflower
Fun and Healthy Wraps For Kids
Since kids enjoy wraps so much here are some fun ideas for them to enjoy for lunch or as a snack.
Banana and Peanut Butter Wrap
This fun wrap has protein and fruit, so you might also want to add a vegetable as a side if this is for a lunch. With this wrap, use a whole grain or whole wheat tortilla for the wrap portion. You will then spread
some natural peanut butter on the tortilla, then add banana slices to it.
They will stick well to the peanut so don’t worry about the ingredients falling out. At this point, you can roll it up or add some honey drizzled on top before rolling it. I sometimes add some mini chocolate chips to them for added fun!
Cream Cheese and Veggie Wrap
My kids love this wrap – what kid doesn’t like cream cheese? Add some minced veggies and they won’t even notice, plus it adds a good crunchiness.
Spread some cream cheese on the tortilla and add in some vegetables. It is good to start with a base of chopped spinach leaves or another type of greens, then add diced or minced veggies your kids enjoy. This might be broccoli and cauliflower, carrots, zucchini or squash, celery, bell peppers, or even onions.
Strawberries and Almond Butter Wrap
This is a sweet, fruity wrap that’s great for a snack or dessert or even quick breakfast. Use a whole grain or whole wheat tortilla that has almond butter spread on the inside. Now just add some sliced strawberries and any other berries you like, and roll it up. It is quick and easy.
Eggs and Avocado Wrap
If you are looking for a wrap that can be good for breakfast, but also a healthy lunch, then an egg and avocado wrap is perfect. My kids love a good egg wrap! Spread some mashed avocado on a tortilla, followed by some scrambled eggs. Scramble them with a little cheese and chopped up veggies to get those extra nutrients in there. The avocado should help the eggs to stick. Roll it up like a burrito so nothing falls out either end.
Turning Leftovers Into Kid Lunches
Have you ever tried using leftovers for your kids’ lunch? My kids don’t normally like leftovers as is, but if you try some of these fun ideas, they might just go for it.
Create Fun Kabobs
Try turning the leftovers into kabobs, which are fun for the kids and easy to put together. Just make sure you use plastic skewers and not wood or bamboo ones. The wood skewers sometimes splinter, and kids aren’t always careful with the sharp edges. If you you had steak one night, you can alternate between cubed pieces of steak, individual potato pieces, and then carrots on the kabob skewer.
I recently heard this idea that I can’t wait to try them for my kids. I know they will love them! Have you ever made tacos and just had too much leftover afterward but no shells because they don’t stay fresh once you open them? Try making taco pies the next time. Use pie dough or cresent roll dough and roll it out. Add a scoop of leftover taco meat and cover with the dough. Pinch the edges and then bake in the oven at 350 until brown – maybe 15-20 minutes.
Do Pancake Sandwiches
Did you make a big breakfast over the weekend, and now have some pancakes left? If so, you can use those pancakes in their lunch! We make pancake sandwiches all the time and they make a deliciously fun lunch idea!
- Bananas and peanut butter or almond butter spread
- Sliced veggies and cream cheese
- Strawberries and cream cheese
As you can see, putting together healthy food for kids is not a difficult task, you just need a plan. Whether you make them something fully prepared, they assemble it themselves, or you use leftovers, it is possible to feed your kids a healthy lunch every day. Make sure to download my free menu plan printable so you can keep track of what you are doing for meals each day!
here’s more inspiration for healthy food for kids!
Raising Healthy Kids
Back to School Lunch Idea
20 Cute and Creative Bento Lunches for Kids
Easy Lunch Ideas for Kids
Easy School Lunch Ideas
10 Non-Sandwich Lunch Ideas for Kids
Back to School Kids Lunch Ideas