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Lunch time is time for kids to refuel and prepare their bodies with energy and nutrients for more learning and activities.
Tips for creating a healthy lunch box.
ideas for healthy lunch box ideas
offer tips for getting your child to eat their lunch
food safety tips for kids lunch box
Sometimes you just need a few new ideas! If you need any more inspiration, check out these easy tuna recipes.
List of Tips For Creating A Healthy Lunchbox For Your Child
- Let the kids help plan their lunches for the week.
- Choose lean meats such as chicken breast, lean ham or roast beef, instead of salami or bacon.
- Breakfast for lunch? Make pancakes and freeze the leftovers. You can warm them up and pack them up for a fun lunch. Scrambled eggs or a sliced boiled egg can be a hit too (remember the ice pack though).
- Healthy lunches have at least 3-4 of the food groups that means including fruits and vegetables.
- Leave your child a fun healthy note in their lunch box.
- Some kids don’t like peanut butter but will enjoy cashew or almond butter as a spread.
- Your child’s lunch could include perishable items (sandwiches, fresh fruit) and shelf-stable
items (packaged pudding). Use an insulated lunch box, with an insulated bottle for hot foods or a frozen gel pack or a frozen juice box to keep foods cold.
- Sliced mango, kiwi, or apples are a good snack (use orange juice to help prevent browning) (Meatless)
- Most schools regularly send schedules of cafeteria menus home.
- When packing egg or meat sandwiches for school lunches, include an ice pack to ensure these items stay cold.
- Next time you make a sandwich for your child's lunch, switch from regular mayonnaise to low fat or fat-free.
- Use leftovers for school lunch. If your child ate the beef stew last night for dinner, serve
it up for lunch (place an ice pack in the lunch box though to prevent food illness).
- With this advance information, you can plan on packing lunch on the days when the main course is one your child prefers not to eat.
- Cube cheese and offer it on a toothpick. (Meatless)
- Offer half of a sweet potato with a sprinkle of brown sugar or even slice it into circular shapes, Take advantage of tropical fruits such as mango slices or kiwi (easy to scoop out with a spoon). (Meatless)
- Vanilla yogurt with raspberries and granola or nuts on top (place it in a small plastic container (use an ice pack to keep it cold) (Meatless)
- Pasta: Use mini-penne or bowtie pasta. Just throw on some pasta sauce. If you make it the
night before, add a tsp of olive oil to prevent sticking. (Meatless)
- Use these thin, curly noodles and serve with peanut sauce or just plain. During winter
months, use a thermos to serve up warm noodles (boil them in vegetable broth and use
about 1/3 of the liquid for added flavor). (Meatless)
- Make a face - Open faced bagel with cream cheese and a face (use raisin for the eyes, a
cashew for the nose etc.) Kids love to help create a face. (Meatless)
- Burritos: Just use mini-tortillas and serve with beans and cheese. Many kids don’t need to
have their foods warmed up to enjoy. Similarly, offer baked beans and a whole wheat
tortilla separate; many kids like to enjoy food separately and may not enjoy pinto or black
- Serve sliced ham, chicken, tuna or egg salad sandwiches on 100% whole
wheat or other bran. Go with what your child likes.
- Try to get your child's school to stock healthy choices such as fresh fruit, low-fat dairy products, water and 100 percent fruit juice in the vending machines.
- The USDA recommends that K to 5th graders need around 645 calories for lunch per day.
- Fresh mozzarella cheese in a tortilla. (Meatless)
- Trail mix (nuts, dried cranberries stick pretzels) (Meatless)
- Cereal. Just make sure it is high in fiber (5 grams) and low in sugar (under 10 grams). Provide a container with a top and a spoon; your child can add the milk provided at school. (Meatless)
- Add dips- kids love dipping foods - Fruits and veggies are great for dipping! Serve mini-carrots or jicama with ranch dressing, or slightly steamed broccoli with light mayo. (Meatless)
- Serve sliced meat rolled up into tubes and offer the bread separate.
- Tuna salad can be offered with crackers. Remember, bread doesn’t have to be sliced
bread; offer whole wheat bagels or tortillas. Even just plain sticky brown rice or couscous
can be a hit.
- Peanut butter and banana sandwich – apples will work too. (Meatless)
- Tea sandwiches: These are bite-sized sandwiches. You can make your child a cream
cheese tea sandwich with very thin cucumber slices. (Meatless)
- Use leftover chicken from dinner last night and make a sandwich vs. processed sandwich meat
which is high in sodium (salt).
- Get out the cookie cutters – no not for cookies, but for sandwiches. Kids love food in shapes. Surprise them with different shapes over the week.
- Other bite-sized food includes cucumber and avocado rolls (many grocery stores now
have a section of Japanese food). (Meatless)
- Toothpicks can add some fun too – kids love bite-sized food. So make a mini-sandwich
and place a toothpick in it.
- Make your own Japanese rolls: Use Korean roasted seaweed (this has a nice sesame flavor to it) and sticky rice. Just roll up the rice like into a mini-cylinder shape. Have your kids help you make it the night before.
- Edamame (soybean) or sugar snap peas (good source of protein) (Meatless)
- Try a garbanzo and kidney bean salad. (Meatless)