How to Pack a Healthy School Lunch

It’s that time of year! Fall is around the corner, and your kids are going back to school. Yet what school lunch can we pack for our children that is delicious and nutritious? Below are some budget-friendly ideas to keep kids happy and healthy at lunchtime.  

Here’s the deal — kids are fickle. One day, they love a particular granola bar, and the next day they despise it. They tire of certain foods, and so I switch up their choices often. And if you need a bit of extra help, here’s a school lunch packing chart to get you started! And are you looking for some healthy fruit snacks? We got you covered.   

Now here are some different options to spice things up with school lunches. 

Get Your Kids Involved

First things first: When kids help pack their own lunch, they’re more likely to eat that lunch! On nights you have a bit more time, like a Sunday night, have them choose which piece of fruit or what type of grain bread they want and let them assemble their lunch. Make this a weekly routine — it’s another great way to spend family time together. 

Create a Healthier Sandwich

Some kids are not okay with doing the same thing every day. And that includes their sandwiches! Here’s a tip for switching things up: Use different pieces of bread, like 100% whole-wheat tortillas or pita pockets. 

Maximize Your Leftovers

Think about using the leftovers from a favorite family dinner for a next-day lunch. Use a thermos to keep foods hot or cold until the lunch bell rings. Try soup (tomato, vegetable, or bean), chili, whole-wheat spaghetti, or beans & rice.  

These foods sometimes have lots of sodium, so make them homemade with little or no salt, or compare nutrition facts of similar products and choose the ones with less sodium. 

Dunk It! 

Sometimes it’s okay to let kids play with their food, especially when getting extra nutrition. You can prepare apple and pear slices to dip into low-fat plain yogurt or peanut butter. Or carrots and celery sticks to dip into hummus or fresh salsa.  


Did these school lunch ideas help? Is there something that I missed? I’d love to hear your thoughts at Also, be sure to subscribe to the Heart & Soul Newsletter to receive more great tips straight to your inbox each Friday.  

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