Quick, Easy and Healthy Back-To-School Lunch Ideas
By Abby Wagner
As the school bells start ringing again, it’s time to gear up for a new academic year filled with learning and growth. But that doesn’t mean sacrificing health and nutrition. To help your scholars stay energized and focused throughout the day, we’ve put together a list of ten quick, easy, and healthy back-to-school lunch ideas that both kids and adults will love. Say goodbye to boring lunches and hello to delicious, nutritious meals!
- Rainbow Veggie Wraps: Pack whole wheat or vegetable wraps with a colorful assortment of veggies such as bell peppers, carrots, cucumber, and spinach. Add a protein boost with some hummus, turkey, or grilled chicken. Roll them up, slice into bite-sized pieces, and secure with toothpicks.
- Bento Box Charcuterie Board: Create a bento box filled with an array of nutritious options. Include sliced fruits, cheese cubes, whole grain crackers, baby carrots, and a small serving of protein like chicken, boiled eggs, or roasted nuts. This customizable lunch is visually appealing and offers a variety of flavors.
- Greek Yogurt Parfait: Layer low-fat Greek yogurt with fresh berries and a drizzle of honey in a portable container. In a separate, small container or plastic bag include some granola. This parfait is rich in protein, probiotics, and antioxidants, making it a perfect midday pick-me-up.
- Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas: Cook quinoa and mix it with canned chickpeas, chopped cucumbers, chopped red onion, cherry tomatoes, and a sprinkle of feta cheese. Drizzle with a lemon vinaigrette or caesar salad dressing for a satisfying and protein-packed salad.
- Homemade Pita Pockets: Fill whole wheat pita pockets with lean deli meats, sliced cheese, lettuce, and a dollop of mustard or hummus. These handheld pockets are quick to assemble and perfect for on-the-go eating.
- Veggie and Cheese Quesadillas: Make a delicious quesadilla by layering whole wheat tortillas with shredded cheese and sautéed veggies like bell peppers, onions, and zucchini. Cook in a skillet until the cheese melts and the tortillas are golden brown. In a separate container, include toppings like salsa or sour cream.
- Peanut Butter Banana Roll-Ups: Spread peanut butter on whole grain tortillas, add banana slices, and roll them up. This simple yet satisfying option is loaded with healthy fats, fiber, and natural sweetness.
- Soup in a Thermos: Prepare a nutrient-packed vegetable or chicken broth-based soup and keep it hot in a thermos. Add whole grain crackers or a slice of whole grain bread on the side.
- Mason Jar Salads: Layer mason jars with your favorite salad ingredients – start with dressing at the bottom, followed by grains (quinoa), protein (roasted sweet potatoes, chicken, beans, chickpeas, etc.), and veggies. When it’s time to eat, just give the jar a shake and enjoy a perfectly dressed salad. To ensure the lettuce is not wilted by lunchtime, be sure to pack the bottom of the jar with ingredients that can withstand the dressing.
- Apple Slices with Nut Butter: Slice apples and pack them alongside a small container of almond butter or peanut butter for dipping. The combination of fiber from the apples and healthy fats from the nut butter will keep you satisfied until your next meal.
In addition to these lunch ideas, here are a few tips for packing healthy and delicious lunches:
- Pack a variety of foods from all food groups. This will help your child get the nutrients they need throughout the day.
- Avoid sugary drinks and snacks. Pack fruit flavored water and protein-rich snacks instead.
- Make sure your child’s lunchbox is cool and dry. This will help prevent the food from spoiling.
- Get your child involved when planning and purchasing lunchbox items. Knowing what they are eating each day can help your child feel more confident, secure and excited about lunchtime.
With these quick, easy, and healthy back-to-school lunch ideas, you’ll be able to fuel your day with nutritious and delicious meals. Remember, staying nourished is essential for optimal learning and productivity, so make sure to choose options that work best for your taste preferences and dietary needs. Here’s to a successful school year filled with tasty lunches and academic achievements!