10 Back-To-School Lunchbox Recipes

What is your kid going to eat for lunch this year?
What is your kid going to eat for lunch this year?
Photo by USDAgov

Last week we gave you ten back-to-school snack ideas to serve your hungry kids when they get home from school. This week, we are helping you pack a healthy and filling school lunch with ten recipe ideas.

School lunches typically are boring, mundane and not as nutritious as they can be. However, you can easily transform a plain PB&J sandwich or salad into something tasty and nutritious that will give your kids the energy they need to finish the school day. We all know that transitioning back to school after a fun summer can be draining, so pack your kids a lunch that will get them through to the 3 o'clock bell.

Kids need to eat at least the recommended daily amount of nutrients, so these lunchbox ideas include a lot of fruits, vegetables, healthy starches, fiber and protein, and don't include a lot of unhealthy fats, sugars, simple carbohydrates or sodium.

Here are ten recipe ideas your kids are sure to love. Granted that some of them will require a sprint to the microwave -- if one is available -- but that fosters a streak of healthy competition in the cafeteria.

10. Sandwich Stuffed Pita

Rather than placing the usual meat-cheese-lettuce combo between two slices of white bread, stuff your kid's favorite sandwich ingredients into a pita half. Opt for the high-fiber and whole-wheat pitas to ensure your child gets a more complex carbohydrate. Make a regular turkey, cheese, lettuce, tomato stuffed pita for the plain, picky eater, and include hummus, guacamole or pesto for the more adventurous eater. You can certainly stuff that pita with a chicken salad or tuna salad as well.

Pack a fresh salad with almond slices, fresh fruit and chicken.
Pack a fresh salad with almond slices, fresh fruit and chicken.
Photo by Molly Dunn

9. Fresh Harvest Salad

What better way to incorporate fruits, vegetables and protein than in a salad featuring the freshest and most in-season fruits and vegetables. You can switch up the ingredients each time you make the salad, too. Build a salad with a combination of romaine lettuce and spring mix, then add in slices of apples, oranges, peaches, diced sweet peppers and carrots, and cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast for a lean protein; you can also top with sliced almonds. For a healthy carbohydrate, add toasted wedges of whole-wheat, high-fiber pita bread. Give your kids a vinaigrette with healthy fat from the olive oil. Pack the salad with a cool pack so it stays fresh until lunch time.

8. Healthy Lunchable

Lunchables are super easy to pack for your kids, but unfortunately they are not very healthy options. So, if your kid still loves Lunchables, prepare one at home, instead. Mix and match different lunchbox packs with low-fat cheese cubes, whole-grain crackers, lean slices of turkey, ham or roast beef, grapes, strawberries, apples or pears.

7. Homemade Soup

Canned and bottled soups tend to be super high in sodium and cholesterol, but if you make the soups at home, you control the amount of sodium. Make a large pot of soup, such as chicken noodle, tomato, vegetable or chowder for dinner, then send your kid to school with the leftovers. Pack some crunchy vegetables, like carrot sticks, celery sticks or slices of sweet bell peppers with a few whole-grain crackers.

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