It’s that time of year again, preparing for a new back-to-school season and packed lunch planning! No need to dread, we’ve got you covered. Today we’re breaking down our top 10 packed lunch ideas to help get you and your littles inspired!
We can’t believe September is around the corner, how about you? Before we dive into some packed lunch ideas, let’s review some general advice on what to include when packing lunches to help keep your little ones fueled throughout the day!
A source of protein
Examples: eggs, cheese, fish, nut or soy butters, deli or roasted meats, milk, yogourt, cottage cheese, beans, lentils, nuts, tempeh, kefir, hummus
A source of carbohydrate
Examples: bread, bun, muffin, wrap, noodles, rice, pasta salad, crackers, bagel, naan bread
A source of fibre (vegetable/fruit)
Examples: raw veggies with dip, canned fruit, fresh berries, dried fruit, toppings (lettuce, tomatoes, pickles), cooked veggies in soup/casserole/pasta, applesauce, grated or shaved root veggie spirals, fruit leather, blended options in smoothie, guacamole or spinach dip
A source of fat
Examples: avocado, nut butters, mayo, butter, margarine, sauces, salad dressing, cream cheese, cheese, oil, tzatziki, hummus, dips
A source or two of satisfaction
Examples: granola bar, candy, fruit roll up, jello, chocolate chips, dunkaroos, cookies
10 Packed Lunch Ideas
- Deconstructed Egg Salad: Egg salad (eggs, mayo, pickles, celery), carrots, hummus, bread pieces, chocolate chips
- DIY Lunchables: Crackers, cheese, turkey rollups, salami, snap peas, veggie dip, applesauce, candy
- Bean and Cheese Quesadillas: Bean and cheese quesadilla, guacamole or smashed avocado, sweet peppers, cookie
- Leftover Pizza Day: Pizza, raw celery and carrot sticks, ranch dressing, blueberries, yogourt tube
- Make Your Own Tacos: Tortilla, taco meat of choice, lettuce, shredded cheese, sour cream, guacamole, grapes, fruit leather
- Pasta Day: Tortellini, chicken, pesto dip, celery, cherries, pudding
- Breakfast for Lunch: Oatmeal, halved hard-boiled egg, muffin or waffle, strawberries and raspberries. Or try packing Pumpkin French Toast Bake.
- Greek Lunch Box: Greek meatballs (check out Gyro Bowl Recipe for meatballs), tzatziki sauce, greek salad (feta, cherry tomato, cucumber), pear, dark chocolate
- Deconstructed PB&J Sandwich: Bread, nut or seed butter, jam, broccoli, peach, cheese puffs, candy
- Yogourt and Granola: Greek yogourt, granola, strawberries, blueberries, boiled egg, chocolate dipped pretzels
Extra Packing Tips:
Using a bento-style lunch box makes organizing easy! Use silicon or paper cupcake liners to section off foods, small dip containers, and shaped cutters to make packed fruits, veggies, sandwiches, and cheese fun!
Keep packed lunches simple and include foods familiar to your little one. Lunch time at school with other overstimulated kids is not the time to try new foods out on them. Save new food experiences when your little one is home with you.
Aim to pack the three core groups (protein, fat, carb) but also do not forget the satisfaction foods everyone desires. This is a great opportunity to practice serving “dessert type foods” with lunch along with working on neutralizing any heightened foods your kiddo may have.
Lunchbox comparisons making your kiddo want to try something new? Let them explore new things and see what they like!
And there you have it! I hope those 10 packed lunch ideas have inspired you. How are you feeling about back to school season? I hope these ideas help make you feel more at ease with lunch packing- keep it basic and be creative! Until next time, happy lunch packing everyone!