Back to school season is upon us once again. As we gear back up into our normal school year routines, maybe you’re wondering how you can continue to get healthy foods into your kiddos, even when they’re at school.
Packing school lunches can feel so overwhelming. You want to send your kids with foods they’ll actually eat and enjoy, and make sure they’re getting the right nutrients to get them through their school day. At the same time, you don’t have lots of extra time to prepare gourmet-style meals for lunches every day.
I get it, friend! As much as we might wish we had all the time in the world to pack our kids Pinterest-inspired lunches, that’s not the reality for most of us. But I have great news: you can still send your kids to school with delicious, healthy lunches, even if you don’t have a lot of time to prepare them.
Here are some of the tried-and-true items I use for my own kids’ lunches every single week. I hope this offers you some helpful ideas as your kids head back to the classroom.
Omie Box: This is one of the lunch boxes we use for our littlest. She’s used it since preschool and it’s going on 3 years. It still works like new. I love the removable insulated container.
Lunch Bots: I love these stainless steel lunch boxes. My oldest uses this for his lunch and it’s also held up for 3 years now! I love that it comes in different sizes, and you can purchase additional containers to go along with it.
Planet Box: This one is comparable to Lunch Bots. I love how you can really jazz your kids' lunch box up by adding magnets to it. They also have dip containers and puzzle pods, which can make snacking and lunch so much fun!
Hydroflask: We love their insulated water bottles for keeping our beverages hot or cold, but they also offer some great lunch packing items too! Check out their insulated food jars, lunch boxes, and portable silverware.
Stasher Bags: Stasher bags have been around for years and with their popularity growing, you can find dupe stasher bags at Target now too! This bag dryer is sustainable and a great tool for drying all those reusable bags.
Beeswrap: Certified organic cotton that’s coated with sustainably sourced beeswax making it a reusable and natural way to store food.
Lunchskins: If you aren’t quite ready to make the switch to purely reusable bags, check out lunchskins for reusable and one use eco friendly bags.
Snacks & Lunch Box Eats
Made Good Bars: MadeGood bars are organic, vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, and free from the 8 most common allergens. Also: delicious!
Snack Mates Jerky: Check out the grass-fed and grass-finished beef and free-range turkey and chicken.
Dried Fruit such as Made in Nature. Organic and energy- packed, make it perfect for a before practice snack, especially paired with a protein- packed jerky stick.
Once Upon a Farm: Jennifer Garner’s organic baby food line that also makes smoothie pouches for kids too! They are jam packed with nutrients, organic, and cold-pressed.
Lesser Evil: High quality snacks made with clean, healthy, and organic ingredients.
YumEarth: If you are looking to send a treat in your kiddos lunch. Check out YumEarth for organic, dye free, top 8 allergen safe snacks.
Lunch Box Building Ideas
When I think about building my kids lunch, this is my foundation: protein, fat, veggie, fruit. Then I like to add in a cracker or chip. I’m making sure to do my best to give them the fuel they need for school. Protein and fat help with energy and focus. Vegetables and fruits for vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Here are 5 ideas for getting these important nutrients into your kids’ lunches each day:
Make Your Own Lunchable: True Story snack pack, Absolutely gluten free crackers, goat cheese, cucumber slices, and a Once Upon a Farm fruit smoothie.
Snack Plate Lunch: Yogurt with berries and Made Good granola bites, Snack Mates Jerky, and sliced bell peppers and broccoli. Bonus: include The New Primal Ranch dressing or Cava hummus for dipping.
Traditional: Turkey Sandwich on sourdough or Canyon Bakehouse 7 Grain bread, Lesser Evil Veggie Sticks, cucumber slices, and an apple with sunbutter.
Deconstructed Chef Salad: Salad mix, sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, ham or turkey slices, and dressing. Add in some dried fruit and a Made Good Rice Crispy bar. *I leave this lunch deconstructed so my kids can build their own or eat it separately.
Leftovers: When you purchase a thermos style container, your options really open up! I often send leftovers with my kids. From burgers to spaghetti, they are guaranteed a great lunch! We love the thermos in the Omie Box and also frequently use the Hydroflask Food Jars.
I hope these ideas spark some inspiration for you as you get back in the swing of school! Make sure you’re following me on Instagram for more healthy eating ideas and tips.
The content found on Integrative Counseling and Nutrition Consulting platform is not intended to be a substitute for professional therapeutic advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your psychiatrist, therapist or other qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding a mental health condition.