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Healthy Back to School Lunch Ideas for Kids

Aug 9, 2021Library

By: Jayme Bisbano, Registered Dietitian

Back to school means it’s time to start thinking about school lunches! When building a healthy meal for your kiddos, there are 5 main components to incorporate:

  • Protein
  • Starch
  • Vegetable
  • Fruit
  • Dairy

Here are some examples of each category:

Protein: chicken, beef, pork, lamb, fish, turkey, eggs, cheese, Greek yogurt, beans/lentils, nuts/seeds, nut butters, tofu, tempeh

Starch: breads, pasta, rice, tortillas, bagels, crackers, potatoes/sweet potatoes, corn, peas

Vegetables: green beans, bell peppers, carrots, mushrooms, spinach, lettuces, beets, cauliflower, broccoli

Fruit: apples, oranges, bananas, strawberries, grapes, raspberries, blueberries

Dairy: milk (plant-based alternatives count, too!), yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese, dark-leafy greens such as broccoli and kale

The school year can be busy and hectic, but school lunches don’t have to be! Here are some lunch and snack ideas:

Turkey Swiss Wraps:

  • Makes 1 serving
  • Ingredients:
  • 2whole wheat tortillas
  • 3-4 slices turkey deli meat OR 3-4 ounces of baked chicken/turkey
  • 2 slices Swiss cheese
  • Handful of baby spinach
  • 2 Tbs hummus or avocado
  • ½ of an apple, thinly sliced

Instructions:
Place each tortilla on a paper towel. Spread hummus/avocado evenly, leaving a 1″ diameter around the edge of the tortillas. Place the spinach in a line in the center of each tortilla, and top with turkey, cheese, and apple slices. Carefully tuck in one end of the tortilla, and roll closed into a burrito shape. Roll up in the paper towel for a napkin ready to go when eating. This can be served on its own or with a side of fruit or veggies and dip!

Homemade Lunchable:

  • Makes 1 serving
  • Ingredients:
  • Whole wheat crackers / triscuits
  • Cheese cubes or slices
  • Fruit of choice (1 serving examples: 1 apple, 1 orange, 2 cuties, 1 cup grapes, 1 1/4 cup strawberries, 1/2 banana)
  • Carrot, cucumber, or celery sticks
  • Dip of choice – some options include hummus, guacamole, ranch dressing, or plain Greek yogurt with everything bagel seasoning

Instructions:
Place all items in a container, or separately in small containers. No cooking necessary! This is an easy lunch meal that can be changed up day to day with different types of cheese, vegetables, dips, and fruits!

Snack Ideas:

  • Yogurt with fruit (aim for <10 grams of sugar per serving)
  • Banana with peanut butter
  • Ants on a log (celery with peanut butter topped with raisins)
  • Granola with milk
  • Apple slices with cheese
  • Cuties with string cheese