20 Easy Lunch Box Ideas
BY SARAH REMMER
PHOTO © PeopleImages/Getty Images
Aug 16, 2017
Packing lunches isn’t typically the most loved parenting task — especially when they come home uneaten! This can lead to trouble focusing and concentrating at school, and a not-so-stellar after school attitude. But packing lunches doesn’t have to be monotonous or frustrating. It can be enjoyable and rewarding, especially when you involve your children in the process.
Get out of the school lunch rut by trying some of these ideas:
Leftover French Toast
When you make French toast on the weekend, make extra and freeze it. Send it in lunches, sliced into strips and paired with Greek yogurt and fruit.
Leftover Tortellini Or Ravioli With Dip
Leftover stuffed pasta is fun to eat, especially with a yummy dip such as marinara or tzatziki sauce.
Snack-Inspired Bento Box
Send a bento box full of your children’s favourite snack foods, such as cheese cubes, whole grain crackers, cut-up fruit, Greek yogurt, trail mix, veggies and hummus, roasted chickpeas, edamame beans and homemade mini muffins or granola bars.
You'll Also Love: DIY Lunchables (The Healthier Way)
Stuffed Mini Pitas
Instead of sending the same old sandwich, send mini whole grain pitas stuffed with leftover meat, egg salad or cheese and veggies.
Build-It-Yourself Yogurt Parfait
Send your children’s favourite yogurt with fixings like granola, muesli, shredded coconut, dried fruit and seeds.
You'll Also Love: Yogurt Parfait Popsicles
Cracker sandwiches are so much fun to make and eat. Include fillings like meat, cheese and spreads, and send disassembled so that your children can build them at school.
Popcorn is a high-fibre, nutritious and fun snack to eat. Why not add it to school lunches?
You'll Also Love: Pastel Candied Popcorn
Using a whole wheat tortilla wrap, choose a spread (e.g. pumpkin seed butter, cream cheese, hummus or tzatziki sauce), add nutritious fillings (e.g. cheese, meat, fruit or veggie strips), roll and cut into sushi-like bites.
Leftover Whole Grain Pancakes
Homemade pancakes freeze well, so they make great additions to school lunches. I often cut them into strips or bite-sized pieces and pair them with yogurt, fruit and a bit of maple syrup.
It’s amazing how much yummier veggies become when they’re paired with a delicious dip. Bonus: hummus contains protein and fibre, which will keep tummies full longer.
You'll Also Love: Zucchini Hummus
Cheese And Fruit Kabobs
Stick cheese cubes, alternating with cut-up fruit, on a small skewer or toothpick and pair with Greek yogurt for a dip.
Homemade Nut-Free Granola Bars
Instead of store-bought, send homemade versions made with ingredients like seeds, dried fruit, oats, whole grain flour and lentils. A great recipe your kids will love are these Lunch Box Granola Bars.
You'll Also Love: No-Bake Nut-Free Crispy Chewy Honey Granola Bars
Nut-Free Trail Mix
Seeds contain the same nutritious benefits as nuts and are school-safe. Combine pumpkin and sunflower seeds with unsweetened dried fruit and whole grain cereal for a delicious snack.
Homemade Mini Muffins
Muffins are always more fun when they’re bite-sized!
You'll Also Love: Basic Yogurt Muffins
Slice a whole apple into thin, vertical slices (taking out the core) and layer with cheese or seed butters for a different, more nutritious sandwich.
Dip isn’t just for veggies. Mixing vanilla greek yogurt with some pumpkin seed butter and cinnamon makes for a yummy (and nutritious) fruit dip.
Rinse and dry canned chickpeas, toss in a little bit of oil, add your seasoning of choice and roast at 375 F for about 15-20 minutes (turning once). Your kids will love this crunchy snack.
You'll Also Love: Crispy Roasted Chickpeas
Leftover Mac And Cheese “Muffins”
Thaw leftover mac and cheese, transfer to muffin tins, sprinkle on some cheese and bake at 350 F until golden brown on top.
This more nutritious version of traditional pudding is a hit with my kids. Try my recipe for Coconut Banana Chia Pudding.
These delicious beans are high in protein, fibre and folate, as well as many more nutrients.
Sometimes the smallest change makes the biggest difference. For my son, adding more variety, being more creative and giving him some say has made a huge difference in his willingness to gobble up his lunch.