I don’t know about you, but I STRUGGLE to get an easy and healthy school lunch together for my 11-year-old while maintaining my sanity. It doesn’t help that his school provides free breakfast and lunch for all students. What’s my problem you may ask? Why don’t you just let him eat the school food? Ugh…I did this week. But 1.) It isn’t enough food. The servings are so small that my child will come home cranky and starving. 2.) It isn’t even the least bit healthy. The sodium levels are sky high and it’s all processed food. There’s nothing good about it!
But I will say this, I do appreciate that schools give out free meals. There are so many families that can’t afford to send food to school with their kids. My son’s school even provides meals in the summer for kids that need it. I am so grateful for this. But that being said, I know the effects of eating this type of food can be detrimental to one’s health and as much as possible, I will try to send healthy food with him.
So the point of this post, is to help us all with some ideas for school lunches that are not only easy and healthy, but also help with sanity levels! I am only including lunch ideas that don’t include things like chips and other junk food. I mean, you can get healthyish chips and that would be okay for me. I’ve made sweet potato chips at home. It’s really easy. But things like goldfish, Pringles, store-bought Lunchables, oreos…you get the picture. If you want to add those things, that’s ok. I just don’t think you need the inspiration to add those things!! Ha ha…but I also choose not to add them either as they have zero nutritional value.
I scoured Pinterest looking for the best ideas. Someday I might have ideas of my own…lol! Hopefully, these ideas will help you, give you inspiration, and not stress you out more! I have only included 10 because I think that any more than that will diminish sanity levels! Am I right? My eyes begin to glaze over if I have too many options. These ideas are definitely helping me! Make sure to scroll all the way to the bottom of this post to find lunch item storage ideas!
Sanity Inducing, Easy, Healthy Lunch Ideas!
TONS of ideas here! I love that she has so many options. If your child’s school is nut free, then she has an option for that! She also has grain free, pack ahead, no sandwich and so many more!
Lots of healthy ideas including breakfast foods, smoothies, homemade gummies and more! Some of these ideas might take a little more time. However, if you have the time, they will be great, nourishing additions to your child’s lunch.
100 Days of Real Food Have you ever checked out this blog? She is really good at taking all of the junk and making healthier versions of it. She is also great at using leftovers in lunches the next day in a way that kids will actually eat it. Her kids are also involved with their lunch choices. This helps a lot!
Heavenly Homemakers – Lunch Ideas Laura over at Heavenly Homemakers is one of my favorites! I have been following her for years. She always has great ideas. In this post, she has some fun ideas using small jars to hold things like dips and veggies/fruit. Keep scrolling down if you check it out. The ideas flow all the way down the page.
125 lunch box ideas This looks fantastic! So many ideas! She uses pretty healthy option and still adds in things like pirate’s booty, gummies, etc that kids like. I really like her use of veggies and fruit and she adds in yogurt and protein. There are a couple of goldfish and chip additions…I said I wouldn’t share those…but her ideas are really great, so…whatever! I think she has enough ideas here to give you a lot of inspiration!
Lunch Box Organization This post has some great ideas for prepping lunch box choices ahead and how to organize those items. She has some great menu ideas for lunches.
Non-Sandwich Ideas I like some of these ideas, especially the salad in a cup! My 11-year-old likes taco salad and I’m not sure about sending it in a mason jar. But a plastic cup could really work!
Two-week school lunch plan I love the ideas here. I also LOVE the Bento boxes! The ideas presented here are simple…like “Duh..why didn’t I think of that!?”.
Super easy and healthy I love the pictures this blogger presents. There isn’t an overwhelming list of food ideas. She lists the food items after each picture. I look at this list and think, “I can do this!”.
Vegetarian and Vegan ideas This post include a lot of good ideas and tips!
Now for some storage ideas!
These are just easy to use. They fit a good amount of food for kids and usually fit very well in a lunch box.
How cool to have a bowl and utensils together! Plus this bowl keeps food warm up to 4 hours. There have been so many times that I’ve wanted to send warm food to school with my son, but sometimes getting food out of a thermos can just be hard! This is a wider, more shallow container so it makes getting food out that much easier.
In case you prefer glass containers over plastic, these can be used for adults too!
This is also a good choice to keep food warm or cold. This will keep food warm up to 6 hours and cold up to 12 hours!
This is a good deal if you are looking for a more eco-friendly option. It’s also on sale right now which makes it even better!
These can be used for separating items in the lunch box. Plus they are reusable which is a big plus!
I haven’t used reusable bags yet, but I think they are a good investment. We spend a lot of money on plastic sandwich/snack bags. Not only will these save money in the long run but they are better for the environment too. There are quite a few options for this one so you aren’t just stuck with this one style.
Here’s another option that’s a bit cheaper. They have some super cute patterns!
Well, there you have it! Hopefully this is enough to get you going! What ideas do you have to share? What are your favorite lunch gear items?
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