7 of the Best Healthy Lunch and Snack Ideas for Your Kids
If you’re a parent of school-age kids, you know that finding healthy lunch staples your kids will enjoy is a continual challenge – kind of like finding a reliable babysitter!
It takes more effort and possibly more expense to ensure your kids have a healthy lunch each day – and there may be pain points along the way in getting your kids to adapt to healthier ways. But ensuring the brain and body health of your kids is worth it, right?
To successfully create healthy packed lunches, plan ahead, involve your kids in the process, and make it fun.
Invest in bento-style lunchboxes – which are clear, reusable containers with compartments – and let your kids choose their own. Visual appeal is key. Kids love order. Aim for a neat, clean, and organized presentation.
Go food shopping for brain healthy whole foods including lots of fruits, veggies, and whole grains, loaded with healthy carbs, antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins, minerals, and fiber – as well as healthy fat/protein options in the form of nuts, nut butters, low-fat cheeses, yogurt, eggs, fish, and organic, hormone-free, pasture-raised meat, and poultry.
Include your kids by taking them to a local farmers’ market, letting them sample and choose the delicious in season fruits and veggies they like most.
Unhealthy Lunch Items to Avoid
Here are popular lunchbox foods you’ll want to replace with healthier options:
- Juice Boxes/Pouches – High in sugar
- Soda – Contain sugar and harsh chemicals. According to a Harvard study, soda also can increase blood sugar issues by 26%. Diet sodas are no better.
- Fruit Snacks – Loaded with artificial ingredients and lots of sugar.
- Pre-Packaged Lunch Boxes (i.e., Lunchables) – Contain saturated fats, sodium, and additives.
- Potato Chips – High in sodium and processed fats.
- Deli Meats – Contain chemicals like nitrates and added sodium.
- Yogurt – Often loaded with hidden sugar.
- White Bread/Crackers/Pretzels – Low nutritive value and can spike blood sugar.
Healthy Lunch Ideas for Kids
Start by rotating in healthy lunch items and rotating out unhealthy ones.
Below you’ll find a 7-day menu of lunch ideas that include an abundance of good sources of protein, fiber, and nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables, beans, and whole grains, as well as healthy fats, and even brain healthy treats such as dark chocolate!
Test them out on the weekend at home first, maybe even a few times, to ensure your kids like them.
Do meal prep for the upcoming week. Let your kids help wash, chop, or pre-pack some of the items that will stay fresh and last for a few days. Consider cooking more than you need of certain dinners so that you can use the leftovers for lunches.
7 Healthy Lunch and Snack Options for Your Kids!
- Turkey Roll Ups
- Using a whole wheat tortilla or coconut wrap, layer all-natural, antibiotic and nitrate-free turkey or fresh leftover roast turkey (if you have the time and inclination to make it), lettuce, avocado or a mozzarella string cheese stick, a little healthy mayo (try an avocado oil-based mayo like Vegenaise), and roll it up. Cut into slices.
- Red grapes or apple slices (with a squeeze a lemon to keep it looking fresh).
- Fresh cut celery and carrots sticks.
- A mix of almonds and cashews with a few raisins or cranberries.
- Leftover Citrus Roasted Chicken and Brown Rice
- Bake Citrus Roasted Chicken and brown rice for dinner the night before and use leftovers. It’s delicious cold.
- Fresh seasonal berries and a dollop of stevia-sweetened Greek yogurt.
- Cucumber and red or yellow bell pepper slices.
- Healthy oatmeal cookie made with monk fruit.
- Bean Burrito
- Using a whole wheat tortilla, create a healthy burrito with canned organic vegetarian beans (black or pinto), cooked brown rice or quinoa, mild salsa, guacamole, and your child’s favorite veggies.
- Spinach and corn salad tossed very lightly with a healthy salad dressing.
- Organic, low-sodium, low-sugar bean chips.
- Banana and apple skewers (or your child’s favorite in season fruit).
- Hummus and Pita
- Layer hummus and sliced cucumber into a whole wheat pita – feel free to cut them into cute shapes.
- A whole, hard-boiled, peeled, pasture-raised egg with grape tomatoes.
- Lightly steamed (prepared the evening before) cut green beans.
- A couple of dark chocolate squares (sweetened with coconut sugar, stevia, or monk fruit) and cashews.
- Banana Nut Roll
- Spread your child’s favorite nut or seed butter on a coconut wrap (or whole grain tortilla of your choice) and lay a peeled ripe banana on top. Roll up and slice.
- Cut pieces of organic mozzarella string cheese and seasonal grapes.
- Sliced cucumber and carrots.
- Whole-grain crackers.
- Healthy Tuna on Romaine
- Make healthy tuna salad with water-packed tuna, Vegenaise, celery, and any preferred spices to taste. Spoon into romaine lettuce leaves. Roll and fasten with a toothpick.
- Pear slices (with a squeeze of lemon to preserve color) and almond butter.
- Sliced zucchini and carrot sticks with a healthy dipping sauce.
- Healthy, homemade granola clusters.
- Turkey-Beet Meatballs Over Quinoa Pasta
- Leftover turkey-beet meatballs over quinoa pasta (make for dinner the night before and save leftovers).
- Celery sticks and tahini dip.
- Tangerine sections and stevia-sweetened Greek yogurt.
- Healthy blueberry-walnut mini muffins.
Healthy Is a Way of Life
These are just a few ideas to get your motivation and creativity flowing. Remember that healthy lunch and snack options start with you and your commitment to making healthy brains and bodies a priority in your home.
Experiment and have fun as you explore new healthy lunch ideas for your kids!
At BrainMD, we’re dedicated to providing the highest purity nutrients to improve your physical health and overall well-being. For more information about our full list of brain healthy supplements, please visit us at BrainMD.
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