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10 Easy School Packed Lunch Ideas

10 Easy School Packed Lunch Ideas

10 Easy School Packed Lunch Ideas

School lunches have come under fire for decades for being unhealthy and unappetizing, and many parents, carers, and children themselves prefer a packed lunch. What is included in these lunches really matters, however, as it is a scientific fact that good food can have a direct impact on improved learning and behavior in school or kindergarten. This means that even if your child is still quite young, it is never too early to get them into good habits when it comes to eating a healthy lunch.

A study looking at the effects of nutrients on brain function [1] found that the quality of lunches is as important as taste and quantity, concluding that high levels of saturated fat can have a detrimental impact on memory and learning. A 2011 study featured in the Journal of Health Economics also emphasized the importance of healthy options rather than low-budget processed lunches. The study found that children eating a healthy lunch resulted in a reduction in school absences and an improvement in educational outcomes [2].

Many parents know that their children should eat a healthy meal at lunch, but providing this is not always easy due to time or budgetary constraints. Fortunately, there are options that can offer children tasty, nutritious meals without putting extra pressure on hard-working parents. Here are some ideas for packed lunches that should please kids and adults alike.

1. Cheese and refried bean quesadilla

Lots of kids love a quesadilla, and when you add whole wheat tortillas to boost the fiber factor, this calcium-packed dish offers plenty of brain-boosting nutrition. Add some extra vitamins by adding some strawberries and avocado on the side.

2. Strawberry spinach salad

Strawberries are once again the star of the show in a colorful strawberry spinach salad with toasted sesame seeds and a red wine vinaigrette, if your kids are on the adventurous side. If you do decide to go with the vinaigrette and they’re taking it to school, pop it in a separate little container. Then they can pour and shake when they’re ready to eat rather than having to suffer slimy greens.

3. Avocado toast

Kids really love creamy avocado. Team it with crunchy toast for a taste sensation. Add some crispy bacon for even more protein and flavor if you like. This is another one that you can pack separately, allowing your kids to build and eat when they’re ready.

4. Pizza pockets

Pizza may not seem like the healthiest option, but choose your ingredients well and it can be packed full of calcium-rich cheese, veggies, and protein. Plus, your kids will love you for making them. Use refrigerated biscuit mix to make simple pockets that can be stuffed with your children’s favorite ingredients.

5. Hummus avocado wraps

Team protein-rich hummus with whole wheat wraps and ripe avocado for a tastebud-tickling lunch. You could even use leftover guacamole if you have some in the refrigerator and add salad greens or sprouts for a little extra crunch. Just avoid tomatoes if your kids aren’t going to eat right away, or they’ll be left battling a soggy pink mess.

6. Asian rice salad

Sweet and sour flavors team with crunchy vegetables to create a taste and texture explosion. Use brown rice for protein and fiber in this great, vegan-friendly dish that will set little ones up for an active afternoon.

7. Cheesy meatball surprises

Use lean ground beef to make your own meatballs and then stuff biscuit dough bombs with healthy tomato sauce and creamy mozzarella cheese. You might want to make sure your littlest ones are wearing a great bib, such as these White Bibs with Blue Trim, when they try these. That surprise can really dribble when they bite into these tasty treats.

White Bibs with Blue Trim

8. Vegetarian pasta salad

Combine whole wheat pasta with fresh basil, green onion, ripe avocado, and cherry tomatoes for the ideal summer packed lunch.

9. Chicken Waldorf sandwiches

This is another dish that your small children may need a protective bib - or five, such as these White Bibs with Pink Trim - when they eat. At least the chicken, mayo and honey mustard filling shouldn’t stain, and kids will love the dried cranberries and crunchy chopped green apple and walnuts. This is also a sophisticated sandwich that all ages can enjoy on a picnic or family day out.

White Bibs with Pink Trim

10. Greek salad

Greek salad

So simple and yet so delicious, this is an extravaganza of colorful, crunchy veggies and crumbly feta cheese, served simply with some oregano and a drizzle of good olive oil. Make extra and the whole family can enjoy it for dinner with some grilled chicken or fish.

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2805706/

[2] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21458872/