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Healthy Lunch Box Ideas For Kids {The quick and easy kind}

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Finding healthy lunch box ideas for my kids can be extremely hard. They are some picky eaters. They've always been picky. Even when it came to baby food it was a gamble.

Every year I dread the thought of packing lunch for the kids. They don't have the opportunity to warm up their food which means I always have to find something that will stay cold and still be good to eat. And they HATE the cafeteria lunch menu, except for the chips and unhealthy snacks that are served.

Then I have to worry about whether or not they'll actually eat it and not skip lunch because they didn't like what was packed. Most of the time I have them pack their own lunches because it's easier and they get what they want and will eat.

But it still seems like they come home with a full lunch box and the excuse that they didn't like something. My usual words are "C'mon now.. you picked the food you liked for that reason!". I honestly think they do more socializing than eating at lunch!

Our School Lunch Packing Process

Each month or so we make a list of foods they like. We then narrow it down to foods that they might want to take for lunch.

They often try to get some sweets in there, but I, of course, want them to pick more healthy food items. If they had it their way, I'm sure the lunch boxes would be packed with nothing but candy and junk food!

You can download a printable list with some healthy food choices at the end of this post!

Our healthy lunch box ideas list has items that are simple and will stay cold in their lunch box with one of those little ice thingies. You can pack these the morning of or the night before.

Tips for packing lunches

  • If you're sending them with chicken salad or the like.. put the salad into a small dish and let the kids make their sandwich when it's lunchtime so the sandwich bread doesn't get soggy.
  • If the above isn't an option, add a piece of lettuce between the bread and the salad to act as a barrier between the bread and meat.
  • For sandwich toppings and other veggies, make sure they are nice and dry before you pack them. This includes the lettuce used as a barrier.
  • Pack any condiments or sandwich toppings (tomatoes, mayo, etc) separately and have them add it right before they eat so the flavors don't blend together and become a yucky sandwich as my children like to call it.

I really don't like to use baggies to store sandwiches. They seem to always get smashed. Instead, I use a plastic container. A lot of times I use the containers for other things like veggies and fruits as well.

Favorite inexpensive containers and lunch accessories:

Sistema storage containers (these are flat and stack really well). They have a ton of other storage products for around the house plus, they are affordable which is a really nice bonus.

Slim reusable ice packs. They keep the lunch box cold and they're not bulky so I can fit more in the lunch bag/box. I wasn't sure if they'd keep the food cold, because they were so thin, but they do.

Reusable storage bags. These are something I've started using the last few years or so. I hate wasting money on sandwich bags and having reusable bags saves us money. They're perfect for snacks, veggies, and fruits. We have had no problem with these leaking. Plus, they are dishwasher safe, eco-friendly, and are freezer and microwave safe.

Mabel's Labels. I include these a lot just for fun. They also have allergy and medical alert labels you can stick on the lunch boxes or individual containers. My son is allergic to shellfish and while it's not common for kids to bring things like that, sometimes they do.

Healthy Lunch Box ideas for kids. Fruits, sandwiches, veggies, snacks and more.

So, as you can see above this is the latest and greatest of what my kids say they will eat for lunch. Most of the ideas were picked by them, but I did encourage a few of those on the list that they've tried and liked before.

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Christopher Mitchell
Christopher Mitchell
1 year ago

I don't have kids just yet, but when I do I'll have this post nice and bookmarked! Cheers!

Khushboo Motihar
Khushboo Motihar
1 year ago

I don't have any children but I am sure many moms will find this guide to be super helpful. The ideas are great and children would love these 🙂

Alexandra Cook
Alexandra Cook
1 year ago

So many great ideas here. Thank you so much for sharing. My kids would absolutely love this.

Kathleen Cregg
Kathleen Cregg
1 year ago

What a great idea! I should make a list for my husband and me! We often meal prep at the beginning of the week but sometimes I just get sick of the same foods we have in rotation. I've tried making a list of things that we order if we go out to lunch and if it is something that I can recreate and bring to work!

Life Of Y
Life Of Y
1 year ago

Great idea 🙂 maybe I’ll use some of these tips and apply them to my lunches!

Fran Jorgensen
Fran Jorgensen
1 year ago

We are going back to school this week in Australia so the timing for this is perfect! My kids do their own lunchboxes now but I would love to give them a healthier option. Thank you for sharing!

Hannah F Healy
Hannah F Healy
1 year ago

Such great ideas! I love the idea of reusable storage bags. Love that you made it printable too!

Geraline Batarra
Geraline Batarra
1 year ago

Great tips here..! I can also do it for my own, I always got the buns of my sandwiches a little wet because I assembled it to early from my lunch time. Lmao.

Crystal
Crystal
1 year ago

Heck, I'd be happy taking any of these to lunch with me now as an adult!

Rosey
Rosey
1 year ago

I'm happy to hear that there is a thin product to keep lunch cold. Our huge fat frozen block is a pain to pack. It takes up too much room in the lunch kit!

Tomislav
Tomislav
1 year ago

The struggle of making a healthy lunch box is real. These lunch box ideas are very useful! I also really like the tips for packing lunch. This article just made my life a whole lot easier!

Britney
Britney
1 year ago

This is perfect timing for me! My oldest goes back to school in two weeks!

Steph Social
Steph Social
1 year ago

We use mabel’s Labels! So great cuz they last forever!

Dana Brillante Peller
Dana Brillante Peller
1 year ago

Thank you for these lunch ideas. We're always looking for healthy ones for the boys to take to school.

Avanti Chaturvedi
Avanti Chaturvedi
1 year ago

This is such a great article! My son is now 15 months old and is always so hungry haha! This quick guide will surely come handy. Thanks for sharing!

Kristian Thomas
Kristian Thomas
1 year ago

Im going to use some of these for myself. As a teacher it can be really hard to take care of yourself throughout the school year. Thanks!

Lavern Moore
Lavern Moore
1 year ago

You list some great ideas for food to put in the lunchbox for the kids. I would love to have a lot of these in my own adult lunchbox they’re so good.

Lyosha
Lyosha
1 year ago

lovely ideas! Lunch boxes are filled with love and being healthy is an important treat

Ritu Sharma
Ritu Sharma
1 year ago

I Found your article very interesting I learned lot from your guide for health lunch box ideas, So kind of you to provide us a knowledge of these important things really heplful.

GiGi Eats
GiGi Eats
1 year ago

Right now we are only just starting to feed my son some solids, so I thankfully don't have to think about lunch box ideas JUST YET - ha ha! But man, when that time comes - this list of ideas will be wildly helpful!

Patricia Martin
Patricia Martin
1 year ago

This is great, I'm always looking for some lunch ideas to pack for my daughter to take to school.

lauy
lauy
1 year ago

interesting, no for kids because i don't have but for me! Yes! I am determined to go healthy this month, i lose appetite during summer and i crave many fruits and juices!

xx
lau
malibluemymind

Kuntala Banerjee
Kuntala Banerjee
1 year ago

Your article is helpful. I am very sensitive about my kid's food and the containers