Healthy School Lunch Ideas

Healthy Lunch Ideas for Busy Moms

School Lunch Hacks for Busy MomsHealthy School Lunches Made Easy
Healthy lunches for Busy Moms

As busy moms we not only need to feed ourselves but our kids as well.  I don’t know about your kids but mine never cared for school lunches. Our daughter will be returning to school for the first time since the accident and we need lunches!

Lunch Requirements:

Extra special, healthy, tasty

Lunch Packing Tips

Buy leak proof containers. Nothing is worse than being all excited about your cool lunch only to open it and see your applesauce turned your PB & J into a soggy mess.

Look for easy to open lids. Little hands do not necessarily have the motor skills or strength to open some containers.  Pack a trial run at the house or even better go on a picnic to test out the containers.

I have had great luck with these containers for the last 3 years.  I did pull one out of the dishwasher the other day and the side was cracked but it’s still usable.  For the price and the fact that they are used daily throughout the school year, I’m confident saying that they are a pretty awesome product.

*These containers are not leak proof we went with separation and easy to open as our top priorities.

Pack Utensils. The last thing you want to do is pack yogurt, a salad, or soup and forget a utensil to eat it with.  It will probably happen eventually. The school will probably be able to give the kids some plastic ware but they will already be seated and have to go back through the line and all that. Have the kids help pack the lunches and they can check to make sure they have something to eat with!

Wrap ice packs. We had a case of the drippy bottom lunch boxes until I finally got smart and wrapped the ice packs before sticking them in the bottom of the lunch boxes. Problem solved!

No Leaky Cups. Check to make sure your drink container are leak.  Give them a shake test just to make sure that your contents are going to stay put!

Batch items. What items can you do that are all the same?  Make all your sandwiches at one time.  Bag your dry goods like cereal or pretzels in one session.  This keeps you from going back and forth from task to task, allowing you to rock your time for all its worth!

Assembly line style.  The assembly line was a big hit for a reason.  It increases production.  Create an line on your counter.  Open all your containers and baggies.  Get everything ready you will be filling them with and get to it.

Buy containers that nest.  This means you can keep all your items together. I suggest a lunch container drawer!  All of the containers will have matching lids and your sanity will be saved yay!

Keep plastic wrap, paper towels, and aluminum foil on hand as part of your packing arsenal. They work great for keeping items dry until lunch time.

School Lunch Hacks for Busy Moms

Lunch Math

We have created a formula or a guideline to streamline our lunch making process.  This will be a big help as your children grow and start creating their own lunches.  They can plug in the formula and know they always have a healthy lunch!


  • 1 protein
  • 1 vegetable
  • 1 fruit
  • 1 kid’s choice
  • Fill in the gaps
  • 1 drink

The reason we fill in the gaps is for keeping the food snug and secure in the lunch container. That way if your child jostles the container they won’t open up a mess at lunch time.

Using the formula this week we have come up with a variety of tasty options for you to recreate. These are all easy and super normal ingredients that your kids will most likely eat.  We don’t want to introduce a bunch of new items while they are at school with nothing else to eat.  That could go horribly wrong!

Healthy School Lunch Ideas

  • Ham Rolls, Crackers, Cheese Stick, Pineapple and Honeydew melon, Carrots, Celery, and Cucumbers
  • Peanut Butter and Jelly On Whole Wheat, Peas, Applesauce
  • Chicken Chunks with dip, small salad, pear, baked or homemade tortilla chips
  • Lunchable pizza, small tortilla, pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella, turkey pepperoni, apple slices, carrots and celery
  • Turkey pinwheels, turkey, cream cheese, tortilla, lettuce, grapes, cucumbers, and popcorn

Extra Special Lunch

How do you make your lunches extra special for whoever is going to be chowing down? The two biggest ways I have found

  • Letting them pick 1 item of their choice within reason after you have made healthy choices for the rest of their lunch. This gives them some control over their lunch as well. We are going for 90% clean and healthy and we can let the kids have some freedom with the last 10%.  It’s perfectly ok and still going to keep their eating habits super healthy!
  • Add a non-food item. This can be an occasional item or everyday it’s really up to what works for you. Try little encouraging notes, a new pen, pencil or eraser, a printable picture that will make them smile when they open their lunch.  Don’t stress about this but do take time out to make sure you are doing the important stuff like reminding them how special they are every now and then!

Free printable lunch box notes

Free Printable lunch box notes

Free printable lunch box notes

Time, Time, Time

So yes creating lunches does take some time out of your schedule and space out of your cabinets.  What it gives you and your children in return is some control over what goes in their bodies!  There are so many things that are out of our hands in this life why not provide a good healthy lunch for your children if you are able?

Would you like to see if it’s cheaper to pack a healthy lunch then to buy it from school? Check out this post for a breakdown. 

If you are already on the bandwagon and need inspiration for healthy lunch ideas follow my Healthy Kids Board on Pinterest for endless fuel!



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