Healthy Real Food Lunch Ideas
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These healthy real food lunch ideas will help keep your kids feeling their best while they’re at school.
Packing healthy school lunches is the best way to oversee what your children eat while they’re at school.
In my experience, homemade lunches fare better than school-issued lunches when it comes to whole grains, healthy protein, and produce that children will actually eat. It’s also more affordable to pack your own lunch, as I detailed in this post about saving money by packing lunches.
How to Make a Healthy Lunch for School
It’s easy to get in a rut with packed lunches. Below you’ll find a list of different components that can go together to make a healthy, satisfying packed meal.
Whole grains, produce, and protein should always be part of the equation. I include examples in some of the categories, but there are so many other options. There’s no need to pack the same boring lunch day after day with these real food school lunch ideas.
Real Food Lunch Ideas: Grains
Macaroni and cheese
Whole grain pretzels
Whole grain crackers
Popcorn (fiesta popcorn, maple gingerbread popcorn)
Muffins (raspberry lemon muffins, blueberry chia muffins)
Real Food Lunch: Produce & Dips
Fresh fruit (grapes, apple slices, cherries, berries, melon)
Packaged fruit (applesauce, dried fruit)
Veggie strips (carrot, cucumber, red pepper)
Salsa (corn salsa, peach salsa)
Honey yogurt dip
Real Food Lunch Ideas: Protein
Soup (black bean soup, southwestern chicken soup)
Build your own taco kit (beans, meat, cheese, lettuce, salsa, tortilla)
Sandwich fillers (chicken salad, tuna salad, lunch meat)
Sandwich spread (nut butter)
Real Food Lunch Packing Supplies
There are loads of different options for lunch packing supplies, but here are a few that we like for these healthy real food lunch ideas:
Divided Lunch Containers
How do you keep lunches interesting? What would you add to my list? I’m always looking for new healthy school lunch ideas, so please share them in the comments.
Do you pack the macaroni and cheese cold? Or do you have a thermos to keep it warm? My daughter asked to take some the other day but I didn’t know if she would like it cold…and I have yet to buy something to keep foods warm! Probably just need to invest in some more ‘lunch gear.’ 🙂
I pack it heated in a Thermos, LeAnn. But I bet some kids would like it cold. Let me know if you try it!
Thanks, Annemarie! Will do. 🙂