It’s officially back-to-school season— did it sneak up on anyone else this year? We all know I’m a summer lover through and through, but something about the energy of back-to-school time is so refreshing, rejuvenating and just lovely. A fresh start and a reset on routines. And, for me, a fun challenge to find little ways to mix up school lunches and make them as healthy, creative and fun as possible.
This is the kind of thing that gets me going— like, how can I fit in the most nutritious, colorful & interesting foods, without doing the same thing every day or spending tons of time packing a lunchbox? It’s like a game for me… that’s just how my brain works and I LOVE doing it.
But based on my DMs any time I share school lunches, I know not every parent feels this way. For many, packing healthy lunches causes a lot of stress, overwhelm, pressing the easy-button too often with not-great-quality options, and time crunches that are not ideal. And I get it— I mean, really, how many combos are there to pack that you know your kid will eat, enjoy and get fuel from?
So, I’ve been determined to try to help. Especially the parents here in this community who I know desire to feed your kids great-quality meals– but sometimes just the practical stuff of WHAT and HOW is missing. And how to do it quickly.
My approach simplifies all of it– go figure. I make it like a game, like a mix & match choose your own adventure, if you will. For completely nourished and balanced healthy meals, that are simple to whip together in a snap. Oh… and also fun and easy to eat for littles.
Below I’m sharing 3 of my (and my kids’) FAVORITE combos– but I also have a free printable PDF guide to help parents streamline your lunch-packing game here –> Healthy Lunchbox Ideas, a simple and healthy mix-and-match plan for you to pick from a few categories to fill your little one’s lunchbox!
Get it delivered straight to your inbox right now by clicking here. (Or send it to someone you love with little kids!)
For context, all of the lunchbox pairings inside are:
- Nut-free (to comply with most school rules these days)
- Made with nourishing, grounding and filling REAL FOODS so your little can have great energy and love their lunches
- Gluten-free (but you can add it in if you can tolerate it)
Inside it, I talk about the “categories” I pull from each time I pack a lunch.
They are: Veggies, Sandwich (or other picnic-style main dish), a Salty/Crunchy (but still real-food ingredients) item, Fruit and/or Dips. Inside the guide, I provide TONS of options inside each category, and then lots of examples of combinations that I use often so you have plenty of inspiration for your own lunchbox creations.
Here are a few healthy school lunch examples:
Lunchbox Idea #1:
Cucumbers + turkey hummus tomato sandwich + cheddar cheese + one satsuma
Lunchbox Idea #2:
Baby tomatoes + sunflower butter with jam on rice cakes + a turkey stick + blueberries
Lunchbox Idea #3:
Snap peas + sunflower butter with banana & cinnamon sandwich + olives with GF crackers + a plum
See? It’s not so overwhelming when you have a formula and ideas to pick from, imho.
And if you’re looking for great lunchbox accessories, here are some of my favs:
Some kid snack brands & items to try (all found on Thrive Market):
I also want to share some Thrive Market new finds we’re trying out over here (all nut-free & gf for school lunches). Thrive Market is seriously one of the best lunchbox-packing secret weapons– you can get a variety of new snacks and sides delivered on a rotating basis so you’re always able to mix up what you’re sending in your kids’ lunches. I love knowing it’s all well-sourced, high-quality stuff that I can trust to feed to my kids.
You can get 25% off your first order (& a free gift) when you join using this link! One year and one month memberships available.
Quinn Snacks GF pretzel twists
Hippie Snacks Avocado Crisps
LesserEvil Cinnamon Space Balls
Pulp Pantry Veggie Chips
Thrive Market Grass Fed Beef Sticks
From The Ground Up Sea Salt Cauliflower Pretzel Sticks or Butternut Squash Pretzels
Thrive Market Pitted Green Olives
Soley Organic Whole Fruit Gummies for a treat swap at school (I also love Beekeepers Naturals Throat Lollipops, Yum Earth lollipops, LesserEvil Sweet & Salty Popcorn for treat swaps at school– use code SIMPLYREALHEALTH to save 20% at Beekeepers Naturals)
Canyon Avocado Oil Potato Chips
Jackson Coconut Oil Sweet Potato Chips
Simple Mills Super Seed Crackers (their nut-free option, made with seeds instead)