Dealing with kids’ food, especially pre-schoolers, can be overwhelming. Whatever you think is healthy is not necessarily what their taste buds want.
As a stay at home dad, I have lots of questions about parenting. So I started my own blog! Parental Questions is a great resource for parents.
But my biggest worry is whether or not my kids will eat healthy food at school and what I can do to ensure it happens.
These healthy packed lunch box ideas are quite easy for me to assemble and my kids enjoy the meals. They taste great, are packed with all the right ingredients to keep your kids energy levels high and, importantly, they allow me to shake off the ‘guilt’ when I do eventually give them a sweet or savoury snack later on.
1. Avocado Toast
This allows you to put together a healthy snack in less than 5 minutes. Mash an avocado, spread it on whole grain toasted bread, and top with shredded raw milk cheese. Add a pinch of salt, a sprinkle of basil and maybe pepper flakes if your kids enjoy pepper.
2. Chicken Noodle Soup
For minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins, pack a thermos of chicken noodle soup. When free over the weekend, make chicken noodle soup with a whole grain noodle and freeze multiple portions. All you need to do is warm a portion and pack it in a thermos for your kid’s lunch. This is a great tip for parents (like me) with a hectic school week!
3. Fruit Salad with Nuts
This is a light packed lunch, ideal for hot days when kids prefer a light meal. Fill the lunch box compartments with your kid’s favorite nuts and different types of fruits—separate dry fruits like apples, grapes, and berries from watery fruits like pineapple or melons.
Pack a small plain yogurt with the lunch box where the kid can mix all these ingredients when it’s time to eat. Your little ones will enjoy the responsibility of mixing their own food.
*Always double check that other pre-schoolers don’t have nut allergies.
4. Cheese Meatball Bombs
Stuff whole grain biscuit or pizza dough with meatballs, mozzarella, or parmesan cheese, and marinara sauce or tomato sauce. You can spice the dough with some parsley toppings.
Hummus sandwiches are a great healthy way to improve blood sugar control, aids in digestion, and even helps with weight loss!
I’d recommend you use a lunch container with different compartments, so the bread doesn’t get soggy by snack time. (I learned the hard way!)
Slice the pieces of whole grain bread into thin pieces or cubes together with hummus. In other compartments in the lunch box, add some soft veggies like carrots or cucumbers, and some fresh fruit.
6. Meatloaf Muffins
This is an alternative to normal meatloaf and is easy and fast to make. It’s great if you are short on time when preparing your kids’ lunch.
All you have to do is bake the usual meatloaf mix in muffin containers. You can add grated veggies like carrots or broccoli and some cheese to the mixture to make it healthier. Pack these delicacies with some rice, mashed potatoes, or homemade fries, and a pack of homemade juice or yogurt.
7. Dairy-Free Pasta Salad
If your kid is allergic to dairy products, try packing this delicious dairy-free pasta salad. Use cooked organic whole-wheat pasta and mix it with diced avocado, tomatoes, fresh basil, and scallions.
8. Vegetable Rice
One of my favorites is reusing rice and turning it onto a kid friendly vegetable rice medley!
If you have some leftover rice then Instead of packing it in the freezer until further notice, mix it up with some veggies to make healthy and yummy meals for kids’ packed lunches.
Lightly cook veggies like carrots, peas, corn, peas, peanuts, lentils, and bean sprouts. You can add other veggies that your kids love. Once cooked, mix with the leftover rice and season with their favorite herbs or spices. Heat the mixture in an oiled or buttered pan and leave it to cook for a few minutes. Alternatively, you can use quinoa or whole grain noodles.
9. Pizza Pockets
Instead of packing pizza pieces, make some quick whole grain biscuit pocket snacks over the weekend and save them in the freezer for packing over the school week.
For this, I’d recommend stuffing some pizza toppings like diced pepperoni, pizza blend, or cheese, onions, bell peppers, grated parmesan cheese, in a whole grain biscuit. Bake the stuffed biscuit pockets until they are nicely browned.
The above 9 healthy packed lunch box ideas are my kids’ favorites. I use my time to prep some of the intensive meals and save for the following day or week. Remember to give the kids a chance to help build their lunches. Then they’ll be making their own at a younger age and you can relax!