In America, the norm is to send kids to school with processed foods that are high in fat, sugar, and salt.
According to experts, these unhealthy school lunches are a contributing factor to the childhood obesity epidemic. It’s time to make a change in the health of our children.
Here are ten non-sandwich lunch ideas you can pack for your kids.
A fun alternative to boring sandwiches is roll-ups. This is one of the best cold lunch ideas your kids will love.
Use whole-wheat tortillas to increase the fiber.
If your kids love Hawai`ian pizza, they will ask for these roll-ups. Spread a little pizza sauce, pineapple bits and ham on a tortilla. Roll up and cut into small spirals.
Serve with fruit, cherry tomatoes, and some sweet potato chips.
Peanut Butter and Banana Roll-Up
Another alternative is a twist on the usual PB&J. Again, use a whole wheat tortilla and some peanut butter, along with sliced bananas and a drizzle of honey or agave syrup.
Roll, slice, and enjoy.
2. Energy Bites
A great idea for a playful lunch addition is an energy bite. They’re bite-sized and cute and pack a powerful punch of nutrition into your kids’ day.
What kid doesn’t want a lunch that has chocolate chips?
To make, simply mix 1 3/4 cup quick-cooking oats with 3/4 cup of peanut butter, 1/4 cup of honey, and a handful of chocolate chips.
Stir and form into balls. Refrigerate until you are ready to pack. You can also freeze them and have a quick lunch or snack for another day.
If you prefer to avoid chocolate chips, you can use raisins or dried cranberries. Serve with apple slices, sugar snap peas, and some cheese and crackers for a lovely finger food lunchbox.
If you find that your child takes a long time to eat a meal, especially when chatting with friends, a sippable lunch may be a good idea.
Smoothies are easy to keep cold with an ice pack in the lunch bag. Plus, the options are endless: kiwi banana, spinach with berries, and so on. Smoothies let you stuff a ton of vitamins and nutrients into a cup.
Your kids will get most of their daily fruit and veggie servings with smoothies.
4. Thermos Lunch
When thinking about non-sandwich lunch ideas, turn to your handy thermos for inspiration.
You can send in leftovers, soup, homemade cheesy pasta, turkey meatballs and so much more.
To make sure the food is hot, preheat your thermos by adding boiling water to the thermos for five minutes. Then dump the water and add in your heated up food.
5. Quinoa, Rice, or Pasta Salad
Salads are one of the most versatile and healthy lunch ideas for kids. Cold whole grains are easy to pack, don’t need reheating, and taste just as good as the moment you make them (sometimes better).
You can opt for a Greek pasta salad with feta cheese, rotini, sliced grape tomato, and cucumber. Or a Mexican-inspired rice or quinoa salad with black beans, corn, and salsa.
Best of all, you can prep these meals on the weekend and have several meals ready for the week.
6. Egg Cups
Why not give your kids a protein boost by sending them to school with a delicious egg cup?
Whisk eggs with their favorite veggies, meats, and cheeses. Bake in a muffin tin until the eggs set.
You can eat these cold and they are just as delicious. Plus, they are so round and cute that your kids won’t be able to resist.
Pair with fruit and yogurt or some veggies and dip.
7. English Muffin (or Naan) Pizza
Pizza is beloved by all children. Use that to your advantage and use it as one of your sack lunch ideas.
Spread sauce, cheese, and toppings on a mini whole wheat naan or whole wheat English muffin. Choosing whole wheat means the kids get an extra dose of fiber!
8. Finger Foods
Finger foods are fun, bite-sized, and so colorful. It’s even better if you pack it in a storage container that has lots of divided compartments.
Start by choosing your dip. Hummus, tzatziki, or any kind of nut butter works well.
Then slice and dice various fruits, veggies and include other nibbles like pretzels.
9. Breakfast for Lunch
All kids love breakfast for any meal. Use that to your advantage and pack them hard-boiled eggs, leftover pancakes, french toast, or sausage rounds.
You can even freeze waffles on the weekend and defrost in the toaster oven for an easy weekday lunch.
Spread cream cheese or peanut butter for a delicious and filling waffle sandwich.
Pair with sliced strawberries and a squeezable yogurt tube.
Another kid favorite is quesadillas. Again, this meal is so versatile that you can use whatever you have on hand.
Also, there’s no need to warm them up. They taste just as good when they are room temperature.
Pack with guacamole, jicama sticks, or tortilla chips.
Make Your Kids Happy With These Non-Sandwich Lunch Ideas
We hope these ten non-sandwich lunch ideas have given you a whole lot of lunch inspiration. With some creativity and some preparation, you can say goodbye to the packing lunch struggle each morning.
Do you wish there was an easy way to give your kids a healthy, delicious lunch each day? There is!
Check out the lunches that we deliver to your kids’ schools to make your life easier.