Packing lunch for work or school can be tricky but these lunchbox ideas for kids and adults are easy, healthy and delicious.
At the beginning of the school year I’m always filled with lots of inspiration to pack a nutritious, exciting lunch for my kids. This usually lasts around a month or two (if I’m lucky) because reality sets in, we settle into our routine and thinking of creative lunchbox ideas just becomes my last priority. Now that they are older, they pack their own lunch for school but these tips and recipes have helped us since they were little.
Tips for easy packed lunches
- ALWAYS prepare a packed lunch the night before. Scrambling to get things into a lunchbox during the morning rush is a recipe for disaster. Being prepared and making sure it’s all done ahead also leaves more space for being creative and ensuring each lunchbox is filled with healthy, delicious food.
- Include whole foods as much as possible. Fresh fruit and vegetables is a great way to start. However, I’ve found that if kids have to work too hard, they give up. Bananas, unpeeled citrus, etc. all come back untouched. That’s why it’s a good idea to peel and slice fruit or even make fun skewers. The same can be done with cold meats, vegetables and cheese. Baby cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas, baby corn and carrots are all great. A small pot of tzatziki or ranch dipping sauce is a delicious add-on.
- Keep it cool. Freeze a re-usable bottle of water and place in the lunchbox to keep all the components cool. This is especially handy if you’re packing fresh fruit or vegetables, dips, salads, chicken, etc.
- Pack what they will eat. I can tell you that you should pack vegetables and fruit and yes of course it’s healthy for them and/or you, but if your child doesn’t touch vegetables at home they will definitely not eat them at school. Try to get them to try a new vegetable every day and hopefully they’ll be more open to it.
- Be prepared. Try to plan lunchboxes a week ahead. Include it in your meal planning for the week and that way you will be prepared. Make sure your pantry is stocked with healthy snacks and foods you know you and/or your kids like.
Packed lunch ideas
- Smoked chicken sandwich with jalapeño mayo
- Chicken Caesar sandwich
- Curried chicken salad sandwiches
- Melted Caprese sandwich
- Easy salami sandwich
Fruit and vegetables
- Healthy blueberry muffins
- Easy healthy zucchini bread
- Easy healthy chocolate chip banana oat muffins
- Bacon corn muffins
- Brown sugar cinnamon banana bread
- Banana, date and pecan muffins
Easy protein lunchbox ideas
- Zucchini feta crustless quiche
- Creamy tzatziki grilled chicken wraps
- Chicken quinoa salad with peas and feta
- Greek chicken salad
- Slow-roasted tomato and goat’s cheese quiche
- Mexican lunch bowls
What great ideas for my 7 year old. I’m going to share your link on my web site about health and nutrition I want all my readers to know about it. Cheers, Mary Bradley
Happy ‘back to school’ Alida! Thank you for this wonderful post. I have been making lunchboxes for my kids now for 16 years and i have 8 years left until my youngest finishes Matric so I needed some inspiration! I am definitely going to try the sushi sandwiches. My kids tend not to eat yogurt so I don’t put that in but I do make a small pot of popcorn on the stove ( just the regular stuff not microwave popcorn) add a little salt. It usually makes 3 small zip-grip bags. My youngest also loves blueberries and grapes.
I love the popcorn idea. When it comes to fruit I’m lucky that my kids will eat anything so whatever I have in the house, I pack for them.