Healthy school lunches for kids can be hard especially for a picky eater or a child that cannot have certain ingredients such as dairy and/or gluten.
Worry no more as I’m about to give you a massive list of healthy school lunches for kids that will give you hope and that your kid will actually eat. Allelujah!
A little over six months ago we started seeing an integrative pediatrician who has literally changed our lives, for the better.
After going to multiple doctors and realizing that no one was going to dig deeper to actually find the root of our issues we found our integrative doctor who worked hard to help us find the answers.
Let’s be honest though, this has been no easy road to travel especially since we have had to remove dairy and gluten.
I feel like a pro at it now, and I am more than happy to share how we made it possible, but it was hard because when you take an already somewhat picky eater. Then remove even more foods and it can be overwhelming.
I can say that the benefits of removing these foods far outweighs the symptoms our child was experiencing. That’s why I’m here to help share how I did it.
After a lot of hard work I have decided to give you a list of healthy school lunches for kids that I think will help you.
I have listed a variety of options so that you will find something that fits your specific dietary needs.
Even if your child may not eat a specific item (yet) on the list don’t turn your nose up at it, but think about a similar food that they do like or you think they would like and give it a try.
Sometimes we need a list to help us think of other foods that our own children will like and try. So here you go my friend:
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- Tacos: Whether you had turkey, beef, or lentils tacos from the night before leave a little aside to pack in the lunch box tomorrow. If you have a lunchbox like this one OR this one (that I love because you can keep everything separate) then go ahead and put all of the toppings right in their own little spot. HERE is one that keeps your food warm. Toppings can include tortilla chips/scoops, gluten free soft tortilla wraps, organic hard taco shells, shredded lettuce, cherry tomatoes, olives, matchstick carrots, salsa, avocado or guacamole, diced baby bell peppers, shredded cheese (our favorite dairy free is So Delicious Cheddar cheese). If you are pinched for time and didn’t make tacos the night before then throw some beans such as black or kidney beans in there.
- Breakfast: Everyone loves a waffle, right? Well make Wednesday Waffle Wednesday! We love Vans dairy/gluten free waffles and Enjoy life brand. Some toppings on the side can include pure maple syrup (no aunt jemima please), any natural peanut/almond/cashew/sun butter, banana slices, strawberry slices, blueberries, raspberries, apple slices with or without cinnamon sprinkles, mini chocolate chips (we love Enjoy Life dairy free) cream cheese (we love Kite Hill dairy free). This would be great with some nuts, boiled egg, or egg muffin. You can even throw a piece of Applegate sausage in there or Hillary’s vegan and gluten free sausage patty which is my favorite.
- Noodle Bowl: My kids are liking the chickpea noodles right now. I think because they have a firmer texture and are super easy to pick up. You could also use macaroni noodles, spiral noodles, spaghetti noodles (break in half or leave long), black bean noodles, lentil noodles, or even ABC or fun shaped pasta. I have been known to buy the box of ABC macaroni (Before we were gluten free) just for noodles alone when I was trying to work towards my son eating noodles. Ain’t no shame in my game! Add a little italian dressing, ranch, honey mustard, olive oil, earth balance butter, or leave plain. Toppings could be nutritional yeast, edamame, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, shredded cheese, carrot strips, steamed broccoli, feta, corn, peas. Mix chosen ingredients together or leave in compartments for them to construct. Serve with unsweetened applesauce, celery with nut butter and raisins/craisins/ or mini dairy free chocolate chips.
- No Sandwich lunch: If your child is not a sandwich kind of kid that’s okay because you can still find ways to pack nutritious lunches. My oldest is not a sandwich kind of kid and I will admit some days I want to just throw a peanut butter and jelly in the box and call it a day. Here are some other options that will work too: GF soft tortilla wrap with Applegate organic and nitrate free turkey, ham, or pepperoni rolled up and cut in half. You can also spread DF cream cheese, sliced cucumbers and sprinkle some dill, roll up and cut. Spread peanut butter or nut butter of choice, sliced apples or banana, sprinkles of cinnamon, roll up, and cut like sushi. Crackers like triscuits/nut thins/simple mills brand/toast points, marinara sauce, shredded cheese, pepperoni or sliced baby bell peppers to make their own little pizza. Naan bread or whole wheat pita slices served with hummus or nut butter, apple slices, nuts, strawberries, and whatever veggies your child is into at the time. Throw in an energy ball for dessert.
- Snack plate: Who doesn’t love a good plate of snacks and especially when it consists of whole food ingredients. A snack plate lunch box could look something like this: granola bar or prepackaged allergy friendly like this one raspberries, celery with ranch(we like Tesse Maes DF ranch), and skinny pop popcorn. Popcorn, nuts, orange slices, edamame with sea salt. Boiled egg, grapes, crackers with nut butter, blueberries. Whole wheat or corn tortilla chips/scoops or plantain chips, guacamole, corn, sliced bell peppers, shredded cheese, black beans. Applesauce, celery with nut butter or ranch, sugar snap peas or snow peas, yogurt (we like Kite kill tubes, Silk or So Delicious DF yogurts), crispy chick peas (roasted ranch or rockin ranch). Dry cereal made from beans(my kids love Love Grown brand), almond milk, muffin, and banana. Sweet potato, nut butter, toppings like pumpkin seeds, strawberries, banana slices and apple cinnamon sticks. Rice cake with nut butter or chocolate or vanilla bean hummus and toppings like mini chocolate chips, banana slices, blueberries, raspberries, sliced strawberries, chia seeds, hemp seeds. Rice cake with toppings like DF cream cheese, honey, raisins, craisins, pumpkin seeds, chocolate chips, strawberries. Yogurt parfait: DF yogurt, granola, toppings to include ground flax, chia, hemp seeds, fruit of choice and served with muffin, energy balls, and/or veggie of choice. For more snack ideas click here.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by packing your child healthy school lunches my hope is that this blog will be a place you can come to find inspiration, ideas, and resources.
This list should help you and your lil one expand the variety of foods in your diet and when we eat better we begin to heal our bodies from inflammation.
Please share this post with a friend or family member. Many parents are out there struggling to make healthy school lunches for kids.
These ideas could help another parent find inspiration and encouragement when they need it the most.