Creating healthy kids lunches (and breakfasts…and dinners….and snacks) can be a challenge sometimes. I see some incredible plates out there, but I have zero time to turn my daughter’s meal into a scene straight out of a Disney movie. I want to. But, I just can’t.
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I need simple ingredients that I can mix and match throughout the week (variety is key for my little) but I also want to feel like I’m creating healthy meals for her and not just grabbing something unhealthy from the freezer because I can microwave it.
It’s a delicate balance and isn’t one size fits all – I mean, my daughter loves bananas one day and hates bananas the next. And, I wouldn’t even call her a “picky eater”. But, since I’ve been doing this sometime now, I decided to pop in a quick list of healthy kids lunches that score big points in our house.
All of these plates are perfect for busy parents and for those of us that just don’t wanna when it comes to meal prep.
LOW SUGAR, LOW CARB & VARIETY
We try to create a good balance of protein, carbs and sugar when feeding our daughter. We eat grain-free and sugar-free ourselves and noticed a huge change in behavior (ours and hers!) when we pulled back on processed carbs / extra sugars and stuck to the basics. That doesn’t mean every meal follows this example – but most of them do which works well for our little fam!
You can beef up these plates too, if your kiddo is a big eater. Our little love tends to eat a few bites of everything at each meal, but doesn’t usually finish her plate, so we offer lots of variety and smaller portions.
17 HEALTHY KIDS LUNCHES
Pepperoni, Carrots, Hummus, Cheese & Whole Grain Pretzels: We opt for nitrate free, uncured pepperoni, sharp cheddar cheese, baby carrots, mini hummus cups and Whole Grain pretzel fishies to keep it cute. For something sweet, she nibbled on a few organic raisins.
Pepperoni, Monterey Jack Cheese, Green Beans, Apple Sauce & Made Good Bar: Another variety using uncured pepperoni and cheese. This time I added green beans, applesauce and a Made Good Bar for an extra treat (these are school safe, ps)!
Homemade Pizza Bagels, Broccoli, Strawberries and Blueberries: OMG, these homemade bagels are so good (so easy to make) and packed with protein. I topped them with Rao’s marinara, a little whole-milk Mozzarella, a few broccoli florets and a little bit of fruit.
Turkey Breast, Mozzarella Cheese, Applesauce, Cucumbers & Whole Grain Pretzels: My daughter is not a huge meat eater, but it’s hard to get her good protein without it. So, every now and then we sneak in a few pieces of uncured turkey breast, fresh mozzarella (which she LOVES), cucumbers, applesauce and a few whole grain pretzel fishies for crunch.
Chicken Tenders, Spinach, Clementines, and Honey: Chicken tenders were in for a hot minute (they’re out now) and when they were, we’d give her a bit of honey for dipping. These tenders are another from Applegate Farms. We like that their meats are hormone-free, humanely raised and gluten-free. She loves raw spinach and clementines so they made the meal.
Chicken Tenders, Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Green Beans: When chicken was “in”, we would pair it with mashed sweet potatoes and green beans. It worked!
Tortellini, Raspberries, Carrots & Hummus, Sunbutter Cookie: We try to keep pasta to a minimum these days, but cheese filled tortellini is great hot or cold and super easy to prep, so we throw it in every now and then. Paired with Carrots, Hummus, and Raspberries and finished off with this Sunbutter Cookie Ball (I shared the recipe here a few weeks ago – school safe!).
Tortellini, Carrots, strawberries and Graham Cracker Fishies: In another variation, I served cold Tortellini with shredded carrots (sometimes a simple texture change will get the food in their belly!), strawberries and a few graham cracker fishies.
Almond Butter & Jelly English Muffins, Broccoli & Peaches: My daughter won’t eat regular bread, so we sometimes make AB & J on an Oatmeal Protein English Muffin. Serve it up with some Broccoli, Peaches and it’s a meal. We use a jelly that has zero sugar added and only smear a tiny bit.
AB & J English Muffin, Cukes with Guac & Grapes: Change it up by serving it whole (I’m under strict orders from the boss to put AB on one and Jelly on the other – not together. I slice up some grapes, open up a mini guac cup and serve it with cukes for dipping.
Waffles, Yogurt, and Bananas: Because breakfast for dinner is where it’s at, guys! We buy veggie infused waffles, and serve it with a bit of maple syrup for dips. Bananas on the side (usually with Almond butter on top) and yogurt…with rainbow sprinkles…because I’m not always the sugar police 🙂
Eggy Omelet, bacon, avocado and blueberries: Another great breakfast (or lunch or dinner) is this omelet (filled with yummy cheese and spinach or broccoli, onions and sometimes peppers). Bacon is a hit or miss (I’m so fine when its a miss because then it ends up in my belly) and avocado with blueberries is almost always a win!
Charcuterie Plate, with Cheese, Soppressata, mixed nuts & a pickle: Since the hubs and I eat Keto, we sometimes offer up a “keto dish” to the kiddo. This one is filled with yummy meats, cheese, nuts, and a pickle. FYI – I probably would’ve never thought of this when planning out healthy kids lunches before going keto, but changing our diet, gave us new ideas for hers (and, I mean…this plate is the cutest)!
Hardboiled egg, Broccoli, Brown Rice & Raspberries: Hardboiled eggs are a great little thang to pre-make and have in the fridge for quick meal prep. I serve it up with pretty much anything – this time, Broccoli, Organic Brown Rice with Grass Fed butter and Raspberries.
Quinoa & Rice, Chickpeas, carrots and a Plum Applesauce Mash-Up: While my little is on a rice kick, I try to make it a bit healthier by adding quinoa and chickpeas (with a little parm cheese and butter). Paired it with carrots and a Plum Organics applesauce mashup for “dessert”.
Quinoa & Rice, Chickpeas, Peppers, Strawberries & Blueberries: Changed it up (also known as parental trickery) by splitting out the quinoa/rice and chickpeas, slicing up a few baby peppers and serving a few strawberries and blueberries.
Cucumbers and Guac, Apples & Peanut Butter and Cheese: While one might not consider this a “meal”, I’m tossing it in anyway (when it comes to healthy kids lunches, creative ideas make all the difference!). Some days we graze because life happens and we don’t have time for “proper” meals. On those days, I like to make a fun plate filled with fruit, veggies and healthy fats.
I am always on the hunt for new easy and healthy kids lunches to make, so if you have any suggestions, please drop them in the comments below! And, if you have a favorite breakfast or dinner you serve, share that too. I want all of it 🙂
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