Stress free kids lunch ideas

Congratulations fellow parents! We've made it through the summer. Somewhere between the last day of school, camp fires and beach vacations the summer flew by and it's time to send our kids off to school again. A collective celebratory dance is in order. The only caveat is having to make a healthy lunch for the kiddos during the morning rush.

No worries. Here are some simple to follow options. I was thinking of putting together some of those super cute designs and shapes, but in reality nobody has time nor energy to make those after the excitement of the 1st day of school wares off. Keep it simple. Doable. And of course wholesome! But if you do end up making adorable star cut-out veggies, or a landscape themed lunch box can I be your kid for a day?

1. Sandwich + fruit + roasted chickpeas

Slap a spread with TLC (tomato, lettuce cucumber) between whole wheat slices. My favorite and fastest "spread" is a ripe avocado. Add a serving of fruit,  and a crunch side.  Done.

2. Leftover breakfast + fruit + crackers

This combo can work on days when it feels like your last grocery trip was months ago. It's friday,  you need something quick and the fridge is empty. Cook a big batch of oatmeal, or another hot cereal of your choice. Top off with fruit and finish with whole wheat crackers. It's missing veggies, but you're kids will survive. Make up for it by overloading at dinner time. Key here is feeding them wholesome food so they aren't driving their teachers nuts because their starving. 

3. Wrap + fruit combo + seed bites

Wraps can be filled with anything, just like a sandwich: sunbutter, hummus spread, TLC, avocado, rice and beans, etc. Cherry tomatoes and grapes are perfect quick snacks.  The seed bites in the picture are the carob spirulina energy squares from the whole foods bulk section. You can also use this power bar recipe, simply replace nuts with any seeds if your kids go to a nut-free school.

4. Leftover dinner + bread + veggies with dip

Feel free to put yesterday's dinner in their lunch box. Nothing extra for you to do except grab the lunch box in the morning. 

5. Leftover dinner + fruit + nut-free trail mix

Make your own trails mixes are the easiest things to do, even if you have to avoid nuts. The mix in the picture has raisons, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and a few mini dark chocolate chips.

Quick recap for individual items:

Main                           Seasonal fruit/veggies             Side 2
sandwich                   apples                                        seed bites
pasta                          berries                                       whole wheat crackers
rice                             grapes                                       trail mix
wrap                           peach                                        power/granola bar
oatmeal                      orange                                       roasted chickpeas
last night's dinner      cucumber                                  muffin*
waffles                        carrots                                       cookie*
pancakes                    cherry tomatoes                        oil free potato chips 
salad                           banana
                                    dip (white bean/hummus)
* Muffins and cookies don't have to be loaded with sugar and processed flours. Both can be made with wholesome ingredients to make these guilt free staples in kid lunches. 


Water would be my only choice to send to school. Most box juices are pretty much just sugary water anyways. Plus, you don't have to spend extra on buying a beverage.  


Bento kits, and containers that are separated into sections is the most hassle free way to stay sane and organized. Here are some options in various price ranges.

1. Fit & Fresh Kids lunch bag are $20 for a bento kit. Includes insulated lunch bag, container and built in ice packs.
2. Bentology range in price from $25 to $42. You'll get a bento kit, insulated lunch bag and silverware.
3. Thinkbaby stainless steel individual containers start at $9. Not the full kits, but a great option if you need to pack individual items. 
4. Innobaby stainless steal containers similar to thinkbaby products, but start at $17 for air tight containers.
5. Stainless steel PlanetBox are a bit pricey, starting at $55. The containers are fully made from stainless steel and divided into compartments that are large enough for very hungry kids. 
6. Mackenzie all in one lunch bag from Pottery Barn Kids. Normally priced at $59.50 is one of the best deals for an all inclusive stainless steel set. Includes insulated lunch bag, stainless steel container and silverware. 

Enjoy the new school year everyone! Hope it's filled with many laughs, adventures, and moments allowing your kid's curiosity run wild.