Wow, I’m not quite sure if I want to believe it, but a fact’s a fact: summer is almost over. In five days, my girls will be heading back to school (Grade 6 and Grade 1!), and with that, comes the daily grind of packing lunches – and I needed some new school lunch ideas!
So this week, I got my girls on board and had them brainstorm some kid approved lunch ideas to make the process smoother for the year ahead. We also hit the grocery store and made a couple of lunches to try out – along with these new Rice Krispies Square Brown Rice Bar. I videotaped them sharing their favorite lunches (I swear, every action they make lately, they narrate it like they are doing a YouTube video. I literally heard my oldest in the shower saying “This is the conditioner I use, I got mine at Wal-Mart. I love it because it makes my hair really shiny…” No joke!)
In the end, the new Rice Krispies Square Brown Rice Bars were a hit – even my husband liked them. He said they had a deeper flavour, like when you caramelize something (chef talk!). My kids only get one “treat” in their lunch a day (and I constitute a treat as anything outside of the fruit, veggie, and yogurt/cheese spectrum), and I feel good about putting these squares in the kid apprived lunch rotation.
If you want more ideas, here are the full list of lunch and snack ideas that they came up with – and this is all from their own mouths so its kid approved (and my oldest can be picky!) Hopefully it helps you create healthy lunches that your own kids will approve as well.
Ideas for Main Lunches:
- Mini tacos or taco salad (I make taco meat ahead of time and freeze in batches. I also like these little tortilla boats that make them easier to eat at school.)
- Kebabs with deli meat, cheese, and pickles
- Baked or multigrain tortillas and salsa
- Chili (make ahead and store in batches)
- Pitas and hummus or tzatiki
- Chicken caesar salad or chicken caesar salad wraps (cook chicken ahead of time and freeze in batches)
- Mini bagels and cream cheese (we like to flavour them sometimes – this one is cinnamon!)
- Homemade “lunchables” (crackers, salami or pepperoni, and cheese)
- Tortellini and pasta sauce (if you don’t have a microwave at school, heat the sauce really hot and put it in a thermos. Place cooked pasta on top. Shake before eating.)
- Pinwheels (roll deli meat and cheese on a wrap with a spread like cream cheese or mayo, roll, and slice.)
- Grilled cheese sandwiches, or pocket style sandwiches with pizza fillings.
- Chicken noodle soup (my daughters absolute favorite!)
- Crackers and flavoured tuna mixed with cream cheese (we tried this first at Costco as a sample, and the kids adored it!)
- Taco hand pies (or make a pizza version!)
- Salad rolls (these are made with rice paper wraps, and my kids go nuts when I make them. We stuff ours with thin rice stick noodles, shrimp, and julienned carrots and cucumbers. Their school is nut free, so we make a dipping sauce out of mixed hoisin and sweet thai chili sauce – I actually prefer it to the standard peanut dipping sauce!)
- Chicken drumsticks (If I buy a rotisserie chicken, which I often do for a quick weeknight meal, I always save the drumsticks for lunches. The girls love them!)
- Sandwiches (I make them more interesting by letting the kids “order” a sub – they fill out a little mini card with what toppings they want, so they can pretend they are ordering from a sub shop).
- Boiled or devilled eggs (use mustard in place of half the mayo to make it a healthier option.)
- Leftovers such as tuna noodle casserole, lasagna, and pizza always go over well.
- Spaghetti and meatballs or meat sauce (my husband is the spaghetti king here, so he makes a big pot, and we freeze in individual serving size bags, so that all we have to do the night before is cook the noodles.)
- Fruit (berries, pineapple, watermelon, apples, and orange slices all work well here.)
- Veggies and dip (cucumbers, snap peas, carrots and pepper strips.)
- Yogurt with granola or drinkable yogurt
- Cottage cheese (and it may seem weird, but it’s really good mixed with canned fruit salad!)
- Baked Pea Snaps
- Granola Bars (homemade if you have the time!)
- Fruit leather (again, you can find so many DIY recipes online!)
- Banana bread
- Mini muffins, like blueberry, pumpkin, or banana (tip: I almost always half the sugar in the recipe. No one notices.)
- Rice krispies squares (the new brown rice ones are even better than the original!)
- Popcorn (I air pop a bowl at the beginning of the week and package in small baggies.)
- Applesauce (I always throw an applesauce in my kids lunch as an extra snack in case they are hungry. Why applesauce? Its healthy, non perishable, and doesn’t get damaged if they don’t eat it, so I can pack it again. Most foods will spoil or get crushed after a couple of days in the lunchbox, but not applesauce!)
- Goldfish crackers
- Cereal bars
- La Vache Qui Rit (laughing cow) cheese with crackers or apple slices
- Smoothies (freeze ahead of time and take out the morning of school – it will be cold and slushy by lunch!)
- Rice cakes (or the mini ones)
There you have it – over kid approved lunch box ideas, straight from their own mouths! Now there’s no way they can come home and say they didn’t like something!
What about your family? What’s would make your kid say “I’m a kid and I #ApproveThisLunchbox”?
**I partnered with Rice Krispies to bring you this post. All ideas and opinions are 100% my own.**