Back to School: Easy Lunches and Healthy Snacks

For some parents, the end of August is the best time of year when the kids go back to school! For others, not so much, going back to school is dreaded and the summer bucker list still has many activities left unchecked! The beginning of a new school year means getting back into a routine, back to packing lunches, figuring out healthy snack ideas to grab on-the-go to after school activities, and all the other hustle bustle that comes along with it. Here is a blog post for all of you parents needing healthy lunch and snack ideas!

Lunches

Main Meals:

  • Sandwiches- for picky eaters or just to make more appealing, try cutting the sandwich into fun shapes! Make lunch exciting!

    • Deli meat (ham, turkey, chicken, roast beef, etc), cheese, maybe even throw some greens on there.

    • Good ol’ peanut butter and jelly

    • Chicken, tuna, or egg salad sandwiches

  • Instead of a sandwich, switch it up and make a wrap

  • Leftovers from the night before

  • Mini pizzas made on bagels

  • Finger food lunch- diced ham, cheese cubes, and crackers

  • Chicken, tuna, or egg salad with crackers

  • Soup in a thermos

  • Cubed ham or chicken and cheese kebab

  • Quesadillas

  • Deli meat roll ups: roll deli meat around cheese, cream cheese, along with some greens

  • Lettuce wraps

  • Diced chicken and rice or rice noodles

  • Cold noodle salad

  • Breakfast for lunch! Pancakes/ waffles

Sides:

  • Fresh fruit and veggies!

    • To make mornings run smoother, get the prepackaged containers of carrots and ranch, apples and dip, etc. if saving time is what you are after.

    • Another tip: the beginning of the week separate fruit and veggies into small containers or zip lock bags to make it quicker in the mornings.

  • Apple sauce cups or pouches

  • Chia seed pouches

  • Fruit cups

  • Yogurt cups or Go-Gurts (lunch hack- put Go-Gurts in the freezer the night before, pack it in the lunch box in the morning and should be thawed just in time for lunch!)

  • Salad

  • Crackers and cream cheese or dip

  • Chips

  • Pretzels and hummus

  • Celery and peanut butter (throw in some chocolate chips to top with!)

  • Sliced apples and peanut butter

  • Baby carrots and cucumber slices, with dip

  • Popcorn

  • Hard-boiled egg

  • Cheese stick, slices, or cubes

  • Summer sausage slices, or beef stick

 

After school when the kids come home, the first thing that comes out of their mouth usually isn’t how their day was, it’s “I’m hungry, I need a snack!” It can be so easy to have the cupboard stock piled with prepackaged snacks, granola bars, crackers, etc. and yes, those are essential when you have kids! But fueling them with nutritious foods as often as you can is important too! Here are some ideas of easy healthy snacks for after school!

Snacks:

  • Homemade granola or homemade granola bars

  • Trail mix

    • Let the kids help! Have them pick a few of their favorites (dried fruit, cereal, nuts, crackers, and yes maybe even some M&M’s or chocolate chips!) Toss it all into a large bowl, then divide into snack sized baggies. It’s a quick grab and go snack!

  • Smoothies

  • Muffins- make a variety of muffins and freeze them. They will last longer and can be thawed or microwaved whenever they are needed!

  • Pudding

  • Hummus and veggies

  • Toast with peanut butter and fruit

  • Avocado toast

  • Popcorn

  • Yogurt and fruit/ granola

  • Apples and peanut butter

  • Chips and salsa or guacamole

  • Mini pizza on a tortilla or bagel

  • Homemade fruit roll- ups

  • Rice crispy treats and fresh fruit

  • Frozen yogurt pops (homemade or put Go-Gurts in the freezer for a cool treat!)

  • Frozen grapes

  • Homemade cookies

The biggest thing you can do to help yourself out during those crazy school days is to prepare ahead of time! Make up a big container of granola on Sunday afternoon/ evening and divide it up into baggies for quick snacks, pack lunches the night before. Do what you can to help make the mornings not so hectic! Most of all - don’t over stress, take it one day at a time, and eventually you will fall into a good routine! Give yourself grace!