It’s back-to-school season and while kid’s main priority is deciding whether to get the Baby Shark or the Paw Patrol backpack, you’re likely focused on how you’re going to pack a nutritious lunch every day that they’ll actually eat!
I’ve got you covered. Today I’m sharing 5 kid-friendly lunch and snack ideas along with tips for packing balanced meals.
Each recipe includes vitamin-C strawberries and is both nutrient-dense and perfect for on-the-go eating. Vitamin C is an important nutrient for busy kids to help support immune function and maximize iron absorption.
Don’t let the title throw you off, these cookies are a delicious, nutritious bite anytime of the day! We like to pack them for a snack or serve them as a side dish.
Nutrition Tip: to balance your babe’s plate, aim to include one item from each of these three main categories at every meal: Fruits + Vegetables; Legumes, Nuts + Seeds; Grains and Starches.
With fiber-rich oats, fresh strawberries, and peanut butter, these cookies include an ingredient from all three categories. For an extra protein boost, serve alongside a protein-rich plant yogurt.
I included one of these ever-so-sweet, crumbly muffins in my son’s lunchbox for his first day of school, and let’s just say I won’t be surprised when my Mom of the Year Award shows up.
These muffins are both incredibly tasty and packed with nutrition thanks to the whole grains and fresh fruit.
Like the breakfast cookies, these make a great snack or lunch side. I paired my son’s muffin with an edamame soba noodle salad and sliced cucumbers.
Not only is this meal adorable, it’s also nutrient-rich!
Kids will love the creative presentation and parents will love knowing their babe is properly fueling for their busy school days.
Allergy-Friendly Tip: If your child has a peanut or nut allergy (or goes to a nut-free school), simply swap the peanut butter for sunflower seed or pumpkin butter. You could also pair with a white bean-based spread – it sounds strange but it’s delicious, I promise!
These scrumptious balls are a staple in our house year-round. My son actually begs me to let him help make them!
Made with protein-rich chickpeas, cashews, oats, and fresh strawberries, they’re a perfectly balanced snack that kids love.
Meal-Planning Tip: Make a double batch of these babies and freeze for easy lunches and snacks. Just pop the frozen balls in your babe’s lunchbox and they’ll defrost in time for munching.
Toss those expensive, sugar-ladened fruit snacks in the trash – you don’t need a bunch of fancy ingredients to make a chewy snack your kids will love.
This fruit leather is made with four simple ingredients and can be customized to your kid’s taste. This recipe includes ginger for a unique flavor combo, but you can leave it out or swap it for another spice if you prefer.
This fruit leather pairs nicely with a peanut butter, hummus, or nut-based cream cheese sandwich for a balanced meal. Or serve alongside a glass of calcium-rich milk for a snack.
Nutrition Tip: Calcium is a priority nutrient for growing kids. I like to get it in at snack time by offering milk alongside a fruit option (like this fruit leather). If you’re plant-based, I recommend a calcium-fortified, unsweetened soy or pea protein-based milk.
What are your child’s favorite school lunches and snacks? Share in the comments below!