Beyond the Sandwich: Lunchbox Tips for Kids.

Via Monica Johnson
on Mar 1, 2013
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G. E. House on Flickr
G. E. House on Flickr

Does taking lunch to school still conjure up an image of bologna on white bread, potato chips, and a juice box?

We’ve come a long way since the days of Wonder bread!

Children need a well-balanced diet to develop into healthy adults. While many school lunch programs have improved, parents often send their children to school with lunch from home to ensure proper nutrition. While it is important that lunchboxes contain healthy foods, they also need to be appealing and easy to make.

Here are a few suggestions to ensure your child eats a tasty and nutritious lunch.

  1. Keep it simple. You don’t need to use complicated recipes to provide yummy tasting foods.
  2. Keep it fun. Use fun colored plastic (BPA-free) containers to pack school lunch in. Cut sandwiches into bite-sized pieces or use a cookie cutter to cut into fun shapes.
  3. Make it a team effort. Involve your child in making their lunch. It gives them a sense of accomplishment and teaches them how to put together healthy foods for themselves-something that will serve them well in the future.
  4. Use whole-grains. Try new ones like Amaranth or Millet.
  5. Get creative. Sandwiches are great, but what about using a tortilla or pita instead of sandwich bread.

Here are some creative recipes/ideas:

  1. Take a basic PB&J, but put it on a bagel, a pita, or roll it in a tortilla. You can also substitute almond butter instead of peanut butter.
  2. Make pizzas on whole–grain English muffins instead of using dough.
  3. Combine a snack and a sandwich: Pretzel Kebabs. Roll turkey and cheese together, slice, and skewer with pretzel sticks.
  4. Remember how much fun it was to eat breakfast at lunch or dinner? Make a breakfast burrito. Roll up eggs, cheese, and vegetables in a whole wheat tortilla.
  5. Make a kid friendly crudité platter. Use their favorite vegetables (red pepper, cucumber, baby carrots) and serve with homemade hummus.
  6. Try shelled edamame in place of lima beans or peas.
  7. Replace the chips with air-popped popcorn. Season with sea-salt, Herbamare, nutritional yeast, and/or Bragg’s Amino Acids.
  8. Include a smoothie using juice and fruit. You can even throw in a kale leaf or two without affecting the taste.
  9. Substitute coconut water for juice packs.
  10. Low/No sugar yogurt with fruit for dessert instead of candy.


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Ed: Kate Bartolotta


About Monica Johnson

Monica is Co-Conspirator at Hudson Farms, located in far East, Texas. Monica is currently using 2014 to build the farm's soil and experiment, but looks forward to selling nutrient-dense fruits, vegetables and value-added products made from local ingredients in the Spring of 2015. When she's not farming she's probably in the kitchen cooking healthy meals, enjoying a glass of wine, or listening to the St. Louis Cardinals baseball broadcast. To connect with Monica visit, follow her on Twitter: @broccolimojo, or on Instagram: MonicaMarvels


9 Responses to “Beyond the Sandwich: Lunchbox Tips for Kids.”

  1. Laurel says:

    Great tips – simple changes like coconut water or tortillas are easy to try, and popcorn can be so much fun and healthier than chips! Reusable sandwich bags are fun too, environmentally friendly, and help prevent messes! or to order or for more info.

  2. Bob says:

    Packing my Grandson's lunch the other day was challenging to say the least. Unfortunately, my daughter packs him everything I don't like to see him eat. I filled his little lunchbox with every healthy snack I could find in the house and when I picked him up from school it was all gone. Yeah!! He even said."lunch was great Poppy". Now, if I can only get him to help my daughter see the light.
    Great article with lots of helpful tips.
    Thank You!!

  3. monicamjohnson says:

    Thanks so much for the read and your suggestion.
    I love lunchskins!

  4. monicamjohnson says:

    Love your story! I find kids love healthy foods, they just need to be exposed to it.
    Maybe you could email your daughter my piece and she'll be inspired by it 🙂
    Good luck!

  5. @budabebe says:

    We switched to using PlanetBox to take packed lunches in and suddenly it was so much easier to pack a healthy lunch for the children with out everything having to be wrapped up in foil or cellophane. And it's easier to lay the food out to make it look really appetising and colourful. I once read that children like to see 5 different colours of foods on their plate compared to most adults who only need 3.

  6. @budabebe says:

    Oh dear, it missed the rest of my comment off the bottom – I went on to say I love your Idea of using pretzel sticks as skewers and will be trying that this week with my children – thanks for the tips 🙂

  7. Monica says:

    Thanks for the read and comment…. I hadn't heard about the 5 colors!
    Enjoy the pretzel kebobs!

  8. Jezz says:

    Thanks Monica for your great lunch tips for school. My kids love tortillas, so that part of mess is already satisfied 🙂 But the next thing is when one loves bell pepper, the other one doesn't. So I have to satisfy both of them and its stressful. I like your idea of making kids involve in preparing their lunch. I do that, so both of my kids can prepare their lunch with each ones' favorite veggies and they love doing it.

  9. Nice ideas. Thanks for posting. Have a suggestion, provide your child the Jungle Magic Lunch Pack which contains sanitizer along with water bottle. I am also using it and my child love it. I purchased it from :

    you can search on other sites.