If you are the “#extra” type that makes Mickey Mouse-shaped pancakes on weekday mornings, this post may not be for you.
I’m that “Grab a breakfast bar on your way out the door!” kind of mom. If you search Pinterest on how to seasonally theme the cutting & decorating of school sandwiches, I can’t relate. But, I bet what we can relate on is that we all want our kids healthy & well-fed. …I just like it when that wish comes wrapped in a nice little grab & go package.
Here are my top easy & quick –but still healthy!– lunchbox ideas:
Wholesome Alternatives to Chips: Everyone likes a lil’ somethin’ savory & crunchy in their lunchbox, right? However, the traditional kinds of “chips” I grew up with: Cheetos, Doritos, etc. are brands I avoid because they contain refined vegetable oils, artificial colors, and MSG. But, there are a slew of new alternatives on grocery store shelves. Now, the taste takes a tiny-bit getting used to, but luckily my kids are young enough to be none-the-wiser. There are single-serve bags of crispy, savory, & cheesy-tasting “chips” made of things like cauliflower (Cauliflower Stars), chickpeas (Hippeas), and lentils (Lentil Chips). Plus, with so many people going Paleo/Keto/Gluten-Free, the options seem to expand monthly. Just start trying them out! You might find that the healthy-alternative to Doritos (Beanitos, in Nacho Cheese flavor) is a tasty guilt-free substitute!
Fruits & Veggies from the Pantry: Most days, there is at least one shelf-stable product in my child’s lunch. My first choice, of course, is buying fresh whole foods to chop & prep for my kids. However, sometimes you open the fridge to find it bare and ya gotta grab something from the pantry. This almost always happens to me when we get home from vacation, tomorrow is a school day, and there’s no way I’m going back out to the grocery store. So yeah, I try to keep some pure-as-possible shelf-stable fruits & veggies stocked at all times.
For example, when we run out of fresh fruit, I’ll opt for raisins, dried apricots, freeze-dried bananas, or unsweetened applesauce. Examples for veggies: kale chips, freeze-dried okra, sweet potato crisps, crunchy chickpeas, and (momma’s favorite from childhood) canned green beans.
Again, these aren’t the most ideal but at least they’re getting a fruit and a vegetable in some form.
Unique Main Course Offerings: I’m so over basic deli sandwiches! My kids really aren’t into ’em — they’d rather have the lunchmeat as a ham or turkey roll-up and instead of the sliced cheese, they prefer cheese sticks or cubes…like they’re fancy guests at a party enjoying the appetizer tray! Basically, I’ve surrendered in the sandwich-eating battle. Most of the time, I get creative with other unexpected main course offerings.
I’m a big fan of protein-rich choices like hummus, eggs, beef jerky sticks, and Greek yogurt in their lunch boxes. Sometimes you can find perfectly-portioned individual hummus & guacamole cups, too, like these pictured below from Aldi (gifted).
What are your favorite health, grab ‘n go options for kid’s lunches??