So, technically all my children have paws. But, shocker, I have an opinion about school lunch! School lunch is an easy way parents can sneak some nutrition into their child’s day.

Whether you are young or young at heart, we all eat with our eyes first! When packing lunch, the more shapes and colors, the more likely your child is to eat it. Remember, it can take up to 12 introductions of a new food before children accept it. Don’t give up! One recent study found that children who were offered fruit, but didn’t take any, consumed more fruit as an adult. And remember, kids love finger foods. Bento boxes are a great way to pack up your kids meals (or your own lunch) to take to school.

Check out 5 healthy lunch box ideas below:

Lunch 1: Mini Veggie Sandwiches (see below), fresh grapes, sugar snap peas, 1 ounce dark chocolate

  • Whole wheat bread (sliced in rectangles or rounds using cookie cutter)
  • Red peppers (sliced same as you did the bread)
  • Cheddar cheese (sliced same as you did the bread)
  • Cucumber
  • Hummus, mustard or avocado as a spread
  • Put together with toothpicks

Lunch 2: Homemade lunchable (see below), sliced bell peppers, applesauce

  • Nitrate/nitrite free deli meat of your choice
  • Cheese slices
  • Whole grain crackers
  • Mustard for building

Lunch 3: A La Carte Meal

  • 1 mini Wholly guacamole
  • Corn tortilla chips
  • Hardboiled egg
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Blueberries

Lunch 4: Throwback Meal

  • Whole wheat bread with nut butter and fruit spread
  • Clementine orange
  • Cheese stick
  • Sliced strawberries
  • Mini cucumbers

Lunch 5: Turkey Roll Ups with yogurt (+ topping), and fruit medley

  • Greek yogurt
  • Cereal of choice to put on yogurt (I like homemade granola or if short on time, Cheerios)
  • Baby carrots
  • Sliced apples
  • Nitrate/nitrite free turkey rolled with colby jack cheese

Don’t forget to make it personal! Whether it is a hand written note on a napkin, printable joke or a note marked into a banana peel or skin of clementine, remind your lil one that they are loved!

Encourage healthful eating in your home by making healthy snacks visible and convenient to eat!

  • Keep fresh fruit on the counter in sight
  • Prep veggies ahead of time.
  • Use clear containers or plastic bags so kids can see what is inside
  • Keep healthy food within reach (keep your lower shelves stocked with health choices)
  • Opt for single serve containers (like raisins, almonds, yogurts and baby carrots)

No time to make lunch, no problem! You can contact your school for the school’s menu in advance. Your school or district’s food service director can provide you nutrition information regarding the menu. Take time to sit down with your kiddo to review healthy food choices. Encourage your child to play at recess or gym class! Take an active role in your child’s health education. Kids who form healthy habits young tend to be healthier adults!