150+ of the Best Healthy Lunch Ideas Your Kids Will Devour

Karen Patten

Spoiler Alert: This post is the result of my personal rant against trying to prepare easy and healthy school lunches for my kids. It’s not them that makes it such a challenge – for some reason it’s me. Finding healthy lunch ideas feels impossible. I like simple and easy school lunch ideas or recipes that any mom (including me) can whip up for her kids or teens and maybe even have a bit of a healthy, clean-eating lunch left over for herself. I’ve started off with a school lunch foods list…

Finding healthy lunch ideas that kids and teenagers will actually eat is a real challenge and probably my least favorite part of motherhood. School lunch ideas really can be healthy, easy, and quick to put together. If you're looking for tips, ideas and recipes for easy lunches for kids AND ideas to get those healthy meals eaten – here’s where you'll find over 150 easy, quick, and healthy school lunch ideas for all kids. #schoollunchideas #healthylunchideas #backtoschool www.themidlifemamas.com

Is it just me? Fixing lunches has somehow become the bane of my existence. It just seems…well, hard! I don’t know why – there’s no rational explanation. I just can’t stand packing lunches.

Tastes change from day to day. Things were too cold. They were too hot. I didn’t pack what they wanted to eat. They love it for dinner – but it’s yucky when they see it again the next day for lunch. I’d love for you to comment below and tell me your child’s latest reasoning (and I use that word loosely) for not eating their lunch.

Trust me, I can “mess up” a school lunch ten ways from Sunday. But I’m sharing a few of my tips, tricks, and hacks and I called in some reinforcements from around the web to share their most favorite kid friendly, simple, healthy, lunch box ideas.

Healthy Lunch Ideas That I Don’t Do

Finding healthy lunch ideas that kids and teenagers will actually eat is a real challenge and probably my least favorite part of motherhood. School lunch ideas really can be healthy, easy, and quick to put together. If you're looking for tips, ideas and recipes for easy lunches for kids AND ideas to get those healthy meals eaten – here’s where you'll find over 150 easy, quick, and healthy school lunch ideas for all kids. #schoollunchideas #healthylunchideas #backtoschool www.themidlifemamas.com

I don’t do anything remotely cute with lunch food stuffs. So you don’t have to worry that there will be anything so fancy here that it will  make your eyes roll back in your head while you fall to the sofa with a sleeve of Oreos saying, “Oh, puleeeeeeze! I barely have time to take a shower.”

I don’t make animals out of sandwiches. I don’t make emojis out of pancakes. I don’t make it look like extinct reptiles are eating their healthy lunch in order to entice my kids to eat theirs.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking the moms who do. I just don’t have a nervous system that can handle that kind of daily pressure or rejection when it doesn’t get eaten.

If I get a pretty healthy lunch in the box and that makes it into their belly – my work here is done.

Lunch Is Their Fuel For The Afternoon

If you’re like me, you want to make sure that your children have a nutritious and varied lunch that will help fuel them throughout the remainder of their day. My boys, 4 and 7, also have a snack break at school – so I also need something that’s easy for them to grab at snack time.

Related Post You May Also Enjoy: The 2 Most Unhealthy Lunch Options That You’re Probably Giving Your Kids

Studies have shown that children who eat a well-balanced lunch often do better in school and are more alert.” (source) They are better behaved, are able to focus better, get in trouble less frequently, and perform better on tests! (source)

Finding healthy lunch ideas that kids and teenagers will actually eat is a real challenge and probably my least favorite part of motherhood. School lunch ideas really can be healthy, easy, and quick to put together. If you're looking for tips, ideas and recipes for easy lunches for kids AND ideas to get those healthy meals eaten – here’s where you'll find over 150 easy, quick, and healthy school lunch ideas for all kids. #schoollunchideas #healthylunchideas #backtoschool www.themidlifemamas.com

And I know all this – so I really try to get them a good source of protein, some healthy fats, and some carbs with fiber.

Here’s one of my tips: I always try to make enough of the protein for dinner the night before so that I can send that for lunch in a thermos (steak, meatloaf, chicken breast, etc.). Then I can add in fruits and veggies that I have. It always gets harder when there isn’t anything left over or it’s something that doesn’t reheat well (fish, for example). So then I have to start from scratch.

And remember that you don’t pack is just as important as what you do pack. Sugary or processed foods with little or no nutritional value top the list of poor lunch options. You want to think of foods that rev your energy, are satisfying and lasting, but don’t make you feel like you want to curl up on the sofa and nap!

Related Post You May Also Enjoy: 4 More Hidden Unhealthy Lunch Options

So What Are My Best Healthy School Lunch Ideas?

If you thought you had lots of ideas, but now you feel like you’ve used them up – there are so many great ideas here that you will definitely find a new stash of “keeper” recipes! Check out these fun, healthy school lunch ideas to get you moving toward a satisfying and nutritious lunch for your child.

Sweet Potato Muffins So Good They Have Their Own Fairy Tale

Healthy Minion Sandwich from Menucha at Moms and Crafters

Healthy Apple Muffins {Scientifically Tested & Loved By Kids}

Nutritious Lunch Ideas from Amber at Mosswood Connections

Cranberry Peach Cobbler Muffins

Pack Healthy School Lunches: Easy Ideas from MaryAnne at Mama Smiles

These Delicious Healthy Double Chocolate Muffins Taste Like Fudge!

Quinoa Chicken Fruit & Nut Salad from Kimberly at Get Green Be Well

The Best Ever Healthy Blueberry Muffin Recipe

Tuna Salad for All Ages / Pizza Muffins  / and Egg Salad Pinwheel Sandwiches from Renee at Raising Generation Nourished

Healthy Muffin Recipes: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip

Mini Everything – Fun Kids’ Lunches from Sharla Kostelyk at The Chaos and the Clutter

100 Gluten Free Snack Ideas by Sharla Kostelyk at at The Chaos and the Clutter

Healthy Homemade Goldfish Crackers by TJ at Measuring Flower

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins

Three Of My Best Tips To Get Them To Eat It

Moms around the world use this time honored tactic to get kids to do what we want them to: make it fun!!! I love the idea of my son getting a sweet little note or joke in his lunch box to make him smile and give him something to share with his friends.

If you aren’t the most creative in this particular department, here are some of my favorites to help you get a smile or a laugh out of them even if you can’t be with them:


We’ve all heard, “We eat with our eyes.” So, I try to make it pretty – definitely not a work of art – but attractive. Here are a few of my favorite ways to “pretty” up the lunch box:


I have one more secret…you know how they say that kids will eat food that they help prepare (or even that they grow)? Well, a lot of times, I find that to be true. But since I don’t make “pretty” food…

I have a friend, Tiffany, over at Peanut Blossom who does make pretty food that’s delicious and healthy. She also happens to take beautiful photos of said pretty, delicious, and healthy food. So much so, that she put her most beloved recipes together in The Ultimate Kids’ Cookbook!

So if your kids

  • enjoy cooking;;
  • you’ve always wanted to cook with them; or
  • maybe you just want them to learn how to make pretty food…

now is your chance!

Don’t Forget To Pin This To Come Back To All Year Long:

Finding healthy lunch ideas that kids and teenagers will actually eat is a real challenge and probably my least favorite part of motherhood. School lunch ideas really can be healthy, easy, and quick to put together. If you're looking for tips, ideas and recipes for easy lunches for kids AND ideas to get those healthy meals eaten – here’s where you'll find over 150 easy, quick, and healthy school lunch ideas for all kids. #schoollunchideas #healthylunchideas #backtoschool www.themidlifemamas.com

5 Comments

  1. Green Moms Network Week in Review on January 22, 2016 at 6:23 am

    […] My Family has gathered a collection of 150+ healthy lunch ideas for kids! No more boring […]



  2. shelah on March 24, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    This is an amazing collection. I will be sharing!



  3. 4 Tips for Busy Families Going Back to School on June 15, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    […] is probably my least favorite part of back to school. Lunches. Ugh. Here are 150+ Healthy Lunch Ideas for Kids to get you […]



  4. Kim on July 14, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing our Quinoa Chicken Fruit and Nut Salad! That reminds me, I need to make more……. 😉



  5. I Hate Wasting Food. This Is How I Stopped. on October 15, 2017 at 9:57 pm

    […] you can’t squeak out another family dinner, can you make a lunch for the kids from what’s in the fridge for one more […]



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Hi, I’m Karen, the Atlanta mama, writer, and creator at Intentional Family Life. I’m a passionate advocate for intentional living so that you can experience all that you deserve for yourself and your family. Here, I inspire moms to chose what matters most and then to only do the things that move them closer to what matters most. Read More About Karen…

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