Close this search box.

Explore nutrition tips, kids’ meal plans, kids’ activities, recipes and more from pediatric nutritionist, Melissa Halas, MA, RDN, CDE.

Healthy School Lunch Ideas for Kids

Print & Share
Healthy School Lunch Ideas for Kids

A colorful diet adds more than just nutrient-packed compounds – it provides an abundance of flavor and visual appeal. Here are healthy school lunch ideas for kids that taste and look better.

You’ve been there, you pack a lunch and it comes back with hardly a bite taken. After all your hard work making sure your children get the nutrients they need, you want to see a few bites from each food group enjoyed! Here are many healthy school lunch ideas for kids that they’ll eat!

Kids’ Lunch Ideas

  • Boost veggies with a serving of baby carrots, sliced red peppers, grape tomatoes or sliced cucumber to your brown bag lunch – serve a dip like hummus, Greek yogurt dip or their favorite dressing on the side if you desire.
  • Try roasting all types of root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots, and beets with olive oil and fresh herbs-serve as a side dish to your meal.
  • Enjoy a colorful salad or vegetable-based soup as your entrée.
  • Make color reign – include diversity in your color choices, for example, red rice, orange peppers, green parsley, and blueberries make the lunch pop!
  • Make baked French fries with sweet potatoes and/or red-skinned potatoes-cut potatoes into slices, drizzle with olive oil, and a dash of sea salt and pepper. Bake at 375 until golden brown -dip in low-fat sour cream for added calcium and flavor.
  • Purchase a pre-made veggie platter for the family “appetizer”-this will keep the family busy while dinner is being prepared, then save left-overs for tomorrows lunch.
  • Purchase frozen mixed vegetables that can be cooked quickly by steaming or microwaving-done in minutes!  Season with olive oil and minced garlic or a splash of teriyaki sauce.
  • Make a healthy chicken casserole with an assortment of 3 types of different color frozen veggies.
  • Cook with soy sauce and herbs and they’ll taste just as good as fresh.
  • Try adding finely grated carrots to your favorite spaghetti sauce. This adds a heaping dose of Vitamin A and a sweet taste that most children are certain to love.
  • Sneak pureed vegetables into soups, salsas, and other store-bought food -watch this video on boosting veggies to learn how.

Making Packed Snacks Fun and Colorful

  • Always suggest a fruit or vegetable option first when helping your child decide on a snack option to pack.
  • By simply adding fun animal-shaped re-usable toothpicks (if age appropriate) to a plate of cut-up fruit or canned fruit in its own juice, kids will find eating more pleasurable and more likely to partake in the produce.

  • Fun packaging appeals to kids, try to purchase fun re-usable containers to put the veggies and dip into for snack time.
  • Trail mix or 100% fruit roll-ups are a great way to add dried fruit to your child’s diet-remember to encourage teeth brushing after they eat this sticky fruit.
  • Small containers of fruit packed in its own juice make a quick and nutritious snack.

Learn other great tips by visiting our Nutrition Experts Section.

Sign Up For Our Newsletter!

Similar Articles You May Like...

About the Author

Picture of Kate Scarlata, RD, LDN

Kate Scarlata, RD, LDN

Kate is a registered and licensed dietitian with over 25 years of experience in the nutrition and wellness field. She works as a private practice dietitian in the Greater Boston area, providing nutrition consultation for a variety of health conditions, weight management, and helping people eat more healthfully. She is the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Well with IBS and the coauthor of the book, Real People Need Real Food: A Guide to Healthy Eating for Families Living in a Fast Food World.

Sign Up Today

Sign up for our newsletter and get realistic, easy & tasty ways to eat healthy. Plus get free fun kids' activities!​

Get our free guide Say “No” to Food Rewards when you join.