School is here! It's time to get back into that routine, and that means packing lunches. If you're looking for more easy and healthy school lunches, we've got you covered with fun and easy back-to-school recipes!
We know back to school can be a busy and hectic time, so we get that it’s easy to just pick up that cheap lunchable at the grocery store on Sunday night and send it along with your child the next morning. However, planning and making healthy school lunches for your kids doesn’t have to be a stressful and time-consuming task.
Life happens, and it’s definitely not realistic to send a lunch pail with a healthy 4-course meal in it every day. That’s why we have compiled a list of some nutritional and fast lunch ideas that take very little time to plan and even less time to make, no matter what the situation, so you can feel confident that your child is eating healthy lunches every day that they’re going to enjoy!
The crazy, rushed “running-late” weekday morning is probably a universal experience for all parents everywhere. Someone, or everyone, has slept in, and now you have to quickly come up with something to send as lunch while they’re packing their bag and heading out the door.
In these cases, the microwave is our best friend. I know what you’re thinking. A fast microwavable lunch doesn’t really sound like the healthiest option! But that’s not always the case.
We all know kids go crazy for mac and cheese, so it’s a great fun option for lunches. But when you don’t have the time to boil the pasta and make it from scratch, Annie’s Microwavable Mac and Cheese Cups are the perfect healthy solution. They’re non-GMO, organic, high protein, and they even have a gluten-free option! They take less than five minutes to make and can be easily transferred to a Tupperware container. Send it along with a snack bag of Annie’s White Cheddar Bunny Snack Crackers and voila! Easy peasy.
Another quick microwavable lunch option is ramen! Chef Woo’s Instant Plant-Based Ramen Cups are delicious and convenient and can be prepared in just five minutes! These high-protein and organic instant meals are a great source of iron and they come in four different flavours including Braised “Beef” and Roasted “Chicken”.
Immi also has delicious microwavable plant-based ramen that’s ketogenic, and high in protein and fibre. It takes less than 10 minutes to prepare these in the microwave and if you have a bit of extra time, you can add in your child’s favourite toppings and veggies.
You can never go wrong with the classic school lunch: a sandwich. It’s easy, and it can be done in so many different ways. This is everyone’s go to for when you need to pack a fast and lazy lunch.
There are so many different fun and creative ways to make a sandwich, so let’s start with the base: bread! Carbonaut’s Keto Nut-Free White Bread is the perfect bread for school lunches since it’s completely nut-free, and it’s also high in protein. Carbonaut also has a Gluten-Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread that can be great for sweeter sandwiches with jams and butters.
To switch things up every once in a while, it's a great idea to use bagels as a base or tortillas instead of just slices of bread. It gives variety to your children’s lunches, and with many different options like Carbonaut’s Gluten-Free Lemon Blueberry Bagels or Siete’s variety of grain-free tortillas- the lunchtime possibilities are endless!
Now let’s talk about the fun part: sandwich toppings! The great thing about sandwiches is, that even if you made one every single day, it can always be different! From deli meats and veggies, to spreads and jelly- you can really make a sandwich out of anything. Here are a few great sandwich topping options that can keep your child's lunch healthy and nutritional.
Primal Kitchen’s Organic Unsweetened Squeeze Ketchup and their Squeeze Mayo with Avocado Oil will save you so much time while making lunches. They come in convenient squeeze bottles that save you some time and clean up. Both of them have no sugar added and pair great with meat and veggie sandwiches. Callowfit also carries a variety of different sweet and savoury vegan sauces/condiments that come in squeezable bottles that your kids will love including Honey Mustard Style Sauce and Cookies & Cream Style Sauce.
If your kid is a fan of PB&J, it can be difficult to find alternatives to peanut butter when you’re making school-safe lunches. Healthy Crunch’s Vegan Seed Butters and Soom’s Tahini Spreads come in tasty kid-approved flavours like chocolate and vanilla and they easily replace peanut butter.
It’s great to try and pack lunches the night before to be prepared, but realistically it’s not always doable. This next lunch idea is still quick and easy, but it’s perfect for if you have a bit of time to prepare for lunches the night before.
Pasta is a great low-effort meal to cook in advance and then store in the fridge overnight to send with your kids to school. There are also so many fun options out there for kids to make pasta a more fun and engaging meal. For example, Pastabilities’ Organic Pasta’s come in a variety of different shapes and themes including Dinosaur Pasta, Princess Pasta, Soccer Pasta, Halloween Mac and Cheese, and more! For something so relatively easy to make, fun lunches like these are the ones that your kids are going to love the most. They’re nutritional while also being fun!
We’ve saved our favourite idea for last! Try creating a kid’s version of a charcuterie board this school year when you’re feeling creative - a DIY lunchable! You really could include whatever healthy elements that you would like to this DIY lunchable but we have a couple of ideas to get you started!
Lastly, it would be good to include some type of veggie snack in this DIY lunchable as well, whether that be some carrots or celery sticks- any veggie of your choice. Poshi has some great snack-worthy vegetable products that can make veggies a more appealing snack option for kids. They're filled with flavour and are made with very few simple ingredients. An example is their Gluten-Free Asparagus with Rosemary & Oregano Steamed & Marinated Snack.
We hope that these school lunch ideas were helpful for all you parents out there and we wish you the best of luck for the upcoming school year! If you’re looking for some healthy snack ideas to go along with these lunches, check out our list of the Best Allergen-Friendly Snacks for Back to School.