Variety Rules! 20 Healthy Ideas for Your Kids’ School Lunches

One of the most important things I’ve learned about successfully packing healthy lunches for the kids is that variety makes all of the difference. It can actually make lunches fun! Don’t give them a bag of carrots. (Heck, I don’t want a bag of carrots.) If you give them three or four carrots, a few olives, some granola, some dark chocolate almonds, and lots of little surprises in their lunch, chances are greater they will eat it.

Here are just a few examples of some things I include in lunches:

  • Cilantro Curry Apple Chicken salad (I would make it on Sunday for the week)
  • Pickles
  • Dark chocolate covered almonds (or just dark chocolate)
  • Pistachios (sunflower seeds if nut-free)
  • Grass-fed ground beef with kelp noodles stir fry
  • Three or four small carrots
  • Suzie’s gluten free thin rice cakes with nut or seed butter
  • Apple slices (or berries)
  • Small cucumbers

The last couple of years, my son didn’t want a big main dish, so we included more little things. We’d include five or six of the following:

  • Suzie’s gluten free rice cakes with Justin’s Hazelnut Butter
  • Handful of cornichons
  • Granola
  • Pepperonis or gluten free beef jerky or turkey sticks
  • Grapes, berries, or any other fruit
  • Kefir yogurt
  • Quinoa (high protein) chips
  • Gluten free crackers
  • Gluten free brown rice krispy treats
  • A few olives
  • Paleo muffins

As for the treats, remember: It doesn’t have to be perfect or even perfectly healthy, it just has to be better than some of the other cookies and treats out there.

Here are the containers we use for packed lunches. The glass ones come from Costco, and the stainless bowls I found online at Lunchbots and Amazon. Sorry for the big black stubborn blur in the background that wouldn’t budge…
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Guess he just wanted to make sure I got the right angle. Thanks, George.
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Also thanks for the recommendation from my lovely sister-in-law, we now love these grass-fed beef sticks as a source of extra protein.

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Landria Voigt, C.H.H.C., is the Nutritional Consultant and Public Speaker at Dr. Taz’s Atlanta Center for Holistic & Integrative Medicine office. She is a graduate of The University of Georgia and the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. She is author of the the book Super Paleo Snacks as well as the popular family and nutritional blog Stir It Up! where she shares her healthy recipes aimed at pleasing even the most finicky of palates, as well as forward-thinking ideas about nutrition. 

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