5 Fast and Healthy Kids Lunches (Without Sandwiches)

It’s that time of year again. School supplies purchased neatly stacked into new backpacks. Pristine school shoes laced up just right. Pictures on the front porch holding an adorable sign commemorating the start of a new school year, and… the dreaded making of the school lunch.

By now, maybe you’ve gotten back into the swing of things. But if you still find yourself struggling with making lunches that are easy, fast and nutritious, this post is for you.

Here are five healthy lunches that you can throw together that your kids are guaranteed to gobble up. Each of these options include a good protein source, a whole grain a fruit AND a vegetable!

1. Mexican Fiesta

Fill a tortilla with beans (protein) and cheese and warm it on the pan over the stove to make a quick quesadilla. Pack with a side of salsa (vegetable), a handful of whole wheat tortilla chips (whole grain) and a clementine (fruit).

2. Mini pizza

Top a whole wheat English muffin (whole grain) with pizza sauce (vegetable), shredded mozzarella cheese and turkey pepperoni (protein). Pack with sliced strawberries (fruit) and a small container of vanilla yogurt.

3. Dippers

Pack their lunch box with a small container of cottage cheese (protein), a cup of diced peaches in their own juices (fruit), a small container of hummus with whole wheat pita chips (whole grain) and cut broccoli (vegetable).

4. Homemade lunchables

Roll up 2-3 slices of chicken, turkey or ham and 2 slices of cheese (protein). Add a serving of whole grain crackers like Triscuits or Wheat Thins (whole grain), a fruit cup of diced pears in their own juices (fruit) and baby carrots (vegetable) with ranch dressing.

5. Brunch

Defrost two whole grain frozen waffles or layer homemade pancakes (whole grain). Drizzled with maple syrup, and topped with diced banana (fruit), with a container of vanilla yogurt (protein). You get a pass on the vegetables with this one, because who eats vegetables for breakfast? Although you could always throw in a homemade fruit and veggie pouch.

*Bonus — for real procrastinators!

If you’re in a, “Oh man, I totally forgot about lunch!” situation, here’s a super easy option: mozzarella string cheese stick (protein), pack of peanut butter whole wheat crackers (whole grain), natural applesauce squeeze pouch (fruit), handful of cut veggies like cucumber, broccoli, cherry tomatoes or whatever vegetables you happen to have in the fridge (vegetable).

Best wishes for a fabulous school year! What’s your quick, healthy lunch option? Let us know in the comments below!

McNamee, Kinsey 8196Kinsy McNamee, MS, RD, LD, is a registered dietitian at ProMedica Wellness. Read more of her stories from her monthly Eating Right In Real Life series.