Healthy School Lunches

As your children get older your lifestyle changes. Our once-relaxed daily routines of making soups, pasta and other warm meals at lunch were a thing of the past once my boys started school full time.

It was difficult to think of healthy choices for lunch and snack, and I wanted to continue feeding them the same way at school as I do at home. At school they do not access to a microwave so I had to make some adjustments. I want to give my boys things that they can easily open and eat quickly since they don't have a lot of time for lunch and most of it is spent socializing with friends.

When I make lunch for the boys I tend to make a lot of sandwiches, whether they are on a bagel, thin rice cake, whole grain bread or soft whole wheat tortilla.  Since we do eat sandwiches almost daily I buy either Pepperridge Farm very thin whole wheat bread or some sort of whole grain sprouted bread. There is less sugar, preservatives, and no high fructose corn syrup. Yes…most breads have that so read labels!

Main Lunch Ideas


  • PBJ using organic fresh peanut butter with a natural preserve such as apple or pumpkin butter. Use can also use honey too.
  • Smoked salmon with cream cheese on a bagel or toast bread.
  • No-preservative turkey with cheese, instead of using the traditional American switch it up and use Havarti, Munster, Swiss, Fontina or Gouda. Much less salt and much more flavor.
  • Make your own veggie cream cheese and spread that on a bagel, torialla, pita or even whole grain bread.
  • Pizza bagels using mini whole wheat bagels, all natural or homemade pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese. Bake the morning of or the night before. We all love room temperature pizza.
  • Tuna salad or chicken salad. You can make it into a sandwich or even serve it with crackers.

Alternatives to the Traditional Sandwich

  • Hummus with pita chips or crackers.
  • Cheese and crackers.
  • Pancakes or French toast with honey/maple syrup dipping sauce.
  • Energy bar or Granola bar that is either homemade or made with whole grains, no preservatives.
  • Cubed chicken with your child's favorite dipping sauce.
  • Pasta salad

Side Dishes

We can always throw in an apple, banana or orange into our child's lunch box. Depending on the amount of time they have to eat lunch and their ability to peel fruit, it might be best to try these ideas. Not only are they fun and more eye appealing but easy to pop into their mouth.

  • Fruit kabobs.
  • Sliced apples with peanut butter/honey  dipping sauce.
  • Sliced fruit with yogurt dipping sauce.
  • Fruit leather.
  • Dried fruit, seeds and nuts mixed together.


  • Veggies with a dipping sauce such as ranch or  hummus.
  • Dried veggies such as green beans or pea pods and call them "green fries."

Snacks and Such

  • Lifeway yogurt squeezables ( filled with goodness and probiotics).
  • Cheese sticks.
  • Apple/carrot squeezables. I find mine at Trader Joe's.
  • HAPPYBABY squeezables. You may think these are for babies but you'd be wrong. They don't need to be refrigerated and they come in amazing flavors such as banana, peach, coconut and prune.
  • Cubed cheese with grapes.
  • Yogurt covered raisins.
  • Muffins or bread. Try adding some grated zucchini and carrots to the mixture, which adds a little texture and extra nutritional value.


I cannot stress this enough….water! water! water!!!!! Use a reusable BPA-free squeeze bottle and fill it with ice water so it stays cold. You can even place it in the freezer the night before and double it as a cold pack too.

Trina O'Boyle is a Drexel Hill, PA mom of two boys. Read her blog, O'Boy Organic, at

Categories: MomSpeak