Last week I posted about my favorite real food kid lunch supplies (check it out here if you missed it). These supplies make packing lunch easier for all of us. But the next problem we face is what to actually fill those Bentology lunchboxes with?! I always make a resolution to give my children beautiful, healthy, creative real food school lunches. Then 3 weeks later we are back to boring ole PB&J. But fear not – this week is dedicated to quick and easy real food school lunches you can pack your kids. It’s the quickest, easiest way to save money, cut down on waste and eat healthier!
Real food does take time and effort, and the reality is that we are all busy so it’s important to remember to keep it as simple as possible. This list is a good starting off point to give you some ideas. Don’t be overwhelmed – do the best you can and forgive yourself when it doesn’t go perfectly.
Planning in advance is the key to getting good, healthy lunches in your kids lunchboxes. Gee, haven’t you heard me say that before?!?! I like to take Sundays to plan the week and bulk bake, chop and package ingredients together so I can pull them quickly and easily throughout the week. A little time on the weekend will keep your kids from cafeteria food that, depending on your district, could likely be pre-made, frozen and loaded with questionable ingredients.
*I change some ingredients in these recipes to make sure they are real food approved and/or more plant-based.
Baked Chicken Nuggets
Peanut Butter Strawberry Banana Quesadillas by Cooking Madly
Dime sized Whole Wheat Pancakes by 100 Days of Real Food
Overnight Oats by Keepin’ it Real
Sandwich on a Stick by Weelicious
Sushi Sandwiches by Weelicious
Rice Cakes with nut butter or cream cheese and raisins
Pita pizzas (use organic, grass fed cheese)
Whole grain pita sandwich with hummus and veggies (I like Ezekiel brand)
Frozen Uncrustables by Momables
Applegate lunchmeat roll ups
Homemade Lunchables by Earthworms and Marmalade (use Ak Mak crackers)
Granola with almond milk (keep the milk in a separate container of your Benology lunchbox)
Bean burrito with lettuce, tomato, black beans and rice
Save time – Cook once, eat twice! Most kids don’t mind eating them cold.
Mac and Cheese by Live Simply
Pulled Pork by 100 Days of Real Food
Fried Rice by Don’t Waste the Crumbs (I omit the eggs and use veggie broth instead)
Chicken Noodle Soup by Live Simply
Tomato Basil Soup by Blender Babes (if you don’t have a Vitamix just heat on the stove top)
Minestrone Soup by Family Fresh Meals
Nachos. Layer meat or beans, salsa, sour cream, etc and serve chips on the side.
Applesauce – find with one ingredient variety like Trader Joe’s or Eden Organics
Fruit, fruit salad/Fruit kabobs
Stove top popcorn by Simply Recipes
Hard boiled egg
Vanilla Cashew Yogurt by Dreena Burton with homemade granola by Keepin’ it Real
Homemade Go-Gurts by Unconventional Kitchen (use the yogurt recipe above)
Salads by Super Healthy Kids
Veggies: carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, bell peppers, corn kernels, peas, celery, cherry tomatoes, etc.
Muffins are easy to bake a double batch and freeze. They are great for throwing into a lunch box as a side or to use as a snack at snack time.
Forever Cookies by Food Babe
Almond Butter Brownies by Food Babe
Homemade Berry Pop Tarts by Minimalist Baker
Chocolate Peanut Butter Avocado Pudding by Minimalist Baker
Chocolate Chia Pudding by Dreena Burton
Chocolate Chip Chickpea Blondies by Chocolate Covered Katie
Mini Powdered Donuts by Chocolate Covered Katie
If you need snack ideas to pack, check out my post 40 Real Food Snack Ideas for more inspiration! Cheers to another school year!
Until next time, keep it real.
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