Lunch Foods For Kids

Lunch Foods For Kids

Lunch Foods Worth Giving to Your Kids

Not all lunches are created equal

Lunches don't have to be mundane, monotonous or boring! A balanced meal is easier than you think and something that can be easy. I don't know about you, but my kids are picky eaters! They want what they want and won't touch what they don't.

We have three kids - each one has specifics that they want to touch and don't! Our oldest is a fan of pretty much anything for lunch except peanut butter - it is a NO GO! Our middle son we call the carb crusher - he loves carbs and carbs and carbs. Our youngest is 2 and he will eat anything - we call him the smoothie thief.

First, we must acknowledge that there are just foods our kids can't stand and therefore it isn't really fair to put on their plate. Before you lose your mind on me, realize that certain things like veggies and fruit are non negotiable - they are going on their plate to expose them. Proteins, on the other hand, are not something that we make mandatory in our house because certain kids won't touch certain proteins. That is completely normal. Giving kids a choice, and trying to accommodate to some extent isn't wrong.

What foods we include in our kids lunches

School lunch ideas turn up thousands upon thousands of searches on google because it is the age old questions... what do I give my kids for lunch? Turns out it is simpler than we think.

Let's break this down a bit further:

Oldest, 7 years old: Lunch if we pack it or make it at home is a jam sandwich on wheat bread, usually bread with a minimum of 2g of fiber per slice. Preferably bread with 4g of fiber per slice. She doesn't like nuts or seeds, so finding bread is extremely tough if we want fiber! On the side, she will often request hard boiled eggs or fresh fruit. Top top it off, we aren't heathens, or ass holes, and we provide a small treat to her like a few M&M's or a cookie.

Getting fresh fruit in a lunch box for a young kid can be tough. When we have to pack a lunch box for her, we dice up apples (usually honey crisp) and toss them lightly in some lemon juice to prevent them from browning. She loves them. We also pack raspberries, strawberries, and other fruits she may randomly request. Never a banana! She hates bananas and we won't touch them for her!

To get more protein in her, we mix chia seeds into the jam sandwich which she said she can't taste or feel, but each time we do it we add a few grams of fiber and some protein! This is a pro tip for any mom or dad looking to get more nutrients in their kids who won't eat nut butters.

Another easy lunch box idea is we will also put a thermos with yogurt in her lunches as she has requested that many times - all together she is getting a well balanced lunch that can fuel her for the afternoon.

Our Middle child who is 4 is a picky eater. Probably the most stressing in the family and the toughest to be packing lunches for. I have searched so many times lunch ideas for kids that are picky eaters... and almost always I get the same stupid stuff. Focus on the food group they are averse to.... give them dinner leftovers they like.. etc. The problem is the kid is picky. So we came up with some creative solutions.

We almost always give him a peanut butter and jelly on a bread that has 5g of fiber per slice. The jam has some chia mixed in which also helps. On the side, we give him Sun Chips

The positives are he loves peanut butter and jelly and doesn't care about the bread, but the positives end there. Since we don't need easy school lunch ideas for him since he is home 5 of the 7 days, it is pretty simple. His sides every day are a Switchback Banana Berry Bite Smoothie (3/4 of one), some gold fish or Sun Chips, and whatever fruit we have available. We cut small pieces to expose him to it.

There is no way in hell he will eat something like cottage cheese or a hard boiled egg. He is too much of a texture kid and at this point we will put a dash on his plate but we don't expect him to eat it. Purely there in case he wants to touch it.

Our youngest will eat anything - including leftover smoothies. He will drink any leftover Switchback on the counter if he has the chance. He loves fruit, hates veggies, loves peanut butter and jelly and even som salami. If you are hating on the processed meats, move along, they won't kill you.

A typical lunch is peanut butter and jelly, 1/2 of a Jungle Mango Switchback, some Sun chips, fresh fruit like raspberries and strawberries or grapes and milk.

The moral is, each kid is different and each one shares something with the others. We know that cold lunches are a thing and we have figured out that each kid can be slightly catered to without too much of a hassle.

Quick and Easy Items

Every parent needs easy items to toss in a lunch box or have for their kids lunch. A Kids lunch doesn't need to be overly thought out but it does need to be something the kids will eat! Here are some of our favorite additions to our kids lunch:

Almond butter packets. We use Justin's almond butter and have found that it is a great thing (the flavored ones) for them to have in the kids lunch. Why? Because it is fun and easy. Open the almond butter top and squeeze it onto crackers or just eat it plain. Either way, it is a great protein source and one that is relatively cost effective.

Sliced oranges. We put sliced oranges into our kids lunch routine as something to spice things up from the day to day monotony. We prefer sumo oranges which are only in season for a few months, however these do add cost to the lunch box!

Greek Yogurt. We add greek yogurt to our daughters lunch box from time to time - however she prefers it when we mix it with some vanilla yogurt. We do this to cut down on the sugar and take a bit of the sweetness out. Make sure if you are sending this that you use leak proof containers!

Celery Sticks.... just kidding who the hell likes celery sticks?

Carrot Sticks - we put carrot sticks into all of our kids lunches - sometimes they are eaten, sometimes not. Again, it is great exposure for our kids and we have found they enjoy them... except for our middle son. He just likes to break them in half and shoot them across the room. I taught him that and now I regret it.

Grape Tomatoes - We have tried this a few times with no success. Some kids we hear absolutely love these but our kids can't stand them. If your kid is open to them, try sending grape tomatoes and seeing how they feel.

What is an easy snack for kids?

Our house is a bit strange... maybe its because we have plentiful switchback smoothies, maybe other times it is because our kids aren't afraid of green things. Our go to snack in our house is Switchback's Banana Berry Bite or Jungle Mango Smoothies.

These have 110 calories, 3g of protein, no added sugar, and 3+ cups of vegetables. Our kids absolutely love these at lunch time or for a snack.

Other easy snacks are things like cream cheese on a bagel (Protein rich!), a hard boiled egg, pita bread with peanut butter or hummus, and even canned fruit. In fairness though, we prefer frozen fruit in our house to canned due to the texture and the fact they think it is a treat.

Baby carrots, string cheese, and fresh berries all make a great afternoon snack but we will pair that with something else - maybe it is gold fish, maybe it is crackers. Either way, we try and balance something healthy with something more processed since we know the kids will touch both.

Don't buy the hype.... if its too good to be true (or a supplement) its probably too good to be true.

The options are limitless in terms of what to give your kids unless you are a heathen and hate your kids... just kidding we know you love them and want them to be healthy. One tip that we suggest is consulting a registered dietitian if you are struggling with meals, healthy eating, or generally have concerns.

There are a lot of influencers and idiots spreading lies and misinformation online- please do not buy into that stuff and consult a registered dietitian. If you need a registered dietitian to speak to and don't know where to start, please reach out to and the team will connect you with a registered dietitian they know and trust.

Boxed Lunch Ideas

Sandwich with some sort of protein. If they won't eat protein, add something they will eat like jam.

Sides can be cheese cubes, nut butter, or hummus. You can add some veggies (if they eat them) to dip into the hummus or peanut butter.

String cheese, baby carrots, pita bread (minis) are great sides.

If you love your kids, don't forget to add the cookie or small treat.


What is the best thing to pack for a school lunch?

Ah, you see, there isn't a best thing. It is wholly dependent on what your kids want and will eat! If you stuff a hard boiled egg in there because you want them to be a football star and they won't eat them, then you are doing them a disservice. Focus on foods that they will enjoy and eat. Home lunches give you more flexibility than packed lunches!

Obviously be mindful of nut free schools, or nut free places. Our middle son we are slowly trying to introduce other proteins, albeit unsuccessfully, as we know in the near future he will not be able to bring peanut butter to kindergarten. During the school year, lunches will change and should change based on the energy needs and preferences of your kids!

Lunch Box Ideas

Lunch box ideas don't need to be boring, but they do need to be fun!

Lunch box ideas for kids should incorporate good and wholesome food into their lunch boxes. Fortunately for you, hot lunches typically don't require the same level of thought!

Bento style lunch boxes are popular and something kids will enjoy! You can make one yourself or buy one at the store as they are becoming more prevalent.

School lunches often lack excitement compared to what making lunch boxes at home provides. Engage your kids in this process and ask them to help come up with lunch box ideas.

Who better to give healthy lunch box ideas than my daughter? This is what she had to say:

Sandwich with jelly or salami + baby carrots + yogurt pouch + gold fish + small treat.


My daughters go to lunch. Jelly Sandwich, baby carrots, gold fish and yogurt pouch.


We add diced apples to her lunch and toss them with lemon juice.

In our family, we put smoothies in our lunches to ensure we get some amazing nutrients and don't waste our time focusing on things where we could spend our time more wisely.

We send a smoothie many days and all she has to do is give it a quick shake and she is ready to drink it!


Healthy lunch box ideas and or healthy lunch ideas for kids can seem daunting, just remember at the end for the day no matter how healthy a food is, if your kids won't eat it then it doesn't matter. Include your kids and helping design their favorite lunch boxes asking for feedback and opinions. Lunch ideas can be tough, especially for a mom who is overwhelmed and tired (We hear ya!). So don't over think it and simply try to incorporate some new foods every once in a while and toss in a Switchback Smoothie if you can! Okay, that was a shameless plug but our kids love them!

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