26 Brown Bag Lunch Ideas for Kids

Healthy Ways to Round Out the Kids' School Lunches

School bag lunch
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Are the kids tired of the same ole PB&J every day? Do you want to round out their lunches with something besides chips and pre-packaged cookies? You've come to the right place. These brown bag lunch ideas give you 26 creative and healthy ways to fill the kids' lunch boxes every day for a month:

  1. Pizza Wrap Sandwiches - Three ingredients makes these wraps a snap to put together, and kids love them.
  2. Tuna Macaroni Salad - This cold pasta salad is a favorite with the kids. And adults will like the fact that it can be made in advance. Try swapping the canned tuna with sardines - they're full of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and the kids won't be able to taste the difference.
  1. Chinese Chicken Salad - Romaine lettuce, rotisserie chicken, mandarin oranges and pre-packaged wonton strips form the basis for this easy chicken salad. Use a store-bought Asian dressing or make the homemade dressing included with the recipe.  
  2. Bologna and Cheese Roll-ups - Slices of bologna wrapped around cheese sticks, then served on toothpicks. Perfect for preschoolers and little kids.
  3. Tomato Soup - It's a classic kids' lunch - and for good reason: They love it. Add a cheese sandwich (hot or cold) for a complete lunch the kids wouldn't dare trade.
  4. Hard-Boiled Eggs - The simple egg is a great source of protein, vitamin A, riboflavin and folate. Plus, it's cheap, and you can boil six or seven eggs on Sunday, and pack them in the kids' lunches all week long.
  5. Healthy Popcorn Recipe - This popcorn recipe starts with stovetop or air-popped popcorn. But it gets a healthy boost from nutritional yeast (found in health food stores), which is teeming with amino acids and B vitamins. Even better: Nutritional yeast has a cheesy flavor, so this popcorn tastes almost like cheese popcorn.
  1. Meatball Rolls - Crescent roll dough is wrapped around pre-cooked meatballs in this super simple recipe the kids will love. Try experimenting with different types of meatballs - chicken, Italian, etc.
  2. Rice Balls - Kids love these crispy rice balls (which can be baked or fried), but the surprise is they are filled with vegetables! Shhh - there is no need to tell your picky eaters if you don't want to. These rice balls can be made in advance and eaten hot, warm or cold.
  1. Pea Salad with Bacon - Even people who don't like peas will like this crisp salad, filled with bacon, peas and peanuts in a sweet, creamy dressing.
  2. Mini Frittatas - These bite-sized frittatas are made in mini muffin tins (or regular muffin tins) and are packed with flavor and nutrients. Try adding chopped ham or sauteed veggies.
  3. Peanut Butter Rice Crispy Treats - Crispy brown rice cereal and brown rice syrup give the classic rice crispy treats a nutritional boost (and they taste great, too).
  4. Carrots with Peanut Butter, either smeared on the carrots or as a dip.
  5. Cucumber Sandwiches - These simple sandwiches aren't just for tea. Kids will enjoy these cucumber sandwiches even more when you use the aspic cutters (compare prices) to make fun shapes out of them.
  6. Healthy Kit Kat Bars Recipe - Just like the candy bar of the same name, only somewhat healthier thanks to brown rice syrup. The kids won't be able to taste the difference.
  7. Apple Slices with Peanut Butter and Granola - Top slices of apple with peanut butter, chocolate soy nut butter or chocolate walnut butter and sprinkle on some granola.
  8. Seaweed Snacks (compare prices) - Crispy, salty and oh so healthy, these paper-thin snacks are popular in Japan and Korea. Look for them in Asian supermarkets, health food stores or online.
  1. Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies - This recipe is full of heart-healthy oats, bran and nuts. And it has just the right texture for a perfectly soft, wholesome chocolate chip cookie. Kids will love this lunch box treat.
  2. Deli Stromboli - Put lunch meat and cheese in the middle of refrigerated pizza crust, roll and bake. Wrap in an insulated lunch box, and the kids get a nice hot meal with no more effort than it takes to make a sandwich.
  3. Guacamole - Once thought to be anything but healthy, guacamole has earned its rightful place as a health food once again. Packed with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, guacamole makes an excellent dip for school lunches. Just add some whole grain tortilla chips.
  4. Ants on a Log - Celery stuffed with cream cheese and topped with raisins.
  5. Sweet Potato Chips (compare prices)
  1. Cream Cheese and Jelly Sandwiches - These simple sandwiches are made on rice cakes, which helps keep the filling from making the bread soggy. Kids also like the appealing crunch the rice cakes have. Try using different flavored rice cakes for variety.
  2. Nutella Waffle Sandwiches - Whole grain waffles are the bread for these sweet sandwiches, which are smeared with chocolate hazelnut spread. Top with fresh sliced strawberries.
  3. Turkey Wraps with Apricot Jam and Bacon - These wraps have that sweet-salty combination that everyone loves. To save time, use pre-cooked bacon.
  4. Hummus - Serve as a dip with carrot sticks, celery sticks, pita chips and/or pita bread.

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