The kids are officially back to school! A healthy lunch gives your child the energy to power through a long school day, but for many parents, packing a lunch is one more chore added to an already long list of responsibilities. Kids can be picky, and coming up with lunch options week after week without falling into an unhealthy rut can be difficult.
Out of ideas? Feeling frustrated? Don’t despair. Packing healthy lunches is about to get much easier.
With ChristianaCare’s Healthy Lunchbox Cheat Sheet, packing a healthy, balanced lunch for the kids might just become the easiest part of getting out the door on school mornings. Lunchbox ideas are divided into the five USDA-recommended food groups, allowing you to easily mix and match with foods your child loves.
Consider going through the list with your child to discuss what options they prefer. See something on the list that is unfamiliar? Try it together! If you’re lucky, you’ll both discover a favorite new treat.
Print and keep a copy of the cheat sheet in your kitchen to help with meal planning.
Healthy Lunchbox Cheat Sheet
Pick one from each category for a well-balanced lunch.
|Cherry tomatoes||Sweet bell pepper slices|
|Sugar snap peas||Green beans (cooked or raw)|
|Cauliflower||Butternut squash cubes, cooked|
|Carrot sticks||Corn (kernels or a small cob, cooked)|
|Sweet potato (cooked)||Acorn squash (cooked)|
|Lentils||Beans (chickpeas, black, pinto, kidney, white, lima)|
|Whole wheat bread||Whole wheat pita|
|Whole wheat wraps||Quinoa|
|Brown rice||Whole wheat pasta|
|Whole wheat tortillas||Popcorn|
|Whole wheat rolls||Whole-wheat crackers|
|Whole wheat pretzels||Whole-wheat English muffins|
|Whole wheat cereals||Whole-wheat pita chips, baked|
|Whole wheat waffles||Whole-wheat bagels|
|Hard-boiled egg||Turkey burger|
|Rotisserie chicken chunks||Lean/low sodium deli meats|
|Sardines (on their own or mixed with low-fat cream cheese for a sandwich spread)||Tuna salad|
|Salmon salad||Chicken salad|
|Peanut butter||Almond butter|
|Nuts, unsalted (walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, cashews, pecans)||Pumpkin seeds, unsalted|
|Sunflower seeds, unsalted||Tofu cubes|
|Beans (chickpeas, black, pinto, kidney, white, lima)|
|Low-fat milk||Low-fat Greek yogurt|
|Reduced-fat string cheese||Single-serving cheeses|
|Low-fat yogurt||Cheese slices or cubes|
|Kefir smoothies||Cottage cheese|
|Cream cheese||Greek yogurt based dips (delicious served with fresh vegetables)|