Five Healthy School Lunch Ideas

By Teresa Wagner, RD, LD
September 9, 2019

“Do you have your lunch?” This is an almost daily question in my house as we wrangle our kiddos, grades pre-K, 2nd and 4th, to pack their bags and make it to the bus or into the car each morning. Can you relate? If so, you’re also probably used to the daily thought of “What can I pack for lunch?” as you rack your brain to remember what’s in the fridge and what your kiddo can (and will) eat fast during their too-short lunch hour. We’ve shared before how real food can make or break your children’s focus, health and success at school.

Today we’re back with the ins and outs of what a healthy lunch looks like, but first check out these examples from a few Nutritional Weight & Wellness kiddos.

Chicken sausage, and veggies and ranch, grapes .jpgChicken sausage, veggies to dip in ranch and grapes.

Leftover pork loin, blackberries, clemintine, olives, thawed frozen veggies(broccoli, carrots, cauliflower). .jpg
Leftover pork loin cut up, blackberries and clementine slices, olives and veggies with butter.


Ham roll ups with cream cheese, veggies and guacamole, grapes.

Chili, Sour Cream and Oranges.jpg

Chili with sour cream and oranges.

Broccoli cheese soup, rotisserie chicken and apple.jpg

Broccoli cheese soup, rotisserie chicken and apple slices.

Three Ingredients to Include in Every Lunch

What do all of these lunches have in common? A few things. First, they are all real food. No processed baggies of chips or gummy bears to be found. We know that these things are loaded with sugar and turn into even more sugar in our children’s (and our) bodies, which is not the best recipe for a calm and focused day at school (or a healthy immune system, but that’s a whole different story).  

Second, they all include an animal protein (ham, rotisserie chicken and ground beef in the chili to name a few), a healthy fat (butter, sour cream, olives and guacamole were all packed in the above examples) and a good carb (grapes, broccoli, apples, veggies, etc.).

These three ingredients, in whatever combination you and your kiddos prefer, are crucial to keeping blood sugar stable, which in turn keeps their moods level, immune system working, leaves them feeling full and satiated (fat is particularly important for this, so don’t skimp!) and keeps their metabolism and energy levels right where they should be.

If you need help creating a healthy eating plan for your family, please consider coming in, or chatting via phone, with me or one of my fellow nutritionists. We’re here to help develop a plan that works specifically for you and your family, whatever your goals may be. 


About the author

Teresa is a licensed dietitian at Nutritional Weight & Wellness. As a mother of three children and avid runner, Teresa knows that good nutrition is essential for energy and well-being. She also sees first-hand the impact food choices have on her children’s behavior, moods and happiness. Teresa is a registered and licensed dietitian through the Minnesota Board of Nutrition and Dietetics. She received her B.S. in dietetics from the University of Wisconsin-Stout and completed her dietetic internship at Indiana University School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. She worked as a clinical dietitian for the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis.

View all posts by Teresa Wagner, RD, LD

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