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Kids' Health Kids' Health

100+ Healthy Lunchbox Ideas

Posted by on Sep. 14, 2012 at 4:23 PM
  • 12 Replies
2 moms liked this

100+ Healthy, Delicious and Easy Lunchbox Snacks

One of the most important features successful lunchboxes have are the snacks you tuck inside. You need a main meal for lunch & to keep energy levels high throughout the day it’s best to have well balanced, tasty and healthy snacks at the ready.

Snacks don’t have to be over thought, they just need to provide essential nutrients and calories to keep you going. Reaching for overly processed items in vending machines and the school cafeteria are costly, filled with sugars, salt, also empty calories. One of the goals of Project LunchBox is to help you make better, more informed choices. Those choices are best when you purchase your own foods and cook at home.

Besides, snacks and mini meals are super fun to look forward to!

Project-Lunchbox-Snacks-Marla-Meridith-IMG_8866

In case you are wondering, what you see above includes:

*it’s OK if you buy the healthy stuff from the store too

Project-Lunchbox-Snacks-Marla-Meridith-IMG_8818

Snacking tips

Eat whole foods.

We hear this time and time again. Not only are whole foods better for you, they are budget friendly and are more likely to keep you in your skinny jeans. Besides, whole foods (foods closest to their natural source) taste better. More on this in my 10 Secrets to Skinny post.

Choose your ingredients from the perimeter of the grocery store.

These are the freshest foods and the most economical choices. See my Food Shopping page.

Project-Lunchbox-Snacks-Marla-Meridith-IMG_8897

Steer clear of packaged foods.

These are generally over priced, have wasteful packaging and are filled with ingredients you don’t need anyway.

By the way I am obsessed with these sistema containers. They are microwave safe, BPA free and super pretty. They come in so many shapes and sizes too. Lots of the containers have compartments to keep foods from touching one another. You can find them at my Project LunchBox Amazon.com store.

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Read labels.

Always know what is in the food you buy. Keep an eye out for ingredients that you don’t understand, excess sugars, sodium and too many fats. Always remember, different strokes for different folks. In our house, fats from cheese, nuts, avocado, coconut and natural sources are amazing sources of energy. Fat helps sustain energy and feed the brain fuel. Some people are really into calorie counting and fat grams, that is not my thing.

Even though I do not calorie count ~ I do carefully watch portions and practice a mindful eating lifestyle. More about that on my About and Get Started pages.

Telluride-and-Project-LunchBox on Family Fresh Cooking blog

Watch out for “enriched.”

The word enriched means that whole foods (let’s use whole wheat as an example) have been stripped of their essential nutrients (maybe in the bleaching process.) Vitamins and minerals are then added back in for color & flavor and to make you think the food still has nutritional value. Our bodies can’t process machine made foods nearly as good as they can real whole foods. As I said above, stick to the good stuff (fresh and minimally processed) and you will reap great rewards in the end.

Prepare a Big Batch when you have time.

Shop and prepare food when you have small chunks of time. That said, make sure you responsibly carve out chunks of time to do this. It is well worth it for your wallet, waistline, energy levels and taste buds. Prepare Big Batches of snacks to get you through a week or more of lunchbox meals.

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Above is another one of my favorite lunch box containers (you all ready know how much I am in LOVE with Easy LunchBoxes!) That beautiful meal is featured in the upcoming Cooking With Trader Joe’s Cookbook – Easy Lunch Boxes that I photographed.

Have a separate bag or container for snacks.

In order to keep from eating everything in your lunchbox at once store snacks separately in brown paper bags or re-usable containers (LunchSkins and Itzy Ritzy are great for this). This is what we do for my Kindergartener son. It ensures kids eat their lunch and their snacks!

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Make adjustments to recipes.

The recipes below are merely suggestions and ideas to point you in the right direction. If you have allergies or certain restrictions make the appropriate changes to ingredient lists. If you are in a nut free school zone many times sunflower seed butter is a great adaptation. Gluten free? Try swapping out whole wheat flour with gluten free options.

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by on Sep. 14, 2012 at 4:23 PM
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Replies (1-10):
egyptian_mommy
by on Sep. 14, 2012 at 7:01 PM
Good ideas.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
new_mom808
by Andrea on Sep. 14, 2012 at 7:58 PM

 pretzels and cream cheese, that sounds really good; I've never tried that combo.

frndlyfn
by Bronze Member on Sep. 15, 2012 at 1:50 AM

DD is very picky so this week almost every day she has wanted just fresh fruit and milk for lunch.  I put money in her lunch acct to  buy milk at school or she can take horizon milk from home.

PrincessZ20
by on Sep. 15, 2012 at 4:15 PM

Mm, those sounds delicious!  Great suggestions!

PrincessZ20
by on Sep. 15, 2012 at 4:16 PM


Quoting new_mom808:

 pretzels and cream cheese, that sounds really good; I've never tried that combo.

My mom used to serve something like that as a snack at parties - room temperature cream cheese covered in either salsa or chutney of some sort (I know others who use pepper jelly) and serve with pretzels.  YUM!


egyptian_mommy
by on Sep. 15, 2012 at 9:25 PM
Never tried pretzels but Doritos dipped in cream cheese is yummy.

Quoting new_mom808:

 pretzels and cream cheese, that sounds really good; I've never tried that combo.

Posted on CafeMom Mobile
new_mom808
by Andrea on Sep. 15, 2012 at 9:46 PM

 Fritos are too ;)

Quoting egyptian_mommy:

Never tried pretzels but Doritos dipped in cream cheese is yummy.

Quoting new_mom808:

 pretzels and cream cheese, that sounds really good; I've never tried that combo.

 

TerriC
by on Sep. 16, 2012 at 9:31 AM

Really great ideas!  I like those containers a lot, going to have to look into those!

Vertical15
by on Sep. 16, 2012 at 1:12 PM

Those pics make me hungry!

TigerofMu
by Sonja on Sep. 17, 2012 at 10:05 AM

Yay Hummus! Yay Pecans! Yay Strawberries! Yay Blueberries!  Some of those aren't very budget friendly though.

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