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Favorite Healthy School Lunch Ideas

Okay y’all, after yesterday’s post several people asked about the lunch menu post so since we are still on the topic of food…hmm,I’m hungry…I thought we should go ahead and get down to business. This is where it all started, on notes taped to my cabinet…                     ~  don’t you love my handwriting :(


So, here is my little disclaimer: I am not an expert at this school lunch thing, I am just a rookie! Little man is my first (and only) child who entered kindergarten this year and I have tried to learn simple, semi-creative and somewhat healthy meals to send to school. Everything here is what I have learned by trial and error over the last 3 1/2 months.


{Like my DIY 1st Day of Kindergarten sign :)}


{Recognize that book that I used to hold the stick to the sign while the glue dried?}

There are 4 things we need to talk about with regard to school lunches: main dishes, fruits/veggies, snacks and equipment. Yes, if you are a mom or dad with little ones you know the equipment is half the battle, right?

I am going to give you 7 (sandwich free) lunch ideas that hopefully you can try out or are already using and can share with friends. Also, I don’t use a lot of specific recipes but if you would like more details about a certain meal or have a question please leave a comment and I will try to answer it the same day.

I am not an all organic or all natural food mommy either (I would love to be if I could afford it…suggestions welcome) but I do try to make the healthiest choices within my budget.

Main Dishes

MEAL #1: Egg pie (aka mini quiche minus the crust). I whisk two eggs in a bowl with diced ham, cheddar cheese, frozen spinach (thawed), some half-n-half and a little salt and pepper. I bake in a greased mini quiche dish (I found mine at Ikea) at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the top starts to turn golden brown. I do the toothpick test at about 15 minutes. In the morning I heat it up and wrap it in tin foil and by lunchtime it is room temperature or a little warmer and he likes it just fine. His teachers get a kick out of this meal especially because he likes to call it “egg pie”. I usually make two at a time so I can have on for lunch and/or I make a big egg pie as breakfast for dinner the night before and two small ones.


MEAL #2: Chicken or deli meat and cheese wrap. I just throw some deli meat and cheese or shredded chicken (I usually boil chicken the night before and add a few spices) and cheese in a tortilla with a little bit of mayo or ranch dressing and wrap it up! You could add veggies (like green or red peppers) but my guy prefers his veggies on the side.

MEAL #3: We call this the Bistro Box. This was inspired by the MOMables site where you can find tons of great lunch ideas. At least one of her kids seems to be a pretty picky eater so she does a great job of coming up with creative and healthy substitutes. For this lunch I just load him up with some sliced cheddar cheese (usually from a block), some pepperoni or summer sausage (you could do prosciutto or something like that depending on how adventurous your kid is), sliced apples or grapes, whole wheat crackers, carrots or grape tomatoes and ranch dressing (or hummus would be good too).  Easy peasy!

MEAL #4: Soup! Or chili or stew or anything like that. My kid loves soup for some reason, even in the summer, and once I figured out how to keep it hot (see below) this was the easiest meal yet. Sometimes I will do canned soup, he loves plain ‘ole chicken noodle but we also love a lot of the Progressive soups. Progresso Chicken Corn Chowder and Light Southwestern-style Vegetable are two of his favorites. The other great thing about this is that I can make chili or a homemade pot of soup the day before in the crockpot and I can send him to school with leftovers. I find any opportunity to make something last for more than one meal.

MEAL #5: Black bean and cheese quesadillas. This one is super easy! I put the tortilla in a pan, load it with black beans and cheese (but you could choose your own ingredients), put another tortilla on top and when the cheese is melted I take it off let it cool and then slice it into fours with a pizza cutter. If I am using a burrito size tortilla I will just use one by putting the ingredients on one side and folding the other side over.


MEAL #6: Mini pizzas. I use an English muffin and top it with Ragu pizza sauce in a jar, shredded mozzarella and pepperoni and bake it in the oven on a low broil until the cheese is melted and the muffin is a little crusty. Go wild with your toppings on this one!  I pack this one like the egg pie, I just heat it up in the morning and wrap it in tin foil.

MEAL #7: Mac and cheese. This one I like because I get two meals out of one box. We use the glutten free Annie’s Homegrown shells and cheese. We are not a gluten free family but I bought it on accident one day and we liked it better than the original so we stuck with it! I prepare this the same way I do the soup.

*Preparation of the hot stuff (soup, chili, etc): I fill my thermos (which you will see in the equipment section) with boiling water before we eat breakfast so that the thermos is warm when I put the food in. Right before we leave I heat the food up pretty hot in the microwave, poor out the water and then poor the food into the thermos. Little man says it is still hot at lunch time. I use this electric kettle that has been a life saver! It is a little pricey (I got mine for about 30% off at Crate and Barrel) but it is worth it. Little man’s favorite food is oatmeal so this is a huge time saver in the morning.

Fruits and Veggies

I am not going to go into a lot of detail about fruits and veggies because there isn’t much detail other than I try to provide fresh sides of both each day. My staples are oranges, grapes, strawberries, watermelon, apples, bananas, fresh broccoli, baby carrots, grape tomatoes, and sometimes cauliflower or cucumbers. I usually just pick depending on what is on sale or in season. Little man prefers ranch dressing (see below) with most of his veggies but only likes a little bit so I don’t fight that too much :)

I use Naturally Fresh Lite Ranch Dressing because it seems to be decent in the health department and it is pretty tasty for a store bought ranch dressing.



There is nothing too fancy about my snacks and I send two with him each day, a “wet” and a “dry” snack, so says my teacher friend Mrs. Schnoor (I mean Fisher…inside joke :) ). My “go to” snacks are usually fresh fruit or applesauce, pretzels, yogurt (see below), popcorn, cheese sticks and if I am going to send chips which is rare I prefer Sun Chips original flavor because it only has a handful of ingredients and I think I can pronounce all of them. That is really it and I just rotate them so he doesn’t have the same ones every day.

*For the yogurt I use Stoneyfield Organic Yokids Squeezers because I have read good things about this brand, they are usually pretty affordable and I like the squeezers because I can keep the tubes in the freezer and they thaw out by snack time.



Simple. Thermos brand stainless steel thermos and water bottle. The thermos is easy for my son to open and close which is very important and it is not too deep for him to eat his soup with a spoon. It is as wide as it is deep making it the perfect size.We were using the Camelback bottle which I still really like but my son likes to chew on the soft straws which eventually causes it to leak. The Thermos brand bottles straws are hard and I have never had a problem with them leaking.


As for lunch containers I LOVE the ziploc three compartment containers. They are not super heavy duty but they are cheap and I haven’t had to replace one yet and we have been using them since August. The main compartment is the perfect size for the egg pie, mini pizza and every other main dish listed above. And I love the small compartment for dressing and the middle compartment for fruits and/or veggies and the dressing does not leak into the other compartments.


I also use this IKEA set of containers because they are also cheap and have several small ones.


Like I said before, my son is a pretty good eater but for most of these meals you can customize them with the ingredients or toppings that your kid prefers.

So, I think that is the low down on our lunch story. Don’t get me wrong I do send sandwiches sometimes but I try to limit some of the bread and deli meant when I can. We are a nut free school as most probably are now but little man doesn’t really miss the peanut butter and I usually just feed him his favorite sandwich on the weekend….peanut butter, honey and banana…is he my child??? I have heard jelly and cream cheese is pretty good. Have you guys tried this?

Also please know that I am ALWAYS looking to find ways to make things more simple and if it is not simple or if it is not something that I would make again I wouldn’t share it with you. I really hope you enjoy these ideas. Maybe you guys are already doing these types of things but I would love more suggestions if you have any good ideas to share.

By the way, did you catch that I titled yesterday’s post as Day 14? Probably because I wasn’t finished with it until after midnight! Oops, it is after midnight again but I think I am on the right day this time :)

Goodnight y’all!


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        1. I just pour a little, probably about 1/4 a cup. If I want to make two at a time I use 3 and just add some extra of each ingredient because if you just make the one you probably have a little extra.

          This is the recipe I use for the big one and I just add a little extra of everything if I am making two little ones also. You will see that the recipe for the big one will probably overflow your quiche dish and you will figure out the proportions once you have made it a couple times. Hope that make sense.

          Quiche recipe for regular sized quiche dish:
          1 box of frozen spinach (or 1 bag of frozen broccoli
          2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
          4 eggs
          1 pack of cubed ham (I have used bacon before too and it is good too!)
          1 pint of whipping cream, heavy cream or half-n-half (I have used all 3 and don’t see much of a difference)
          One refrigerated pie crust
          Salt and pepper to taste.

          Combine ingredients in a bowl and then put the pie crust in the dish and pour ingredients into the dish. Bake on 450 degrees for 15 minutes and reduce to 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Let set for 5 minutes then serve.


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