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Creative Lunch Box Ideas for Kids

Submitted by on September 7, 2011 – 2:10 pm9 Comments

by Mina Frannea

Although school cafeteria lunches at our local elementary school are somewhat healthier than in the past, my goal this year is to send lunch from home about 90% of the time. This way, I know exactly what my children are getting and I can use organic and natural ingredients as much as possible.

My daughter doesn’t like cold cut sandwiches and neither of my kids like tuna salad or chicken salad so I’ve had to be extra creative in coming up with lunches that both children will enjoy. Here are about a week’s worth of lunch box ideas that I’ve come up with for my two eight-year-olds that I hope you’ll find helpful. You can mix and match meals as desired. These are probably appropriate for age 5 and up.

Apples and Cheese
sliced apples sprinkled with a bit of lemon juice to keep the apples from browning
cheese cubes
baked pretzel crisps
Barbara’s Snackimals

Fruit and Veggies
baby carrots and ranch dressing
two mozzarella string cheese sticks
sliced strawberries
Annie’s organic snack mix or natural Cheetos

Hummus and Pita Chips
1/3 cup of hummus
1 1/2 ounces of sea salt flavored baked pita chips
kiwi fruit slices or cantaloupe cubes
organic animal crackers
organic juice or water

Chips and Cream Cheese
1/3 cup of Zausner’s whipped cream cheese
1 1/2 ounces of Sprouts veggie chips
seedless red grapes or peach slices
yogurt pretzels
organic juice or water

Peanut Butter Sandwich
(be aware of peanut allergies in your child’s classroom)
crunchy natural peanut butter
with organic strawberry preserves – for my son
with sliced banana – for my daughter who doesn’t like jam with peanut butter
honey wheat bread
seedless red grapes or sliced strawberries
natural Cheetos or other baked chips

homemade mac-n-cheese in a mini thermos (whole grain pasta with homemade cheese sauce)
sliced strawberries mixed with blue berries, or tangerine slices
whole grain goldfish crackers
organic chocolate sandwich cookies (2-3)
juice or bottled water

Annie’s Organic Pasta in Tomato Sauce
1/2 a can of All Stars, BernieO’s, or P’sghetti Loops in a mini thermos
apple slices sprinkled with a bit of lemon juice to keep from browning
pretzels (low sodium) or crispy cheddar crackers
portable yogurt snack

There are alternatives to the typical sandwich for lunch box meals and I hope you’re inspired to come up with your own meal ideas. As an added treat for your child, take the time to include a special note in your child’s lunch box whenever you can. A quick note that reads “Have a beautiful day!” or “You’re a super star!” will brighten your child’s day!

Mina Frannea is a Mom to eight-year-old twins and enjoys writing about life in general, family friendly activities around town, favorite recipes and crafts that keep her children busy and happy. For more posts by Mina, visit her blog at



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