I have fond lunch memories of my mom packing what we called “roaches,” or dates stuffed with cream cheese, as well as the best homemade peanut butter and jelly squares I have ever eaten. Ever. Now, it seems many people have less and less time to spend on making school lunches, and peanut butter with celery just doesn’t sound as appealing as school cafeteria pizza.

However, making something healthy quickly doesn’t have to be as difficult as it might feel after a summer of throwing together fresh salads and barbequing in the backyard. Here are some simple tips for easy school lunches throughout the school year.

 

  1. Buy bulk: Invest in reusable bulk bags and stock up on granola, trail mix, raisins, and other shelf-stable foods you can grab in a pinch.
  2. Small bites: No bake nut butter bars are adaptable, nutritious, and fun to make with kids. Cut and freeze them in wax paper for an easy snack.
  3. Creative cold: Freeze grapes and melon balls for a still cold bite-sized tidbit. Repurpose plastic water bottles by filling them ¾ with water or juice, freezing, and then placing in the lunch bag to keep food cold. And it’s drinkable!
  4. Leftovers: Plan dinners with cold, kid-friendly leftovers in mind, like zucchini pasta tossed with veggies and vinaigrette. When prepping for a casserole, chop extra broccoli and bag it for a future lunch.
  5. Have a plan: Create a visual plan on the fridge or wall that lets kids see what’s coming and have input on their diet. Then leave room in the plan for treats once in a while. //

[Feature photo: School lunch box // S. Michal Bennett]