Wondering what lunches to pack your kids their first week back to school? Read this article for 4 easy and exciting lunch ideas.
My littles are back to school next week and I'm packing them special treats in their lunchboxes to celebrate!
I've chosen fun and colourful gummy bears, worms and jelly beans from Surf Sweets Organic Candies as their special treat because they're made with organic natural sweeteners and fruit juice and made without synthetic colours, and flavours.
They're also made in facility free of nuts and the top 10 food allergens which makes them the perfect sweet treat to pack for school!
I love packing chicken nuggets because they're easy to make and always a hit with my kids. I serve them with fresh sweet corn (cut into rounds for easy eating), juicy orange quarters, cucumber slices, and waffle pretzels.
** Note: I pack chicken nuggets cold but you can serve them hot in a thermos. I recommend lining the thermos with a paper towel first to keep the nuggets from getting soggy.
My kids love pizza but because a slice of pizza is difficult to fit in a lunchbox I've started making pizza roll-ups! These can be made with leftover pizza or you can make them from scratch using naan bread (recipe below).
They hardly take up any room in the lunch box which means you can fill the rest of the compartments with fresh colourful fruits & veggies and a Surf Sweets Gummy Worm for a super fun and special treat!
Spread Pizza sauce on naan bread. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Warm in the oven until cheese melts. Let cool slightly then roll tightly into a cylinder shape and cut into bite size pieces.
I love packing food my kids can eat with their hands! Here I've packed jumbo tortellini (no fork, no sauce, no mess) with baby carrots (no washing, no cutting), fresh grapes, berries and these colourful Surf Sweets Organic jelly beans!
These jelly beans are SO YUMMY because they're drenched with fruit flavour, and made with organic cane sugar and organic fruit juice.
Hummus is an easy, healthy food to pack for lunch! I serve it with a variety of veggies and pretzels for dipping, fresh fruit, cubed cheese and one or two tangy and sweet Surf Sweets Sour Worms.
These super fun sour worms are made with organic fruit juice, contain no artificial colours or flavours.
** Tip: Mix fruits & veggies together to create a fun rainbow of colour.
54 Quick & Easy back to school lunch ideas for kids
Eggs are easily one of the most versatile foods to pack in a lunch box. There are hundreds of recipes to choose from and most egg recipes are quick and easy to make like these yummy Spinach and Cheese Omelette Roll-ups.
I’ve used Conestoga Farms Free Range eggs for the recipe because they’re wholesome, local eggs produced by proud Ontario farmers and their families who’s hens have access to outdoor pastures. And because eggs are full of healthy fats and protein they will keep kids fuelled throughout the day. I pack them at least once a week for school in my kids lunch boxes.
Whisk eggs and water together in a medium bowl until well blended. Stir in the baby spinach and cheddar cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat 1 tablespoons butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Pour in the egg mixture and cook until eggs begin to set. Flip with a spatula, and continue cooking 2-3 minutes or until eggs are fully cooked.
Transfer omelette to a cutting board and let cool for 2-3 minutes.
Then roll omelette tightly into a cylinder shape.
Cut into bite size pieces.
Pack immediately in a lunch box and store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to send it to school. I recommend sending it together with an icepack in an insulated lunch bag.
Note: Omelette roll-ups can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
Conestoga Farms egg farmers are proud to work with Gray Ridge Egg Farms in the distribution of eggs to fine retailers across the province. They’re also proud members of Egg Farmers of Ontario and Egg Farmers of Canada, ensuring safe, quality egg production practices from the farm to the carton and beyond.
Look for the Foodland Ontario logo on your carton to know that you’re supporting local Ontario egg farmers.
Lunches looked a lot different when I went to school. My sandwiches were put in a ziplock bag and tossed into a brown paper bag along with a piece of fruit and a granola bar. When it was time to retrieve my lunch from my backpack, the sandwich was usually smushed, the banana was beaten up and oozing and the granola bar.. well, thank goodness for the granola bar!
Now, kids go to school with their lunches packed in all sorts of fancy lunch boxes which I love not only because they’re great for the environment but because they make lunch FUN!
But how do you choose the right one? Well, that depends on a few things...
If your child is new to school this year (like my son Brookson yay!) look for a lunchbox that’s easy to open. Have your little practice eating out of the lunchbox BEFORE they start school and show them the right way to open & close it (ie. not upside down)! The lunch room is a busy place and kids don’t get a lot of time to eat so you want them to be confident and independent.
What does your child like to eat? Ie. sandwiches, snack foods, leftover, hot foods? Depending on what they like, look for lunchboxes with compartments/divisions that will fit those foods.
Choose a lunchbox that can contain spills. And if the one you want doesn’t, then look for smaller leakproof containers that will fit inside and hold any yogurt, applesauce, dipping sauces you want to pack.
Choose something dishwasher safe and save yourself some time! Most lunchboxes can be washed on the top rack in your dishwasher but always check the FAQ section to be sure!
In addition to the tips above, I've created a simple lunchbox comparison chart (below) featuring the 5 lunchbox brands I use. There's additional information about each lunchbox below the chart. I hope this information helps you pick the right lunchbox for your little :)
Have a question? Leave me a comment below or send me (Jenny) an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lunchbox Comparison Chart
CLICK CHART TO ENLARGE
Image, information and opinions by Little Lunch Love
Designed in Australia by a busy mother on the quest for the perfect lunch box, The Little Lunch Box Co lunch box comes in a variety of colours and patterns and is suitable for all ages. They offer two sizes with a couple of compartment options, Bento Two, Bento Three and Bento Five.
The Bento Five
I have The Bento Fivethat was designed specifically for children who prefer variety or who are fussy eaters. It allows me to pack endless combinations of foods such as fruit, veggies and dip, cheese and crackers and yogurt and granola which can all be packed side by side without the risk of spoiling.
This product is BPA Free, dishwasher safe, able to store wet foods * Please refer to their packing instructions for an explanation of wet foods, easy for little hands to open, lightweight medium in size at 17.5cm x 17.5cm x 5.6cm. Little Lunch Box Co. recommends using an insulated bag with an ice pack to keep contents cool.
Designed in France by mama-duo Maia and Daniela who wanted:
a lunch box housing a bento-like tray with one lid that sealed all compartments
designated food groups to encourage and assist parents in packing a balanced meal
built-in portion control
a cool design and illustrations to make this little box more of an adventure in good nutrition than just plain old lunch
I own two of these babies (the Yumbox Panino and the Yumbox Original) because they’re light, compact and super easy for my kids to open and close.
The Yumbox Panino The Yumbox Panino has a 4-compartment food tray and is the box for you if your little loves a sandwich or salad style lunch. It has one large sandwich size section (2 cups) with two smaller 1/2 cup sides plus a 1 oz dip/treat well.
The Yumbox Original The Yumbox Original 6-compartment food tray, is perfect for toddlers through age 8 who like variety. It accommodates five 1/2 cup portions plus one dip/treat well. The illustrated trays are a helpful guide if your child wants to pack their own lunch (ya right lol) They are also a helpful guide for me when I’m feeling a bit stumped on what I should pack.
This product is BPA-Free, Phthalates-free and are CPSIA and FDA compliant. It is dishwasher safe, able to store wet foods * Please refer to their FAQ page to learn how to pack wet foods, easy for little hands to open, lightweight (1 lbs 1.5 oz.) and compact in size at 8.5 (l) x 6.5 (w) x 1.8 (h) inches. YumBox recommends using an insulated bag with an ice pack to keep contents cool.
The company was started by Jacqueline Linder, a mom who was concerned about chemicals in plastic leaching into her food. So, she started LunchBots and they now offer an extensive collection of stainless steel containers (super strong and super non-toxic) including bento containers with a variety of compartments, leak Proof containers and insulated containers. Bento Cinco
I own the Bento Cinco container because it’s perfect for both children and adults who have a healthy appetite. The two larger compartments are perfect for a sandwich/salad, chicken/rice combos and the three smaller compartments fit fruits, veg, trail mix, baked goods etc. So basically, it can fit enough food in it to satisfy anyone for the entire day.
I also love that it's slim enough to fit in almost every lunch bag and that it's lightweight & extremely durable.
This product is made from durable food-grade 18/8 stainless steel with no linings, no toxins, no BPA and no phthalates. The Large Bento Container is NOT able to store wet foods, however they have other options available that can accommodate wet foods. It is dishwasher safe, weighs 17 oz and compact in size at 8" x 6" x 1.75" | Large sections: 4" x 3.5" | Small sections: 2.7" x 2.5" *LunchBots recommends using an insulated bag with an ice pack to keep contents cool.
Created with love by two parents on opposite sides of the world, Nancy Yen (Founder & CEO) and Robin Big (Creative Director) set out to create a new kind of lunch system that would help kids eat better.
OmieBox is the first insulated bento lunch box for kids that stores hot and cold food together. The bento compartments are double walled, air insulated and leak-proof, so it keeps fruits and vegetables cool and fresh. Hot items go inside the thermos (which is wide a low for little fingers) but what’s cool is you can remove the thermos compartment and pack a sandwich if you wish instead!
It also has a handle so it’s the only container you need to store and transport food to school. Oh and its available in 5 super beautiful colours. I have the green one Yay!
OmieBox is made of ABS, PP, silicon, and 18/8 food grade stainless steel. It is is BPA‐free, Phthalates‐free. It is also CPSIA and FDA compliant. It is dishwasher safe leak‐proof *Please refer to their FAQ page to learn how to pack wet foods* but it weighs a touch heavy at 1.9 lbs with the vacuum insulated container, and 1.2 lbs without. It’s a small price to pay for an insulated hot/cold lunchbox and so worth it!
This bento-style lunch box is designed specifically for kids who are on the go thanks to its drop-proof, rubber-coated edges and sturdy design! It also features 5 practical compartments portioned perfectly for a child’s appetite which are sealed and leak-proof, meaning you can fill them with both dry and wet foods without worrying about them leaking into each other.
This Bento Kids lunch box is perfect for sending a half sandwich or salad along with some veggies, cheese and crackers and dip! I also love it to send leftovers (if your kids don't mind eating them cold).
The Bento Kids lunchbox features two easy to open and close latches and rubber coated edges for a sturdy drop-proof design. It also features a removable, dishwasher-safe (top-shelf), microwave and freezer safe tray for convenient packing and cleaning.
It is made from Food grade plastic and contains no BPA, Vinyl, Lead, or PVC.
These healthy homemade granola bars are perfect for kids because they taste great and they're packed with nutritious superfoods like Sprouted Quinoa, Flax powder, pumpkin seeds and cranberries from Organic Traditions.
I chose Organic Traditions ingredients for for this recipe because they offer the highest quality of ethically sourced, organic superfoods including Roasted Baru Seeds, a peanut tasting legume that is 100% peanut free. I've chopped the Baru Seeds into small piece and added them to these healthy granola bars to give them a yummy nutty flavour!
Each ingredient I've used is completely nut free which means these healthy homemade granola bars are safe to pack in your kids lunchbox for school! They freeze like a dream too so pop half the batch into the freezer for days when you're low on snacks.
¾ cup canned pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
½ cup liquid honey (or maple syrup)
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
Combine first 10 ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well. In a medium bowl, whisk together pumpkin, honey, and coconut oil. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients. Mix using a wooden spoon until dry ingredients are completely coated with pumpkin mixture.
Pour the wet granola mixture into the prepared pan and spread it evenly to the edges. Using the bottom of a cup, press down firmly on the granola so that it’s tightly packed in the pan.
Bake on middle oven rack for about 25 minutes, until top turns a light golden brown and feels dry to touch. Remove pan from oven and cool completely on a wire rack. Carefully transfer to a cutting board and cut the granola into 16 bars, using a super sharp knife. Wrap bars tightly in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container, either at room temperature or in the fridge.