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What To Put In Kids Lunch Box What To Put In Kids Lunch Box


What To Put In Kids Lunch Box

Written by: Henry Campbell

Discover the best articles on what to put in your kids' lunch boxes. Get creative ideas and nutritious recipes to make lunchtime fun and healthy.

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Welcome to our guide on what to put in a kid’s lunch box! As parents, we understand the importance of providing our children with nutritious and delicious meals to fuel their growing bodies and minds. Packing a well-balanced lunch ensures that our little ones have the energy they need to stay focused and engaged throughout the day.

Creating a healthy lunch box doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. By including a variety of food groups and incorporating some creativity, we can make the lunch box an exciting experience for our children. In this article, we’ll explore a range of options for yummy and wholesome snacks, sandwiches, fresh fruits and vegetables, protein sources, dairy products, drinks, and sweet treats. Additionally, we’ll provide some helpful packing tips to ensure that the lunch box stays fresh and appetizing until lunchtime.

So, let’s dive in and discover some creative and nourishing ideas to pack in your child’s lunch box!

Healthy Snack Options

Snacks play a vital role in keeping kids energized throughout the day. When selecting snacks for the lunch box, it’s essential to choose options that are both tasty and nutrient-dense. Here are some healthy snack ideas that your child will love:

  • Trail mix: Create a custom blend of nuts, dried fruits, and whole-grain cereal for a crunchy and satisfying snack.
  • Yogurt: Pack a small container of low-fat yogurt with some sliced fruits or granola for added flavor and texture.
  • Rice cakes: Choose whole grain varieties and top them with nut butter or slices of avocado for a delicious and crunchy treat.
  • Vegetable sticks and hummus: Slice up some cucumber, carrot, and bell pepper and include a small serving of hummus for dipping.
  • Cheese and whole-grain crackers: Opt for reduced-fat cheese and high-fiber crackers for a balanced and enjoyable snack.
  • Homemade energy balls: Mix together oats, nut butter, honey, and dried fruits to create bite-sized energy balls that are packed with nutrients.
  • Popcorn: Air-popped popcorn is a great snack option that is low in calories and high in fiber. Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese or cinnamon for added flavor.

These snack options are not only healthy but also provide a combination of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats to keep your child satisfied between meals. Remember to pack snacks in portion-controlled containers to prevent overeating.

Sandwich Ideas

Sandwiches are a lunchtime staple that can be versatile and customizable to suit your child’s preferences. Here are some delicious and nutritious sandwich ideas that will make your child excited for lunch:

  • Turkey and avocado: Layer slices of lean turkey, avocado, and lettuce on whole-grain bread for a protein-packed and creamy sandwich.
  • Peanut butter and banana: Spread natural peanut butter on whole-wheat bread and add sliced bananas for a classic and satisfying combination.
  • Caprese: Layer fresh mozzarella cheese, tomato slices, and basil leaves on a whole-grain roll. Drizzle with balsamic glaze for a flavorful and refreshing sandwich.
  • Chicken Caesar wrap: Fill a whole-wheat wrap with grilled chicken, romaine lettuce, Parmesan cheese, and Caesar dressing for a delicious and portable lunch option.
  • Veggie wrap: Spread hummus on a whole-wheat wrap and add sliced cucumbers, shredded carrots, bell peppers, and spinach for a colorful and nutrient-packed sandwich alternative.
  • Tuna salad: Mix canned tuna with Greek yogurt or light mayonnaise, chopped celery, and red onion. Spread on whole-grain bread and top with lettuce and tomato.
  • Egg salad: Hard boil eggs and chop them into small pieces. Mix with light mayonnaise, mustard, and diced pickle. Spread on whole-grain bread and add some baby spinach.

These sandwich ideas provide a balance of proteins, healthy fats, and carbohydrates. Don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with different fillings and bread options to keep things interesting for your child.

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables into your child’s lunch box is an excellent way to boost their nutrition and introduce them to a variety of flavors and textures. Here are some fantastic options to consider:

  • Apple slices: Slice up an apple and sprinkle some lemon juice to prevent browning. Pack them in a small container for a sweet and crunchy snack.
  • Grapes: Wash and separate grapes into small clusters for a refreshing and bite-sized fruit option.
  • Carrot sticks: Cut carrots into sticks and include a side of hummus or yogurt-based dip for a delicious and nutritious combination.
  • Cucumber slices: Slice cucumbers and add a sprinkle of salt or a squeeze of lemon juice for a refreshing and hydrating snack.
  • Cherry tomatoes: Pack a handful of cherry tomatoes for a juicy and colorful addition to your child’s lunch.
  • Strawberries: Slice strawberries and include them as a sweet and vitamin-rich treat in your child’s lunch box.
  • Baby spinach: Add a handful of baby spinach to sandwiches or wraps for an extra boost of nutrients and a pop of vibrant green color.

By incorporating a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables into your child’s lunch box, you are providing them with essential vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. Consider introducing new fruits and vegetables gradually to expand their palate and offer them a well-rounded and healthy lunch.

Protein Options

Protein is an important nutrient for growing children as it supports their development, helps build and repair tissues, and keeps them feeling full and satisfied. Here are some protein-packed options to include in your child’s lunch box:

  • Grilled chicken strips: Cook and slice grilled chicken breasts into thin strips for a lean and flavorful source of protein.
  • Hard-boiled eggs: Hard-boiled eggs are a convenient and versatile protein option. Include them whole or slice them for sandwiches or wraps.
  • Turkey or ham slices: Choose lean turkey or ham slices as a delicious and convenient protein addition to sandwiches or wraps.
  • Greek yogurt: Opt for plain Greek yogurt, which is high in protein, and pair it with some fresh fruits or granola for added flavor and texture.
  • Cottage cheese: Cottage cheese is a creamy and protein-rich option that can be enjoyed on its own or paired with fruits or veggies.
  • Black beans: Drain and rinse canned black beans and pack them in a small container as a fiber-rich and plant-based source of protein.
  • Quinoa: Cooked quinoa can be added to salads or served as a side dish to provide a complete protein source.

Including protein options in the lunch box not only aids in your child’s growth and development but also helps to keep them feeling satisfied and focused during the day. Experiment with different protein sources and combine them with other food groups for a well-rounded and nutritious meal.

Dairy Products

Dairy products are a fantastic source of calcium, protein, and other essential nutrients that are crucial for your child’s bone health and development. Here are some dairy options to consider including in their lunch box:

  • String cheese: Pack individually wrapped string cheese for a convenient and satisfying snack that is high in calcium and protein.
  • Yogurt: Choose low-fat or Greek yogurt in various flavors and pack it in small containers. You can also include some granola or fresh fruits for added taste and texture.
  • Milk boxes: Opt for single-serving milk boxes that don’t require refrigeration for a refreshing and calcium-rich drink option.
  • Cheese and crackers: Pack some whole-grain crackers and slices of your child’s favorite cheese for a delicious and portable dairy snack.
  • Cottage cheese: Combine cottage cheese with fresh fruits or sprinkle some cinnamon for a creamy and protein-packed snack option.
  • Smoothies: Prepare a delicious and nutritious smoothie by blending milk or yogurt with fresh fruits and vegetables for a refreshing dairy-based drink.

Incorporating dairy products into your child’s lunch box is an excellent way to ensure they receive the necessary nutrients for their growing bodies. Choose low-fat or reduced-fat options whenever possible and pack them in insulated containers or with ice packs to keep them cool and fresh.


Keeping your child hydrated throughout the day is important for their overall health and well-being. Here are some beverage options to include in their lunch box:

  • Water: Good old water is the best and most hydrating option. Encourage your child to drink water during the day by packing a reusable water bottle.
  • 100% fruit juice: If your child enjoys juice, opt for 100% fruit juice with no added sugars. Limit the portion size and dilute it with water if needed.
  • Flavored water: Consider infusing water with fresh fruits, such as lemon slices, berries, or cucumbers, to add a refreshing flavor without the added sugars.
  • Milk: In addition to being a dairy option, milk is a great source of hydration. Pack a small carton of low-fat or flavored milk for a calcium-rich drink.
  • Smoothies: Blend up a nutritious smoothie using a combination of milk or yogurt, fresh fruits, and a touch of honey for a tasty and hydrating beverage.

It’s important to limit sugary drinks and opt for healthier options like water and milk. Encourage your child to drink throughout the day to stay hydrated, focused, and energized.

Sweet Treats

While it’s important to focus on nourishing and nutritious foods, it’s also okay to include a small sweet treat in your child’s lunch box occasionally. Here are some ideas for sweet treats that can still be enjoyed in moderation:

  • Homemade granola bars: Bake your own granola bars using oats, honey, nuts, and dried fruits for a healthier alternative to store-bought options.
  • Dark chocolate: Choose dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa for a sweet treat that is rich in antioxidants and has less added sugar.
  • Fruit cups: Pack a small container of diced or sliced fruit such as melons, berries, or pineapple for a naturally sweet and refreshing dessert option.
  • Homemade muffins: Bake muffins using whole-grain flour and include ingredients like fruits, nuts, or seeds for added nutritional value.
  • Frozen yogurt: Freeze yogurt cups or pouches for a fun and healthier twist on ice cream.

It’s important to remember that sweet treats should be enjoyed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. By choosing healthier alternatives and practicing portion control, you can satisfy your child’s sweet tooth while still promoting healthy eating habits.

Packing Tips

Packing a lunch box can be a fun and rewarding experience for both you and your child. Here are some helpful tips to ensure that the lunch remains fresh, safe, and enjoyable:

  • Invest in a good lunch box: Choose a lunch box or insulated bag that is the right size to fit all the components of the meal and has compartments to separate food items.
  • Use reusable containers: Opt for reusable containers to pack different foods. This helps reduce waste and keeps the food fresh. Make sure the containers are leak-proof to prevent any spills or messes.
  • Include an ice pack: To keep perishable items, such as dairy products or meat, cool and fresh, place an ice pack in the lunch box or bag. This will help maintain the optimal temperature until lunchtime.
  • Prep the night before: Prepare as much of the lunch as possible the night before to save time in the morning. This includes washing and cutting fruits and vegetables, cooking and slicing chicken or other proteins, and portioning out snacks.
  • Pack a variety of colors and textures: Make the lunch visually appealing by including a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. This not only adds nutrition but also makes the meal more enticing for your child.
  • Label the lunch box: Write your child’s name on the lunch box or use stickers to ensure it doesn’t get mixed up with others. This helps prevent confusion and loss.
  • Involve your child: Let your child have some input in the lunch box choices. Discuss their preferences and let them help with the packing process. This promotes independence and encourages them to eat what’s inside.

By following these packing tips, you can ensure that your child’s lunch remains fresh, appealing, and safe to eat. Remember to clean the lunch box after each use to maintain hygiene and prevent the growth of bacteria.


Packing a well-balanced and nutritious lunch box for your child is a great opportunity to provide them with the energy and nutrients they need to thrive throughout the day. By including a variety of healthy snack options, delicious sandwiches, fresh fruits and vegetables, protein sources, dairy products, drinks, and occasional sweet treats, you can ensure that your child’s lunch is both appetizing and packed with essential nutrients.

Remember to get creative and involve your child in the lunch-packing process. By including them in the decision-making and allowing them to choose their preferences, you can ensure that they are excited about their lunch and more likely to enjoy it.

Utilize our packing tips to keep the lunch fresh and packed safely. From investing in a quality lunch box and reusable containers to prepping the night before and adding an ice pack, these simple steps will help keep the food at its best until lunchtime.

So, go ahead and start incorporating these ideas into your child’s lunch box. Not only will they benefit from the nutritious meals, but they will also develop healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime. With a little planning and creativity, you can make the lunch box an exciting and enjoyable part of your child’s day.

Here’s to happy and healthy lunches!

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