5 Tips for Unprocessed (& Easy) School Lunches!

I shared my top 5 tips for packing school lunches on our local NBC morning show (that airs at 5 AM, but luckily I got to tape it the day before at 9 AM, phew!) and thought I’d share the info and (abbreviated) news clip here as well. I’d love to hear how you make unprocessed school lunches happen in the comments below!
School Lunch Tips on 100 Days of Real Food

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5 Tips for Packing Unprocessed School Lunches

  1. Get the right supplies 
    No sense in throwing out baggies, paper bags, and napkins at the end of each day. Invest in some reusable boxes, cheap silverware, cute cloth napkins and an insulated lunch bag that’ll last you all year long. Check out some of the lunch products we use for inspiration.
  2. Plan ahead
    Make your own convenience food by making and packing away homemade soups, pancakes, muffins, breads and other goodies in your freezer! We bought an extra freezer to help us have enough space, and I share more on the process in this post from the archives.
  3. Work on your picky eaters
    I’m personally not a fan of sending new foods in my child’s lunch box if I’m not sure she likes it, so start by experimenting with new dishes at home either for dinner or on the weekend. Once you’ve got a “win,” send the leftovers to school the next day! Here are some more resources for picky eaters.
  4. Think outside the sandwich
    PB&J (or ham & cheese) can get old fast, so think beyond the sandwich with soups and stews (warm in a Thermos, see some examples here), wraps, waffles, hearty salads, or foods you might traditionally eat warm (served cold in the lunch box) when figuring out what to pack.
  5. Get your kid involved
    I’ve got loads of packed lunch photos both on my blog and also in all three of my cookbooks, so sit down with your kid and ask what they’d most like to have in their lunch box. Or better yet, get them to help you pack their lunch to ensure it’ll be a win at school the next day!


3 Easy Lunch Ideas (The first 2 are from my newest cookbook!)

  1. Chicken Burrito Bowls (served cold, which does not stop my kiddos for a second)
    School Lunch Tips on 100 Days of Real Food
  2. Easy Chickpea Salad (also great for a work lunch)
    School Lunch Tips on 100 Days of Real Food
  3. Tomato Bisque
    School Lunch Tips on 100 Days of Real Food

Do you have any unprocessed school lunch tips? Please share in the comments below.

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2 thoughts on “5 Tips for Unprocessed (& Easy) School Lunches!”

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  1. I wish my daughter (6 years) would eat traditionally hot food cold! She is a firm believer that leftovers need to be hot if originally eaten hot! She won’t even eat cold pizza. I use a thermos, but some things are really hard to fit in there! Anyone know something that is like a thermos (aka keeps things hot) but more in a flat square/rectangle shape?

  2. My son takes for his lunches.
    Lettuce wrap with cheese and meat
    Left over stir fry
    Homemade dill pickles
    Fruit on hand
    Nuts and raisins
    These are just some of what he takes to school.
    My daughter is homeschooled because of health issues and we have
    Lettuce wraps
    Fried potatoes in coconut oil
    Anything leftover from supper or breakfast