School Lunch Roundup VI

Here is another school lunch roundup post for you so you can get ideas all in one place! Also, we are working on a website redesign which will not only allow you to see ALL lunch pics at once, but it will also give you the chance to narrow by dietary need (i.e. dairy-free, nut-free, gluten-free, etc.) AND search by ingredient. So subscribe to my email list to be the first to know when this new feature is available!

To learn more about the lunches I pack here are some links…

Also be sure to check out our School Lunch FAQs with other info including what I do to prevent apples from turning brown!

100 Days of #RealFood #SchoolLunch

100 Days of #RealFood #SchoolLunch

      • PB and honey on whole-wheat
      • Cucumber slices
      • Watermelon
      • Plain yogurt mixed with a little pure maple syrup, a dash of vanilla extract and blueberries

100 Days of #RealFood #SchoolLunch

      • Leftover grass-fed hamburger – served cold (in cookbook)
      • Salad
      • Half a banana
      • Strawberries
      • Watermelon
      • Cheddar cheese

100 Days of #RealFood #SchoolLunch

100 Days of #RealFood #SchoolLunch

      • Homemade PB & honey “uncrustable
      • Honey dew melon
      • Roasted cashews
      • Sungold cherry tomatoes
      • Cheddar cubes

100 Days of #RealFood #SchoolLunch

      • Slow cooker potato soup – with grated cheese and organic bacon to go on top (in cookbook)
      • Homemade whole-wheat cinnamon raisin bread (in cookbook) and cream cheese sandwiches
      • Grapes

100 Days of #RealFood #SchoolLunch

      • Slow cooker refried beans (served warm in thermos)
      • Cheese quesadilla triangles (served cold)
      • Sour cream to go on top
      • Diced watermelon

100 Days of #RealFood #SchoolLunch

      • Oranges
      • Plain yogurt mixed with a little orange zest and pure maple syrup and topped with frozen blueberries
      • Homemade granola
      • Whole-wheat lemon raspberry muffin (defrosted from freezer)
      • A little dark chocolate (85%)
      • Frozen mixed veggies

100 Days of #RealFood #SchoolLunch

      • Whole-wheat pasta salad (with tomatoes, mozzarella and homemade spinach/basil pesto)
      • Bell peppers
      • Plain yogurt mixed with a little pure maple syrup and pomegranate seeds
      • Hard-boiled egg

100 Days of #RealFood #SchoolLunch

      • Leftover Greek stuffed pitas – with feta, plain yogurt, cucumber, and dill (in cookbook)
      • Grapes
      • Carrots
      • Bell peppers
      • Applesauce

100 Days of #RealFood #SchoolLunch

      • Homemade tomato bisque (defrosted from freezer) with whole-wheat noodles in it
      • Apple sandwich
      • Cold grilled cheese (that’s grated parmesan that you see on the bread)
      • As always, water to drink

100 Days of #RealFood #SchoolLunch

      • Lunchbox quiche – defrosted (in cookbook)
      • Orange
      • Cheddar cubes
      • Tomatoes
      • Whole-grain crackers
      • Leftover homemade kale/basil pesto (in cookbook)

100 Days of #RealFood #SchoolLunch

      • Leftover homemade chicken nuggets (served cold)
      • Honey mustard for dipping (in cookbook)
      • Plain yogurt mixed with a little pure maple syrup and pomegranate seeds
      • Cucumbers
      • Carrots

100 Days of #RealFood #SchoolLunch

      • Whole-wheat pita pizzas – made previously and defrosted (in cookbook)
      • Popcorn
      • Veggies
      • Homemade onion dip (in cookbook)

100 Days of #RealFood #SchoolLunch

      • Whole-wheat couscous salad (mixed with feta, tomatoes, cucumbers, and a little bit of homemade vinaigrette dressing)
      • Apples
      • Almond/cashew mix
      • A small green salad with parmesan cheese and olive oil

What are your favorite go-to real food lunches?

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59 thoughts on “School Lunch Roundup VI”

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  1. what can you recommend for subbing out the sliced peppers my kids dont like them, and I have one that doesnt eat cheese or the egg yolk. Just looking for subs for these items so I dont have to make so many different things. thanks

  2. What brand are the lunch boxes that have the “little treat hole” in the middle? I did not see them listed in the lunch box review.

  3. These are GREAT lunch ideas. But what do I do with a big, strong 18 year old son who would consider any of these a light snack?

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi Wendy. You will just need to step up the serving sizes and drop the cute presentation. :) Seriously, you can use Lisa’s lunches as a guide but make them work for your “big kids”.

  4. I just want to join the legions of others in saying THANK YOU for all these helpful tips. It’s opened my eyes to what lunch can be. I ordered the EasyLunchboxes and they now have “mini dipper” inserts that are leak proof for the yogurt or applesauce occasions. :) Thanks again for all your tips on supplies + healthy food options for kids!

  5. Hi!
    I think you have some lovly ideas here! BUT may schools are a nutfree zone. So I think that you rethink over to post pictures with peanutbutter, nuts, pesto, nutbars and so on. My daugter has nutallergy, and its even airborn. Its lifethreathening!

    Thanks!

  6. Thank you so much for your post . I am new at this whole foods and you come up with great lunches for my son and me……..so needed again thanks!

  7. i have been trying clean lunches since august. It went really well at first but lately my kiddo
    Barely eats anything. She hates tomoatoes, sandwiches, cream cheese and chicken. She also
    Generally doesnt eat something cold if she thinks it is supposed to be hot (quesadillas, burgers, etc).
    I really want to keep this up since she has not been eating great at home but i am beginning to get discouraged.
    Any ideas or suggestions are greatly appreciated!

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi Eliza. Lisa has lots of other ideas in other school roundup postshttps://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2012/04/19/school-lunch-roundup/, https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2012/09/04/school-lunch-roundup-ii/, and https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2013/02/04/school-lunch-roundup-iii/ and more. It is easy for kids to get off track (holidays can really sabotage things) but stick with it, she’ll come back around. Beyond that, we’ve got plenty of picky eater posts, too: https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2013/11/01/doctors-tv-show-5-tips-for-a-picky-eater/. ~Amy

  8. Hello,
    I was wondering how a lot of these look when the lunchbox is opened? My daughter uses a bento box. Frozen fruit gets watery. Peas can travel.
    I like the idea of the yogurts with frozen fruit but I am wondering how it will “present itself” when she opens her box?
    Any suggestions for maintaining appearance would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you :)

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi Wendy. It is almost impossible to keep lunches from getting tossed around a bit. Other than packing things so they don’t leak, we really don’t worry too much about how it looks when opened. Lisa’s lunches do hold together and present pretty well, however. ~Amy

  9. I am new to cleaner eating. I especially struggle with feeding my picky eaters. Do you have a quick reference for all the premade frozen meals you use for your kids lunches. I am slowly making changes and have goals for where I want to be, but one thing I would like to do is have more meals premade and frozen for the girls. Thanks!

  10. I have several questions regarding pasta and the syrup which I’ve asked several times on fb posts with no reply. I know there are a ton of people following but how do I get my questions answered? I’ve purchased the cookbook and found a few things I was needing some additional answers. I see people get responses, so curious how I can get mine answered ( that I think would be beneficial to others trying to make the switch!)!Thanks!

      1. Just curious which brands of pasta she buys and where she finds them. I am having a hard time finding whole grain that also do not have a major texture (that my kids won’t eat). Specifically, the ones used in her tomato soup. Also, curious on the difference between grade a and b syrups? Why use B? And if making a recipe that calls for sugar, how do you replace with the syrup (ratio I guess is what I am needing)? Thanks!!!

      2. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

        Hi again. With pasta, it really comes down to personal taste. Lisa’s family is used to all whole grain all the time. :) This comparison might help, just know that they are not all 100% whole grain: http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/archive/product-reviews/food-products/pasta-reviews/0/16. Regarding maple syrup, Grade B is darker and richer and tastes less watered down. And, this might help with converting a recipe from sugar to maple syrup: http://www.maplesyrupworld.com/pages/Replace-Sugar-with-Maple-Syrup-in-Your-Cooking.html. Typically the same applies to honey but it just depends on which flavor you prefer. ~Amy

  11. Thank you for another great post. Since you are so good at creating and finding healthy recipes, I was wondering if you could help me. My partner will soon be deploying with the U.S. Marine Corps and I am struggling to find healthy snacks to make and send him that will last for a few weeks. I want to ensure he has healthy alternatives to the vending machines that will be available. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi Kristen. Off the top of my head, I would go with go with nuts, seeds, dried fruit and granola/nut bars. Lara Bars are a very good brand and Kind has a cleaner ingredient list than most. Apples are a good long shelf life fruit and you might find/make some clean jerky, too. ~Amy

  12. Thank you for this, I refer to your blog several times a week for assistance with ideas, recipes or what not. I really, really appreciate you and your helpers :) Will be purchasing your cookbook as soon as I can afford it :)

  13. These lunches look amazing! But it’s a hassle to make them look this good, wouldn’t it be great if these could be pre-made and delivered to your house?

  14. My question to the parents that pack lunches like this, how does it look when your child opens it? My child’s lunch would require lids on every single side and even then opening the side the lid would be covered and messy. While I live the variety, it is not practical for my family. I do fruit salads in separate lidded containers hot food (pasta, meatballs, ravioli, potstickers, homemade chili, homemade breaded chicken), cheese and crackers, veggie sticks, but never could I pull off this presentation, especially with lunch boxes swinging, moving and toppling. My child would wind up with a yogurt covered mess and go hungry.

  15. Hi-I was wondering about the Greek stuffed pitas. This post says the recipe is in the cookbook. I have the cookbook but can’t find it? Thanks

  16. Hi! I was just wondering about the smoothie pop molds. Have they been leak proof for you guys? I recently purchased a few, but my smoothie leaked all over my lunchbox, creating a huge mess. Just checking if these were truly leakproof or it was just me.:)

  17. Thanks for all of the great lunch ideas!

    PS – I LOVE LOVE LOVE the whole wheat cinnamon raison bread recipe from the cookbook. I have made it several times since I bought your cookbook and served it to friends and family.. it’s a hit all around!!! I also might have substituted raisons for chocolate chips the last time to make it into a delicious dessert… whoops! :-)

  18. thank you for the great ideas! I too pack four lunches–mine, husbands, 15 year old boy and 13 year old boy. the lunch bags aren’t big enough!!!!! One thing that helps me a lot is I make a big grain salad or pasta salad that all three boys will eat. I have good luck with quinoa salads, whole wheat pasta salads, spelt berry salad, couscous salad–I get a lot of those salad recipes from the Moosewood Daily Special cookbook.

  19. I would pay for these lunch ideas to be printed in color on cards. They are all “mom-approved” ideas, and my kids could pack their own lunches. What a great way to empower them to make good choices! I’ll be watching for those! ;)

  20. I am hoping you can help me turn one of my lunch soups into real food:) I have an amazing recipe for chicken tortillia soup, but it uses 1 can of cream of chicken soup. I have tried leaving it out, but then the soup is too tomatoie and gives everyone indegestion. What would you recommend that I substitute? Thanks for your help.

    1. A soup is pretty flexible…I have had good success in casseroles using some cream cheese and a little extra broth (mixing them together to get thr right amount/consistency)…or if you are lazy like me just melt in a few tablespoons of cream cheese into the soup pot and then taste test to see if it needs more.

  21. I would LOVE the adult lunch roundup idea. You are really helping me to get started on a much healthier life style! Kepp up the awesome work!

  22. I second the adult lunch roundup idea, except for me, not my husband :)! I am usually pretty awesome at being healthy for breakfast and dinner but lunch always seems to suffer. Thanks!! Love your site.

  23. I just love your lunch ideas! Thanks for the latest roundups. I was wondering if you’ve ever considered doing an adult lunch roundup/feature for your blog? I don’t have kids, but I do have a very hungry husband who takes a lunch to work. I have the awesome Ziploc containers and regularly use them with great success but am always looking for new hearty, adult ideas. Many of your kids’ lunch ideas will work very well, but as an adult, I’m not going to make him an apple sandwich or, as much as I’d like to, send him with a skewer full of salami and cheese (or anything). Thank you!

    1. Alison,
      I am almost 40 who loves food and is a grazer at my desk job. I tried these lunches, and they are quite filling even for me. If I am not going to be behind my desk from 9-5 (meaning more moving around) I will add a hard boiled egg or an extra piece of fruit, usually an apple or banana. I am hungry by dinner, but not hangry or so hungry that I am making a poor choice and opting for take out. I hope this helps.

  24. Do the girls always have such a varied menu throughout the week? My kindergartener seems to want the same things for an entire week.

    1. I do what I can to try to keep it interesting although they do have some repeat items – usually just 1 or 2 items (not the whole lunch).

      1. Lol. I hear you there! It was awesome at the beginning of the school year (a big 5 weeks ago!). They were really interested! It was fun doing some planning together making a few freezer-worthy items on the weekend. But school, sports, homework, family, and the need for their own time are now competing for the same 3+ hours of evening time. Egads. Anyway, I share your pictures of lunches with my boys and say “See! Other kids eat healthy too! Which meal looks good to you?” Lol :):) Thank you again :)

    1. Trader Joe’s has whole wheat pita bread with only 7 ingredients, the first of which is whole wheat flour.

      On another note, we just got a great Harvest in our city, yeah! Unfortunately I was dismayed to learn that the Honey Whole Wheat bread, that you (Lisa) recommend contains 7 grams of added sugar per slice. For reference, the Trader Joe’s whole wheat bread that I buy has only 1 gram of added sugar (honey). I realize that great harvest uses honey, but sugar is still sugar and I am trying to keep my girls under the recommended 3 teaspoons of added sugar per day, so I’d hate to use up nearly 2 teaspoons on a slice of bread. Also, if I send my husband a peanut butter sandwich with 2 slices of bread for lunch, that’s 14 grams (over a tablespoon of added sugar). Not sure what your thoughts are on this. LOVE the ingredients, just wish there was less sugar. The bread is INCREDIBLY delicious though!