Another school year is upon us, and kids will be heading back to the classroom very soon. While that might mean a little more peace and quiet around your house during the day, it probably means a more hectic morning as you try to get backpacks ready, permission slips signed and lunches packed.
Most of the other morning tasks don’t require much imagination — but school lunches take a bit of planning so you don’t slip into a junk food rut before the first week of school is over.
While the school lunch trend in the last few years has tended toward bento boxes with 20 cubbies that need to be filled, school lunch shouldn't be that hard. These simple ideas will help jump-start your school lunch year with delicious and nutritious recipes your kids can enjoy all year long.
1. Mini bacon and pea frittata
Making lunch food ahead of time that can sit in the fridge and get thrown into a lunchbox before your kids head off for school is a routine worth starting. These mini frittatas from Kidspot can be tucked into a lunch with fruit and crackers and cheese to make up a really simple and inexpensive lunch option.
2. Sweet potato black bean quesadillas
Packed with sweet potatoes, black beans, spinach and cheese, these quesadillas from Super Healthy Kids are a great make-ahead option to stock up on at the beginning of the week. Pack them with a tiny cup of sour cream for dipping and they’re sure to be a hit.
3. Fruity chicken balls
These little meatballs pack veggies, fruit and meat into bite-size nibbles. With a recipe that includes shredded carrots, pears and apples, this recipe from Healthy Little Foodies will be a lunchbox favorite.
4. Broccoli and cheese calzones
Baking calzones might not seem like an easy lunch option, but if you buy pizza dough at the store, it’s little more than rolling, stuffing and baking for a munchable (and freezable) lunch for your kids. Serving broccoli in a cheesy pizza pocket with this recipe from Super Healthy Kids certainly squeezes in some extra nutrients.
5. Hard-boiled eggs and zucchini muffins
For a multi-kid family, throw a dozen eggs into a big pot of boiling water on a Sunday night, and end up with an excellent protein option for the week. One Crazy House suggests pairing them with a cheese stick, mini zucchini muffins and Goldfish crackers for a simple lunch.
6. Vegan buffalo quinoa bites
Save time and make a big batch of these buffalo quinoa bites at the beginning of the week and you'll have nutritious and tasty snacks for a lunch box filler. Simply Quinoa’s recipe makes bites that are perfectly shaped for dipping.
7. Mini lentil pita pockets
There’s something about mini food that kids just love. This is an easy recipe for a lentil and veggie mixture from Vegetarian Gastronomy that you can make ahead of time and then stuff into mini pitas in the morning.
8. Club wraps
Sandwiches can get soggy by lunchtime, but wraps tend to hold up a little better. Try these club wraps from Let’s Go Gulf Coast, made with turkey, ham, bacon and avocado.