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Healthy School Lunches Kids Will Actually Eat

40 Real-LifeTips from Real Moms


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Great tips! Very practical advice. Thanks. Report
If your kid is active with no weight problem, you really don't have to use "low fat" versions of anything. I'd rather have them eat "real" fat than a bunch of chemicals and artificial ingredients used to simulate real fat.

Sorry, I just keep reading so many of these articles on SparkPeople and think "How 80's and 90s." Time to come in to the 21st century and read the newer research on what people should eat to maintain health. (And...research not funded by major corporations who are trying to sell their products with the results.) Report
I am so glad that my children naturally choose healthy food options. Report
In our area, parents are required to sign forms that they will not send their children with any potential allergy foods, such as peanut butter, nuts, or sesame some of these suggestions would not work. I would love to see an article that would provide suggestions while keeping this in mind! Report
This is an interesting take on school lunches but, getting the kids to make good choices in a "society" of peer pressure isn't as easy as making a good lunch is. Report
I question advising canned fruit in it's own juice, but letting fruit leathers by with all the added sugar??? Wouldn't it be important to not add sugar to fruit leathers, too. I know the recipe for homemade fruit leathers says to add sugar for some varieties, or it never turns to leather.

But wouldn't a whole piece of fruit be the best? and leave the fruit leather for a dessert? or leave it out altogether? Report
Hi- To get around the no nuts policy in most schools here's what we buy.

Non-GMO toasted soy butter. It's called WOWBUTTER and it tastes like peanut butter. School lunch stickers are provided so everyone around the lunch room knows your child is not bringing in nuts. It is 100 cal. per 1Tbsp. with 8 g fat, and 4 g protein. Sodium is 50 mg.

Kae from Ontario, Canada Report
For my second grader, I normally give him for lunch/snack: spring water in a thermos, plus an organic milk carton (chocolate, vanilla or strawberry - depending on his mood), an organic gummy fruit snack or twisted fruit, real fruit (apple or strawberry slices) and a ham or turkey and cheese (or just cheese) on honey whole wheat bread (all organic - yet again!) or on crackers (mini sandwiches!). If I'm out of sandwich stuff, I throw in a Clif bar. I let him know when his lunch is or is not nut-free so that he can sit at the right table.

He's not into yogurt or string cheese at school, so those snacks I save for home. He's also not into dips, so veggies are out....he gets a veggie pot pie or steamed veggies at dinner.

For class parties, I usually send in the Kinni Toos oreo-type sandwich cookies - nut, gluten, lactose free...but not taste free! :)

I will have to try some of these new ideas to see if any of them are a hit. Thanks! Report
How exactly does one pack guacamole? Do you freeze that too? Report
I don't think my child should do without a food in their lunch because of another child's food allergy....not quite fair.
Our school doesn't say you "can't" pack nut things or foods that might cause an allergic reaction in another child. The child needs to be educated on their allergy, that is the parents job, not for everyone around them to have to do without. When we have classroom parties, we don't include things with nuts in them as a general rule since we are feeding the whole group, but individual lunches shouldn't count.

Our school has lunch tables for those kids with allergies, they sit away from other kids that might bring peanuts, plan I've seen yet! Report
It's a nice article.
"As long as your child is old enough to eat nuts and there are no allergen concerns, experiment with various forms of nut butter." -- this shouldn't even been an option for school ideas. I have not come across a school yet allows any form of nuts. Some children have a serve allergy to it! That section should be taken out. Just because your child doesn't have an allergy to it a child in his/her class mate might or a child down the hall.

And I know with the schools around here healthy lunch ideas are promoted and one day a week is chosen as an all healthy day which they encourage everyone to participate in. [of course eating healthy everyday is great :P]

But suggesting any form of nuts to take to school concerns me! Report
Keep in mind that many schools don't permit anything containing peanut butter in lunch rooms, because of allergy concerns.

Our friend insisted on packing peanut butter sandwiches anyway, and her son ended up eating lunch in the principle's office every day, for a whole semester.... Report
I am not a parent yet, but I question the assertion that chocolate milk is better than no milk. Like anything, it can be part of a healthy diet, but I think the USDA recommends more dairy products than most kids and adults really need. See Harvard's School of Public Health alternate healthy eating plate for details about calcium, dairy, and health:
e/healthy-eating-plate/ Report
Excellent tips! And a very timely reminder. Thanks, SP! Report
we are the same in our area of canada-- not nut products of any kind. We even have one classroom with a fish alergy. There are a few things that kids will be happy to eat cold, although parents would totally turn their noses up, such as grilled cheese sandwich. I make it for my daughter in the morning and wrap it up, sometimes I cut it into cute shapes, but she likes it. I make it with real cheese, not processed slices. Not the best option, but for a kid that doesn't eat sandwiches, I take what we can get !! Report

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