THE LUNCH BOX LOOP – Healthy Lunch Box Ideas

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This Out of the Box Food page is dedicated solely to the LUNCH BOX!!!  Here we will collaboratively share fresh, simple recipes and keep each other “in the loop” with new Lunch Box ideas.  I’ll post ideas as I come up with them for my boys school lunches, and I hope you’ll send me your suggestions as well.  Simply submit the idea at the bottom of this page to be added.

Check back often as this page will be updated continuously as ideas come in.  Here’s to keeping us all in the Lunch Box Loop!

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Lunch Box Loop Ideas

  • Lunch Box Kebabs
  • Corn Muffin “Sandwiches”
  • A juice box alternative (submitted by Lori Jane Coleman): Wrap a small sock around a frozen bottle of water – when it is time for lunch, the ice will have mostly melted but the water will be cold, and the sock prevents the bottle from ‘sweating’.
  • Wholesome Chocolate Chip Cookies (adapted from Clean Eating’s Chocolate Spiked Oatmeal Cookie recipe)
  • Out of the Box Fruit Roll-ups
  • Sandwich “Bar”: My kids love make-their-own anything! Here’s how a sometimes-boring sandwich can be fun again:  In a bento style lunch box (such as those by EasyLunchboxes or laptop lunches) pack sandwich fixings (uncured deli meats, sliced roasted chicken or turkey, cheese, tomato, avocado, lettuce, spinach, etc.) and whole grain bread halves or a roll.  In another small container, place olive oil & vinegar, mayo, mustard, cranberry sauce, hummus, olive tapanade or any other “spread”.  Put a plastic knife or spoon in the lunch box for spreading and let your kids make-their-own sandwich.
  • Lunch Box Sushi Roll
  • Mini Banana “Cupcakes”
  • Natural Pigs in a Blanket
  • Puff Pastry Pizza Pockets (An idea from Catherine Grace – Cut Puff pastry into rectangles.  Fill center with sauce, cheese and toppings of choice.  Fold over and seal.  Bake according to package directions)
  • Chewy Chocolate Granola Bars
  • Individual Berry Yogurts
  • Stove-Top Mac & Cheese served in a canteen
  • Homemade Pizza “Lunchable”
  • Chicken Parmigiana “Lunchable”
  • Farmer’s Market Pasta Salad
  • Whole Wheat and Flax Waffle topped with Nut butter & Sliced Banana (See Waffle Recipe and See Peanut Butter Recipe)
  • Whole Grain Tortilla Chips, black beans, salsa and “Zuc”amole for dipping (See “Zuc”amole Recipe)
  • Homemade Chicken Tenders or Nuggets (See Chicken Tender Recipe and See Chicken Nugget Recipe)
  • Stir Fry and Steamed Rice served in a canteen
  • Mac & Cheese Muffins (See recipe from allrecipes.com)
  • Mini Frittatas – Made in mini muffin tins – Try our Out of the Box Food Potato Crusted Frittata featured at JamieOliver.com
  • Homemade Lunchable Cracker-Stacker
  • Soaked Baked Oatmeal recipe from Kelly the Kitchen Kop-> http://kellythekitchenkop.com/2009/03/healthy-breakfast-recipe-from-sue-baked-soaked-oatmeal.html Makes a wonderful dessert( I make a variation with maple syrup and extra apples) and will pack ants on a log + carrots and some good cheese. If needed some extra protein will go into the box as well. water or acv +honey in water (Submitted by Amanda Hightower)
  • Homemade yogurt Swirled with Fresh Berry Sauce frozen it in the Lekue Ice Pop Molds. So much better and healthier than the dye/sugar laced Gogurt. (Submitted by Kristin W)
  • A different theme for each day of the week: Monday is sandwich day, Tuesday is wrap day, Wednesday is salad day, Thursday is dip day (hummus, corn & bean etc) and Friday is Thermos Day (Soup, baked potato, etc.) (Submitted by Nancy)
  • “snack tray” type ideas: nuts, fruit, yogurt, cheese, crackers (Triscuit) all in their own special place in the lunch. (Submitted by Sara K)
  • Trail Mix: Kid’s can pick all the ingredients they like: nuts cereal, dried fruit. (Submitted by Rebecca)
  • I will put together a little box of peanuts and hide a few m&ms in there, if anything just to get her to open the lid! While she is in there, she has been instructed that the m&ms will disapper unless some peanuts are eaten as well, and that seems to work.  As for liquids, I have pulled back on the juices because they are just too terrible with even natural sugar and they seem to go right thru her. Desperately needing to go during school is not fun for anyone. Instead, I put a little bottle of water in there for her, a fresh one each day, so it seems special, or a fun super insulating thermos, which she has picked out, with whole milk in it.  How is she managing to grow? Before school I load her up. We try and do a half an avocado each day. And I pair that with either Trader Joe’s Greek Style Honey yogurt (preferred because of the whole milk and cream in it) or Cascade Fresh Lemon yogurt because of its short ingredient list and its flavored with juice concentrate and that is the only source of sugar. And no “things” in it. On days she is sick of yogurt, I love making that 2-minute microwave Ralphs brand Organic Multigrain Hot Cereal. I get the Plain Grain with no added sugar. Here is the ingredient list – Organic whole grain rolled oats, organic barley, organic wheat, organic flaxseed, organic quinoa, organic rye, evaporated sea salt. That’s it. I like that there is so much barley in there and it is only around $1 for a box of 5 packets! (Submitted by Lisamcgu)
  • Whole Wheat Tortillas or Wraps-with hummus, cheese, ham or turkey or chicken salad and make roll ups. The possibilities of what you can put inside are endless. (Submitted by Kelly)
  • Use cookie cutters to cut out sandwiches. Also make home made “lunchables”. My kids complain that they want lunchables that you can buy at the store, when I told them we can make healthier versions & they help me make it, they were very pleased! (Submitted by Thippi)
  • I’d hide a little square of chocolate inside an apple. I cut apple in half, hollow out as much as I need (not too much) then I put apple together & wrap it in saran wrap & put a cute squiggly ribbon on it attached with a little love note. This year I’ll try to be healthier and mush granola bars into a mini heart shaped cookie cutter & stuffing that in the apple. (Submitted by Thippi)
  • Chicken Salad Pita Pocket with homemade Honey Mustard dressing: (Submitted by Jenny)

1 (or 2 in my sons case) whole wheat pita pocket
Mix fresh salad greens, veggies (chopped carrots, onion, tomatoes, etc)
Left-over grilled chicken chopped up
shredded cheese
sunflower seeds
Mix all together and put in pita.
Add a side of your kids favorite homemade dressing!

  • Homemade Pop-Tart: Take whole wheat/whole grain bread, cut off the crusts, place applesauce and a few fresh berries (I use blueberries, raspberries and have even used peaches-yum!!) inside-in the middle not too close to the edges, and seal the ends all around by pressing ends together with a fork. (You can also make this easier if you have one of those thingys that cuts off the crusts and seals the sandwich) Brush lightly with oil/butter of choice and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes, or until bread is browned and a bit crispy. These are good right out of the oven or at room temp and much healthier than a pop tart or pastry…and simple to make! Enjoy! (Submitted by Mindy)
  • Chocolate-y, kid-pleasing Cocoa-Date Oatmeal is ready in minutes using the microwave. Pack some in a thermos for your kids to eat before classes start.  Source: http://www.eatingwell.com/blogs/health/_3-foods-should-childs-lunchbox (Submitted by Abhishek Duggal)
  • Mini Gougères Lunch Box Sandwiches
  • Fresh Squeezed Jello Wedges
  • Home-Baked Miso Glazed Tofu Cubes (Recipe can be found at WillyBMum.com)
  • Peanut Butter & Jelly Baby Truffles (Recipe via Go Ahead and Snicker)

 

Ideas From Our Facebook Readers:

READERS LUNCH BOX IDEAS:

  • J.Frechmann: Left over meatloaf and mashed potatoes, yogurt and watermelon!
  • S.Hammock: pb & banana ‘sushi’ (very simple! smear your favorite peanut butter onto a large tortilla, slice bananas, place one row at top edge, roll, place another row from edge to edge, roll again, repeat until you’re to the last 1/8th of the tortilla, then roll to seal. Slice into ‘sushi’ rolls. Works well with pb & j, too, but you have to go light on the jelly or you have a goopy mess), blueberry cereal bar, cheese crisps & white grape juice
  • J. Wagner: My son wanted a pizza lunchable, so I gave him one… home made, of course!!
    In his laptop lunchbox, I put four large cracker rounds, a small container of sauce, a container of shredded cheese and a couple of pieces of pepperoni. Also, a container of mixed green and red grapes, a cheese stick for snack time and some carrot sticks, too!
  • T. Munro:  A Bagel with cream cheese, carrots, grapes, yogurt :) Pizza lunchables were yesterday and they both LOVED them. Thank you for the recipe
  • K. De Haan:  Nori, a swiss cheese wrap, and some juice. She generally doesn’t want much more than that.
  • H. McLean:  Roasted broccoli and baby potatoes with dipping sauce, grapes, yogurt, and cubes of cheddar cheese for “dessert”.
  • L. Burns:  Cornbread meat and cheese muffins, grapes and green beans.
  • J. Wright: Banana, grapes, kiwi, sugar snap peas, heart shaped ham in wholewheat bread.
  • M. Nardone:  Grapes, buckwheat bran soy buttermilk pancake, hard boiled egg, watermelon slices and water.
  • Healthy Kiddo Snacks:  String cheese, aussie bite muffins, strawberries, mango apple sauce and cashews. Sure beats my can of soup!
  • A. Stickel: For my 8 yr old son, string cheese, 100% juice box, natural (no sugar) apple sauce, 2 turkey sticks & some cheese crackers.  Not sure what my 15 yr old daughter packed, but I’m CERTAIN it was healthy (she’s almost as crazy as I am, hehe)
  • J. Bullard: What wonderful lunches you parents make!! Today at my sons elementary school I saw what the kids were given to eat for breakfast… Frozen PIZZA and chocolate milk??!!! For breakfast! My child will NOT eat school provided lunches.. It saddens me to know that kids who cannot afford anything else are getting duped like that.
  • J. Fay:  Whole wheat tortilla wrap with organic ham and cheese, homemade coconut almond protein bars, baked snap peas, applesauce, dates and almonds, banana, tea. I have hungry teenagers.
  • A. Belding:  Today’s pita pocket sandwiches, salad and grapes. Yesterday was hummus which always gets two thumbs up from my kiddos
  • L. Scully: Green salad with homemade dressing, 1/2 bagel with cream cheese, yogurt, water.

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