Healthy, Vegan & Allergy-friendly Back to School Lunchbox ideas to make lunchtime a success!
It’s back to school month, which can mean crazy mornings, hurried breakfasts and hustling to get everyone out the door on time. It also means it’s time to start stocking your pantry, prepping snacks and thinking about what to pack our kids’ lunch boxes.
If you’re in need of some lunch inspiration – I feel ya! My kids are starting school this week, and I am still trying to figure out the drop off/pick up routine, snacks for the car ride and how to duplicate myself so I can get the kids to their after school activities at the same time! One thing I know, is that our days run smoother when I have taken the time to prepare fun, healthy lunchboxes ahead of time and load up on “safe” snacks, like Enjoy Life Foods!
My kids love seeing opening their lunchbox and seeing their favorite, allergy-friendly snacks and If I am being honest, these aren’t just for the kids. I love munching on them too! They are perfect for tucking away in your purse, keeping on hand for car rides, or just grab-n-go when the “hangry” hits.
HEALTHY LUNCHBOX IDEAS
With kids, just like with adults, presentation of food is so important. If your child opens up their lunch box and their lunch looks appealing, they are more likely to eat it. I try to pack a variety of colorful foods in my kids’ lunches each day. Bright and colorful fruits and vegetables are both good for the body and pleasing to the eye.
Here are a few of our favorite lunchboxes…..
IT’S A WRAP LUNCHBOX:
Washing and prepping your veggies ahead of time makes it easy to throw together a nutritious veggie wrap. We like ours to include a little hummus, vegan deli slice, spinach, avocado, tomato and carrot shreds. It’s delicious! Just add vegan yogurt and berries for a lunchbox everyone will be begging for!
I also like to include a special treat that my kids love, like these Crunchy Chocolate Chip Mini Cookies from Enjoy Life Foods. They are the perfect size, loaded with chocolate chips and I can trust that they are not only gluten-free but “free from” the Top 12 allergens.
My kids are involved in packing their own lunches. From a young age, they helped with choosing foods at the grocery store, and packing their own lunchboxes the night before. Having your kids help with the process teaches them about healthy food choices, portion sizes and makes them more likely to eat what they pack.
One of their favorite, easy lunchbox meals is a SunButter sandwich with smashed strawberries on gluten-free bread, rainbow fruit salad and Enjoy Life Foods Lentil Chips. Have you tried chips these yet? I love that they are made from plant-based protein, but my kids love that they are light & crunchy and seriously bursting with flavor!
This one may seem more like breakfast, but it makes an awesome lunch too. This particular lunchbox is my daughter’s favorite because its light but still packed with plant-based protein. Plus, she is a huge fan of fresh veggies, vegan deli meat and protein smoothies, so it works out perfectly for her.
Of course, a little extra crunch is needed which is where these Lentil Chips come in! She’s a fan of spice which makes Thai Chili Lime a perfect pick for her but you can choose from other flavors like Dill & Sour Cream, Garlic Parmesan, Sea Salt, Moroccan Spice and Margherita Pizza.
LUNCHBOX SUCCESS TIPS:
Packing a healthy lunchbox doesn’t have to be stressful! Here are a few other ideas to make this school year a success.
- Pack what they love. It seems like no-brainer but if my one child hates cucumbers but loves sugar snap peas, then I’m just gonna swap out one veggie for another. It’s easy and I know it’ll get eaten.
- Shop at places where you can buy these fun pre-portioned items like apple sauce, hummus and guacamole.
- Order “safe” snacks online so you can always have your pantry full of foods you feel good about your child eating.
- Prep ahead. By taking the time to wash & cut produce and pre-portion things like granola, pretzel sticks, and nut-free butters, lunches can come together quicker and it’s easy for the kids to jump in and help.
- Use reusable containers and insulated lunch bags. You don’t have spend a fortune but items like meal prep containers, bento boxes, and freezeable lunch bags will make prep and storage a breeze as well as keep your kid’s lunches from getting warm before they have a chance to dig in!
- Consider others! Even if your child or school isn’t “nut-free”, consider those sitting around you. I know how much it means to my son, knowing he can sit safely next to his friends without worrying he’ll be in danger. School should be safe everyone, including those with food allergies.
What are your kids’ lunch box favorites? What other helpful tips would you recommend to others? Leave a comment and share your ideas.
OTHER LUNCHBOX IDEAS
- Fresh Fruit Bagel Sandwich (2 ways)
- Eggless Salad Sandwich
- Veggie Lunchbox Sushi
- Banana Berry Sammies
SMOOTHIE BOWL LUNCHBOX
- Fruit & Granola
- Deli Slices
- Plentil Chips
THE (VEGAN) CHEESE PLATE
- Vegan Cheese cubes
- Apple slices
- Gluten-free Pretzel sticks
- Deli Slices
- Eggless Salad
- Carrot sticks
- Prepared Veggie Patty (like Hilary's)
- Slider Bun (Schar)
- Vegan cheese
- Grape tomates, sliced
- Dill pickles
- Enjoy Life Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Gluten-free Bread
- Jelly or Smashed Berries
- Fruit Salad
- Lentil Chips of Choice
APPLE SANDWICH LUNCHBOX
- Round Apple slices
- Coconut shreds
- Mini Chocolate Chips (Enjoy Life)
- Berries & Veggies Slices
BLUEBERRY BAGEL LUNCH
- Blueberry Bagel
- Vegan Cream Cheese
- Rainbow Berry Salad
- Veggie Slices
- Pepperoni (vegan)
- Cheese shreds (Daiya)
- Olives, sliced
- Grape Tomatoes, halved
- Safe Crackers or Bread (roll out and cut into circle)
ANTS ON A LOG
- Nut-free Butter
- Cream Cheese
- Dried Fruit (cranberries, raisins, etc.)
- Pepitas or Sunflower Seeds
- Celery Sticks
THE FRUIT SALAD
- Apple Slices
- Vegan Cheese slices or cubes
- Deli meat (Lightlife brand)
- Chocolate Chip Cookies (Enjoy Life Foods)
- Berries or Fruit of Choice
THE HUMMUS DIPPER
- Hummus Cup
- Carrot Sticks
- Cucumber Slices
- Plentil Chips
- Tortilla Chips
- Jalapeno Slices
- Black Beans/Refried Beans
- Shredded Cheese
- Portion and prepare as desired.
- Pack in reuseable lunchbox containers and store in insulated lunch bags.
A HUGE thanks to Enjoy Life for partnering with me to share these Lunchbox Ideas as we kick off Back-toSchool. My family & I LOVE this company and their commitment to providing safe foods for those with food allergies or restrictions. All of their products are certified Top 8 Free and available online at www.enjoylifefoods.com or Amazon as well as most local grocery stores.15