As homeschoolers, we don’t have to pack lunches every day, but we do pack lunch weekly when we go to our homeschool group on Fridays as well as for field trips and other outings, and after just a few weeks of that, I think I have an idea of how challenging it must be to come up with creative, healthy ideas for every day!
Although frozen PB&Js, snack crackers and fruit snacks might be the easy way to go — and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having those on occasion — I’m really looking for healthier options for our “school lunches”, since we need extra energy and nutrition for those busy days out anyway!
Fortunately, there is no shortage of inspiration across the blogosphere — or on Pinterest, where good ideas and pretty pictures abound — and I’m sharing some of my favorite ideas today.
I love this creative take on the classic PB&J, with tortillas instead of heavier bread. Our favorite combo is actually peanut butter, honey & banana, and we love to roll it up like this for a yummy lunch or treat!
Source: PB&J Banana Burritos | Mission Tortillas
We’ve always enjoyed the applesauce fruit blends cups, although they tend to be a special treat since they’re so much more expensive than a regular jar of applesauce. With the arrival of fall and fresh apples available in abundance here in the Shenandoah Valley, I am already planning to make tons of applesauce, and these fruit blends will be a fun alternative to plain applesauce as well!
Source: Applesauce Fruit Blends | Family Feedbag
Pizza is always a popular choice for any meal, and I love the portability of these fun pizza muffins. They seem perfect for freezer cooking, and I’d love to make a big batch and store the extras in the freezer for multiple lunches.
Source: Pizza Muffins | Mennonite Girls Can Cook
Spice up your sandwich rotation with waffle or pancake sandwiches! Cream cheese and fruit make a delicious filling, and if you keep waffles or pancakes in your freezer, these are quick to put together on the days that you need a quick idea for lunch.
Source: Waffle Sandwiches with Cream Cheese & Fruit | 100 Days of Real Food
I actually mentioned sandwich kabobs a couple of weeks ago in this fun foods gallery, but I hadn’t even thought of serving it in a school lunch. Really, though, food on a stick is always a hit, and this is another fun alternative to plain ol’ sandwiches!
Source: Sandwich on a Stick | Family Fun
Mac & cheese would not have been on my list of easy meals, but leave it to Shaina at Food for My Family to prove that it can be! We may just need to invest in thermoses before the cold weather hits because I love the idea of serving hot comfort foods such as mac & cheese and soup even when we’re away from home.
Source: Easy Mac & Cheese | Food for My Family
These chocolate-chip granola bites are not only colorful & cute, but they’re actually easier than homemade granola bars, and you don’t have to worry about cutting or dividing them once they’re done cooking; just pop them in the lunch box and you’re ready to go! I think these would be fun with various fruits as well — apples, raisins and coconut all sound delicious!
Source: Chocolate Chip Granola Bites | Another Lunch
Fruit snacks are a treat that my kids regularly ask for and rarely get. Between the food dye and HFCS, it’s just not something I want them to eat regularly, so we save them for their special weekends with Nona & Pop. These homemade gummy fruit snacks look so yummy, though, and with plenty of fruit and no added sugar, I can feel good about serving them!
Source: Homemade Fruit Snacks | All Day I Dream About Food
These peach freezer smoothies from Food for My Family are genius! Make and freeze them ahead of time and then let them thaw throughout the morning to be ready to serve at lunchtime. You could really make these in any flavor combination, but peach sounds pretty good to me!
Source: Peach Freezer Smoothies | Food for My Family