Our Top Healthy Lunches for Kids to Take to School

Mediterranean Turkey Meatball Lunch Box
Photo: Diana Chistruga

These healthy lunches for kids aim to please even the pickiest palates. No lunch trades here! Pack a healthier lunchbox for school with these healthy lunch and snack ideas kids will actually want to eat.

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DIY Taco Lunchbox

DIY Taco Lunch Box
Diana Chistruga

Who doesn't love a taco? While the tortillas most likely won't be warm when you eat it, warming them first keeps them pliable for filling. If you're missing the crunch of a hard taco, sub tortilla chips for the soft tortillas.

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Pizza Roll-Up Bento Lunch

Pizza Roll-Up Bento Lunch

This easy pizza-inspired roll-up is a kid-pleaser. Make crunchy vegetables more appealing by selecting colorful varieties like orange and purple cauliflower--and don't forget the dip! Keep 'em smiling with watermelon cut into fun shapes with cookie cutters.

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Turkey Meatball & Feta Lunchbox

Mediterranean Turkey Meatball Lunch Box
Diana Chistruga

This easy lunchbox lunch is inspired by the flavors of the Mediterranean, including feta, hummus and cucumber. Turkey meatballs are dipped in a homemade creamy yogurt-dill sauce, but ranch dressing would also work well in its place.

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Taco Salad Bento Lunch for Kids


No more half-eaten lunches--this taco-inspired bento box lunch is a healthy and portable meal your kid will love.

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Pasta Salad with Vinaigrette Lunchbox

Pasta Salad with Vinaigrette Lunch Box
Diana Chistruga

Pasta salad is a great take-along lunch with tons of opportunity to make it your own. Want to make it vegetarian? Pack olives in place of salami. Don't love peppers? Try tomatoes instead! Be sure that you pack at least one container big enough to hold everything together once it's mixed (about 1 1/2 cups).

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Cucumber Sandwich

Cucumber Sandwich
Photographer / Antonis Achilleos, Prop Stylist / Kay Clarke, Food Stylist / Ruth Blackburn

This creamy, crunchy cucumber sandwich recipe strikes a lovely balance between decadent and light. The cream cheese-yogurt spread complements the crisp refreshing cucumber while the hearty flavor and texture of the whole-wheat bread holds everything together. Removing the crusts makes it more delicate than your average sandwich.

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Turkey Meatball Wrap Lunchbox

Turkey Meatball Wrap Lunchbox
Diana Chistruga

Wraps are quick to make in the morning, especially if you have leftover meatballs on hand! A layer of whipped cream cheese creates a barrier that prevents the wrap from getting soggy—even if you make it the night before.

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Egg Salad Lunchbox

Egg Salad Lunchbox
Diana Chistruga

Enjoy hard-boiled eggs on their own or chopped up and mixed with creamy dressing and some veggies thrown in for good measure. Dip a whole-wheat cracker into the mix or assemble an egg salad sandwich when you're ready to eat (last-minute assembly keeps the bread from getting soggy). If you're making lunch the night before, sprinkling the apple slices with a little cinnamon will add flavor and help mask any unsightly browning.

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Turkey & Cheese Pinwheels Bento Lunch

Turkey & Cheese Pinwheels Bento Lunch

Bite-size pinwheels of turkey, cheese and lettuce make an appealing centerpiece of this bento box. Crisp celery sticks and juicy blueberries are tasty accompaniment, while popcorn, mixed with chocolate chips, makes a satisfying snack or dessert. Plus, this healthy lunch is so easy to pack and can even be made the night before.

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Rainbow Veggie Wraps

Rainbow Veggie Wraps

There's definitely a sushi vibe to these kid-friendly wraps, which are stuffed with vegetables, cheese and hummus and then rolled and sliced. Serve them with store-bought green goddess, a creamy herb-filled dressing, to take it up a notch with ease. They look impressive but they're easy enough for kids to assemble themselves for an easy lunch or dinner.

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Buffalo-Style Bistro Lunch Box


These tailgate-inspired lunch bowls can be assembled in about 15 minutes using just a handful of ingredients from your local specialty grocery store, like pregrilled chicken and spicy Buffalo-flavored hummus.

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S'mores Energy Balls

a white bowl full of energy balls on a white and gray marbled surface
Joy Howard

These two-bite, protein-packed snacks have all the flavors of a campfire favorite rolled right in. Mini chocolate chips and graham cracker pieces are blended into the base mixture, while a mini marshmallow is tucked into the center. Even better, they're no-bake and you can make a big batch in about 30 minutes.

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Breakfast-for-Lunch Bento for Kids


This bento box idea is full of your kid's breakfast favorites, even waffles. This lunch is packed with healthy foods you will feel good about serving and kids will actually be excited to eat--no more half-eaten lunches!

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Strawberry & Cream Cheese Sandwich


Sliced strawberries and reduced-fat cream cheese come together in a sandwich for this quick and healthy lunchbox treat.

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BBQ Chicken Sandwich


Toss leftover cooked chicken with barbecue sauce and crunchy carrots for a quick and healthy lunch.

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Coconut-Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

coconut chocolate granola bars
Fred Hardy

Make a batch of these granola bars ahead of time and you'll have a tasty, lunchbox-ready snack on hand. These nut-free granola bars are packed with chocolate chips and shredded coconut for a sweet treat. Whether you like a chewy granola bar or a crunchy one, the bake time is easily adjusted to suit your preferences.

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Rainbow Bento Lunch for Kids


This bento box idea makes lunch fun. With its colorful carrots and swirled yogurt, this packable lunch is a healthy meal kids will actually want to eat--no more half-eaten lunches.

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Ham Pinwheels


Ready in just 5 minutes, this cute ham-and-cheese appetizer or snack is as much fun to make as it is to eat. Top with your favorite fresh herb, such as dill or basil, for a pretty presentation.

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Egg Salad


Try this easy egg salad on your favorite multigrain bread or on top of lightly dressed salad greens.

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Deconstructed Cobb Salad Bento Lunch for Kids


This kid-friendly twist on classic Cobb salad gives children the choice to eat all the healthy ingredients--veggies, turkey, eggs, bacon and avocado--together or separately. Packing it all in a bento box makes it easy to tote to school and keeps all the ingredients from touching, a plus for picky eaters.

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Kid-Friendly Salad


Make salad something your kids will actually want to eat with this kid-friendly crudité. Pack up the dressing in a leak-proof container.

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Garlic Hummus


This classic hummus recipe couldn't be easier--just toss a few ingredients in the food processor and whir away! Aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas) makes this healthy dip extra smooth and creamy. Serve with veggie chips, pita chips or crudités.

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No-Nut Butter


If you have a nut allergy or need to pack nut-free lunches, try this easy recipe for homemade no-nut butter. For the best flavor, don't skip toasting the seeds.

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Chipotle Chicken Quinoa Burrito Bowl


This chipotle-flavored burrito bowl recipe is even better than takeout and just as fast. Loading it with vegetables and using quinoa in place of rice adds nutrition for a healthy dinner.

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Muffin-Tin Quiches with Smoked Cheddar & Potato

Muffin-Tin Quiches with Smoked Cheddar & Potato

Potatoes, cheese and greens make this mini quiche recipe delicious and satisfying. Bake up a batch over the weekend and you'll have breakfast available in a hurry for the rest of the week.

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Sweet Potato Chips


Make perfectly crunchy veggie chips at home with this healthy recipe. Use a mandoline to slice the sweet potatoes extra-thin for the optimum crunch!

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Strawberry & Yogurt Parfait


This healthy yogurt parfait recipe combines fresh fruit, Greek yogurt and crunchy granola for an easy breakfast. Pack the parfait in a mason jar for a healthy breakfast on the go.

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Guacamole with Bell Pepper Dippers


Skip tortilla chips and get a healthy dose of vitamin C when you use bell pepper as a dipper for guacamole in this quick snack recipe.

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Sesame Carrots


Toasted sesame seeds add taste and eye appeal to a cheery plate of crunchy carrots.

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Clean-Eating Bento Box Lunch


Who says bento boxes are just for kids? This healthy bento-style lunch--loaded with clean, satisfying foods--is perfect to pack for work.

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Rainbow Fruit Kebabs


Eating clean doesn't have to be boring! This fruit-salad-on-a-stick is the natural way to get in on the rainbow trend for a fun healthy snack or no-added-sugar dessert.

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Quick Strawberry "Cheesecake"


Get cheesecake flavor without having to bake with this healthy dessert recipe. To make it gluten-free, look for gluten-free graham crackers.

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Tuna Salad Sandwich with Sweet Relish


This sweet twist on a classic tuna-salad sandwich is a healthy high-protein lunch that even your kids will love.

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Peanut Butter-Banana Roll-Ups


These healthy roll-ups with peanut butter and bananas make eating lunch fun! Kids will love the bite-sized version of this sandwich. Try sunflower seed butter as an allergy-friendly alternative.

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Cream Cheese & Veggie Roll-Up

Jacob Fox

With sliced vegetables, a whole-wheat tortilla and baby spinach, these roll-ups make the perfect healthy lunch for your kids to take to school.

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Turkey Apple Cheddar Sandwich


It only takes 5 minutes to make this healthy sandwich with whole-wheat bread and the classic combination of Cheddar cheese and apples that your kids will love.

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Smoked Salmon Brown Rice Onigiri

Smoked Salmon Brown Rice Onigiri
Jerrelle Guy

These Japanese rice triangles can be made simply with seasoned rice or filled with vegetables or protein. Cooking a bit of starchier short-grain white rice with the brown ensures they hold together—but still gives you a filling dose of fiber.

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Turkey, Cheese & Veggie Plate


This colorful picnic dinner idea features tasty munchies you don't need utensils for and mild flavors that kids prefer, like deli meat, cheese and crunchy raw veggies. It's easy to assemble this complete menu, and adults will enjoy it as much as the kids. The menu calls for store-bought hummus and cookies, but you can easily make them yourself (see Tips, below).

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PB&J Bistro Lunch Box


Inspired by Starbucks' bistro boxes, this peanut butter and jelly lunch will be loved by kids and adults alike. Accompanied by sandwich sides including a yogurt parfait, fruit, veggies and popcorn, this healthy packable lunch will keep you full until dinner. Use sunflower seed butter in place of peanut butter to make this lunch nut-free.

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A Week of Healthy School Lunch Ideas

Several glass lunch boxes with a variety of foods packed in them on a terracotta colored surface
Diana Chistruga

Making lunches for school in the morning is tough, especially if you're short on time and trying to appease eating habits that seem to change on a dime. But a little prep (and a lot of choices!) can go a long way. With just one hour of prep time on Sunday, you can have lunches ready to go (or almost ready to go) for the weekdays.

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