Foodies to Picky Eater School Lunch Box Ideas for School

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A healthy lunch is an essential part of a student’s day. It gives them the energy they need to focus in class and helps them grow and learn. But what happens when your child is a picky eater and refuses to eat anything other than their favorite food? Or when your child is a foodie who can’t get enough of the latest culinary craze? Use this post to get great ideas to please foodies and picky eaters alike! Get tons of great picky eater lunch box ideas for school here.

school lunch ideas for picky eaters and foodies to break up boring lunches
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The Foodie or Picky Eater Lunch Box Ideas Rut

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to packing lunch for your kids. Luckily, there are ways to get them to try new foods and expand their horizons.

With a little patience and some creative lunch ideas, even the pickiest eaters can discover a love for healthy and nutritious school meals that are sure to please their palate.

Here at Vigor it Out we cover school lunch ideas multiple times every single year! This post is going to be one of the best for unique ideas and ways to make lunches more creative, instead of just recipe ideas.

But if you are looking for a whole bunch of additional school lunch recipes after this post you can check those out here too:

Here are a handful of lunch ideas to get your picky eater excited about school meals again:

peanut butter banana sandwich school lunch ideas

1. Simple Sandwich for Your School Lunch but with a Twist

Sandwiches are a lunchtime classic, but sometimes they can get a bit boring. Here are some simple and creative ideas to spice up your child’s sandwich game.

Swap plain old PB&J for a peanut butter and banana sandwich

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a staple in many households, but why not switch it up with a peanut butter and banana sandwich? Spread peanut butter on whole grain bread, then add sliced bananas on top. It’s a tasty and nutritious twist on the classic sandwich.

Use cookie cutters to make fun shapes out of your sandwich bread

Want to make your child’s sandwich a little more exciting? One of my favorite picky eater school lunch box ideas is using sandwich cookie cutters to cut fun shapes out of the bread. You can use any shape that your child likes, such as hearts, stars, or even their favorite animal.

Try a grilled cheese with tomato soup for a warm and comforting lunch

Grilled cheese is a comfort food favorite, but why not pair it with some tomato soup for a warm and satisfying lunch?

Make grilled cheese with whole-grain bread and low-fat cheese. Serve it with a cup of tomato soup for a delicious and comforting meal. Use a cute thermos to keep the soup warm until lunchtime!

picky eater lunchable school lunch ideas

2. DIY Lunchables with Healthier Options for Your Picker Eater’s Lunch Box

Making your own Lunchable at home is a fun and easy way to customize your lunch and can please pretty much any child. Here are some tips for creating a balanced and healthy lunchable:

Cut up cheese, whole grain crackers, and turkey or ham for a homemade Lunchable for their lunchbox

Cutting up your own cheese and meat for your Lunchable is a great way to avoid the excess sodium and preservatives found in prepackaged lunchables. Choose whole-grain crackers for added fiber and nutrients. You can use small bento box that looks just like a Lunchable box to make it even more realistic.

Add some fresh fruit and veggies to your Lunchable for a balanced meal

Don’t forget to add some fresh fruits and veggies to your Lunchable! Carrots, cucumber slices, and cherry tomatoes make great additions. You can also pack some fruit like grapes, apple slices, or clementine.

Swap out the processed lunch meat for slices of leftover chicken or turkey

Processed lunch meat can be high in sodium and other additives. Consider using leftover cooked chicken or turkey for your lunchable instead. You can even use hard-boiled eggs or tofu as a vegetarian option.

diy trail mix school lunch ideas

3. Fun snack ideas to add to the lunch box to please your picky eater

Here are some quick and tasty snack ideas to add to a fast and easy school lunch:

Pack a bag of trail mix with nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate chips

Trail mix is a great snack to take on the go. You can make your own by mixing together nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate chips. Try using almonds, cashews, raisins, and mini chocolate chips for a delicious and nutritious snack.

Cut up apple slices and serve with a side of peanut butter

Apples are a great source of fiber and nutrients, and they’re even better when paired with peanut butter. Cut up some apple slices and pack them in a container with a side of nut butter for dipping. (Try almond butter or even sunflower butter for something different.)

Make your own fruit skewers with grapes, strawberries, and pineapple for your picky eater school lunch box

Fruit skewers are a fun and colorful snack that you can make ahead of time. Cut up grapes, strawberries, and pineapple into bite-sized pieces, and then thread them onto a skewer. You can even drizzle them with a little bit of honey for extra sweetness.

snacks for picky eaters school lunch ideas

4. Classic comfort foods with a healthier spin can mix up boring school lunch boxes too

Who doesn’t love classic comfort foods? Unfortunately, many of them are not the healthiest options. But fear not, we have some tasty and healthier alternatives for you to try!

Make a mini pizza on whole wheat English muffins with tomato sauce and cheese

Pizza is a classic comfort food, but it can also be high in calories and fat and lacking in nutrients because of the white bread used to the crust. Try making a mini pizza on a whole-wheat English muffin for a healthier option. Use tomato sauce and low-fat cheese, and add some veggies like sliced bell peppers or mushrooms for extra flavor and nutrition.

Swap out potato chips for baked sweet potato fries

Potato chips are a popular snack, but they are often fried and high in unhealthy fats. Try swapping them out for baked or air-fried sweet potato fries. Sweet potatoes are a great source of fiber and vitamins, and baking them instead of frying them makes them a healthier option.

Make homemade chicken nuggets with whole-grain or gluten-free breading and bake in the oven or air fryer

Chicken nuggets are a favorite among kids and adults alike, and they’re also easy to make at home. Try making your own chicken nuggets with whole grain breading and bake them in the oven or cook them in your air fryer instead. This will make them healthier and you can control the ingredients.

snacks for picky eaters school lunch ideas

5. Try global cuisine for a taste of culture

Looking to add some excitement to your kids’ lunchbox? Why not try exploring different global cuisines? Here are some ideas to get you started:

Try a Japanese bento box with sushi, edamame, and fruit

Bento boxes are a traditional Japanese lunch box that typically includes rice, protein, and veggies. For a twist, try making sushi rolls at home or using leftover cooked fish or chicken as your protein. Add some edamame and fresh fruit for a well-rounded meal.

Make a Greek-style wrap with tzatziki sauce, grilled chicken, and veggies

Greek cuisine is known for its fresh, flavorful ingredients. Make a wrap using whole wheat or spinach tortillas, tzatziki sauce, grilled chicken or falafel, and veggies like cucumber, tomato, and red onion.

Experiment with different types of cuisine, like Indian, Thai, or Mexican

There are so many delicious cuisines to explore! Look up recipes or try pre-made options like frozen samosas, spring rolls, or tamales. Don’t be afraid to try new flavors and ingredients, like curry, lemongrass, or mole sauce.

snacks for picky eaters school lunch ideas

6. Salad creations for a healthy and satisfying lunch for your kid’s lunchbox

For students, it’s important to have a healthy and satisfying lunch to keep them energized throughout the day. Salads are a great option because they’re easy to make and pack, and they can be customized to fit specific taste preferences. Here are some salad ideas to try:

Make a kale and quinoa salad with roasted veggies and a homemade vinaigrette

Kale and quinoa are both superfoods that are packed with nutrients to help students stay focused in class. Roasted veggies add a tasty crunch, and a homemade vinaigrette is a healthier alternative to store-bought dressings that can be high in sugar and preservatives. Try this recipe!

Try a spinach salad with sliced strawberries, feta cheese, and a balsamic glaze

Spinach is a leafy green that’s high in iron, which is important for brain function. Sliced strawberries add a touch of sweetness, while feta cheese provides a tangy flavor. A balsamic glaze is a simple dressing that can be made at home with just a few ingredients. This delicious recipe will get you started.

Add some protein to your salad, like grilled chicken, tofu, or chickpeas

Protein is important for building and repairing muscles, and it can also help children feel full and satisfied after a meal. Grilled chicken is a classic salad topping, but if you’re vegetarian or vegan, tofu or chickpeas are great alternatives that are also high in protein.

7. Wrap up your kids’ school lunch box with interesting fillings

Wraps are a great way to switch things up from the traditional sandwich, and with these tasty fillings, your kids won’t even notice they’re eating their veggies. Here are some tips to make these wraps a hit:

RELATED: 8 Different Wrap Recipes

Make a veggie wrap with roasted veggies, hummus, and avocado

For a vegetarian option, try this tasty wrap filled with roasted veggies, creamy hummus, and avocado. Roasting veggies brings out their natural sweetness and adds a delicious flavor to the wrap. You can use any veggies you like, but some great options include bell peppers, zucchini, and eggplant. Top it off with some sliced avocado for some healthy fats.

Try a buffalo chicken wrap with shredded chicken, buffalo sauce, and blue cheese dressing

For a little kick, try this buffalo chicken wrap. Shred some cooked chicken breast and toss it in some buffalo sauce. Then add some crunchy veggies, like shredded carrots and lettuce, and top it off with a drizzle of blue cheese dressing. Your kids will love the spicy and tangy flavors in this wrap.

Make a Mexican-style wrap with black beans, rice, salsa, and guacamole

For a south-of-the-border twist, try this Mexican-style wrap. Fill a whole wheat wrap with black beans, rice, salsa, and guacamole. You can even add some cooked chicken or beef for some extra protein. This wrap is packed with fiber, protein, and healthy fats, making it a great choice for a filling and nutritious lunch.

Try making these wraps the night before and storing them in the fridge for an easy grab-and-go lunch in the morning. With these fun and flavorful options, your kids will be excited to open their lunchboxes at school!

8. Hot lunch options for a cozy meal

When the weather is chilly, hot lunches can be especially comforting. Here are some ideas to warm up your child’s school day:

Make a comforting bowl of mac and cheese with whole wheat pasta

For a delicious and warming lunch option, try making a homemade mac and cheese with whole wheat pasta for added fiber and nutrition. To make it even more nutritious, you can add some steamed or roasted veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, or peas. You can also sprinkle some breadcrumbs on top for added crunch and flavor.

Try a baked potato with toppings like broccoli, cheese, and bacon

Baked potatoes are a nutritious and filling lunch option. Kids can have fun adding their favorite toppings, such as broccoli, cheese, and bacon, to create their own personalized meals.

Make a batch of chili or stew to enjoy throughout the week

Chili or stew is a great option for a hot lunch that can be made in advance and reheated throughout the week. These hearty dishes can be customized with your child’s favorite ingredients and can be a great way to use up leftovers from other meals.

Remember to pack hot lunches in an insulated container to keep them warm until lunchtime.

Tips for Packing a Healthy and Enjoyable Lunch for Picky Eaters

Packing a balanced and fun lunch can be a challenge, especially for picky eaters. However, it’s important to provide your child with a well-rounded meal to keep them energized and focused throughout the school day.

Here are some tips to help you create a lunch that is both nutritious and enjoyable for your child:

Get creative with the presentation

  • Use cookie cutters to create fun shapes out of fruits, vegetables, and sandwiches.
  • Try packing colorful and visually appealing foods, like red and yellow peppers or a rainbow fruit salad.
  • Consider using bento boxes or compartmentalized containers to make lunchtime more exciting.

Offer a variety of options

  • Provide your child with a range of food options, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats.
  • Try to include at least one item that your child enjoys, while also introducing new foods gradually.
  • Involve your child in the meal planning process to help them feel more invested in their lunch.

Pack appropriate portion sizes

  • Keep in mind your child’s age and activity level when determining portion sizes.
  • Avoid packing oversized portions of high-calorie foods, like chips or cookies.
  • Consider using smaller containers or bags to help with portion control.

Make it interactive

  • Pack foods that your child can assemble themselves, like DIY mini pizzas or build-your-own tacos.
  • Include a small treat or surprise in their lunch, like a note or sticker.
  • Encourage your child to try new foods by making them a game or challenge.

Wrapping Up Foodie to Picky Eater Pleasing School Lunch Box Ideas

Remember, a balanced and fun lunch doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming to make. The most important thing is to make sure your child gets all the nutrients they need each day. Experiment with new foods and recipes to keep lunch exciting, and remember, it’s okay to have fun with your child’s lunch.

By taking the time to try new ideas and help your child expand their palate horizons, you can create a lunch that your picky eater will enjoy and look forward to every day.

Don’t forget, we have a TON more school lunch recipe ideas and tips and tricks for actually enjoying packing lunches and streamlining the process within these posts.

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