Advertising
Advertising

25 Tasty and Healthy Kids’ Lunch Ideas for Home or School

25 Tasty and Healthy Kids’ Lunch Ideas for Home or School

If your kids are picky eaters, you know that every meal can be a battle. Their growing bodies are in need of vitamins and nutrients, yet all they crave are unhealthy foods with no nutritional content. What you need are creative meal ideas they can eat for lunch at home or at school, designed to appeal to their palate.

The recipes listed here contain lots of vegetables, minimal or no processed ingredients, and most importantly, flavors that even the pickiest kids will love! The ingredients for each meal are listed below. Click on the name of the dish to see the full recipe!

Finger Foods

1. Asian-Style Fish Cakes with Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce

    Do you have a finicky eater that refuses to eat fish? This is a great way to make this omega-3 fatty acid rich protein appealing and fun to eat. And it’s much better for you than frozen fish sticks.

    Just so you know, these fish cakes freeze amazingly well! To save time, make a big batch and freeze them for whenever you need a quick meal or snack.

    View recipe here.

    2. Chicken Zucchini Poppers

      Some kids don’t like the texture of zucchini, but in this recipe, they add moisture and the zucchini is barely detectable. Make sure to squeeze out the excess water in the zucchini so that the poppers stay together and don’t fall apart. They can be pan-fried or baked! The poppers pair perfectly with the citrus avocado dressing.

      View recipe here.

      3. Baked Crispy Chicken Fingers with Apple Fries

        If your kid asks for chicken fingers, you don’t have to say no. This version is made with white meat chicken and baked. Substituting fries with apple fries makes this an appetizing lunch that both you and your kids will approve of. Turkey breast can be used instead of chicken.

        View recipe here.

        4. Broccoli and Cheese Nuggets (Vegetarian)

          Broccoli is notorious for being a hard sell. Who knows why kids don’t like eating these miniature trees? But when mixed with cheese and formed into a fun shape for easy dipping, kids may give these broccoli-filled nuggets another try. Another positive is that they are baked, not fried.

          View recipe here.

          The Salad Bar

          5. Chicken Taco Salad

            Kids love tacos, so why not make them a healthy taco salad? This one is packed full of leafy greens, tomatoes, corn, avocado and grilled chicken. Adding crushed chips on top gives it the perfect amount of texture and appeal for your young kids to enjoy without a single complaint.

            Advertising

            View recipe here.

            6. Chicken Salad with Grapes

              A colorful chicken salad with crunchy roasted nuts, dried cherries, grapes and celery, it can be served alone, in a sandwich, or on a bed of lettuce. Apples can be used in place of the cherries or in addition. Greek yogurt can also be used in place of the mayonnaise to up the healthy factor even more!

              View recipe here.

              7. Salad Stuffed Pepper Bowls with Creamy Avocado Dressing (Vegan)

                As many of you moms know, a huge part of the appeal of a meal is the presentation. These pepper bowls are such a clever idea for a kid-friendly lunch. The salad AND bowl are made from a plethora of colorful, nutritious veggies. How often do you get to tell your kids to eat their bowl? You can add a protein to the salad if you prefer, such as grilled chicken.

                View recipe here.

                Soup of the Day

                8. Vegan Chili

                  This vegan chili recipe contains primarily of vegetables and beans, making it very healthy and filling. Making a flavorful and rich tasting chili doesn’t have to take all day. By blending a small portion and adding it back in, the chili will be thick and satisfying, and no one will be able to taste the difference! Make a big batch because the leftovers keep very well.

                  View recipe here.

                  9. Chicken Pot Pie Soup

                    Get all the flavors of chicken pot pie in half the time with this chicken pot pie soup recipe. This is such a comfort food, but also contains a lot of nutritionally dense ingredients, such as carrots, celery, peas, corn and green beans. The crust and filling are cooked separately, which is a major time saver for busy moms.

                    View recipe here.

                    10. Slow Cooker Taco Soup

                      Another spin on the beloved taco, a fan favorite of young kids. This recipe is slow cooker friendly, so you can prep all of the ingredients in the morning, throw it in the slow cooker and come back to a house smelling of aromatic taco soup. Serve with tortilla chips or over a baked potato.

                      View recipe here.

                      Oodles of Noodles

                      11. Baked Eggplant Parmesan Penne

                      Advertising

                        Swap out typical Chicken Parmesan with healthier but just as tasty eggplant, which is sauteed instead of deep fried. But you don’t have to sacrifice the crunch from the breading by adding panko on top. You can also use whole wheat pasta to cut calories and add fiber, minerals, and protein.

                        View recipe here.

                        12. Roasted Chicken and Tomato Pesto Spaghetti Florentine

                          This recipe incorporates roasted grape tomatoes, baby spinach leaves and rotisserie chicken breast for a light and easy lunchtime pasta. You can make your own homemade pesto if you have the ingredients on hand. Store-bought also works just as well.

                          View recipe here.

                          13. Thai Noodle Salad (Vegan)

                            Filling your meals with plants of different colors will ensure that you are getting all of the vitamins and minerals you need. This recipe alone covers four colors! You can use any type of noodle (wheat, rice, soba, etc.) to make this dish, and customize the veggies to your heart’s content.

                            View recipe here.

                            14. Southwest Pasta Salad (Vegetarian)

                              This pasta salad is bursting with flavor — with tons of spices, lime juice and chipotle peppers. Don’t worry about making too much because the leftovers will be even more flavorful, after marinating in all of the seasonings overnight. And there is no heating needed! Use a lentil and quinoa pasta to make this dish gluten free.

                              View recipe here.

                              15. Avocado Hummus Pasta (Vegan)

                                This recipe is one that I created when I had no clue what to do with the vegetables, ripe avocados and leftover hummus I had to use up in my fridge. The textures and flavors of each ingredient somehow just works magically together. The creaminess from the avocado and hummus ties it all together. This accidental discovery is a huge hit with my husband and son!

                                Prep Time: 20 mins

                                Cook Time: 10 mins

                                Total Time: 30 mins

                                A 30-minute creamy vegan pasta loaded with veggies and tossed in a creamy sauce made from ripe avocados and hummus.

                                Advertising

                                Serves: 6

                                Ingredients

                                • 1 lb rotini pasta (substitute as needed)
                                • 3 tsp olive oil
                                • 3 cloves garlic, minced
                                • 16 oz white button or baby bella mushrooms, sliced
                                • 1 bunch asparagus, chopped
                                • 8 oz sugar snap peas
                                • 1 cup frozen or fresh spinach, chopped
                                • 1 large cucumber, chopped
                                • 3 oz sun-dried tomatoes, julienned
                                • 2-3 ripe avocados, chunks
                                • 10 oz hummus, any flavor
                                • 1 tbsp garlic powder
                                • salt, pepper to taste

                                Instructions

                                1. Cook noodles according to package instructions, drain, and set aside.
                                2. Chop veggies and set aside.
                                3. Add olive oil to a large saucepan. Saute minced garlic until aromatic. Add mushrooms, asparagus, cucumber, spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes. Saute until tender.
                                4. Add pasta, avocado, and hummus to the pan and mix gently.
                                5. Add garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
                                6. Serve warm. Store leftovers in the fridge for a few days.

                                Some Assembly Required

                                16. French Bread Pizza

                                  This is one of the most versatile recipes I’ve ever come across. Not only can you completely customize the toppings on the pizza, you don’t even have to use French bread. Deli rolls, Italian rolls or hoagie rolls work just as well! The possibilities of toppings that you can add are endless. Have your kids customize their own individual pizzas with their favorite toppings to ensure they will create a meal they love.

                                  View recipe here.

                                  17. Rainbow Pizza

                                    Look at the colors on this pizza! Not only is this pizza visually appealing, it’s also extremely healthy and delicious. The combination of bell peppers, broccoli, red cabbage and beets add a variety of complementary textures and flavors to this creative pizza recipe.

                                    View recipe here.

                                    18. Asian Lettuce Wraps

                                      Chicken lettuce wraps are a crowd-pleaser at P.F. Chang’s, but there’s no reason you can’t make a just as good if not better version at home. Requiring only 15 minutes, these lettuce wraps are scrumptious and fun to eat. Your kids will love assembling their own lettuce wraps and devouring this healthy lunch.

                                      View recipe here.

                                      19. Fish Tacos

                                        Another way to get kids to eat fish is to serve them into tacos! These flaky pieces of fish are topped with a tangy, crunchy slaw loaded with veggies. The fish can be pan-fried or grilled and served in a flour or corn tortilla. Your kids will be requesting this dish over and over again.

                                        View recipe here.

                                        20. Skirt Steak Fajitas

                                          This tortilla friendly recipe that incorporates skirt steak, onions and bell peppers has decided to go the fajita route. All of these ingredients can be combined on one baking sheet. That means fewer dishes and easier clean-up! You can serve with your favorite toppings such as avocado, sour cream, salsa and shredded cheese.

                                          Advertising

                                          View recipe here.

                                          No Utensils Needed

                                          21. Avocado Egg Salad Wraps

                                            Eggs are a great ingredient to include in a nutrient-dense lunch for growing kids. Egg salad is one of the best ways to serve it, but the large amounts of mayonnaise introduces a lot of unnecessary saturated fats. This recipe cuts out a lot of the mayo and uses nature’s mayo — avocados, for creaminess.

                                            View recipe here.

                                            22. Spicy Tuna Avocado Wrap

                                              Canned tuna is such a convenient ingredient and is also a great source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, iron and potassium. This wrap contains lots of hearty vegetables and uses avocado and Dijon mustard to flavor the tuna. Sriracha is used for added spice if your kids can handle spicy food! These wraps can be packed easily in a lunch box to take to school.

                                              View recipe here.

                                              23. Chicken and Avocado Roll-Ups

                                                These easy roll-ups take only 10 minutes to make! And they’re packed with great veggies like avocados, tomatoes and onions. You can pack it with even more veggies like spinach, cucumber, or whatever you might have in your fridge.

                                                View recipe here.

                                                24. White Bean Veggie Burgers (Vegan)

                                                  Do you have kids that love eating burgers? These 100% vegan burgers with plant-based bacon and cheese will be so delicious that they won’t even realize they’re not eating meat. Beans contain lots of vitamins and fiber and are a great source of protein. You can bake or grill these delectable burger patties.

                                                  View recipe here.

                                                  25. Turkey Spinach Slider

                                                    One of the problems with turkey burgers is that they can be flavorless and unappetizing when prepared incorrectly. This recipe incorporates ingredients that pack a punch like cumin and garlic. There’s also spinach leaves blended right into the patty, but your kids will be too busy chowing down to even notice!

                                                    View recipe here.

                                                    Making healthy lunches for home or school doesn’t have to be daunting task. Armed with these recipes, you have all the tools you need to find meals that the pickiest of eaters will enjoy.

                                                    By incorporating nutritional but less appealing ingredients into forms your kids recognize and love, you can introduce them to new flavors and hopefully, open their minds to trying new things.

                                                    Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

                                                    More by this author

                                                    Katie Lemons

                                                    Parenting Blogger and Full-Time Working Mom

                                                    14 Helpful Tips for Single Parents: How to Stay Sane While Doing it All How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids) Reading for Kids: 17 Reasons Why It’s Important and Where to Start 11 Smart Pieces of Advice to Help You Thrive as a Single Mother 15 Insightful Parenting Books That Help Your Kids Start off a Healthy Life

                                                    Trending in Physical Strength

                                                    1 7 Beginner Yoga Exercises for Men to Increase Mobility 2 When Is the Best Time to Work Out? (Science-Backed Answer) 3 7 Digestive Supplements for Enhanced Digestion 4 13 Best Energy Boosting Foods to Help You Stay Sharp All Day 5 How to Get Through a Weight Loss Plateau (Step-By-Step Guide)

                                                    Read Next

                                                    Advertising
                                                    Advertising
                                                    Advertising

                                                    Last Updated on October 15, 2019

                                                    How To Be Successful In Life? 13 Tips From The Most Successful People

                                                    How To Be Successful In Life? 13 Tips From The Most Successful People

                                                    What is success to you? How to be successful in life?

                                                    To some, when they think of success, they imagine wealth; others want power; some just want to make a positive impact on the world.

                                                    All of these are perfectly valid, indeed success is a concept that means different things to different people. Though no matter what success is to you, it almost certainly isn’t something will come easily.

                                                    There are countless guides and books to being successful, however, as success is personal and unique to each individual. The advice contained in these books can often not be relevant. Therefore following the advice of a single individual can often be unhelpful.

                                                    With this in mind, considering the advice of a great many people, people whose ideas of success were different both to each other, and quite possibly, to you can be a good alternative.

                                                    What follows is a list of thirteen of the best pieces of advice from some of the most successful people who have ever lived. If you want to learn how to be successful, these 13 tips are essential:

                                                    1. Think Big

                                                      From Michelangelo Buonarroti, Great Renaissance Artist:

                                                      “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”

                                                      There are few artists as influential as Michaelangelo. Today centuries after his death, his work still inspires and connects to people. His work is world famous, just think of his statue of David, or the Mural in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.

                                                      Imagine then, if he decided not to work as an artist.

                                                      Being a successful artist has always been extremely difficult, imagine if he decided to give up this ambition in favour of something easier?

                                                      Oftentimes, people often decided to put their dreams aside for something more “realistic”. To give up their dream for something easier. This quote teaches us the danger of such a point of view.
                                                      Instead be ambitious.

                                                      2. Find What You Love to Do and Do It

                                                        From Oprah Winfrey, Media Mogul:

                                                        “You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job and not be paid for it.”

                                                        This is a good quote to remember and think about when you’re at work.

                                                        Imagine being as successful as possible in your current job. Ultimately you’ll probably find yourself working extremely hard and this it will take up much of your time.

                                                        If it’s a job you hate, then being successful at it might only mean filling your life with something you hate to do. What’s the sense in this?

                                                        Instead, why not focus on doing something you love? When you’ve found what you’re passionate about, you get the motivation to keep you moving. Success at this means the fulfilment of your dreams.

                                                        Not sure what your passion is yet? You should learn about this Motivation Engine first.

                                                        Even if you’re not successful, you still filled your time with something you love to do. Many successful musicians spent years of their lives doing unpaid performances, the only reason they kept playing was because they loved to perform.

                                                        3. Learn How to Balance Life

                                                        Advertising

                                                          From Phil Knight, CEO of Nike Inc.:

                                                          “There is an immutable conflict at work in life and in business, a constant battle between peace and chaos. Neither can be mastered, but both can be influenced. How you go about that is the key to success.”

                                                          All too often, people think that to be successful, they need to make the object of their success their life.

                                                          If a person thinks their job will lead them to success, then they may spend countless hours per day, and well into the evening working hard.

                                                          However this comes at the cost of rest, your health and having an enjoyable life. Ultimately they may burn out and cease to be successful at their job anyway.

                                                          If success comes from having a strong social life and a good group of friends, their job may suffer; meaning that they may lose their job, and then be unable to afford going out with friends.

                                                          In these ways, success, as Phil Knight says above, is helped by balance. Think of it as a balance between rest and work, or work and play.

                                                          To achieve that balance, this Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life can help you.

                                                          4. Do Not Be Afraid of Failure

                                                            From Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motors:

                                                            “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

                                                            There is a story, it’s unconfirmed whether it actually happened, yet the message within is none the less true:

                                                            Thomas Edison inventing the lightbulb was the result of several hundred failed attempts. In an interview, he was asked “How do you feel after all of your failed attempts?”

                                                            His response was great, “I didn’t fail, I learned hundreds of ways not to invent the lightbulb”

                                                            He saw each “failure” as a lesson. From that lesson he learned what won’t work, and also might work instead.

                                                            Each failed attempt, each rejection, were key steps on his path to success. It is easy to feel like you should give up after a failure. But perhaps in that failure is a lesson.

                                                            Pay attention to your failures, study them. Perhaps then you’ll learn how to succeed.

                                                            If you find it difficult to fight your fear of failure, here’s a guide for you: Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Conquer It Step-By-Step)

                                                            5. Have an Unwavering Resolution to Succeed

                                                              From Colonel Sanders, Founder of KFC:

                                                              “I made a resolve then that I was going to amount to something if I could. And no hours, nor amount of labor, nor amount of money would deter me from giving the best that there was in me. And I have done that ever since, and I win by it. I know.”

                                                              This, in many ways relates to the above quote about learning from your failures.

                                                              It’s the easiest thing in the world to give up from a failure. The only way to push on is if you have the true burning desire to succeed, to not be moved or dissuaded from your goals.

                                                              Advertising

                                                              If you are not truly dedicated towards success, then each failure will hurt more, each set back will slow you down.

                                                              Success is hard; without the unwavering desire to succeed, this difficulty may seem insurmountable. With the desire, it is merely an obstacle to go through.

                                                              6. Be a Person of Action

                                                                From Leonardo da Vinci, Renaissance Genius:

                                                                “It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”

                                                                Though it was said hundreds of years ago, it works just as much today as it ever had. It applies to literally any successful person.

                                                                Think about it, picture someone like William Shakespeare:

                                                                When we think of the time he lived in, we think of the time in a way shaped by him. When we think of Renaissance era Italy, we think of Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci. Or think about the present day, Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. Our current way of life would simply be incomparably different if they didn’t accomplish what they did.

                                                                You’re probably reading this article on a device by a company that they either founded or companies influenced by them.

                                                                All these figures were proactive, they saw ways to do things differently and did them. If they let the world shape them, then they’d simply fit into the background. Instead they shaped the world.

                                                                Applying this to you?

                                                                Don’t be afraid of going outside the norm. If you can think of a better way to do something, do it that way. If you fail, try again.

                                                                7. Cultivate Positive Relationships

                                                                  From Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of America: “

                                                                  The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”

                                                                  The best leaders and some of the most influential people (and Theodore Roosevelt is one of the best leaders and one of the most influential people to have lived) were not those who caused commotions, who fought with people or disregarded people; but were people who were friendly to those around them.

                                                                  People liked them. They wanted them to do well.

                                                                  This is key to good leadership.

                                                                  It’s logical. If someone likes you, they want to help you; if you give them a suggestion, they’ll gladly follow through with it.

                                                                  But if someone doesn’t like you, they may either refuse to help or actively get in your way.

                                                                  What’s more, it’s always a good idea to cultivate good relationships. You can never tell who will prove to become someone who’ll be able to help you in a big way, or even be a good and supportive friend.

                                                                  As such, help people and they may help you; and be good to people, and they my be good to you.

                                                                  8. Don’t Be Afraid of Introducing New Ideas

                                                                  Advertising

                                                                    From Mark Twain, Famed Author:

                                                                    “A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.”

                                                                    It is an unfortunate truth that those with the boldest ideas are often disregarded.

                                                                    Most of us are taught from an early age to think and do things similarly to everyone else. This can be great to fill an existing role. But to truly do things differently (and all successful people did things differently), you need to think differently.

                                                                    If you have a new idea, don’t throw it away because it’s new and different; instead, celebrate it. Your strange new idea might one day be the one that leads you to success.

                                                                    9. Believe in Your Capacity to Succeed

                                                                      From Walter Disney, Founder of Walt Disney Company:

                                                                      “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

                                                                      Success has to be something you can imagine yourself achieving.

                                                                      It is possible that you will come across those who doubt you and your ability to succeed. You must not become one of these people because the moment you cease believing and dreaming is the moment these dreams fall away.

                                                                      Keep dreaming!

                                                                      10. Always Maintain a Positive Mental Attitude

                                                                        From Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of America:

                                                                        “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”

                                                                        Like the above quote says, you need to trust in your ability to succeed. This is the only way to cultivate the right mindset.

                                                                        Replace negative thoughts with the positive ones. You need to approach problems, not as obstacles stopping you, but merely tasks that need to be completed for you to keep going.

                                                                        If you stay positive and think like this, setbacks won’t affect you so much, people’s doubts won’t impact you and even the biggest obstacles will seem like minor problems.

                                                                        However with the wrong mindset of doubt, you’ll be much easier to stop.

                                                                        11. Don’t Let Discouragement Stop You from Pressing On

                                                                          From Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of America:

                                                                          “Let no feeling of discouragement prey upon you, and in the end you are sure to succeed.”

                                                                          It is an unfortunate fact of human nature — all of us in some way, doubt ourselves. This can be made far worse if others doubt us too.

                                                                          When surrounded by doubts, giving up can actually seem like a good idea.

                                                                          Advertising

                                                                          Don’t pay attention to the doubts. If you are discouraged, ignore it.

                                                                          If this discouragement moves into your mind and you begin to doubt yourself. It is important to ignore this too.

                                                                          This is How Self Doubt Keeps You Stuck and How to Overcome It

                                                                          12. Be Willing to Work Hard

                                                                            From JC Penny, Founder of JC Penney Inc.:

                                                                            “Unless you are willing to drench yourself in your work beyond the capacity of the average man, you are just not cut out for positions at the top.”

                                                                            You might have heard the quote that “success is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration” or you may have heard about the 10,000 hours idea.

                                                                            Whichever way you frame it, they say one thing:

                                                                            True success comes from work.

                                                                            You’ll never become successful if you don’t work towards your goal in life and keep working towards it.

                                                                            Check out this article and you’ll understand Why Hard Work Beats Talent.

                                                                            13. Be Brave Enough to Follow Your Intuition

                                                                              From Steve Jobs, Co-founder of Apple Inc.:

                                                                              “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

                                                                              In ancient Greece, there was a group of Oracles who lived in Delphi. Everyone who needed advice or to know their future visited them, from the poorest of society to kings. Above the doorway of the temple were the words “know thyself”.

                                                                              If you strongly believe and desire something, chances are that you already have an idea how to get there. If not, you may naturally know what things will help you and what things will slow you down.

                                                                              It’s like how your body can detect danger even when things seem safe.

                                                                              Ultimately then, you need to trust your own instincts.

                                                                              Final Thoughts

                                                                              What you might have noticed is that many of the above lessons are similar — most are about developing the right state of mind. This clearly suggests that the key to achieving success, in whatever you wish, comes down to the way you approach it mentally.

                                                                              Moreover, no matter what stage of life you’re at now, you can still make a difference and pursue success. You can make resetting your life possible when you do this: How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

                                                                              More to Help You Succeed in Life

                                                                              Featured photo credit: Ryan Wong via unsplash.com

                                                                              Read Next