What are some ideas for packing a healthy school lunch for my child?

Joan Salge Blake, MS, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics Specialist

One of the best ways that you can pack a healthy lunch that will be consumed, rather than tossed away, is to sit down with your child to negotiate healthy options. If the child feels that he/she is invested the decision, the lunch is more likely to be eaten.

A healthy lunch should consume grains (preferably, whole grains), protein (peanut butter, lean meat and poultry), fruit and veggies. Here is an example:

Roll-up lunch:

  • Whole wheat flour tortilla
  • Lean roast beef or turkey
  • Light cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
  • Mayonnaise
  • Lettuce

(Put roast beef/turkey, cheese, mayo and lettuce on flat tortilla. Roll up. Place in container.)

  • Carrots sticks (1 cup)
  • Light Italian salad dressing (2 tablespoons)

(Packing tip: Pour salad dressing in bottom of small container. Stack carrots sticks on top. Cover.)

If your child takes lunch to school, include fruit or veggies and a lean protein, such as chicken or turkey. Try to avoid processed foods or high-fat, high-calorie items. Substitute baked chips for fried and whole-grain bread for white. If the plan is to buy lunch, talk about how to make healthier choices.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.