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Back to school? 10 lunch box ideas for your kids

Quick, healthy and delicious lunches that you can pack for your kids when they go back to school

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A bento box lunch featured on a background of yellow and red gingham check.

qi bin, Unsplash

It can be hard to find lunch ideas for kids that are both nutritious and delicious. Sometimes kids get bored of the typical sandwich, and with busy lives, we need lunches that are quick, healthy and delicious. Here are the Deseret News’ top 10 lunch box ideas to feed your family. They are so good that you’ll want to take them to work, too!

Greek-style pita

This simple, protein-filled lunch can be packed in a bento box with each of the components separate or together.

Take half of a whole wheat pita and spread a layer of hummus on it. Chop up some cucumbers, carrots, and tomatoes to top off the pita, along with roasted chickpeas. You can add lemon chicken for additional protein or a sprinkle of feta cheese. Other toppings that would go well on this pita are pickled red cabbage or olives.

Serve this pita with a side of Greek yogurt and berries for additional protein and freshness.

Cheese and fruit

This is a classic lunch. Slice up an apple (rub a lemon wedge on it to prevent it from browning) and some red grapes. Include your child’s favorite cheese — cheddar goes really well with apples. Serve with a side of carrots and hummus, along with some crackers.

If you’re looking for the perfect cracker, try the Back to Nature multigrain seeded flatbread crackers — they go well with this!

Parfait

A simple parfait can do the trick! Take some Greek yogurt and top if off with granola (make sure it doesn’t contain nuts if your child’s school is nut-free — you can also use cereal) and berries. Add some chia seeds or hemp seeds for additional flavor and protein.

Another parfait option that is less popular, but just as good (maybe even better) is adding sliced banana, chopped up apple or chopped up graham crackers.

Taco salad

This can be super easy if you think ahead. Say that you have tacos for a family dinner, or you are making any dish with chicken or ground beef earlier in the week. Set aside a small amount (even better if it’s taco-seasoned) and then use it in this fun salad.

Take some greens (while lettuce is a classic, consider trying a spring mix) and add the meat, along with some salsa, one-fourth of an avocado, cilantro, chopped up red pepper, corn, and some black beans. You can also crush up a couple of tortilla chips for a crunchy topping.

Pasta salad

There are hundreds of ways to make pasta salad, but here’s how I do it (and I think it’s pretty darn good). Prepare some pasta normally — it might be a good idea to use red lentil pasta here for the additional protein or try out another protein pasta.

Drain the water and set the pasta aside. Chop up some zucchini, cucumber, carrot and tomato. Combine the pasta with the veggies and a pesto of your choosing (shout-out to Trader Joe’s pesto) and add fresh mozzarella at the end. Serve with fruit on the side.

Avocado toast

Millennials are not the only ones who love avocado toast. Take a piece of your preferred bread (I love using whole-wheat bread that has flax seeds on the crust) and toast it. Fan half of an avocado, season with salt and pepper, and place in a separate container with a spritz of lemon juice for freshness. Serve with hard-boiled egg and cherry tomatoes on the side, or on top of the toast.

Quick chicken salad (you can even use leftover chicken!)

Take a serving of chicken (this could be leftover chicken or Rotisserie chicken) and shred it. Chop up some celery, carrot, and cucumber and mix with the chicken. Add one-fourth of an avocado and a dollop of Greek yogurt and stir well. Serve with crackers and fruit.

Waffle sandwich

Make your child’s sandwich more exciting by using whole grain waffles as bread. This pairs well with a nut butter or substitute nut butter and blueberry or strawberry jam. You can also do a classic combination like turkey and cheddar.

Serve with cucumber and carrot sticks.

Breakfast for lunch

Take a mini whole-wheat bagel and top with cream cheese. Serve with hard-boiled egg, fruit and Greek yogurt. So simple yet so good.

Apple slice sandwiches

Apple slice sandwiches can be the perfect lunch. Slice an apple horizontally, making sure to take out the seeds. Put the two apple slices, as well as turkey and cheddar, between two slices of bread. Include a couple of these sandwiches in your kid’s lunch with a side of carrots and hummus or a homemade granola bar.