Get inspired with these dietitian approved healthy lunch ideas for back to school!

Back to School Healthy Lunch Ideas

It's back to school time, which for a lot of families, can be a transition that takes some practice and planning.  Inspired Health Group Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Nicole Moretta, shares some simple healthy lunch tips to nourish your child and make back to school easier for you too!

Plan Ahead:

Doing a little bit of planning can make it possible to consistently send your child off to school with healthy meals.  Make your lunch menu for the week and shop ahead for those ingredients. 

In addition to food ingredients, you may need to get some items to pack lunches in.  Do you have reusable containers at home?  What about small containers for dips and salad dressings?  Does your child need utensils as well?  Have your child practice opening each container prior to the start of school!

Prep Your Lunch Ingredients:

Are there foods on your lunch menu you can prep on the weekend or evening before the first day of school?  Prepping items ahead of time can make mornings smoother for sending off your child!

  • Make hard boiled eggs, dips, dressings 
  • Chop veggies & fruit 
  • Have containers & utensils washed and ready to go

How to Pack a Balanced Lunch:

  • Start with a protein
    • Such as: Hard boiled eggs, uncured deli meats, nuts, cheese, hummus, tuna
  • Add veggies
    • Such as: Cherry tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, celery, olives, snap peas 
  • Add fruit
    • Such as: Apple, blueberries, raisins, peaches, watermelon, raspberries
  • Optional, add a whole grain
    • Such as: Brown rice, popcorn quinoa, whole grain pasta, whole grain crackers, whole grain bread

We all like a little variety!  Pack smaller portions of 3-5 items rather than larger portions of 2-3 things.  Try to get variety of colors within one lunch.


  • Rolled up maple turkey, cherry tomatoes, cut up peaches, cheese stick
  • Tuna, cucumbers, watermelon, blueberries, whole grain crackers
  • Hummus, carrot and celery sticks, red bell peppers, olives
  • Hard-boiled eggs with everything bagel seasoning, snap peas, almond butter, apple slices, raisins

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Food Assistance and Resources:

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program :

If you receive SNAP, all of your children who attend school automatically qualify for free school meals such as breakfast and lunch.  Learn more here!

City of Buffalo Food Pantry List

FeedMore WNY

Kids Eat in Color Recipes


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