Back to school looks different this year. Whether your students are in person full time, totally virtual, or somewhere in between, this is sure to be a school year we won’t forget. 

One thing that remains the same, though, is the need for healthy lunches for our kiddos. Proper nutrition is needed not only to fuel students’ bodies, but also their minds. 

Sometimes it can be hard to come up with yummy, healthy foods that kids actually like to eat. Sometimes we have picky eaters or food allergies that prohibit a varied lunch menu. Other times it just gets hard to come up with ideas about what to make each day.

Here we’ve rounded up a few options for lunches to make or pack this school year. You probably have a lot of these ingredients in your refrigerator or pantry, which also helps when you’re trying to pack meals. 

Some of these are better suited for days when students are learning from home. Others easily translate into a lunchbox. 

We just recommend gathering everyone in the kitchen and letting kids help lend a hand when it comes to prepping and packing their meals. Not only does it make the job a bit easier for mom and dad, but you’re also teaching an important life skill with a pretty delicious reward.

 Mini Pizzas on English muffins
This is a fun – and tasty-  lunch for kids to make. Plus, it’s pizza! The small size means you don’t need long to cook and it’s simple for kids to make their own just they way they like it. You won’t have to worry about many leftovers with this.

Ingredients: Whole wheat English muffins, pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, bacon, chopped green and red pepper, diced onions, mushrooms, banana peppers, tomatoes, etc. 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400.
  2. Slice English Muffins in two. Spread pizza sauce on divided muffins, top with mozzarella cheese and any toppings of your choice.  You can also forgo the pizza sauce and add barbecue sauce, shrededed chicken, and cheese for a tasty BBQ chicken pizza. 
  3. Bake 8-10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the edges are getting crispy.
  4. Serve warm pizzas with carrots, celery, and ranch dip. 

Build your own Lunchables.
Most kids like Lunchables, but instead of buying the prepackaged ones, you can just let kids assemble their own. Lunchables might be a lunchroom favorite, but some of them are more processed than parents would like. When you build your own, you can pick healthier options for the meat and cheeses. Stock up on a variety of deli meats, cheese and crackers and pretty much let the kids do the rest!

Ingredients: Ham, turkey, salami, pepperoni, variety of cheeses, assorted crackers

  1. Slice deli meats and cheeses. 
  2. Set out a variety of crackers. 
  3. Let kids assemble their favorite meat and cheese combinations on crackers. 
  4. Serve with fresh fruit or veggies. 

Pinwheel Wraps
If your kids are tired of the usual sandwich or you’ve run into a rut, this is an easy way to make lunch a little more fun. You can put as much or as little as you want into these wraps but we promise they’ll be gobbled up.

Ingredients: Ham, turkey or roast beef, American or Provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, wraps of your choice (flour tortilla, green spinach, or tomato basil are all great options)
Vegetarian option: Hummus, cucumbers, tomato, red onion, Feta cheese, wraps of your choice

  1. Put ham, turkey or roast beef on a wrap. Layer on cheese and any toppings you want to include.For a vegetarian version, spread the hummus on the wrap and layer with diced cucumber, tomato, red onion and Feta cheese. 
  2. Tightly roll the wrap and then slice in 1-2 inch sections. 
  3. Serve with fresh fruit and pretzels

Classic PB&J
It’s usually pretty hard to find a child that doesn’t like peanut butter and jelly. Kick this classic up a notch with Ashley’s fresh bakery bread.

Ingredients: Your favorite peanut butter (creamy or crunchy), and jelly or jam, sliced, freshly baked bread from Ashley’s 

  1. You know the drill – spread peanut butter on bread, top with your favorite jelly or jam, add a second slice of bread.
  2. Serve with apple slices, potato chips and enjoy! 

What are some of your favorite lunch ideas? We’d love to hear what you like to eat for your mid-day meal. Let us know below. 

And to all of you out there juggling all of this right now, know we’re thinking of you this school year and wishing you all good luck!