As the first day of school gets closer, you probably have started thinking about the age-old question: what’s for lunch today? Research shows that lunch is an important meal for both adults and children. What we eat for lunch provides our brains and bodies with the nutrients needed to have the energy to function effectively for the remainder of the day.

Taking on the responsibility of planning and packing lunches may seem like a daunting task but with your children’s help, it can be very rewarding! The time in the kitchen spent together can strengthen your bond, your child will also learn how to prepare foods, and the nutritional benefits of what they’re putting into their growing bodies.

Check out a few school lunch ideas to get your family started:

Deconstructed Tacos

Prepare your ground turkey (or other preferred meat) like you would for a regular taco night, gather your child’s favorite taco toppings—shredded carrots, shredded Mexican-style cheese, guacamole, or sour cream—and pack them into individual containers. Wrap tortillas in plastic wrap to maintain freshness. At lunch, your kiddo will put together his own tacos.

Pro tip: Most school lunch periods are between 20-25 minutes so this meal works best with older kids who can quickly put together their taco. Feel free to “construct” the taco to save time for little ones.

Sandwich Wraps

Wraps are quick, easy, and versatile! All you’ll need is a tortilla—preferably whole wheat, tuna salad (or other preferred meat), and romaine lettuce. Roll up your ingredients inside the tortilla like a burrito and cut in half.

Chicken Bowl

Add grilled chicken, quinoa, lettuce, black beans, avocado, shredded cheese, and Pico de Gallo (or other preferred salsa) to a bowl and voilà!

Take things a step further and include a few simple snacks to accompany any lunch and aid your scholar in powering through the rest of their day:

  • Celery Sticks
  • Hummus
  • Sliced cucumbers
  • Blueberries and Raspberries
  • Yogurt
  • Pretzels
  • Sliced apples
  • Sliced bell peppers

Feel free to check out more kid-friendly recipes at our site and sign up for our kids cooking classes to add more options to your family’s lunch menu!