6 Healthy Packable Lunch Foods for Kids

6 Healthy Packable Lunch Foods for Kids

tortellinin salad

By Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD, Contributing Blogger

Although the weather still screams summer, many families are in the midst of back-to-school planning. With the craziness of buying new wardrobes and school supplies, the last thing any parent wants to think about is what to pack in their kid’s lunchbox. Ditch the boring peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and try any of these 6 dietitian (and kid) approved lunches instead.

Tortellini Lunchbox Salad by Meal Makeover Moms (pictured above)

Young kids are growing and are endlessly hungry. This grain salad is sure to satisfy any kid’s hunger and fill their belly with high-quality calories. Plus, the sweet and savory combination is a crowd pleaser at any age.

Mediterranean Turkey Pinwheels by Katie Morford, MS, RD of Mom’s Kitchen Handbook

turkey pinwheels

This colorful and creative recipe is wholesome, tasty and fun to make. Not only do these wraps have whole grains, lean protein and veggies, but making them is a great  way to incorporate your kids in the kitchen. Kids will have just as much fun making them as they will eating them.

Homemade Grape Fruit Leather by Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD of Real Mom Nutrition

Fruit leather

Fruit Roll-Ups are a regular fixture on the kid circuit, but most are loaded with sugar and artificial flavors and lack any real fruit. Sally’s recipe changes all of that with just one ingredient–grapes. This homemade fruit leather uses the intense natural sweetness of grapes to make a natural fruit leather without any added sugar.

Peanut Butter and Banana Sushi by Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN of Nutrition Starring You

banana susshi

Finger food is always fun, and any alternative to a sandwich is a welcome change. Fruit “sushi” is such an easy way to include more plant-based lunches into your family’s diet, especially when it replaces a turkey, ham or bologna. Plus, choosing a whole grain tortilla or flatbread will help your kiddo meet the recommendation to make half their daily grains whole.

Honey Oat Cereal Bars by Elizabeth Shaw, MS, RD, CLT of Shaw’s Simple Swaps

cereal bars

Every kid loves an ooey gooey granola bar in their lunchbox. But many parents don’t love the sugar content of most granola bars. The best way to satisfy your child’s hankering for a granola bar is to make this yummy version, which is sweetened with dates and honey.

Chickpea Salad Sandwich by Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD of Nutrition à la Natalie

chickpea sandwich 400

This sandwich is a twist on two classics: tuna salad and cole slaw. This chickpea salad doesn’t contain any mayo, but uses a combo of mashed avocado and cottage cheese to give a delicious creaminess.  The chickpea salad tastes so much like tuna salad that your child won’t even know they are eating beans.


Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD is a NYC based Registered Dietitian, food and nutrition writer and blogger at Nutrition à la Natalie. Natalie writes for many nutrition publications, such as Women’s Running, Fitness Magazine, Eating Well and Food & Nutrition Magazine. Natalie specializes in sports nutrition, and her blog is full of plant-based recipes and general nutrition and sports nutrition information. To stay up to date with Natalie’s recipes or nutrition tips, follow her on Twitter or like her page on Facebook.


  • Elizabeth Shaw
    Posted at 13:13h, 20 August Reply

    What a wonderful post! Thanks so much Toby and Natalie for including my bars in this post!

    Posted at 04:15h, 30 August Reply

    Hi Natalie, thanks for the article!. the kids doesn’t eating well in all time then how they eat these foods at lunch? is it possible? plz suggest us.

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