The return to school is bittersweet for parents. Many are ready to have those daytime hours back to work, run errands and simply not be needed. But August also marks the end of quality time with your children—hot days splashing in the pool, family barbecues and quiet rainy mornings crafting together over pancakes.
In addition, parents must starting thinking ahead about all of the things their children need to be successful, participating students and classmates. Permission slips, brushed hair, science volcanoes and, most importantly, full, nourished bellies. A balanced, nutrient-dense lunch is a key component in your child’s ability concentrate, feel calm and enjoy the school day. Here is a guide to send your little ones off with the healthiest and coolest lunches in town!
Taco stuffed peppers for dinner provide bountiful (and delicious) leftovers for lunch the next day.
Healthy Lunchbox Ideas Using Leftovers
Idea 1: LL’s BBQ Chicken Cutlets || Make these cutlets and enjoy for dinner roasted brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes. The next day, cut a few cutlets into 1 inch pieces and add a small side of BBQ sauce or ketchup. Finish the box with baby carrots and 1/2 apple sliced and drizzled with honey and cinnamon.
Idea 2: Taco Night || Make my Stuffed Taco Peppers and reserve extra filling. For lunch boxes, include some taco meat, a handful of organic non GMO tortilla chips* (1 serving), sliced red or green bell peppers with a dollop of salsa and 2 clementines.
Idea 3: Mini Pizzas || Having spaghetti or homemade pizza night? Reserve some sauce, cheese and toppings and buy corn or other whole grain tortillas. Make a mini pizza quesadilla and cut into wedges for lunch boxes. Serve with a container of sugar-free apple sauce and a handful of roasted almonds (if allowed at school).
Idea 4: Mediterranean Mezze || Season chicken cubes with salt, olive oil and dried oregano and add to skewers with alternating cherry tomatoes. Bake in the oven at 350 until chicken is completely cooked through (don’t use oregano for picky eaters). Make a large Greek salad with skewers, feta, olives and peppers. For lunch boxes the next day, add leftover chicken and tomatoes, a serving of hummus and cucumber rounds and a few dried apricots.
Stay tuned for next week’s post when I share delicious ideas for healthy lunchbox ideas that do not use leftovers.
Laura Lea is a Certified Holistic chef, recipe developer and food writer based in her hometown of Nashville. Her company LL Balanced is at your service to provide easy, nutritious, family-friendly recipes that will make eating healthy a pleasure and restore balanced to your life. Laura Lea is a Certified Holistic Chef, not a registered dietician, nutritionist or doctor, and her opinion should not be taken as medical advice. Please consult one such licensed professional before making any significant changes to your diet.