This post is sponsored by Kroger Family of Stores but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.
My girls’ preschool classes started last week and I can hardly believe it’s already that time! Since we got home from our month-long vacation at the beach two days before school started, it was a bit of a scramble to turn around and get back-to-school ready less than two days later. I realized I hadn’t given school lunches much thought, but with my youngest (she just turned 2) attending preschool as well, I needed to strategize how to make their meals fun yet simple for both girls.
They generally eat the same foods, but I’m a little pickier with what I give my two-year-old since she still has to be watched like a hawk when she’s eating (because she will stuff her mouth full!). I also try to find a good balance between sending healthy foods and foods I know they will eat – we generally eat pretty healthily around here, but some things aren’t worth the battle when it comes to getting kids to eat, am I right?! So, it’s always my goal to find the healthiest option of foods I know they enjoy just to meet all of our needs 🙂
I like to make school lunches fun, too, and I’ve fully embraced being Pinterest-y when it comes to food ideas. The reality is, it can be complicated to come up with good, healthy and creative ideas – especially if your kids’ school is nut-free. We faced this for the first time last year, as there is a little girl with a peanut allergy in my daughter’s class, and I feel for all of the parents and kids out there dealing with food allergies – it can be so scary! With that said, I wanted to share some of my favorite school lunches that can be adapted to meet the needs of all dietary needs.
Best Creative School Lunches
- Bean + Cheese Quesadillas – This is our go-to – my girls eat these every week without fail and I make them in bulk at the beginning of the week
- Turkey Deli Meat + Cheese Rollups – My girls are hit or miss with deli meat, but it’s a good way to change it up from time to time
- Pepperoni, Cheese + Crackers – Kind of like a Lunchable, but maybe a little better for you depending on the ingredients you go with
- Turkey Sausage Medallions with Cheese Cubes – I will cook sliced turkey sausage/kielbasa for dinners some nights and we’ll have leftovers, which makes an easy lunch for the girls
- Sunbutter + Jelly Cut-Out Sandwich (or other nut butter if allowed) – My girls love sandwiches cut into fun shapes with cookie cutters
- Grilled Cheese – My girls don’t mind eating their food cold, so that’s why I added this to the list – it’s possible some schools may heat food for kids, too?
- Ground Turkey Tacos – If we have taco meat leftover, I’ll make a taco, folded like a burrito to prevent spilling and add hummus + cheese
Easy Snack Ideas for School Lunches
- Avocado + Banana Mini Muffins
- Graham crackers
- Grapes, halved
- Animal crackers
- Clif ZBars for Kids
- Yogurt pouches
- Tortilla chips + salsa
- Apple slices
- Dried cranberries
- Carrots + hummus
- Mini pretzels
- Orange slices
- Plantain chips + guacamole
- String cheese
- Applesauce pouches
I’m all about convenience, sticking to a schedule and streamlining our day, so it’s important to have all of our lunchbox essentials on hand before the week begins. Thanks to Kroger.com’s new shipping service, Kroger Ship, I can order all of my girls’ favorite non-perishable snacks and have them shipped directly to my front door within two days. I really love the quality of ingredients in Kroger’s Simple Truth brand and typically chose it over other options when shopping for groceries, especially when it comes to healthy options for the kids. In my most recent order, I also snagged a box of Goldfish (let ’em live a little, right?) and an 18-count Clif ZBar pack to add to my girls’ lunchbox rotation. Since I was able to buy these in bulk from Kroger.com, I’ll have plenty on hand for the next couple of weeks!
Lastly, when I’m packing up their lunchboxes, I also like to throw in a cute printed napkin or a sweet note for my girls to surprise them when they open their lunch box. These fun ice packs also add a little excitement to school lunches.