Tips & Tricks for Healthy School Lunches

School is back in session, and like most parents you are probably struggling with how to pack a healthy lunch that your child will eat.  Here are some tips and tricks to make packing lunches and snacks a breeze.   

Gluten and dairy free sandwiches 

  • Try using a gluten free bread, Sprout’s and Whole Foods have an excellent selection of gluten free breads. 

  • Try using a brown rice/coconut flour/corn tortilla or gluten free deli meat to make a wrap. 

  • Fill the sandwich or wrap with deli meat (be sure to read the ingredients as many deli meats are not gluten free) lettuce, shredded carrots, and avocado slices.  Instead of cheese use a vegan or good quality mayo, your child’s favorite dressing or hummus. 

  • Add a little variety easily by substituting with almond/peanut/cashew butter with jam or bananas. 

Salads 

  • Keep it simple.  Lettuce, shredded carrots, cucumber, cherry tomatoes.  You can add beans, nuts or seeds to add some protein to the salad. Top with their favorite dressing. 

  • Take your child’s favorite pasta salad recipe and give it a make over.  Use a gluten free pasta, like brown rice or quinoa.  Cook according to the package directions and use the same way you would use the cooked wheat pasta. Replace the mayo with a vegan  mayo, this way there is no need to keep the salad cold. 

Left-overs from last night’s dinner.  This is the easiest lunch to pack!  

Make your own “lunchable”  

  • Use a bento box (you can find these on Amazon, Target, Wal-Mart) and fill the compartments. 

  • Gluten free crackers (I am loving the Van’s Everything crackers), or GF pretzels 

  • Nuts or nut butter 

  • Hummus 

  • Apple slices or grapes 

  • Snap peas or cucumber slices 

  • Dairy free cheese like Chao, Paleo Cheese or Parmela 

Snacks 

  • Try packing a soy/coconut/almond milk yogurt.  Use the plain version and add some frozen fruit, honey or maple syrup to sweeten it.  The frozen fruit will help keep the yogurt cold until lunch time.   

  • Pack some fruit like grapes, apple slices, or orange slices. 

  • Pack some veggies like sugar snap peas, cucumber slices, carrot or celery sticks.  If your child does not like their veggies, add something to dip their veggies in like hummus, or their favorite salad dressing. 

  • Popcorn 

  • Trail mix 

I would love to hear some of your tips and tricks, feel free to post your ideas!