Healthy Kids YMCA Child Care

Fresh and fun school lunch ideas your kids will actually want to eat

A lunchbox containing broccoli, strawberries, and cheese slices

You started the school year off strong with a solid lunch prep routine and heaps of nutritious recipes you couldn’t wait to whip up. But, almost three months into the school lunch game, you’ve hit a wall. You’re fresh out of ideas on what to pack for the kids and, to make matters worse, they’re coming home with half-eaten lunches more often. What’s a parent to do?

Luckily, we’ve found three ways to help you add some much-needed variety to your child’s lunchbox. From tips on how to make dull lunches come alive to quick and healthy recipes that no kid can resist, you’re sure to find new inspiration with these school lunch ideas.

Get creative with sandwiches

Sandwiches are probably the easiest lunch to make, but let’s face it: eating the same sammie — day after day, week after week — can leave kids feeling a little bored. If you love the convenience of sandwiches but want to give them an interesting twist, break out the cookie cutters! Use star, heart, snowflake and any other cutter that you have in your pantry to mould sandwiches into cute shapes. And if you really want to create a lunch that will bring a smile to your child’s face, cut into the veggie, cheese, and meat sandwich fillings as well.

Shrink it!

You can’t go wrong with bite-sized foods: they’re instant crowd-pleasers, perfect for small hands, and simple to make. For tomorrow’s lunch, give pinwheel sandwiches a try or, better yet, rustle up a tasty muffin-tin dish like kale mac and cheese cups. Don’t let the dainty appearance of mini eats fool you; they can pack a mighty punch in terms of flavour and nutrition when done right.

Make the most of leftovers

Because nothing’s more fun than food on a stick, you can make last night’s dinner something to rave about by serving it on a skewer. Leftover roast chicken and meatballs are great starting points when reimagining a meal and pastas such as tortellini can also easily evolve into an inventive lunchtime skewer. Just add a few nutritious fixings, and you’ll have a satisfying lunch that’s inviting to eat. (Remember to use blunt-edged skewers so your child can safely chow down on their lunch.)