8 Lunch Box Goodies That Your Child Won’t Trade Away

8 Lunch Box Goodies That Your Child Won’t Trade Away

Sigh. School has started, and that means another nine months of stuffing lunch boxes — for you, that is … I’m an empty nester! (Don’t hate the player.) I read recently that the average (non-allergic) American will eat 3,000 PB&J sandwiches in their lifetime. Has it come to that? Can we not get more creative? Of course, many schools no longer allow peanut butter through the front door, so it’s time to look elsewhere for inspiration! Check out what these creative mommy bloggers are sending with their kids — not a Lunchable in sight.

Peanut Butter-Banana Wrap

Recipe: Peanut Butter-Banana Wrap from The Cooking Mom
Photo courtesy of The Cooking Mom.

Okay, full disclosure, there’s peanut butter involved here. But if you have a kid with a nut allergy, or if your school doesn’t allow nut products, sub in Sunbutter, which is actually a delicious alternative. Live large and throw in a strip or two of bacon as well. Get the recipe on The Cooking Mom.

Sweetie Pie Quesadilla

All kids like quesadillas, and sweet potatoes are the sneaky vegetable that tastes good but is packed with all sorts of wonderful antioxidants and vitamins. Throw in some black beans and you’ve got a protein-packed meal that will get your kid through the day. Get the recipe on Meal Makeover Moms.

Penne Pasta in Creamy Pumpkin Sauce

Recipe: Penne Pasta in Creamy Pumpkin Sauce from Archana’s Kitchen
Photo courtesy of Archana’s Kitchen.

When my kids were little, they would eat any pasta, especially if swimming in a creamy sauce. This sauce is made with cooked pumpkin, cream cheese, milk, red pepper and olive oil all pureed together in a blender. It’s creamy enough and tasty enough to pique your little one’s interest. Bonus veggie: broccoli! Get the recipe on Archana’s Kitchen.

No-Bake Trail Mix Cookies

These cookies come together quite quickly, and you don’t have to sit around and wait for butter to get to room temperature … because they’re both vegan and gluten-free. A tasty but healthy treat to give to your little munchkin! Get the recipe on Kidspot Kitchen.

Crispy Tortellini With Peas

Recipe: Crispy Tortellini with Peas from Smitten Kitchen
Photo by Deb Perelman/SmittenKitchen.com.

This is a genius idea: Treat your tortellini like mini potstickers and they turn into nubbins of crunchy goodness! But of course, Debbie Perelman of Smitten Kitchen has all the best ideas. Get the recipe on Smitten Kitchen.

Lunchbox Nachos

Recipe: Lunchbox Nachos from Gluten-Free Lunchboxes
Photo courtesy of Gluten-Free Lunchboxes.

Tortilla chips, cheese and refried beans got together in a muffin cup and had a party. These scrumptious lunchbox nachos were the result. What could be more fun than to open your lunch and discover NACHOS?!?!?! Get the recipe on Gluten-Free Lunchboxes (and find a conversion chart here).

Waffle Iron Panini

Recipe: Waffle Iron Panini from Mom's Kitchen Handbook
Photo courtesy of Mom’s Kitchen Handbook.

The simple brilliance of using a waffle iron to grill your cheese sandwich is almost more than I can handle. Who needs a pricey panini maker when the waffle iron leaves such a cute imprint and does the same job? Get the recipe on Mom’s Kitchen Handbook.

Hummus Wrap With Halloumi

Recipe: Hummus Wrap with Halloumi from Naturally Ella
Photo courtesy of Naturally Ella.

Halloumi is a brined, semi-hard cheese made from goat’s and sheep’s milk, and is easily sliced and grilled or fried. I love the idea of pan frying it and layering it with your favorite brand of store-bought hummus and some veggies in a whole wheat tortilla; it’s a Mediterranean take on grilled cheese that you don’t have to feel guilty about giving to your hungry tween. Get the recipe on Naturally Ella.


For helpful hints on how to pack a healthy lunch, check out this article from last fall.

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