Lunches Made Fun: Healthy + Fun Kids Lunch Ideas

I’m excited to bring you these fun tips for packing fun lunches sponsored by Mott’s®​​, NABISCO, and ZIPLOC® brand​ . All thoughts and opinions are my own, just like always 🙂


Are you in back to school mode yet? Maybe you already have school supplies and new clothes purchased ….but have you thought about what you’ll pack for the first day of school lunch (or the 180 lunches after that)?

If your child is anything like mine, variety is key. Whether it’s snacks on a road trip or the side with his sandwich, if it’s the same too many times in a row, Lincoln won’t eat it…. even if he liked it the day before. So I’ve started picking up some new options when we’re at Target.

We’re staving off lunchtime meltdowns (or at least lunchtime refusals) over here by adding a little variety to the menu …and to the presentation. Here are a few quick tips for surviving lunches for the next nine months:


A few tips for mixing up lunches:

Think outside the bag:
Picking up little bento boxes (like these cute reusable ones from ZIPLOC® brand) multiplies what you can easily pack for lunch. They’ll fit a sandwich and​ sides but they’ll also mean you can include veggies and hummus in the same container without any mess. Chicken salad or tortellini are fair game and you don’t have to worry about your child keeping track of a million different containers.
Keep it colorful:
Growing up in Tokyo, the Japanese moms had a rule for lunch – the more color the better. Generally, the more varied the colors, the healthier the meal. And, when you’re packing for a kid, the visual appeal doesn’t hurt. Think of bright fruits and veggies to add color to your lunch.
Swap the sides:
Even if a peanut butter and jelly is the only thing you know he’ll eat, keep it interesting by rotating through a handful of simple sides. In these bento boxes,​ Lincoln ​loves veggies + hummus, yogurt, cheese + crackers, tuna salad +​ crackers, or Teddy Soft Bakes Soft Baked Snacks​. A few other things we have over here​ a lot are veggie straws, apple sauce, freeze dried fruit, and graham crackers.
Think Drink:
Drinks are another super easy way to add variety. We love the little Mott’s 8oz bottles because they’re 100% juice with no added sugar AND they come in a few different flavors. In addition to Original Apple, they have Apple White Grape, Apple Cherry, and Apple Mango. It’s a simple way to add variety (and if you’d rather go the juice box or juice pouch route, most flavors come in those, too).
Sneak in a surprise:
I STILL remember the occasional note tucked in from my mother in my lunches 20 years ago so you can bet I’m already excited​ to​ write these for Lincoln. These days he thinks anything out of the ordinary is hilarious (like​ when I purposefully sing the wrong lyrics to a song or call something the wrong name). So, I like doodling a little note or silly drawing right on some of the snacks I’m packing into his lunch. For example, a hat and bouquet of flowers on the teddy bear or a reminder that “Lincoln is awesome” on his apple juice. A full note from mom is still great now-and-then but for the mornings you want to keep it simple, add a smiley face to his apple sauce and you’ll brighten his lunch hour.
So tell me, what are your little one’s favorite lunches? What should I add to our lunch rotation?
For additional Bento Box Lunches Made Easy, click here. 

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  1. We love the multi-compartment ziplock containers for lunches, too! Though I will admit that packing lunches through the school year is one of my least favorite activities. This year, doing it times two is about enough to bring me to tears. For my preschooler, his favorite was when I would draw a smile on his banana (on the peel with a Sharpie) and he could hold it up in front of his mouth as a banana smile 🙂 Once he could read, I’d stick post-it’s on various items with instructions or notes. We miss you guys and hope the transition is going well!

  2. One of my boys has a severe milk allergy so we don’t have any milk products in the house. Do you have any dairy-free lunch ideas that are kid friendly? I have yet to find a suitable cheese replacement and most kid’s meals have cheese… I’d love some new ideas!

  3. What a great idea! What a difference to have compartments instead of everything thrown into a paper back sack lunch. I love how balanced everything is too. I wish my daughter, age 4, wasn’t so picky and would eat anything close to tuna or chicken salad. She will eat the crackers and possibly cheese, and as long as you got sweets in there, she will gobble them down. My favorite part of the lunch is the little note. I remember as a kid getting a note on a napkin and although it was simple and small, it was huge in my world. I get a little teary eyed thinking about sentimental things like that, but I know I will need to keep that tradition of writing little notes for packed lunches. If you are interested, I have some awesome kid friendly smoothie recipes as well as other recipes on my blog. My blog is fairly new but I focus on meals for the stay at home/working mom to prep, so they are quick, easy and most importantly healthy.

  4. Ah I may need all the lunch packing inspiration ideas soon as my little girl starts school soon!! You did such a great job picking things!

  5. I love the bento box idea, it keeps it all separated. I remember growing up things getting “mixed” and truly disliking it! I’ve also heard the more colorful the healthier, and to be honest I try to do that with my lunch for work too! Being healthier for the kids and us doesn’t have to be boring!

  6. Love all these ideas! My kids always enjoy getting notes in their school lunches from us (even my teenager secretly likes it!)

  7. I love bento box lunches for the kiddos! My kids love to have all their stuff separated, so those work really well for us. Super cute pictures! XO

  8. Thank you for the tips, I know I will be using these for when my little guy goes back to school!

  9. Such great ideas for mixing it up for lunch and I love the way you jazzed up the packaging! Those Bento boxes look amazing too 🙂