school lunch recipes

School Lunch Recipes

In our last post you saw 4 ways to make school lunches less of a chore– hint: it has to do with organization.  Here are some ideas for easy school lunch recipes you can alter in a bunch of ways for variety AND make in advance!


Trail Mix

Good as an after school snack as it doesn’t need refrigeration and can be squished at the bottom of a bag all day without a problem! Mix a batch and store it in an airtight container, ready to pour out in small baggies/containers.


Put in on the side for dipping veggies, or in a wrap.


Nothing can beat chips and salsa. Turns out, it’s a healthy lunch for kids, particularly when you make a hearty, veggie-heavy version like this one.

Pasta Salad

Pretty much anything can be put into a pasta salad. Mix up a big batch and parcel out into individual containers.

  • Peas/beans: Frozen peas, kidney beans, garbanzo, green beans
  • Canned veggies: olives, sun-dried tomatoes
  • Cheeses: feta cheese, mozzarella, shredded anything
  • Veggies (fresh or cooked) spinach, peppers, onions, zucchini, eggplant, corn, broccoli, avocado, cucumber, tomato
  • Fruits: strawberries, oranges, apples, grapes
  • Protein: cooked chicken, salami, tuna, hard boiled egg, bacon
  • Nuts/seeds: slivered almonds, crushed walnuts, sunflower seeds, poppy seeds…
  • Herbs: fresh mint, cilantro, parsley, basil
  • Your best bet is to choose things that are seasonal. 
  • Pasta: Bowties, orzo, pinwheels… 

Tip: Pick a 3-5 ingredients you like, mix ‘em up, add a little lemon juice and/or oil, but hold off on the dressing/vinaigrette. Put that in a container on the side, the salad will last longer.

Chicken Salad

Chicken salad sandwiches are one of my favs. Here’s a recipe for some tasty chicken salad: Waldorf-style Chicken Salad. And, as with any sandwich (tuna, egg salad, meatloaf, salmon salad, or deli meat!), switch things up by using a bun, a croissant, a tortilla, or a pita pocket instead of the usual sliced bread.

Hearty Cakes

The nice thing about these cakes is that they make a good mid-morning or after school snack, and they’re healthy! Heads-up: the easiest way to make this recipe is using a scale instead of measuring cups.

Experiment with heartier and healthier versions of a “quatre-quarts” or four-quarters cake. The original recipe is equal parts of four ingredients: butter, sugar, flour and eggs.  But that’s not so healthy (and fairly boring after a while). Try substituting some or all of the original ingredients:

  • Butter substitutes: oils (coconut, olive, rapeseed…) or plain yogurt. 
  • Processed white sugar substitutes: sugar-free applesauce, sativa, agave, coconut sugar, pure maple syrup, honey, raw sugar, and/or just reducing the quantity of sugar. 
  • Processed white flour substitutes: whole wheat flour, oatmeal, or buckwheat flour.  
  • Egg: To cut the cholesterol try using the egg whites instead of the whole egg. 

Tip: You don’t have to, but I like to add a little baking powder or baking soda to make the cake fluffier.

You can add something interesting, too, to give it flavor:

Orange zest, chocolate chips, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice (we know you still have some in the cupboard from last Thanksgiving), slivered almonds, blueberries, apples, peaches, banana, poppyseeds… the list goes on!

Your new and improved recipe might look something like this:

  1. 1 part yogurt
  2. 1 part sugar-free applesauce
  3. -mix-
  4. ½ part oats
  5. ½ part whole wheat flour
  6. A dash of baking powder and vanilla
  7. -mix-
  8. 1 part eggs (I usually go for a 5-6 egg recipe)
  9. -mix-
  10. Add fresh blueberries and sliced almonds (no measurements- just go for it!), mix with spoon. Pour into (floured) cake tin, bake at 320° F for 45 minutes (or until knife comes out clean). 

Tip: weigh the eggs first, then measure out equal amounts of your other “sugar”, “butter” and “flour” ingredients.


How about you? What’s your ‘go-to’ school lunch recipe?

Good luck with those school lunches, friends!

In solidarity and with love,


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