Finding time to pack school lunches in the morning can be just as challenging as getting your kids out of bed. Fortunately, we’ve compiled a list of easy recipes and clever school lunch ideas to jumpstart your day. All recipes are budget-friendly, requiring little time and little effort. Even better? No microwaving necessary. Plus, they’re not just limited to kids. Double up each recipe and make lunch for yourself, too!

Give them a try, and find dozens more tasty, low-cost recipes and back-to-school tips at ShapeYourFutureOK.com.

RECIPES

1. PB & J Bagel

Is it tasty twist on a classic sandwich? You peanut butter believe it. Just sub bread for a whole wheat bagel! Recipe here.

2. Turkey and Cheese Sushi Rolls

Need healthy lunch ideas for school? Just roll up turkey, carrots and cheese into little snack-size “sushi” bites. Get rolling today! Recipe here. 

3. Healthy Lunch Packs

Make your own Healthy Lunch Packs instead of store-bought ones. Mix and match fruits, veggies and whole grains, and pack some health into the school year. Recipe here.

4. Avocado Turkey Ranch Wrap

Even a quick, convenient lunch can be packed with nutrition. Make a whole bunch of these wraps at once, store them in the fridge… then grab and go in the morning! Recipe here. Remember to wait and add avocado right before you eat to prevent browning.

5. Pear and Avocado Sandwich

Switch up your sandwich with this simple idea. Will your kids love it? Avocad-oh yeah. Recipe here.

6. Turkey Vegetable Wraps

After dinner wraps up, wrap up some turkey for tomorrow’s lunch. Get cooking with these easy-to-make Turkey Vegetable Wraps. Recipe here.

7. PB & Bs

Switch up your normal PB and J with this simple idea. Try using whole wheat bread instead of white and bananas instead of jelly. Adding a dash of honey will make your kids love it. 

OTHER QUICK TIPS

8. Choose healthy, hydrating water.

To make school lunches even healthier, pack some tasty fruit-infused water. Water prevents fatigue and poor concentration, and it can uplift your mood! Find infused water recipes here.

9. Make homemade icepacks.

Keep your kid’s cold lunch cold with a few homemade icepacks. Simply purchase a pack of inexpensive sponges and soak them in water. Put the sponges in separate baggies and freeze overnight. Pack them in your kid’s lunch in the morning — then refreeze them when your kids get home!

10. Hard-boil a bunch of eggs.

Hard-boiling eggs is eggs-tremely easy. Make 8-10 at the beginning of each week for a quick protein boost for your kid’s lunches. For some extra fun, turn the eggs into little “chick” eggs with this playful recipe.

11. Let kids pack their own lunch.

Free up even more time in the morning by letting your kids pack their own lunches. Print out and hang this guide on the fridge to ensure they add nutritious options to their pack. Click to download.

12. Use a thermos or foil for warm foods.

If your kids want to bring leftovers but don’t have access to a microwave at school, heat up the food at home, then wrap it in foil or place it in a thermos. Just remember to heat the food hotter than you normally would so that it stays warm until lunchtime.

13. Use cookie cutters for picky eaters.

Cookie cutters can transform sandwiches and fruit into fun shapes and animals. Cutting food takes just seconds, and it’ll get kids more interested in eating.

14. Make lunches at night.

Save time in the AM by making healthy recipes in the PM. Make it a nightly routine before bedtime — and recruit your kids to help too. You’ll feel less rushed in the morning, plus your kids will be less likely to complain about their lunch since they packed it! Try using this meal planner at the beginning of the week to make your life a little easier.

15. Pack in some words of encouragement.

Who doesn’t love a little inspiration during the day? Add cute, personal notes to your kid’s lunch to show how much you love them. Don’t have time to think of something creative? Just download and print out these free cards!

16. Choose healthy hot lunches.

If your kids eat hot lunch, teach them the importance of nutrition. Explain how fruits and veggies will help them grow healthier and stronger — and that they should fill half their plate with them at every meal. Teach them the importance of choosing water over sugary drinks too. 

17. Make grab-and-go snack bags.

Spend 15 minutes on Sunday night chopping up some fruit and veggies for the week! Chop a variety of produce —like apples, strawberries, watermelon, carrots and green bell peppers — and place them into baggies in the fridge. Then, simply grab one in the morning and add to your kid’s lunch pack!

Remember, nutrition is vital for academic achievement. Students who eat better, move more and avoid tobacco are typically more successful in school. So make healthy behavior a priority this school year.

For more healthy tips and back-to-school lunch ideas, visit ShapeYourFutureOK.com.