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Back to school already? Start the year with a healthy lunch box

Published: Aug 9, 2018

By Lisa Greene


So you’re still just trying to get used to the idea of school starting on a Friday and you have no idea what to pack in your kid’s lunch.

That’s okay…because we’re back with our third annual list of healthy school lunches.

All our recipes are from our own food blogger and dietitian, Jamie Vespa, MS, RD, LD/N.  Vespa is a former Tampa General Hospital dietitian who’s now assistant nutrition editor at Cooking Light magazine. (You can check out more of her recipes for TGH Health News and her blog, Dishing Out Health.)

You’ll see these are packed with fresh flavors that kids actually like – from carrots to cinnamon to coconut. There are fun takes on kids’ favorites, including pizza and tacos.

Here are a few of our kid-friendly recipes that are healthy, too:

Fun Finger Foods

Because every kid likes to eat with their fingers.

5-Minute Avocado Green Goddess Dip

Chive-Corn Fritters with Roasted Zucchini Salsa

Thai-Roasted Cauliflower Pizza

Salt and Vinegar Smashed Potatoes with Miso Ketchup

Turmeric Quinoa Falafel with Feta Yogurt Dip

Last Night’s Leftovers

Here are some quick meals you can make for dinner, then pack in your kid’s lunch box the next day. (Bonus: a few tips from our experts on how busy parents can still dish up homemade meals.)

Sweet and Sour Thai Chicken Bowls

30-Minute Mushroom and Lentil Tacos

30-Minute Orange Basil Chicken with Coconut Rice

Vegetarian Options

For all those kids who don’t like eating their animal friends.

Vegetarian Mushroom Meatballs in Olive-Tomato Sauce

Honey-Soy Glazed Tofu with Carrot-Ginger Sauce

Watermelon and Tomato-Basil Salad

Sweet Treats

These are desserts you don’t have to feel guilty about.

Whole-Grain Pumpkin-Pecan Blondies

No-Bake Coconut Cashew Cherry Squares

Carrot-Cardamom Bread with Cinnamon Cashew Cream

Gingerbread Protein Donuts with Cinnamon-Maple Frosting

Need more brown-bag ideas? Check out our lists from the past two years:

 Brown-bag magic: what to pack in your kid's lunch

School lunches 101: a week's worth of healthy ideas