Back to School is Here! Packing a Healthy Lunch Box

Back to School is Here! Packing a Healthy Lunch Box

The key to a healthy lunch box is to provide choices and to deliver a fun presentation!

The Kid’s Healthy Eating Plate, created by nutrition experts at the Harvard School of Public Health, is a visual guide to encourage children to eat well and keep moving.

Give Choices

  • 1 Fresh fruit

grapes, apple slices, berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries), banana slices, melon chunks (cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon)

  • 2 Vegetables

carrot sticks, baby cucumber, bell pepper strips, asparagus spears, summer squash ribbons, grape tomatoes, broccoli

  • 1 Healthy Protein

beans, edamame, nuts, seeds, peanut butter, hummus, veggie burger, roasted turkey, chicken slices, hardboiled egg

  • 1 Whole Grain

whole grain pasta, bread, crackers, brown rice, quinoa, steel-cut oats, or other minimally-processed whole grains

  • Drink

water in a fun water bottle (unflavored milk or dairy-free milk if desired)

It’s All About the Presentation

  • Pick a Theme

Mexican: beans and brown rice, whole grain tortilla chips, homemade guacamole or salsa made with diced tomatoes, avocado, and cilantro

Chinese: chicken strips and broccoli florets served with brown rice and soy dipping sauce

Pizza: whole grain pita or crackers, grape tomatoes, and bell peppers, mozzarella string cheese, chicken slices

  • Pick a Color

Green: edamame, cucumber coins, lettuce rolled in a spinach wrap spread with mashed ripe avocado, sunflower seeds, pistachios

Rainbow: red grape tomatoes, orange hummus, yellow cheese, green cucumbers, bell peppers, blueberries, purple grapes

  • Create Shapes

Cut sandwiches into triangles or smaller squares, use mini cookie cutters to transform apples, watermelon, or cantaloupe into heart or star shapes, use a vegetable peeler to make ribbons of any firm long vegetable

  • Be Creative

Kabobs: Cut fruits, vegetables, and proteins into cubes or small balls and insert onto a skewer with rounded or blunt edges

Bento boxes: Lunchboxes that contain small divided compartments to keep foods separate and encouraging a variety of foods