4 Healthy School Lunch Recipe Ideas (Because It’s okay to Eat Pizza on Fridays)

4 Healthy School Lunch Recipe Ideas (Because It’s okay to Eat Pizza on Fridays)

4 Healthy School Lunch Recipe Ideas (Because It’s okay to Eat Pizza on Fridays)

By Renee Frojo, March 6, 2018
Lunch Box Recipes 32018

With picky kids, busy mornings and hectic life schedules, sometimes it can be hard to think outside of the (lunch) box. Peanut butter sandwiches are easy to slap together, and ham and cheese lunchables can get the job done when needed. But those options aren’t always healthy. And even kids, like adults, need a little variety in their weekly meal spread.

With a little planning and a commitment to making meals the whole family can enjoy, healthy school lunches can be simple — and easy.

These school lunch recipes highlight a vegetables as the main ingredient and have just the right amount of protein, fiber and nutrients to help your kids thrive. You can pair them with some trail mix for added protein or fruit snacks for something special.

If doubled (or tripled, depending on the size of your family), these dishes could be made the night before as a side for dinner or even a main course — just make enough to pack leftovers in that little lunchbox the next day. Bonus points for packing them in this adorable Fluff organic cotton lunch bag. It’s 100% organic, washable, zips closed and includes a convenient little interior side pocket for a water bottle or ice pack.

Read on for four healthy school lunch ideas that even picky eaters will enjoy — because it’s totally okay to eat pizza on Fridays

Simple zucchini noodles with olive oil and parm

Spiralizing vegetables into long, thin noodles is a fun way to make your typical pasta salad dish a bit healthier. And zucchini noodles (a.k.a. zoodles) tend to hold up best. If you don’t have a spiralizer, don't fret — you could easily make thin, flat noodles using a vegetable peeler.

This recipe keeps it simple, with only a few ingredients to enhance the flavors of the zoodles. It calls for both oil and butter, because one offers a healthy source of fat, and the other flavor. While this recipe calls for pine nuts, anything else — including crushed walnuts, sunflower seeds, or any other kind of nut or seed your kid loves — will do. A side of cherry tomatoes or baby carrots and some dried cranberries for dessert pair perfectly.

Serves: 2

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 15 minutes


1 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

2 medium zucchini, spiralized

¼ cup parmesan cheese

1 lemon, zested and juiced

2 tablespoons pine nuts

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons parsley leaves


In a small skillet over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil and butter until melted. Add the zucchini noodles and saute until just soft, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the parmesan cheese, lemon zest and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Turn off the heat and toss in pine nuts. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with parsley.

Cauliflower “fried rice” with cashews and red bell pepper

Fact: Most kids like soy sauce. It’s the umaniness of it. Paired with a high-quality toasted sesame oil and sweet, nutty peanuts, this cauliflower “fried rice” recipe packs a ton of veggies into your kid’s lunch bag along with a lot of flavor. For a little more added protein, you could pack a hard boiled egg on the side.

Buying riced cauliflower in the freezer section of your grocery is the way to go to cut back on prep time, but you can also make it yourself in a food processor. If your babe is squeamish about green leafy things, you could finely chop the cilantro and add it in at the beginning.

Serves: 2

Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 15 minutes


2 tablespoons peanut oil

1 shallot, minced

½ red bell pepper, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

2 cups “riced” (or finely chopped) cauliflower

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

¼ cup peanuts, chopped

1 scallion, chopped

2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped


In a skillet over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the shallot, bell pepper, and garlic and cook until the bell pepper softens, 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in the cauliflower, soy sauce and sesame oil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the peanuts and scallion. Garnish with the cilantro.

Deconstructed chickpea and potato samosas

Kids typically love a build-your-own anything — especially when it comes to food. When taken apart, the peas, potatoes and chickpeas in samosas can make for a delicious and fun meal to put together from a bento box. Think of it as Indian-inspired veggie wraps.

To make this recipe simple, we suggest getting ready-made sweet and sour tamarind sauce. While you can easily make your own tamarind sauce, it’s widely available at most grocery stores. Some can be just a tad spicy, so packing a few cucumber slices could help tame the heat.

Serves: 2

Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 10 minutes


1 tablespoon sunflower oil

1 potato, peeled and diced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 cups chickpeas

1 lime, juiced

1 tablespoon tamarind sauce or chutney

2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

1 pita bread, torn

¼ cup peas


In a small skillet over medium heat, warm the oil. Toss the potato with the cumin, a sprinkle of salt and a couple grinds of pepper. Cook the potatoes in the skillet, stirring, until browned and soft, 4 to 6 minutes. Set aside.

Meanwhile, toss the chickpeas in a little lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Stir in tamarind sauce and toss with cilantro.

Place the potatoes, chickpeas and peas inside pieces of the pita and eat.

Bone broth tomato soup with macadamia milk

Tomato soup is a kid-approved classic. This recipe makes it even healthier with the addition of chicken bone broth and a few herbs added at the start of cooking.

Macadamia milk adds creaminess with little added fat and dairy. If you can’t find macadamia milk, cashew or peanut milk would make a tasty substitution.

Toss it all in a lunch bag with some crackers, string cheese, snap peas and crunchy apple slices for dessert, and healthy lunch is served.

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

¼ cup cilantro, leave and stems

¼ cup parsley leaves

1 teaspoon thyme leaves

1 32-ounce can diced tomatoes

2 cups chicken bone broth

¼ cup macadamia milk

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper


In a small pot over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onion saute until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and herbs and cook until fragrant, about 1 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and bone broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook, covered, until all the flavors have melded, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Transfer to a blender or use an immersion blender to puree until smooth.

Stir in the cashew cream. Then season with salt and pepper, to taste.

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