Back to School Lunches

It’s that time of year again: new school clothes and shoes—check. School supplies—check. Immunizations completed check. Lunch bag—check. Oh, no? What do I need to put in the lunch bag that’s fast, healthy and affordable?


  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Salad (romaine, kale, spinach)
  • Sugar snap peas
  • 100% vegetable juice
  • Apples
  • Dried fruit
  • Grapes
  • Oranges, Clementine’s, tangerines
  • Plums
  • 100% combination fruit and vegetable juices



  • 100% whole grain bread, rolls, bagels, crackers
  • Corn or 100% whole wheat tortillas
  • Popcorn
  • Lean meats, poultry, tuna
  • Eggs: hard-boiled, egg salad
  • Soy: soybeans, tofu, edamame
  • Beans: black, garbanzo, kidney, pinto
  • Legumes, lentils, hummus
  • Nuts and nut butters

Meat & Protein


  • Milk: fat-free or low-fat milk, soy, rice or almond milk
  • Yogurt: low-fat, Greek
  • Reduced fat or string cheeses made with 2% or less fat milk
  • Low-fat cottage cheese

To keep foods safe, invest in insulated thermos containers, lunch boxes and ice packs.


Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Kids Eat Right
School Nutrition Association
The Healthy School Lunch Campaign
Nutrition Link
Team Nutrition
Food and Nutrition Information Center

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