9 Lunch Box Favorites With a Twist Kids (and Moms) Will Love

9 Lunch Box Favorites With a Twist Kids (and Moms) Will Love

Delicious and healthy alternatives to kids’ favorite lunch box items.


By: Lorraine Allen

Kids can be picky about food, which means making lunch for them can be awfully limiting. However, by thinking outside the same old lunch box and giving typical kid favorites a delicious twist, you can get your kids to expand their tastes and to eat more fresh food and nutrients. Here are some simple and delicious ideas to inspire you:

1. Improve the PB&J: Fresh fruits like bananas or strawberries have way less sugar than jam, so slice them up instead and put them atop your peanut butter. Use spelt, whole wheat, pumpernickel, or 10-grain bread instead of white bread. And for some healthy variety, try almond or cashew butter, soy nut butter, or sunflower butter (made from sunflower seeds, so it’s nut free).

2. Reinvent that tuna salad: Skip the mayo and use a drizzle of olive oil instead. Add crunchy finely chopped celery, shallots, peppers, and carrots for more flavor. For less mercury and even more nutrition, serve salmon, any white fish, or sardines instead of tuna.

3. Get creative with chicken salad: Cut up cooked chicken and add a drizzle of olive oil, chopped celery, fennel or carrots, and fruit like raisins, cranberries, or apples. Add a tasty ethnic twist by mixing the chicken with yogurt and dill instead of oil (skip the fruit for this one) or adding a dash of curry powder or mustard instead for an Indian or French flavor.

4. Amplify the egg salad sandwich: Forget the mayo. Slice the eggs into rounds and lay them flat on the bread. Top with sliced cheese and tomatoes and lettuce. Add bacon as an occasional special treat.

5. Trade in bottled smoothies: These come loaded with sugar. Instead, layer a delicious combo of your kid’s favorite yogurt with fresh fruits like berries, kiwi, mangoes, or peaches and serve with granola and sliced almonds.

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6. Give grilled cheese new meaning: These are often coated in grease. Serve a whole grain bagel instead, scooped out and filled with veggie cream cheese, topped with sliced cucumber and spinach or smoked salmon.

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7. Get past mac and cheese: Pack hot chicken noodle soup in a thermos instead, and load it up with carrots, celery, onion, and spinach. This is a great lunch for those cold winter days when the flu is spreading. Or try a quick Asian-inspired dish by cooking rice noodles, mixing in peanut butter or sunflower butter sauce, and adding cooked veggies like broccoli, carrots, and peas.

8. Ditch the crackers and cheese spread: (Is that even real cheese?!) Serve 10-grain crackers with chunks of REAL cheese instead. Celery is a great alternative way to serve cream cheese (or a nut or seed spread) as a snack, too. Or fill sliced cucumber rounds with cream cheese, like a little crunchy sandwich -- a fresh, creative, and healthier snack that’s still slathered in cheese.

9. Forget the fruit cups: Those are packed with sugar. Slice fresh fruit and crunchy raw veggies instead and pack yogurt dip or honey, if your kid loves a “sauce.”

Do you have any ideas for fresh, healthy twists on kids’ lunch box favorites?



Lorraine Allen is a writer, and mom and personal chef to one spunky 5-year-old girl with severe food allergies. You can enjoy their delicious recipes and follow their amusing family cooking adventures at Feeding Lina.

Image ©iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages



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