11 Kid-Friendly Lunch Ideas Perfect for Back-To-School

Food.

It’s that time of the year again. The little ones head back to school; and the parents get back to the daily grind of waking up early to prepare lunch for their kids.

It’s no question that every parent’s dilemma in the morning is “What will my son/daughter eat for lunch?” Sure, there are easy options available, like giving them money, to let them buy their own food at the school canteen. But if you really want your kid to get the proper nutrition he or she needs for the day, why not make an effort to whip up healthy food for him or her?

If you’re looking for new and healthy lunchbox ideas for kids, keep on reading to find quick healthy recipes that you can cook or prepare beforehand.

Sandwiches

If your child is in the third grade or lower, then he or she may not need heavy rice meals, just yet. With a half-day schedule of 7 a.m. to 12 noon, a sandwich is the perfect healthy packed lunch idea you can make for your kid. Here are your options:

1. Grilled Cheese Sandwich

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If your kid loves cheese, this is a healthy packed lunch idea you can easily make in the morning. A grilled cheese sandwich has nutrients, like carbohydratesthat give energy to your kids for their everyday activities calcium for strong bones and teeth, and protein to build strong muscles. Here’s how you can prepare this quick, healthy recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of white/wheat bread (depending on how many sandwiches you’ll be making)
  • 1-ounce or a slice of cheese (depending on what type of cheese your kid prefers; there are readily-sliced options or you can slice cheese on your own)
  • 1/4 tablespoon of unsalted butter

Preparation:

  1. Spread a thick layer of butter on one side of each of the bread slices.
  2. Place a pan or skillet on the stove set to medium heat.
  3. Once the pan is hot enough, place the butteredside of the bread on the heated pan, then place the cheese on top of the bread.
  4. Wait for the cheese to melt on the bread, then place the other butteredside on top of the cheese.
  5. Flip the sandwich and let it cook for 1-2 minutes.
  6. Once the bread is golden brown and crispy, remove from the pan and cut diagonally down the middle to form a triangle. You can also cut it in bite-sized pieces.

2. Scrambled Egg Sandwich

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For your kid to get enough protein for the day, whip him or her up a scrambled egg sandwich as a healthy lunch or snack for school.

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 slices of white/wheat bread
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 pinch of salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoons mayonnaise

Preparation:

  1. Beat the 2 eggs, 1 pinch of salt and pepper, and 1 tablespoon of milk together in a bowl.
  2. Place a pan on the stove set to medium heat. Once the pan is hot enough, place the eggs and cook until the bottom is set. When one side is cooked, flip to the other side and wait until cooked. Each side should cook for about 1 to 1 ½ minutes,  then remove the eggs from the heat.
  3. Let the eggs cool down. Meanwhile, spread mayonnaise on one side of each slice of bread. Then place the scrambled eggs on top of one slice of bread and place the other slice on top of the eggs.

Cut the sandwich in the middle, to achieve that perfect trianglecut healthy lunch or snack for school

3. Homemade Crispy Chicken Sandwich

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If your kid is craving for fast food chicken sandwiches, why not make your own version as a healthy packed lunch idea?

Ingredients:

  • 2 halves of boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup of bread crumbs
  • 2 hamburger buns, sliced
  • 1 sliced tomato (4 slices, 2 for each sandwich)
  • 4 lettuce leaves (2 for each sandwich)
  • Canola oil

Preparation:

  1. Slice the chicken breast horizontally in half and pound until cutlets are ¼-inch thick.
  2. Place beaten eggs, flour, and bread crumbs in separate shallow bowls. Dip the chicken breast in each bowl in that order.
  3. Add canola oil to a skillet or pan; the oil must cover at least 1/4 of the pan, and warm until heat is medium-high. Cook the cutlets for about about 3 minutes until golden brown on both sides.
  4. Once cooked, place cutlets in buns, add the tomatoes and lettuce, and they’re ready for packing.

4. Pinwheel Bites

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A fun twist to the usual ham-and-cheese sandwich; try making these pinwheel bites as your kid’s healthy packed lunch. Here’s a quick step-by-step recipe on how to make this:

Ingredients:

  • 1 slice white/wheat bread (depending on how many sandwiches you will make or need)
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 slice of ham
  • 1 slice of cheese
  • Toothpicks

Preparation:

  1. Flatten bread with a rolling pin or any clean round kitchen tool until thin.
  2. Evenly spread the mayonnaise on a slice of bread, then top with ham and cheese.
  3. Roll the slice of bread with ham and cheese tightly; cut crosswise into 4 pinwheels.
  4. To make the filling stay in the wrap, place a toothpick in the middle to keep the sandwich together.

5. Rice Meals

For your kids with schedules from 7 a.m. to 3 or 4 p.m., they need more than snacks and sandwiches to get them through the day. No worries, we’ll make good use of your condo’s pantry ingredients! We’ve listed down healthy lunch ideas for school that you can prepare beforehand, and heat or cook in the morning without the hassle.

6. Tuna Lumpiang Shanghai

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We’re all used to lumpiang shanghai made of pork or beef giniling, but have you tried lumpia with tuna? Feed your kid something new with this quick, healthy recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of potatoes, grated; immerse in water
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup of carrots, grated
  • 1 cup of cabbage, shredded
  • 2 cans of canned tuna in water, drained
  • 20 pieces of lumpia wrapper
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • Canola oil, for sautéing and cooking

Preparation:

  1. In a non-stick pan or skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil. Sauté the drained potatoes until cooked; the potatoes should be firm and brown. Once cooked, remove from the heat, place in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Using the same pan, heat another tablespoon of oil. Then sauté the garlic, carrots, and cabbage until mixed well together. Season with a pinch of salt, for flavor.
  3. Add the drained tuna flakes, then add the potatoes you have set aside. Mix and stir the ingredients together, to combine. Season, again, with salt and black pepper,  to taste.
  4. Let the mixture cool. Meanwhile, prepare the lumpia wrappers. When the mixture has cooled, place the tuna and ingredients to ¼ side of the lumpia wrapper. Then roll the lumpia, nearest to the filling first, until you’ve rolled all the wrappers.
  5. Deep fry the rolls and cook until golden brown.

7. Homemade Chicken Nuggets

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Chicken nuggets are a popular lunchbox idea for kids, no matter what age. Here’s how to make your own homemade chicken nuggets!

Ingredients:

  • 800 grams of skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 ½ -inch squares
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 tablespoon of calamansi juice
  • 1 cup of breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 3 tablespoons of water
  • Canola oil, for frying (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Marinate the chicken breast in 1 cup of milk and 1 tablespoon of calamansi juice and let it sit for 1 hour.
  2. Prepare the breading mix by mixing together the 1 cup of breadcrumbs, ½ cup of cheese, and 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper for seasoning. In a separate bowl, beat the 2 eggs and 3 tablespoons of water.
  3. Remove the chicken from the marinade and toss all the chicken pieces in flour, then dip them in the egg mixture. After which, coat the pieces evenly with the breadcrumb mixture.
  4. Once dipped and coated, the chicken is now ready for cooking. You have two options: one is to deep fry the chicken in Canola oil until golden brown and cooked,  the other is to bake the chicken pieces in a preheated oven (400°F or 204°C) for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

8. Home Cooked Burger Steak

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If your kid wants burger steak, cook up a healthier alternative to the famous fast food’s burger steak.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1/3 cup of plain dry bread crumbs
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable or Canola oil

For the gravy:

  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 3 tablespoons of water
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup of sliced mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons of water

Preparation:

  1. Thoroughly mix the beef, bread crumbs, onion, egg, and water in a bowl and firmly shape into patties.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan or skillet on medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot enough, add the patties and cook for 10 minutes; brown well on both sides.
  3. Set the patties aside to dry and cool off with a paper towel underneath to soak the extra oil off the meat.
  4. Add beef broth, onion, and mushrooms into a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat of the oven to low, then cover the pot and let the broth simmer.
  5. Place the onion mixture to a boil, then mix cornstarch and water; stir the onion mixture for about 1 minute until the onion gravy thickens.
  6. Place the cooked patties in a container.

9. DIY Vegetable Tempura

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Kids definitely need their vegetables for a healthy and balanced diet. Here’s a way to transform your kid’s lunch into a healthy lunchbox idea they can’t say “no” to.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of  sweet potato (kamote), peeled and julienned
  • 1/2 cup of carrot, peeled and julienned
  • 1/2 cup of  white onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup of sitaw, julienned
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of  all-purpose flour, enough to lightly coat vegetables
  • Salt, to taste
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons of cornstarch

For the sauce:

  • 1 cup of ice-cold water
  • 1/2 cup of Japanese soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar

Preparation:

  1. First, thoroughly wash the sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, and sitaw and combine all the vegetables in a large bowl.
  2. Add flour and salt, to taste. Toss the ingredients together, to coat well. Set the mixture aside.
  3. To make the tempura batter: Combine all the remaining ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Mix until the batter is thick and heavy. Once done, pour the batter onto the vegetable mixture and toss, again, to coat.
  4. Pour oil into a deep pan or skillet, set the stove to medium heat. Drop the coated vegetables, 2 to 3 tablespoons at a time, into the hot pan of oil for 5 to 6 minutes. Take care not to overcrowd the pan; so that the tempura doesn’t mix. Once cooked, drain the tempura on a wire rack or place tissue paper on them to absorb oil.
  5. Make the dipping sauce: Combine the ice-cold water, soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon of sugar in a sauce pot. Bring the mixture to a boil. Once the mixture has combined, let it cool completely before pouring into containers.

You can prepare this healthy lunchbox idea for school beforehand, during the weekends or after work. You can do the peeling, cutting, and make the batter beforehand and just refrigerate. Don’t mix the ingredients, yet, as they might spoil! Mix them when you’re ready to fry and serve.

Desserts and Snacks

Every kid has a sweet tooth. Give your kid a healthy lunch box treat by packing healthy desserts, for that extra boost of energy!

10. Fruit Kebabs

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Instead of simply cutting up pieces of fruits, present them in a different way, for your kids to enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • 5 large strawberries, halved
  • 2 bananas, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 apple, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 melon, cut into chunks
  • Skewers

For lemon spray:

  • 1/8 lemon juice
  • 1/8 cup of cold water
  • Clean spray bottle
  • Plastic wrap

Preparation:

  1. Cut all your fruits into small, bite-sized chunks
  2. Place 2 to 4 pieces of different fruits into the skewers and pack in a container

To keep your fruits fresh, especially if you have apples, bananas, and pears in your fruit kebab, here’s how to keep them from oxidizing and turning brown:

  1. Mix 1/8 lemon juice and 1/8 cup of cold water in a spray bottle and shake it lightly to blend the liquid.
  1. Lay the fruit kebabs on a clean surface and spray them in a thin, even layer with the liquid from the spray bottle.
  2. Flip the fruit kabobs over and spray the other side with the liquid. The lemon keeps the fruit fresh without changing its flavor.
  3. Encase each kabob in a sheet of plastic wrap, ensuring no air can reach the fruit.

11. Nutella and Banana Wrap

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Satisfy your kid’s sweet tooth with this kid-friendly lunch idea for school. This snack can give him the nutrients he needs while giving him a healthy amount of chocolate.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of Nutella
  • 1 banana
  • 1 whole wrap (take note to cook the wrap according to its preparation instructions)

Preparation:

  1. Evenly spread the Nutella on the whole wrap.
  2. Place the banana in the middle of the chocolate-coated wrap.
  3. Roll the wrap as you would a sushi or a burrito then cut into small bite-sized pieces.

It’s a new school year for your kid; it’s also a new year for you to ditch the store-bought, ready-to-eat food and snacks. Try cooking or preparing these healthy lunch ideas for school, with all the quick, healthy recipes we’ve listed down just for you.

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