Are you looking for more Real Food school lunch ideas? Well, watch out, because I’m throwing a whole bunch at you today! These are in no particular order.
First up, a quesadilla, leftover beans and rice, and some grapes. The quesadilla, beans, and rice are actually all leftovers from eating out the night before, but I wanted to include this one anyway because my daughter loves quesadillas, hot or cold. I think they are a great school lunch option!
Can you tell that we love to send soup? It’s so simple and healthy, and I love that she gets a hot lunch while at school. I don’t have a soup recipe for you because I didn’t use a recipe, but this one is just a basic chicken noodle with orzo pasta for the noodles. She has apple slices, carrot sticks, and bread on the side. The bread is leftover from the night before, too, and the recipe is right here. I did use whole wheat flour for the bread.
Quick side note: Every single day I send her water bottle full of just cold water. That’s it. I see no need to send anything more, water is the best beverage for her, and I want her used to drinking it all the time. That’s just the way it is and she doesn’t know any differently. Plus it saves me tons of money over buying juice boxes or those icky, sugar-filled pouches. And now I will stop ranting and get off my soapbox.
Next up, blueberry muffins, yogurt with frozen blueberries (it was a blueberry day, apparently), apple slices, and cheese slices. The recipe for the muffins is here. I love to make a bunch and throw them in the freezer for those, “Oh, crap, I forgot to prep lunch!” mornings like this one was. The instructions for making your own yogurt are right here.
…even some leftover lasagna. This was another, “Oh, crap, I forgot lunch!” day and we were really late, so I zapped the lasagna in the microwave, stuffed it in the thermos, and didn’t even slice the apple I also threw in the bag. Lasagna is always better the second day anyway, right?
Another thing I love to always have in the freezer is refried beans. I make a big batch (using this recipe) and then freeze it in smaller portions. If you throw it in the fridge the night before, it doesn’t take long to warm up in a pan and put in a thermos. I like to then top it with cheese from grass-fed cows. She had some organic corn chips, grapes, and grape tomatoes to go with it. If you’ve never had homemade refried beans with just a little cheese on top, you must! It’s so simple, and so delicious!
Another day, another soup! This time it was leftover veggie corn chowder (from this recipe) from the 100 Days of Real Food Cookbook. This stuff freezes so well! I froze it in individual portion sizes, so I just take one out the night before, warm it up in the morning while the girls are eating breakfast, then pour it into the thermos. So simple! Here she has pineapple chunks and buttered bread on the side.
One of her favorite lunches is a cold grilled cheese. I will just make this the night before while I’m making whatever we are having for dinner and then throw it in the container in the fridge. This night I was also cutting some carrots up, so I cut a few extras into carrots sticks to throw in there, and then I added some dried cranberries (watch out, most dried fruit has a ton of added sugar!).
How about some tacos! Yum! The night before I had made a whole bunch of these tortillas (these also freeze really well, by the way, so make a huge batch!) and so I wrapped one in foil and tucked it in, along with some leftover shredded chicken taco meat, lettuce, and tomatoes. I also chopped up a bunch of sweet red, orange, and yellow bell peppers, and gave her some hummus to dip them in. Since it was the day after her birthday, the lucky girl also got a leftover chocolate cupcake.
This week I had someone tell me that her kids always get PB&J sandwiches for lunch at school, because that’s just all she can afford. I hope that this list of ideas can help you think outside the PB&J box. By using leftovers and cooking from scratch, we are able to give our first grader a delicious meal every day for just pennies!
What ideas do you have for healthy school lunches?