Great school lunch ideas

5-step school lunches

Put together a balanced and delicious meal to keep your child fueled and focused for the day.

Select a favorite from each group to create a well-rounded school lunch that should earn you rave reviews! Don't forget a hydrating beverage; good choices include water, natural juice boxes and coconut water. Download the list

Proteins

  • PCC Black Bean Hummus
  • Tuna or Chicken Salad
  • Yogurt Cups
  • Hard-boiled Eggs
  • Nut and Seed Butters* (Sunflower, Almond, Peanut)
  • Bulk Nuts & Seeds* (Almonds, Pumpkin or Sunflower Seeds)
  • Sliced Natural Meats (Turkey, Beef, Chicken, Ham)
  • Cheese Cubes or String Cheese
  • Marinated Tofu Cubes
  • Homemade Trail Mix

Veggies

  • Sweet Baby Bell Peppers
  • Baby Peeled Carrots
  • Red & Yellow Cherry Tomatoes
  • Shelled Edamame
  • Cucumber Slices
  • Kale or Veggie Chips
  • Jicama or Celery Sticks
  • Snap Peas

Grains

  • Whole Grain Tortillas
  • Multigrain Chips
  • Crackers (Multigrain, Cheese, Rice)
  • Tri-color Pasta
  • Pretzels or Popcorn
  • Whole Grain Dry Cereals
  • Granola Bars

Fruits

  • Any Fresh, Seasonal Fruit
  • Apple or Kiwi Slices
  • Dried Fruit (Pineapple, Mangoes, Cherries, Raisins, Apricots, etc.)
  • Applesauce Cups
  • Frozen Blueberries & Grapes

Treats

  • Coconut Chips*
  • Almond Date Rolls*
  • Fruit Snacks or Fruit Leather
  • Chocolate-covered Almonds*

Tips to get you started

Offer variety. An easy way to find new foods is to look for the bright orange Kid Picks logo throughout PCC stores flagging items that are kid-tested and -approved.

Get colorful. It's fun, inviting and more nutritious when you pack foods that are bright in color and flavor.

Think bite-size. Cut foods into slices or cubes, so eating doesn't get in the way of socializing (a priority at the lunch table!). Also, pack according to your kids' eating styles. Are they nibblers? Create a "snack plate" — a few items in smaller amounts from each category.

Boost up on vegetables. Add spinach, cucumbers or grated carrots to wraps and grain dishes. Pack a salad or bite-size veggies and dressing or dip in individual containers.

Make it fun. Try a new version of ants on a log by spreading nut butter on pretzel sticks and sprinkling with raisins or dried cranberries.

Include a healthy treat. Let it be special by making it a "lunch-only" food.

Be cool. Frozen blueberries, applesauce or juice boxes keep lunches cool and fresh.

Save time & money.

  • The PCC Deli offers a variety of ready-to-go dips and spreads. Choose from kid-approved choices like Feta Sundried Tomato Spread and Black Bean Hummus and pair with whole grain crackers or veggies.
  • Use bulk foods to create snack-size portions. Pre-pack individual servings into wax bags or containers to use throughout the week.

* We suggest familiarizing yourself with any nut-related food policies your child's school may have. These tend to evolve depending on the needs of allergic children in a specific school year.

More about: Kid Picks