Looking for a way to make lunches interesting and simple? I was too! I was asked by Glad® Food Storage Products to write a post helping busy moms find back to school lunch solutions.
This busy mom needed a lunch meal planning solution, so I made one to share! I hope this printable will help you out as it has me.
Quick but Boring – Not Any More
Things have been busy around here and I’ve got to admit lunches have been sliding. We were in a rut of hot dogs, sunbutter and jelly sandwiches and lunch meat roll ups. Quick and easy, but pretty boring and not real healthy.
Then I became an affiliate for Real Food Renegade and read her eBook Real Food Nutrition and Health. That was it. I decided it was time for a change. We had to get out of our rut, start eating better lunches, and it HAD to be simple or I wouldn’t be able to make it happen.
Lunch Meal Plan Printable
To revive our lunches I made this lunch meal planning template. I based it on a restaurant here in town that has this great kids menu where the kids pick one item from each category. You can print it out and write ideas in each of the squares. Then just mix and match, choosing something from each square for your lunches.
The categories are pretty self explanatory, and I hope will work for most people’s idea of a healthy lunch. I use “Main Meal” to mean the heartiest part of the lunch, something that includes some protein and hopefully has some “staying power.” The “Extras” Category I use for grains, treats or chips, just “extra” type stuff.
Real Food Lunch Ideas
You can use the following list to come up with your own lunch ideas any time you need help getting out of a “lunch rut.” The other thing I find helpful is to ask friends what their “boring” lunches are – even if it’s their “boring”, it’s usually new to me.
- Simple is fine. Some of the lunches my kids like best are just cut up pieces of meat, veggies and fruit. It still feels like a meal when it’s presented as one.
We’ve been using our Glad containers to store larger amounts of prepped lunch foods to make mix and match lunches easy.
- Left Overs – Brainstorm dinners or breakfasts that make good lunch leftovers like quiche, pancakes that you can make into a nutbutter sandwich, meatballs, roast chicken, or flank steak.
- Soups such as split-pea, ham and bean or chicken and vegetable can be sent in a thermos.
- Make up a container of cooked chicken then use it througout the week with various sauces- BBQ, Pesto, etc.
- Salmon, Chicken or Tuna Salad can be simple with just the meat and mayo, or dress it up with nuts, cranberries, cut veggies. Serve it with lettuce, crackers or avocado.
- Plain items: Cheese, beans, yogurt, chunks of chicken…
- Frozen fruits and veggies like blueberries and peas.
- Easy to pack: baby carrots, grape tomatoes, broccoli florets, garbanzo beans (yes, I know it’s a legume…) cucumber slices, green beans, snap peas, bell pepper slices
- Dips like hummus or salad dressing
- Cutting food into interesting shapes like strips or cubes can make it seem new or different. My kids love carrot chips and jicama sticks.
- Mini fruit kabobs on toothpicks
- Apples or bananas with nutbutter
- Any in season fruit
- Simple fruit salad sprinkled with coconut shreds
- Rice tastes delicious cold with a fruit chutney mixed in.
- Larabar (or similar) maybe cut into chunks
- Trail Mix – can be with seeds and cereal if nuts are a problem.
- Muffins can be made pretty low sugar with whole grains and can be frozen in batches.
OK – Now what’s YOUR go-to lunch? You might be tired of it, but I’d love to know what your staples are to see if they give me any new ideas!
I have partnered with The Glad Products Company through DailyBuzz Moms to help promote their Food Storage products. I have been compensated for my time commitment to review this product. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments. Thank you GLAD!