schoolWhether you are super creative, have dietary restrictions, or you’re just looking for some fun lunchbox ideas, we’ve got you covered with our Back-to-School Lunch List.

As a school teacher, I saw lunches that ran the gamut; from processed, pre-made, snack-filled lunch bags to completely homemade, fancy, bento boxes featuring adorable little edible creatures and sweet notes.

It seems like lunch options are endless but somehow, when I start to think about packing lunch for my son, I draw a blank. I stand in front of the fridge and pantry and just throw a million things in his bag, hoping he’ll choose the good things and save the treats for last.

In an attempt to revamp our current lunchboxes, I thought I’d spend some time on Pinterest and blogs looking for the best lunchbox resources out there.

Here are a few things we all try to consider when packing a lunch for our children:

  • Is it healthy? Does it meet all of their dietary needs?
  • Will they like it? What are some good go-to foods that they’ll almost always eat?
  • How much time do I have to prepare lunches? How fun and creative can I be?
  • Will they be able to open it? Will it be messy?

So let’s get started…

Is it healthy?

Let’s face it, snacks and lunches need to be quick and nothing says quick like processed, packaged food. But, that doesn’t have to be the case. Fruits and veggies are naturally more portable and I’m a huge fan of the 100 Days of Real Food blog. Lisa Leake actually lives in the Charlotte area and provides awesome resources for cutting out processed foods from your diet. Specifically, she has documented her daughters’ lunches and compiled the list in her 100 Days of Real Food Lunch Round Up.

Weelicious Lunch Recipes are also wonderful, kid-friendly, and relatively easy to prepare. If you’ve never checked out Weelicious, it’s definitely worth a look.

If you’re looking for Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Lunch Ideas, this resource is great.

And Rock the Lunchbox has tons of great lunch ideas incorporating products from Annie’s Homegrown, Stoneyfield Organic, OrganicValley, and Honest Kids.

What are your favorite resources for healthy and portable lunch foods?

Will they like it?

When you’re ready to make your grocery list, Wendy Copley’s blog, Wendolonia, is an awesome resource. She gives you some suggestions for lunch-friendly foods.

Here are a few more lunchbox idea links:

Make-Ahead School Lunches

Lunchbox Ideas from The Full Plate

Simple Lunches in Under 20 Minutes

25 Back to School Lunch Ideas and Recipes

Random Recycling’s Back-to-school Lunch Ideas

Want to get creative?

Try the cute Bento Box! If you’ve got time and a penchant for being creative, bento box style lunches allow you to make fun shapes and designs and really play with your food. Our Americanized versions of the bento box can be really fun.

One mother has blogged every lunch for her daughters, with 425 days and couting of Bento Box Ideas.

And at Meet the Dubiens, this mom gives some More Bento Box Ideas. Her site is very creative and includes free printables and some good lists of individual food items and containers.

Will they be able to open it?

Speaking of containers, the art of lunchboxes sometimes lies in how to best arrange and contain your child’s food. Instead of buying the pre-packaged versions of food, you can portion out items for your children in divided containers and insulated cups.

If you’re looking for containers and ways to organize your child’s lunch, here are some links and lists:

100 Days of Real Food Lunch Supplies

Laptop Lunches Bento-ware

Quick List of Bento Supplies

Best insulated and BPA-Free Containers

** And to put that extra special little touch, try adding a note or a love letter **

Free Printable Lunch Notes

Free Printable Lunch Box Jokes

Good luck and happy lunching!