Healthy School Lunch Ideas

Packing lunch for your young children is easy when you have some good, healthy ideas to start. We’ve gathered our favorite school lunch articles for you.

Back-to-school: What’s for Lunch?

At school, your children are going to be making a lot of their own decisions about nutrition. How do you give kids the tools they need to make their own good choices?

 

Healthy Lunchbox Idea: Pasta Salad
Pasta Salad

Tips for keeping enough supplies on hand that you can improvise a great pasta salad for lunch without any risk of boredom. First rule in my house: make it infrequently so it’s a pleasant surprise when we have pasta salad.

 

Allergy-free School Lunch Strategies
Peanuts

At home, it is easier to keep your allergic child safe. Once you switch to school lunch or packed lunch, you need to have allies who will help keep your child eating allergy-free foods.

 

Fun School Lunch Surprises
Two kids looking inside a lunch bag

Keep your child’s lunch bag interesting with little surprises. We gathered a lot of fun ideas to give your child a mid-day boost. Play with the familiar or surprise with a new shape or color.

 

5-minute Lunch Box

Uh-oh. Forgot to make a lunch? You probably have more options than you realize. We created lists of lunch ideas that are easy to chop, stir, and shake so you can have a healthy lunch ready in 5 minutes or less.

 

Pinning Your Way to More Creative Food
Rainbow fruit skewers

If you still need ideas, check out Pinterest. Look for school lunch boards, and you will join a world of creative parents sharing their ideas for more appealing lunches for children.

 

 

Green Your Child’s School Supplies

Child in the rain with water bottle

Does your child’s school give you a list of supplies for the first day of school? We can help you choose non-toxic, low-impact school and lunch supplies—and the bag to carry them in.

If you are working to avoid toxics at home, the last thing you want to do it give your child a bag full of toxic supplies to spend the day with at school. We have carefully built up our supply of school essentials with the lowest impact products we can find from ethical companies. Our children use these same products.

Kids Green Lunch Supplies

Our goal is to get good, healthy food to school safely without leaving a wad of garbage to throw away at the end of lunch hour. Waste-free lunch adds up.

Lunchbots Bento Box
Lunchbots Bento Lunch Box

We have a big selection of lunch bags and boxes. One of my favorites is the Lunchbots Bento Lunch Box. I like that it is stainless steel, and I don’t have to send partially plastic containers to school.

Sling Sisters Snack Bags

Reusable snack bags

For snacks and sandwiches, forget the plastic baggies. Sling Sisters reusable, zippered bags can be wiped out at the end of the day or tossed in the wash on cold.

Klean Kanteen Water Bottle
Kids Reusable Water BottleTo keep children from reaching for sugary drinks at school, we need to give them an easy alternative. A small, reusable water bottle is easy to carry around and to refill. The kid-sized bottle has a top that is easy to sip—without being a sippy cup.

Kids Green Classroom Supplies

Recycled Pencils
Recycled Newspaper Pencils

Kids go through a lot of pencils, so you want an option that is low impact without being terribly expensive. We like the Earthzone recycled pencils. They are tree-free, made with recycled newspaper. You can see the newsprint change as you sharpen the pencil. This will be a kid talking point as they figure out exactly how a newspaper was used to make a pencil.

Non-toxic Glue
Non-toxic school glue

Glue is one of those supplies that sneaks in some nasty plastic. It gets on the kids’ fingers; the fingers go in the mouth. You know how it goes. No worries with this glue. This is a safe, odorless, water-based adhesive that holds fast once dry but can easily be removed with water.

Natural Hand Sanitizer
Mint natural hand sanitizer

What do you do to clean up from all of those germy activities? Send your child to the restroom to use the synthetic hand sanitizer with Triclosan and Benzalkonium Chloride? No! This mixture of essential oils and natural materials gives your child a natural way to clean hands. It smells really nice, too.
Backpack

Dabbawalla Backpacks
Cute kids backpack Dabbawalla

To carry everything, you need a backpack that is easy to clean, because you know it is going to get dirty and sticky every single day. Dabbawalla backpacks and lunch bags are a favorite every year. Kids and parents love these cute bags. Dabbawalla backpacks can be machine washed. The material is insulated as well, so they will keep the cold lunch colder longer and the hot lunch hotter longer. Durable as well as adorable.

Stainless Steel Dishes for Children

Stainless Steel Dishes for Children

In our quest for the safest products for children, we’ve worked hard to avoid plastic, melamine, and other products that can leach dangerous chemicals or dangerous levels of naturally-occurring substances. One material that we really like for children’s mealtimes and lunch boxes is stainless steel.

High-grade stainless steel is considered food-grade or medical-grade. All of the stainless steel dishes and utensils at bynature.ca are made from high-grade stainless steel.


Stable Materials

One problem with plastics in direct contact with our food and our skin is its potential instability. Plastics can leach chemicals into food and into our bodies. Plastics are made with a huge variety of additives to mimic rubber, glass, and other stable materials. But, these additives are not all stable, especially when heated.

So, we look for stable materials for serving and storing food. Stainless steel is one of those stable materials.


Should I Be Cautious?

Stainless steel dishes and cookware can add iron and chromium to your food. Since our bodies need these, this isn’t a problem. Dishes don’t give off toxic amounts even if used every day for every meal.

They might also give off nickel, which isn’t toxic for most of us, but can be a problem for the approximately 10% of the population who are sensitive to nickel. If you or your child are sensitive to nickel, just don’t use stainless steel for cooking or eating.


How Long Will Stainless Steel Dishes Last?

Though stainless steel will last for a long time, it will show wear. You will probably see scratches from utensils, for example. These micro-scratches aren’t particularly unsightly. When you finally decide you are done with stainless steel dishes (maybe a generation from now!), they are 100% recyclable.

Back to School Supplies

Children with Itzy Ritzy reusable snack bags

Yes, it really is back-to-school time. We’ve been restocking and looking for new products for you. Is there anything special you’ve been looking for? We’ll see if we can help!


Goodbyn Mini Lunch Box

Goodbyn Mini Lunch Box
One of our favorite new products is the Goodbyn Mini. It has three compartments rather than five like the larger Goobyn Lunch Boxes. Includes an 8-oz drinking bottle. If you freeze the drink overnight, that can double as an ice pack. And, of course, it comes with stickers so your child can personalize.

Nature Mom is going to use this for her 3-year old, who is starting preschool several days a week next month.


Itzy Ritzy Snack Bags

Children with Itzy Ritzy Snack Bags

Itzy Ritzy snack bags aren’t new, but they have several new prints. Cotton prints outside with water-resistant laminated fabric inside. This 7″ x 7″ bag fits a sandwich. Zip it in; zip it out; toss in the wash. No more plastic bags.

Itzy Ritzy Monkey Remix Itzy Ritzy Little Miss Zig Zag Itzy Ritzy Peace and Love
Monkey Remix Little Miss Zig Zag Peace Love


Klean Kanteen Kid Kanteen

Klean Kanteen Kid Kanteens

The Kid Kanteen is a non-toxic and BPA-free reusable drink bottle in a smaller size, just 12oz, which works well for juice and other naturally sweet drinks. The sport cap with sippy spout makes it easy to drink from, and the mouth is wide enough to allow ice cubes.

Pick up your back-to-school gear in our new store in Orillia, Ontario. If you can’t make it to the store, remember that we offer free shipping on Canadian orders over $99.

Chunky Spaghetti Sauce in under 1 Hour

Chunky tomato sauce for children

Since my children weren’t big fans of my homemade licorice (though I was!), I decided to make a more kid friendly garden recipe today: tomato sauce for spaghetti. I planted several kinds of tomatoes this year: fat juicy tomatoes for my husband’s sandwiches, little yellow pear tomatoes for salsa, and Roma tomatoes for sauce.

The tomatoes are only just ripening for us in the past few weeks, so I didn’t have enough to make a lot of sauce yet. So, I just made lunch for two children.

Roma tomatoes picked this morning

Roma tomatoes picked this morning


Chunky Spaghetti Sauce

8-10 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 carrot, diced
1/4 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbs olive oil
salt, pepper, basil, oregon, and chili pepper to taste

Serves 2 children.

From picking the tomatoes to serving lunch took about 50 minutes, including 30 minutes of infrequent stirring.

Tomatoes still warm from the sun

Tomatoes still warm from the sun

We often add carrot to our tomato sauce, but it was necessary today because we had so few tomatoes. If you have carrot-averse children, you can blend the sauce and they will never know.

Start with the aromatics

Start with the aromatics

Add carrot, onion, garlic, and oil to a small sauce pan, and cook on medium low heat for about 5 minutes.

That's all of the ingredients

That's all of the ingredients

Add diced tomatoes and continue to cook for another 20-30 minutes.

Cook down to the texture you like

Cook down to the texture you like

Serve! It really is that easy.

Spaghetti lunch for two children

Spaghetti lunch for two children