15 Healthy School Lunches Ready in 5 Minutes or Less
We get it: School is back in session, you’re in a hurry and Jimmy John’s is freaky fast (and freaky easy). But serve your family grab-and-go takeout or restaurant fare and you’re staring at nearly twice the price tag, according to a Visa survey—not to mention the extra calories and unnecessary additives.
Enter these quick and healthy school lunches that you can assemble and eat in 5 minutes or less. Fair warning: They’re all so delicious that you’ll want to pack a serving for yourself, too. Made with vitamin-rich ingredients and high-protein foods, these midday meals will fuel the most active kids and adults. They’ll also save your sanity, money, and stay-fit plan all at once.
1.Greek Chickpea Salad
Perfectly packable (and so rainbow-colored that it will be worthy of bragging rights around the lunch table), this layered Mason jar salad is as easy as stack, shake, and eat. Start with the hummus-balsamic dressing, then spoon in the cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, chickpeas, and olives before topping things off with the more delicate parsley and spinach. Come lunch, no soggy greens will be in sight.
2.Turkey Sandwich with Keto 90-Second Bread
In less than two minutes, you can “bake” this homemade almond flour-and-egg bread in your microwave. Layer on lettuce, tomato, and onion, plus turkey and top with your condiments of choice. And then, your high-protein, low-sugar school lunch is ready.
3.Peach Tomato and Blue Cheese Salad
Here’s a salad that showcases the best of summer produce in a family-friendly package. Shred leftover chicken to sprinkle over greens, tomatoes, and peaches, then transform this into a total kid-friendly treat by trading goat or feta cheese for blue. Before handing over the brown bag, ask your child to determine his #1 dressing so he feels like he has control over his cuisine.
4.Red Velvet Beet Smoothie Bowl
Something slurpable from a straw never feels quite like a meal. But serve a smoothie in a bowl and eat it with a spoon, and it’s instantly more satisfying. Kids will love the pretty beet hearts. You’ll adore the fact that this healthy school lunch is loaded with fiber and vitamins. Toss in a serving of almonds for a healthy fat boost and enough calories to power your mini-me through afternoon practice.
5.Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Wraps
Burritos often get a bad “wrap” around here, but this is a far cry from the 1,200-plus calorie Chipotle creations. Beginning with a low-carb tortilla and filled with a light play on lox and cream cheese, each wrap offers a balanced macro mix: 291 calories, 15 grams of fat and 24 grams of protein. If salmon is a tough sell for your family, try this same strategy with slices of leftover grilled chicken or turkey.
6.Roasted Red Pepper Dip with Whole-Wheat Pita and Veggies
Put active hands to work with a DIY dunk spread. While the garlicky roasted red pepper mix blends, toss a handful of crudites and whole-wheat pita wedges in baggies. Three minutes later, your snack-turned-lunch is all set. To cut down on the less-healthy fats, try olive oil mayo of the regular, and swap plain Greek yogurt for sour cream.
7.Farmers Market Veggie Sandwich
Always keep a container of hummus at home so that you’re never more than five minutes away from a healthy school lunch. Unlike smooshed PB&Js (again), this sandwich is an easy win with kids since it’s stacked with vibrant colors. Your child’s immune system will be as grateful as his or her taste buds since this nutrient-dense sammy supplies nearly twice as much vitamin C as the typical adult needs in a day.
8.Peanut Butter Banana Toasts with Granola and Honey
Here’s one instance when you can—and it’s better to—delegate the lunch duties to your little one. Toast the bread and put all that Tupperware to good use to hold nut butter, honey, and granola. Toss a banana (or pre-sliced berries for your tiniest) and a plastic butter knife in the brown bag so they can create their own healthy work of edible art.
9.Brown Rice Risotto
Jazz up leftover or ready-to-eat brown rice with peas, lemon, and Parmesan for a meatless meal that tastes like you stirred all day to create. In reality, it reaches its creamy consistency after just 60 seconds. For variety, try chopped asparagus or mushrooms, in addition to or in place of the peas.
10.Chicken Club Pretzel Bun
Treat your family to a restaurant-style meal with this upgraded BLT with chicken and a kid-pleasing pretzel bun. Not into white carbs? These fillings taste stellar on any of these 20 even-better Eat This bread buys, too. (Okay, except for the cinnamon-raisin.)
Don’t be intimidated by the relatively lengthy ingredient list. This lightened-up tuna salad comes together quicker than a Pixar short film since a third of the ingredients are herbs and spices! Separate the salad from the tortilla with spinach leaves to keep the wrap intact and sturdy through the commute and morning classes.
12.Sweet Potato Bowl
Sweet potatoes aren’t just for candying and frying. Give them a whirl in the food processor with almond butter, milk and vanilla for a smoothie bowl that’s reminiscent of dessert—and a blank palette for your fruit-based artistic talents.
13.Strawberry Spinach Salad
Kids will go nuts for this berry-and-leafy-green salad that is garnished with walnuts instead of croutons for a healthier crunch. This jar lunch is a meal prepper’s dream since you can make several at once and store them in the fridge. Please heartier appetites and crank up the protein by including sliced steak or grilled shrimp, too.
14.Tomato Pesto Soup
When you’re feeling slammed, turn to this semi-homemade meal. Stock up on an all-natural tomato soup the next time you’re at the grocery, then upgrade it with pesto, basil, and Parmesan. While you could pack this summery soup warm in a thermos, it’s just as good chilled as a makeshift gazpacho.
15.Curried Chickpea Salad Sandwiches
When you’re feeding the whole fam, try this vegan swap for chicken salad that serves six. With sweet apples, crunchy sunflower seeds and zesty curry powder, no one but you might be the wiser that the meaty dish is made with chickpeas instead of poultry. For a lower-carb or gluten-free healthy school lunch, serve this high-fiber salad tucked inside two-ply lettuce wraps.