* Nut butters (almond, peanut and sunflower are great choices)
* Cream Cheese
* Cheddar, mozzarella or your favorite cheese (sticks, bricks, shredded or slices)
* Pesto (goes great with pasta, rice, quinoa, as a sandwich spread or to make an Egg Pesto Melt)
* Pasta (a variety of shapes like ziti, macaroni, rotini or more)
* Bananas (to eat on their own, sliced and added with honey and nut butter on a sandwich or added to Banana Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies)
* Baby carrots, sugar snap peas, cucumbers or any of your child’s favorite veggies
* Dehydrated, freeze dried or dried fruit
* Yogurt
* Bread (bagels, english muffins, tortillas or your favorite sandwich bread)

About the Author

Catherine is a mama of three. A Kentucky girl living in California. Here’s what I know: all kids can be great eaters and mealtime must be easy. I create simple, healthy recipes the whole family will love.


  1. To clarify the comment re: baby carrots being treated in chlorine – baby carrots are cleaned in a solution containing 4 parts per million (ppm) of chlorine. This is about the same as most tap water and helps to sanitize the carrots and ensures food safety.

    If you want to completely avoid chlorine, even in such a miniscule amount, the best route is to buy “regular” carrots and not rinse them in tap water. Hope this helps shed more light on the issue, thanks!

  2. Wow, such great ideas – thank you!

    I’d stay away from baby carrots. Because they’re just shaved-down deformed carrots (nice that they’re utilizing those though), they are treated in an antimicrobial treatment that often contains chlorine. Sure, they’re rinsed in water afterwards but of course there must be residue. Scary, especially concerning our wee ones! Just slice them up the old fashioned way: less expensive and processed, and they’re getting the nutrients from the whole carrot.

  3. I have 2 daughters, 6 & 11, who want a lunchbox daily. They are in 6th grade & Kindergarten so I’m looking for fun heathy foods

  4. […] Top 10 school lunch items to keep on hand […]

  5. I’d add Wowbutter (nut-free butter made with soy) to the list. Everywhere there are kids here in Toronto is pretty much a nut-free zone. The Wowbutter even comes with labels you can stick on your container showing it is nut-free

  6. Wow, this is great. I’ll certainly should follow this list, that way there won’t be any problems in the mornings any more. Just pinned it!

  7. Would you be able to tell me a website or something for ordering these lunch boxes please! I need to get some fr my son. Thanks 🙂

  8. I love my son’s go green lunchbox. It has individual compartments that also contain a stainless water bottle. The lid has gaskets that seal each compartment and locks into place with a twist (easy for kids) so that the compartments don’t leak into each other. The only problem is that it is long so it almost has to go into their backpack on its side so things get a bit shaken up.

  9. I have purchased Zojirushi lunch jars for my kids. We saw a lot of these when we lived in Japan and I take them to work as well back here in the States. There are a few different sizes and they are definitely unique. My kids say they have the coolest lunchboxes in school. They score high on the durability factor as well. While riding the bus, the kids wanted to punch it to see how tough it was. Luckily, no calls from other parents.

  10. This is my go-to website for all things family/food-related. I was wondering about lunch boxes – I have seen mentions of Yobu, LunchBots and Laptop lunchboxes, and I was wondering which is really your favorite.

    I am going to get one each for my son and daughter who are starting to stay for lunch every day for the first time this fall, so I want to make sure whichever one I pick is the best.

    Thanks for your advice on this but also for everything you are doing on this site.


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