ParentClick Santa Barbara

Healthy Snacks and School Lunch Ideas


It can be challenging to come up with new ways to make school lunches creative and fun.

Packing snacks & lunches everyday for kids can be a challenge. Use this list for ideas and add more of your own. PRINT LIST

Make sure to read the guidelines for your school since many schools ask that sweets not be included. Use the snack ideas below to pack your child’s school lunch & include:

  • Drink: Water (this is the main drink kids should have throughout the day)Keep sugary drinks to a min. (soda, sweetened tea, lemonade, and juice)
  • Fruit
  • Veggies or Salad
  • Protein: peanut butter sandwich, lunch meats & cheese, string cheese, tuna on pita, tortilla roll-up or sandwich or pita, hardboiled egg, cream cheese on bagel or cinnamon bread, sushi, yogurt, cereal (with boxed milk)
  • Hot Thermos: soup, tortellinis, Top Ramen, pasta & parmesan
  • Snacks: include morning & afternoon snacks
  • Napkin: with a special note written on it.
  • Ice Pack

Anytime Healthy Snacks…


  • Make fruit kabobs or a fruit salad or cut-up & serve with a healthy dip. Apples halved with peanut butter or bananas and peanut butter or sprinkle apples with cinnamon or lemon.
  • Fruit with cream cheese dip (dip: combine 8oz cream cheese with 2 tbsp brown sugar, 1/4 tsp vanilla & blend).
  • Fresh cut up fruit set inside an ice cream cone, drizzled with honey & topped with granola.
  • Apricots, Bananas, Blackberries, Blueberries, Cantaloupe, Cherries, Grapefruit, Grapes, Honeydew Melon, Kiwis, Mandarin Oranges, Mangoes, Nectarines, Oranges, Peaches, Pears, Pineapple, Plums, Raspberries, Strawberries, Tangerines, Watermelon


  • Cut-up veggies & keep available for snacking. Serve with a healthy dip: ranch, hummus, dressing, bean dip, salsa.
  • Ants on a log: celery, peanut butter & sprinkled with raisins.
  • Avocado, Broccoli, Carrot sticks, Cauliflower, Celery Sticks, Cucumber, Edomame, Snap Peas, Snow Peas, Peppers (red, yellow, green), Squash, String Beans, Tomatoes, Zucchini, Pickles


  • Pretzels or Rice Cakes
  • Cereal: Dry non-sugary cereals: Cheerios, Grape-Nuts, Chex, Wheat squares etc.
  • Popcorn: Sprinkle lightly with salt, or Parmesan cheese or cinnamon sugar (unbuttered).
  • Nuts: Peanuts, cashews, almonds, pistachios, etc. (small handful)
  • Trail mix: Dry cereal, sunflower/pumpkin seeds, low-fat granola, dried fruit.
  • Dried fruit: Raisins, cranberries, plums, pineapple, mangos, apricots, cherries and other tropical fruits
  • Applesauce: *Without sugar
  • Fruit Leathers: *Read the sides for nutritional info – many have a lot of sugar.


  • Stackers: (use whole wheat: crackers, pita wedges, bread, English muffins, tortillas, bagels, rice cakes & bread sticks) Toppings: cheese, cream cheese, egg salad, tuna salad, peanut butter, hummus, almond butter, cashew butter  Mini waffles spread with peanut butter & sliced bananas. Mini pizzas: Spread tomato sauce on a toasted English muffin sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and any other toppings (try small cut up veggies like mushrooms and bell pepper).
  • Salad: (for older kids, there are so many choices for containers with a holder for the dressing)
    Argula, Romaine, Butter lettuce with tuna, chicken, bell pepper, tomatoes, avocado, cucumber with balsamic & olive oil
  • Roll-ups: (use whole wheat:tortillas, pita bread, lavash, bread or even lettuce wraps)  Try different combinations: Veggies & dressing, turkey & cheese, hummus rolled in whole wheat bread, etc.  Tortilla spread with peanut butter and wrapped around a banana (options: add raisins & honey).  Cheese quesadilla or bean burrito (use low-fat beans or black beans) on whole wheat tortilla.
  • Small sandwiches - Use cookie cutters to make them more fun or quarter them so they are snack size.
  • Protein: String cheese, hardboiled egg, cottage cheese (with fruit), lunch meats, spoonful of peanut butter…
  • Yogurt: (yogurt, squeezable, drinkable, Greek yogurt)  Read the ingredients for brands low in sugar & low in fat. Avoid aspartame.
    Ideas: parfaits – layer fresh cut up fruit with yogurt and a little granola.
    Frozen bananas & yogurt (blend in cuisinart – add other fruit) – tastes like frozen yogurt.
  • Smoothies: Combine different ingredients: OJ, milk, yogurt, protein powder, frozen fruit (berries, peaches, mangoes, banana), flax seed.
  • Vegetable soup
  • Occasional treats: Jell-o and puddings (sugar free), Graham crackers, animal crackers, Nilla wafers with applesauce or peanut butter, Fig Newtons, Granola bars & popsicles *Read the sides for nutritional info – many have a lot of sugar.

August 27, 2014

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