Ideas for Healthy Lunches and Snacks

Tips for making smart food choices when packing lunches and snacks

by Mark Hughes
Apples

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Healthy Lunch and Snack Ideas

When you go to school, you want to be at the top of your game so you can stay alert and perform well. Eating a healthy lunch and snacks will help fuel your brain and body. But putting together healthy lunches and snacks can be surprisingly difficult and time consuming. It’s certainly much easier to bring pre-packaged snacks and lunches to school. These options, however, are often filled with saturated fats, sodium, and sugar—all things that you should avoid.

Below are some suggestions for lunches or snacks that are delicious, healthy, and easy to make. Round off any of these with fruit (apples, oranges, bananas) or veggies and beans (carrots, celery, edamame) on the side.

Sandwiches

Use whole wheat, whole grain, or flax breads. Options for easy and yummy sandwiches are:

  • Peanut butter and jelly, topped with sliced banana
  • Low-fat deli meat, lettuce, tomato slice, and mustard or hummus
  • Cheese, avocado, sprouts
  • Smoked salmon, low-fat cream cheese, tomato, red-onion

Kabobs

Use wooden skewers to create healthy kabobs. Alternate sliced apples, bell peppers, grapes, baby tomatoes, cantaloupe, watermelon, broccoli, baby carrots, and anything else you can think of. For dipping, use yogurt, hummus, sour cream, or tzatziki, a Greek sauce made with yogurt and spices.

Pitas or roll-ups

Whole-wheat pita or roll ups are great because you can stuff them with anything: low-fat deli meats, steamed kale, sliced cheese, tomato and cucumber slices, sprouts. Stuff these beforehand, or simply pack the ingredients and put it together when you are ready to eat.

Thermos food

  • Hot Food: soups and stews (this is an especially useful way to deal with leftovers)
  • Cold Foods: blend up a cold fruit and veggie smoothie before you leave for the day

Healthy Snacks

Snack Food Calories Serving Size
apple 90 1 apple
baby carrots 26 8 baby carrots
banana 65 1 banana
cherry tomatoes 3 1 cherry tomato
celery sticks 1 1 stick
celery with hummus 89 1 stick with hummus
cottage cheese 90 ½ cup
dried fruit 130 ¼ cup
granola bars 100–200 1 bar
hard-boiled egg 77 1 egg
hummus 88 2 tbsp
oat bran pretzels 120 18 pretzels
orange 62 1
raw almonds 180 21 pieces
raw mixed nuts (unsalted) 170 ¼ cup
soy yogurt 150 ½ cup
100% whole wheat pretzels 110 10 pretzels
yogurt (fruit) 119 1/3 cup
Source: USDA National Nutrient Database and www.thedailyplate.com

Information Please® Database, © 2007 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

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