Breaking The Brown Bag Blues: Healthy School Lunches!

At last, temperatures are dropping, summer is coming to a close, and in nearly every part of the country, school is back in session. With every new school year comes a laundry list of about a thousand other activities too—everything from lengthy homework assignments and martial arts to gymnastics and dance class. Doesn’t it feel like every waking moment during these school months is consumed with some extracurricular activity?!

Powell Pack

With so much to do and so many places to be, sadly, it becomes way too easy to start turning to quick meal fixes and unhealthy convenience foods for our kids’ lunches instead of healthy and freshly prepped food. It’s human nature—the busier we are, the easier it is to let those seemingly little (but really big) things slip. For the Powell Pack, making sure all of my littles are getting the nutritious lunches they need to fuel their full day is imperative…and sometimes, that means planning those school time meals days in advance!

It also means breaking away from the white bread sandwich norm and prepping yummy, creative, healthy foods that my picky eaters won’t crinkle their noses up to! Here are a few Powell Pack tried-and-true lunchtime favorites! And don’t think your kiddos have to be school-aged to enjoy them—Ruby gives her stamp of approval too!

Here’s a look at some of my favorite lunch must haves:


Kid-friendly Kabobs

The kids have SO much fun with these finger favorites, I mean, it’s a meal on a stick—what’s more fun than that?! These sturdy lollipop sticks make them easy to prep too! Our go-tos are fruit kabobs, breadless sandwich kabobs, and one of my faves—salad on a stick! Round up your favorite bit-sized ingredients, stack them on a lollipop stick, and you’re good to go! Easy to make, easy to clean up, and hands-on entertainment for the kids. Total win!


Meat and Cheese Roll Ups

Ever get that drowsy feeling after eating a big bowl of pasta or a thick, hearty sandwich? Those sugar-rich carb bombs are slump inducers for your little ones too! Instead of packing them a standard sandwich, try taking a couple of pieces of deli meat and rolling cheese inside for a yummy meat and cheese roll up. Better yet, throw a few slices of cucumber or tomato in the middle and wrap the entire roll up in a piece of iceberg lettuce for a mini lettuce sandwich! Add a side of mustard or flavored hummus for dipping, and your kiddos won’t even miss that carb-loaded bread. You could even get decorative toothpicks, like these swords, that make the roll ups extra cool and ensure they don’t unravel while they eat. Lunch AND a toy!


Dip Day

Speaking of dipping… if your kids are anything like mine, they’ll eat just about anything they can “dip.” Try sending an entire dipper lunch! For the main course, pack tuna or chicken salad prepared in a light mayo with some crackers for scooping. For sides, send them with apples and celery with peanut butter, carrots, and broccoli with hummus, or berries with yogurt dip. These finger foods are not only good for your kids, but a whole lunch of dips?! You’ll make the grade as a “cool mom” too! These containers are perfect for Dip Day—there are so many perfectly portioned compartments, and they’re completely dip-friendly! 🙂


Other quick, healthy snack ideas:

Cubed fruit
Trail mix
Cottage cheese
Hard-boiled eggs
Frozen fruit smoothies

So when it comes time to pack lunches for your littles this school year, break out of the brown bag blues and try your hand at some of these creative lunches. They’ll keep your kiddos’ tummies full and their bodies moving! What are your family’s lunchtime favorites?!



For more awesome container and lunch box ideas, see below!

Rubbermaid LunchBlox Kid’s Flat Lunch Box Kit
Fit & Fresh Kids’ Reusable Lunch Container Kit with Ice Packs, 14-Piece Set, BPA-Free
Fit and Fresh Lunch Bag Kit 

Related Reading:

Fun With Food
What’s for Lunch – Back-to-School Style
Back to School Workout Ideas: From Toddlers to Teens to You!


  1. Darilyn - October 12, 2017

    Great information! Going to try these out with both my kids! Some really good ideas! Thanks for sharing❤️

  2. Amanda - October 12, 2017

    Thank you for the tips! Been trying to find more diverse healthy options for lunchtime. My daughter loved the kabobs! We make the sandwich as well as a fruit kabob.

  3. Dawn M Chappelear - March 1, 2017

    What a cute Mini-Chris Man! Ca$h is the dude! I love your blog and wish I can meet you guys and attend your medical bootcamps.

  4. Candace - October 7, 2014

    I have to agree! These are great kid lunch ideas but so many of us are not home during the day. I confess to standing in the kitchen in the evenings and often before work, trying to think of something satisfying to take for lunches and snacks that fit well with watching what I eat. A post for grown-up lunches would be great too.

  5. Courteney - September 21, 2014

    I’ve been looking for some great lunch ideas for myself…and I’m going to use these tips! Thanks so much Heidi! Packing lunches is my downfall and I often skip lunch…it’s my goal to fix this!

  6. Sarah - September 20, 2014

    Ummm, YUM! I am probably going to have those lunches myself! My baby is too little bitsy for school aged lunches. Though, he gets plenty of fruits and veggies with his homemade baby food. Thanks for the tips! Love it.

  7. Susie - September 20, 2014

    You are such an awesome mom and I am always looking for ideas yours are great!! Where we are from (Vermont) you cannot have peanut or nut butter of any kind in school, so I mix up sunbutter with some vanilla yogurt and use that as a dip for fruit my grandson loves it. Oh and I will be buying some candy sticks today thanks for the ideas!!

  8. Em - September 19, 2014

    Hi Heidi!

    I love your suggestions for kids lunches! I also think these are great snacks for adults too! My favorite are cucumbers which I love to bring as go to snacks when I’m out and about or need a salsa and “chip” fix. Baby carrots are so easy to take on go and same with mini bell peppers. Today, my hubby and I saw a movie, and while everyone was eating those greasy movie popcorn, I was crunching away on carrots, cucumber, and mini bell peppers. 105 calories later I was full, content, and not to mention felt pretty darned smart! =) I love the nonfat Greek yogurt, granola, and fruit combo too! Thanks for the tips!

    Kindest Regards,
    Em =)

  9. Marion Naylor - September 19, 2014

    Always have nice things to say to you and Chris 🙂 I was wondering if you could help me with teens lunches. She tells me (my 14 yr old Barbie) the school lunches are awful. Thanks for any help 🙂 PS this is a child who loves bread way too much

    • Team Powell - September 19, 2014

      The lunches in this post will work for kids of any ages, so give them a try! And let her use her creativity to plan her lunches-she’ll be more likely to eat it, and she’ll be learning some great skills. 🙂

  10. Deanna - September 19, 2014

    The cover picture is so cute cashy is such a photogentic toddler ‘ i wonder where he gets it from 🙂 Love the ideas and tips . Love ya #EWL#TEAM
    Heey By the way Mrs. Heidi and Mr.Chris Powell i sent you guys a letter of my thoughts amd thankfullness , and you Heidi told me you couldn’t wait to read it i was wond if you guys got it , can ya let me know please and thank you ! Hope you guys enjoy the rest of your day God bless : )

  11. deanna gutietrez - September 19, 2014

    Dear Heidi and Chris , i sent ya my letter of thoughts and thankfulness , i told you mrs . Heidi and you told me you couldnt wait to read it , i just wanna know if ya got it ? Can you let me know pls and thank you ♥ #you guys are the best !

  12. deanna gutietrez - September 19, 2014

    Omg cashys face on the main picture is so adorably cute such a photogenic toddler ! I wonder where he gets it from ” ♥ya lovelydee #EWL#POWELLPACKRULE

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