Nourish them with back to school lunchbox ideas

    It’s that time of the year again. Time to shift gears. Time to detox from beaches, pools and warm weather and morph into 180 days of time management, academics and routine. Getting ready for school is about more than pencils, backpacks and clothing.


    Its about… the LUNCHBAG and what goes in it.  Kids can feel the comfort of home away from home, the longest period of each weekday.


    • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

    Its about the FOOD, how to make life less complicated, convenient and of course, healthy.


    Whether you’re brown-bagging it, using biodegradable containers or a simple snap-on lunch bag, packing lunch is a sure way to defray both the madness and cost associated with school lunches.


    So why not arm yourself in preparation for 180 Days of unpredictable weather patterns, mood changes and eating preferences with a few tips for the Back to School shift?


    Survey the kids about their favorite snacks, lunch ideas and otherwise
    Plan ahead before you shop.
    Develop a meal plan for dinner (leftovers are a great alternative on busy days)
    Create a shopping list of non-perishables, shelf-stable and refrigerated items
    Stock the pantry or cupboard
    Shop for fresh food additions weekly



    Snack ideas:

    Easy to carry and eat FRUIT (applesauce, apples, grapes, oranges,)

    Veggie sticks (carrots, peppers, celery, cucumbers)

    Trail mixes

    Home-popped organic popcorn

    Granola Bars


    A few items to have on hand that may even freeze well are:

    Whole grain breads


    Taco shells


    Shelf-stable ingredients to store:




    Nut or seed butters


    Jellies, jams or preserves



    Refrigerated items:

    Mayo (dairy free or otherwise)






    When sandwiches are on the menu, the options are endless when thinking about what will fill that space between two slices of bread. Or what will wrap well inside that light tortilla, stuff well in that pita bread or overflow that taco shell.  Here are a few ideas:


    Salad sandwiches- alfalfa sprouts, tomatoes, olives, baby spinach with light veginnaise spread.


    Hummus of all flavors store quite well for at least a week or so.


    Go with red pepper, eggplant or chick pea.


    Bean Burritos


    Fajitas or Quesadillas





    And here’s one recipe to get you started on the road back to school, courtesy of Earth’s Elements Foods:


    Red Pepper hummus

    Great in a classic sandwich, in a tortilla or served with warm pita bread.

    Servings: 12



    3 large red peppers

    ¼ cup of tahini

    3 medium garlic cloves

    juice of one lemon

    2 tablespoons chopped parsley or cilantro

    Himalayan sea salt to taste


    Directions: Drizzle peppers lightly with olive oil and roast for 30 minutes at 375 degrees. Remove and let cool in a bowl of cold water. Remove the skin, core and seeds. In a food processor, blend roasted peppers, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, cilantro. Add salt to taste and store for future use. Enjoy!



    And because what’s in is as important as what out, visit these sites for creative lunch bag ideas:







    NW Philly Parents is a partnership between Newsworks and Germantown Avenue Parents.  

    WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal