Need ideas for what to pack for your kids' lunches this week? Look no further. Here are our favorite easy-to-make, healthy school lunches. We've updated this post since it was originally posted to add a few pro tips from the parents at Boston Organics.
1. Hidden Broccoli Pesto Pasta
Pesto is a great way to sneak an extra serving of vegetables onto the plates of picky eaters. And because this pasta dish can be eaten hot or cold, a homemade school lunch is the perfect opportunity to put leftover pasta to good use.
2. String Cheese Caprese Skewers
Kids love string cheese. A protein-packed snack when eaten alone, you can turn string cheese into a main course by adding a few fresh veggies and a drizzle of olive oil.
Add slices of string cheese to wooden skewers or toothpicks for smaller serving sizes or so they'll fit better in a lunch box. Intersperse with fresh basil and organic cherry tomatoes. Not only are these incredibly easy to make, they're also really fun for kids to eat. (Pro tip from The Kitchn: For young kids, use flat, blunt-edged bamboo sticks, not the stabby toothpick-like kind.)
3. End of Summer Vegetable Soup
This is one nutritious and delicious soup that takes less than 20 minutes to make. The hardest part is chopping an onion! If your kids are old enough to work with knives, you can make the soup together on Sunday evening and bring it in a thermos later in the week. (Pro tip: there are quite a few kid-sized thermoses out there. This one has worked well for at least one member of the Boston Organics staff.)
4. Quinoa Fruit Salad
Though many adults still think of quinoa as an exotic grain, most kids enjoy its generally neutral and slightly nutty taste. Full of complete protein, it's healthier than rice and even whole grain pasta.
Fussbudgets who throw tantrums over eating their vegetables can even be convinced to try this quinoa salad loaded with fresh fruits and refreshingly tart vinaigrette.
This is how you get your kids to eat salad -- substitute bread for leaves. Panzanella, a traditional Italian salad made with crusty bread and ripe tomatoes, is a great dish to bring to school. The bread makes the salad plenty filling and there's no need to worry about the tomatoes getting mushy while it sits in their backpack because the bread soaks it up—making the whole thing that much more delicious.