The Family Table: Back to School Lunches


I don’t know about you mamas, but when school is gearing up to start back, I start thinking about packing lunches. It’s definitely a chore that I don’t miss during the summer, but it’s also something I’m very committed to doing.

School Lunch

As a nutritionist, I’m not always a huge fan of school lunches.

Additionally, with one of my kiddos having several food sensitivities, eating them is just really out of the question. The challenge, however, is keeping those packed lunches fun and healthy, and not falling into a rut.

I love to read mom blogs with pretty pictures of perfectly styled lunches. You know the ones with cute cut-out shaped foods and the perfect ratio of healthy to fun.

But I’ll be honest, I know I’m never going to reach that level. I neither have the time, nor the overflowing creativity to replicate them in their entirety.

I see the pictures of the antipasto skewers, however, and I think, “Now there’s a creative, fun, healthy thing that I can do!”

So for all you ladies out there feeding your kids the same thing day after day, and vowing to one day step up your game, here’s the one trick that will solve all your problems: Put it on a stick.

As for the stick, you can opt for a traditional wooden skewer if your kids are older. If they’re younger or are accident-prone, best to err on the safe side and get some cute kid-safe ones online.

Here are some ideas for each meal of the day to get you started, or feel free to use them exclusively for those packed lunches.

For breakfast…

Fruit coated in yogurt and frozen. Skewer fruit first, pour yogurt over, then freeze on parchment paper. Remove frozen yogurt covered fruit from the skewer and drop in a bowl of granola.

Cubes of cheese, strawberries, and pieces of chicken sausage. Use the good quality sausages in the freezer section to speed things up.

Bits of waffle, bacon, and fruit with a side of maple syrup for dipping 

waffles fruit

For Lunch…

Leftover chicken from dinner, chunks of bell pepper, and pineapple. Serve with teriyaki sauce for dipping.

Rolled up slices of turkey and cheese with pickles

Tomato, basil, and fresh mozzarella with a side of pesto or balsamic vinegar for dipping

For Dinner…

Steak, peppers, and onions. Serve with a cheese dip for a play on Philly steak and cheese.

Cheeseburger meatballs, tomatoes, and lettuce. Serve with mayo, ketchup, and mustard.

Grilled salmon, hard boiled egg, tomatoes, green beans, and olives for a play on salad nicoise