Load Up With Healthy Lunch Ideas in the Healthy Lunch Challenge April 15 2013, 50 Comments

healthy lunch ideas crunch a color healthy lunches

Some days I feel like I’m fresh out of healthy lunch ideas! So I turned to my friends for some inspiration.

As passionate as I am about healthy eating, I still find it a struggle to create healthy lunches that my kids will actually eat. So I turned to my fellow healthy lunch packing friends for a little inspiration. Together with Kelly Lester of Easy Lunch Boxes, I launched The Healthy Lunch Challenge. Moms across the country shared their easy ideas for how to build a better lunchbox on a busy parents' schedule.


Eat Your Colors

Make your box a riot of color. Use the Crunch a Color formula when you pack your lunch: three colors + one protein + one healthy grains. Jill of Meet the Dubiens is full of colorful ideas.

healthy lunch ideas meet the dubiens crunch a color

Think Out of the Box

Rid your box of processed foods. Start by tackling chicken nuggets, Bent on Better Lunches style!

healthy lunch ideas bent on better lunches crunch a color 

Then cut the mayo out like Jenn did at Bento for Kidlet. 

healthy lunch ideas bento for kidlet crunch a color

Try a New Food

Break out of your recipe rut by trying a new food each week in your lunch. The creative Keeley McGuire shows us a fun way to try Brussels sprouts.

healthy lunch ideas Keeley McGuire Crunch a Color

Make it Easy

Busy and healthy can go together if you make it easy! Marla Meridith’s Giddy Up Pasta hits the target.

healthy lunch ideas marla meridith crunch a color

Another way to make it easy? Leftovers for lunch! Brenda at Meal Planning Magic shares her tricks.

healthy lunch ideas meal planning magic crunch a color

Cook it Together

“If they cook it, they will eat it!” Get your kids in the act. Let them create a meal plan for the week. Encourage them to prepare their own recipes. Try DIY almond butter pizzas from Organized Bites.

healthy lunch ideas organized bites crunch a color

Or make BLT Kabobs from Biting the Hand that Feeds You (it’s always more fun on a stick!).

healthy lunch ideas biting the hand crunch a color

Have fun making lunch together, like Shannon and her daughter at Bento Lunch.

healthy lunch ideas bento lunch crunch a color

Make it Allergy Friendly

Although my kids do not have food allergies, their school is 100% nut free so I’m always looking for easy ways to banish peanut butter from our boxes. No bake cookies made with sunflower butter are the current favorite in our house, and they are a breeze for kids to make.

We’ve also got a few lunch buddies who avoid gluten, which means we’re happy when we find an easy gluten free alternative to our favorite lunch box treats! How about gluten free homemade blueberry muffins? Check out Amy The Family Chef for the recipe and more ideas.

healthy lunch ideas amy the family chef crunch a color 

Go Meatless

Take Meatless Monday to school. Instead of packing lunch meats, pack an easy alternative like tofu and soba noodles from The Roxx Box.

healthy lunch ideas roxx box crunch a color

Make it Fun

The key to making lunch (or any meal) healthy is to make it fun. Take an extra minute to cut fun shapes into your veggies, like Deb at iPackLunch. Pop a conversation starter or love note into your box for a fun surprise. It doesn’t take a lot of time, and your kids will love it!

healthy lunch ideas ipacklunch crunch a color

A special thanks to all of the moms who participated in our Healthy Lunch Challenge with Easy Lunch Boxes. Your simple and fun ideas are inspiring!

Kelly Lester, Easy Lunchboxes
Marla Meridith, Family Fresh Cooking
Cristi Messersmith, Bent on Better Lunches
Keeley McGuire, Keeley McGuire Blog
Jill Dubien, Meet The Dubiens
Brenda Thompson, Meal Planning Magic
Amy Fothergill, The Family Chef
Kendra Peterson, Biting the Hand that Feeds You
Venia Conte, Organized Bites
Deborah Jordan, iPackLunch
Jenn Christ, Bento for Kidlet
Shannon Carino, Bento Lunch
Roxanne Munson, The Roxx Box

Now get out there and build a better lunch box with your kids. Post your pictures on our Twitter and Facebook pages. We’d love to sneak a peek at what you’re packing!

About the author: Jennifer Tyler Lee is a mom of two children and the creator of Crunch a Color® -- award-winning nutrition games that make healthy eating fun. Like most parents, she struggled to get her kids to eat healthy, balanced meals, so she decided to make it into a healthy eating game and she’s giving back to support non-profit kids’ nutrition programs. Winner of the Dr. Toy and Parent Tested, Parent Approved awards, Crunch a Color® has been featured by Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Rachael Ray's Yum-O!, Laurie David’s Family Dinner, Kiwi Magazine, Dr. Greene, and Yum Food & Fun For Kids, among many others, as a simple, fun and playful way to get kids to eat healthy and try new foods. Jennifer’s passion is making mealtime fun and healthy for busy families. Her easy recipes, quick tips, and new food adventures are regularly featured at Pottery Barn Kids, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, The Huffington Post, and on her weekly recipe blog at crunchacolor.com.