Bristol Farms A+ Back to School Lunch Plan

With summer winding down, school will be back in session before we know it! Get the kiddos excited for the new school year with new shoes, a new backpack … and new lunches they won’t grow tired of after just one week. From time-saving shortcuts to fun and easy personalized lunchbox extras, we have a delicious and healthy back-to-school meal plan that’s sure to put a smile on their faces every time they sit down in the cafeteria and open up their lunchboxes.

A grill in a blue dress eating carrots, green apple, and a corn and black bean salad during her school lunch break.
A grill in a blue dress eating carrots, green apple, and a corn and black bean salad during her school lunch break.

01 Get Your Kids Involved

Kids love to help out, so the more you can involve them in choosing and preparing school lunches, the more enjoyment they’re going to get! Take your child grocery shopping, ask for their input about food picks, and work together to whip up some creative lunchtime faves.

02 Use Green lunch containers

Just say no to sandwich bags this year. Your kids will enjoy a fun bento style lunch container anyways! Plus, it makes packing their lunch a breeze. We have tons to choose from in our housewares department too from brands like Bambu, Kid Basix, Mepal, and YumBox!

03 Make a Plan

Creating a meal plan isn’t as intimidating as it might sound! Just make a list of possible main courses to choose from, so you’re mixing it up from day to day. After all, even the most amazing sandwich can start to get tedious after a while, so think outside the lunchbox! Consider alternatives to sliced bread, such as healthy wraps, butter lettuce leaves, rice paper wraps, and fiber rich crackers. Other days, swap out the sandwich for a healthy pasta salad, tacos, bean salad, or quesadilla. Remember, variety is the spice of life — and meals!

For a week’s worth of lunch box ideas that aren’t sandwiches…

  • Chicken salad wraps – Made with high protein Greek yogurt, cranberries, and celery, all rolled into a whole wheat wrap. Pair with baby carrots and single serve hummus pack plus a fruit yogurt for dessert!
  • Black bean, spinach, and cheese quesadillas – This one sounds more complex than it is. Kids love quesadillas…even when they’re cold! This one will help them eat some greens too! Simply bring a skillet to medium heat with a bit of avocado oil and place a large tortilla in the skillet once it’s hot. Load one side of the tortilla with some Jack cheese and then black beans and spinach. Top with another layer of cheese and fold over. Cook on both sides for 1-2 minutes. Serve with Greek yogurt for dipping plus some celery and almond butter for something a little sweet.
  • Charcuterie for Children – This idea is fun for kids and requires little effort for you! Pack a divided container with a couple slices of salami, ham, and turkey…plus their favorite cheese too. Pair with fiber rich crackers, a little strawberry jam, and some grapes and apples too!
  • Cold Noodle Salad – If your kids like Asian food, this one is for them! Make a batch of rice noodles the night before and let them chill. Once chilled, mix with some diced red bell pepper, sugar snap peas, sliced mushrooms, carrots, sliced almonds, and a sauce made of almond butter, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and a tiny splash of sriracha. Serve with sliced apples and vanilla yogurt “dessert.”
  • Chicken Hummus Pita Plate – It doesn’t get much easier than this! Using a divided container, pack 2 tablespoons of hummus, mini pita dippers, chopped rotisserie chicken, sliced red bell pepper, and carrots. Your little one will have fun using his or her imagination building their little chicken and hummus pita stacks! Pack with a healthy sweet treat like 1/2 of a Kind Bar or Rx bar.

04 Always Include Fruits & Veggies

Develop your child’s healthy eating habits by introducing fruits and vegetables into their diet as early as possible. Stock up on lots of kid-friendly choices, such as apples, bananas, grapes, berries, carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes, and more. You’ll find the freshest, tastiest selections every day in our produce department. And for healthy fruit and veggie-dipping options? Try single-serve packs of hummus, guacamole, and almond butter! Or, simply use any of the small sauce-sized containers we carry in our housewares department!

05 Don’t Forget “Dessert”

Give them a treat that’s not too sweet but still feels special. Great options include Greek yogurt, organic fruit leather, fruit and nut bars (sans peanuts, of course), and trail mix made with dried fruit (like raisins or apricots), nuts (like walnuts, pecans, or cashews), and semi-sweet chocolate chips.

A healthy school lunch full of berries, carrots, and a sandwich.
A healthy school lunch full of berries, carrots, and a sandwich.

07 Pack a Little Love

Surprise your child by slipping a personalized note into their lunchbox — wish them a good day, write a funny joke, draw a silly picture, etc. Be creative! It’s a wonderful reminder of how much you care.