As almost any mother will tell you, coming up with lunchbox ideas that are both healthy and exciting enough for kids is a challenge. Thankfully, there is plenty of inspiration to be found in the vast world of foodie websites, cookbooks, and blogs written by fellow mums that will suit every type of taste, diet, and eating style. Your only problem? Navigating your way through it all. Goodness has done some of the legwork for you and rounded up healthy lunchbox ideas that are sure to keep your kids happy and interested – and that are straightforward enough to put together whether you’re an undercover Master Chef or hopeless in the kitchen.
All of the appeal of a nugget but filled with nutritious veggies, these tasty bites are easy to pack and eat on the go. Mushrooms, carrots, and onions add in a load of health-boosting vitamins and minerals, while light Panko breadcrumbs add a satisfying crunch. Click here for the recipe.
Strawberry Banana Breakfast Muffins
These fruity muffins taste so good that it’s hard to believe they’re gluten-free, vegan, and contain no refined sugars. The recipe uses coconut sugar and maple syrup to sweeten them up, while mashed banana and vegan buttermilk keep them fluffy and bouncy. Click here for the recipe.
One-Pot Gluten-Free Vegan Mac ‘n’ Cheese
Wholesome mac ‘n’ cheese might seem like an oxymoron, but this recipe will convince you otherwise. Not only is it grain-free, gluten-free, and nut-free, but it’s also vegan (so it’s dairy-free too) and incredibly easy to whip up using chickpea pasta, nutritional yeast, carrot purée, and some spices to keep things exciting. Click here for this one-pot recipe.
Ranch Pasta Salad
This creamy, satisfying, and flavorful option uses gluten-free pasta, a heaping of veggies, and a delicious homemade vegan substitute for bacon (created with coconut oil, tempeh, tamari, apple cider vinegar, and spices). The result? A vegan, dairy-, and gluten-free concoction that’s still totally rich and creamy. Click here for the recipe.
Simple Vegan Pita Pizzas
These tasty alternatives to the standard mini pizza are crazy easy to make. Plus, they’re so easy to adapt with different toppings that, once you’ve mastered them, you can make them in about a million different ways. The “original” uses whole-wheat pizzas and homemade tomato sauce, loaded with smoked tofu, pepperoncino, zucchini, and vegan parmesan, which is made with nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and cashews. Click here for the recipe.
Vegan Cheese Quesadillas
These quesadillas are equally as delicious hot or cold and use only six ingredients put together in three simple steps. The vegan cheese is made with corn and nutritional yeast, and the avocado and gluten-free tortillas guarantee your kids will be full until the next meal. They might be a bit messy to eat on the go, so make sure to wrap them up in kitchen paper. Click here for the recipe.
Rice and Veggie Muffins
Packed with broccoli, corn, onion, garlic, grated cheese, rice (you read that right), and eggs, this dish may be one of the best ways to get your kids to eat more greens. Filling, nutritious, portable, and cost-effective, they’re also easy to make. Click here for the recipe.
Spinach and Cheese Savory Lunchbox Muffins
These savory muffins taste equally good whether served hot or cold. Add in an organic veggie-stock cube to really elevate the taste. Click here for the recipe.
Satay Vegetable Noodles
Add some Asian flair to your child’s lunchbox with this delicious recipe that can be made in just five minutes (yes, really). All you need is some sesame oil, mixed stir-fry vegetables, straight-to-wok noodles, soy sauce (for a gluten-free option, choose tamari sauce), organic peanut butter, coconut milk, and lime juice, and you’re good to go. Click here for the recipe.
Healthy Bakes Broccoli Tots
If your kids love tater tots, try winning them over with this healthier version. Simply mix some frozen broccoli, egg, onion, cheddar cheese, breadcrumbs, herbs, and seasoning together, roll up some tot-shaped balls, bake, and there you have them. Click here for the recipe.
Easy Turkey Pinwheels
One of the advantages of pinwheels is that you end up with less bread than you would if you were eating a sandwich. All you need is a condiment, greens, a flatbread, and, of course, some turkey, and you’ve got a beautiful alternative to a standard sandwich that your kids will love to eat and look at. Click here for the recipe.
Mini Quinoa Pizza Bites
Yes, you can make mini pizzas out of quinoa. Cooked in a similiar way to muffins, these can be loaded with your favorite pizza toppings and homemade tomato sauce. Click here for the recipe.
Curried Lentil Bake
With lentils, vegetables, sweet potatoes, and eggs, this curried bake is absolutely jam-packed with nutritional benefits. And, while it offers all the flavor of a curry, it’s much easier for your kids to keep in their lunchboxes and eat on the go. Click here for the recipe.
Chicken and Avocado Burritos
Burritos are always a winner for any age group, and these ones combine deliciously seasoned chicken, velvety avocado, cheese, salsa verde, sour cream, and herbs in a warm, grilled tortilla. Click here for the recipe.
Creamy Vegan Mexican Pasta Salad
Pasta salads are one of the most versatile and easy lunch options a mom can have in her arsenal; they’re filling, simple to make, and don’t need to be reheated or made with too much fuss either. This vegan option boasts a Mexican slant and uses a clever combination of vegan bacon, cashews, and herbs to give it a creamy texture. For young kids, simply reduce or remove the chili powder. Click here for the recipe.
Veggie Summer Rolls with Cashew Tahini Dip
Tahini is a healthy alternative to a variety of other sugar-laden sauces. This one, made with raw unsalted cashews, is the perfect dip for crunchy, fresh, and light vegetable-crammed summer rolls. Kids are sure to love both the colorful combination and the dipping fun. Click here for the recipe.
Carrot Veggie Puffs
Bite-sized foods are always a safe bet with little ones. These potato pancake-style patties combine shredded zucchini and carrot, pulled together with milk, eggs, cheese, flour, herbs, and seasoning to create a new family favorite. Click here for the recipe.