school lunch ideas

Feeding ourselves is trouble enough (here’s our most recent solution), but sending children to school with healthy lunches? We don’t known how moms meet the challenge everyday!

We asked a few of our favorite L.A. mamas (and a couple of nutritionists too) about how they do it, and we’re sharing their healthy school lunch ideas below. There are some excellent, if unusual ideas here – try a few and let us know what you think! Truth be told, we’ll be making Shira’s pizza bites and Lacy’s stuffed dates as office snacks pronto…

Zucchini Pizza Bites

Shira Lenchewski, MS, RD | These zucchini pizza bites are a play on one of my all-time favorite childhood snacks: mini pizza bagels. There are plenty of ways to make healthier pizza bagels (like using whole wheat pita), but this option sneaks in some extra veggies and its ridiculously easy and time-efficient. Get the recipe below!

Mini Nori Wraps

Amanda Bacon of Moon Juice | Fork-smash a quarter of a baked sweet potato and a quarter of an avocado onto a sheet of nori. Bury three halved cherry tomatoes into the smash, and garnish with chopped basil, lemon juice and pink salt. Roll up tightly and tuck the bottom of the nori sheet into itself before handing it over to your kiddo!

high-fiber Pastas

Pamela Salzman | Figure out lunch the night before, even if it’s just having a plan. My kids will eat any kind of pasta, so I just make sure it’s a high-fiber pasta like whole spelt, brown rice, or one of the legume-based pastas like chickpea or black bean. I always want to get some extra-protein in there: Even if it’s whole spelt penne and tomato sauce, I will add cooked white beans, pine nuts and/or parmesan cheese. I’ve also mixed pasta with my favorite vinaigrette, chickpeas and vegetables for a great pasta salad. My kids love Asian Noodle Salad with a peanut butter-based dressing and whatever veggies are around. All of this can be done the night before!

Cucumber Avo Rolls

Hedi Gores of Pressed Juicery | My son loves a good Japanese type lunch. I make him fresh cucumber-avocado rolls, and pack them with some steamed edamame and seaweed chips. He also loves ground turkey burrito wraps: I use half white meat, half dark meat, and pair it with black beans, Spanish rice and sliced avocado!

Three Dip Trio

Kelly LeVeque of Be Well By Kelly| For an easy and healthy snack, I pack up veggie crudités and coconut milk ranch. Kids also love a “dip trio” of tuna or salmon salad, hummus, mashed avocado, and a side of cucumber slices and Mary’s Gone Crackers.

Breakfast Wraps

Sophie Jaffe of Philosophie | I love making my kids egg wraps for a healthy breakfast we can take on the go: Place two scrambled eggs, half of an avocado, half of a tomato, and chopped lettuce onto a whole wheat wrap. Sprinkle with vegan cheese, sea salt, cracked pepper and then roll it up. For lunch, I’ll simply stuff a whole wheat pita with turkey, hummus, a handful of spinach and some cucumber slices.

Easy Stuffed Dates

Lacy Phillips of Free + Native | Instead of packing unhealthy treats, a favorite sweet treat that will keep their brains nourished and energy firing all day is ghee and dates. To prepare this snack, simply pit three dates and stuff ghee into where the pit was. It takes 20 seconds to make, won’t parish in their lunch boxes, and is the tastiest brain feeding, alkalizing and energizing treat.

Market Veggie Snacks

Tara Parker Tait of Modern Nomad Life | My little man is a budding chef (he went as Gordon Ramsay for Halloween last year) but getting him to eat his lunch can be a challenge. Having him shop with me at the local farmers market and choose his favorites for the week has helped immensely. Some faves include sugar snap peas, hummus and chips, avocados for guacamole, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, pomegranate kombucha, raw cheddar, Santa Barbara pistachios and – of course – Coco Bakes chia chocolate chip cookies.

Shira’s Zucchini Pizza Bites


1 large zucchini, sliced into ¼ thick rounds
2 Tbsp unsweetened tomato sauce
2 slices yogurt cheese, sliced into thin strips
fresh basil, sliced into thin strips


Preheat oven to broil. Place zucchini rounds on a parchment lined baking sheet. Top with tomato sauce and cheese.

Bake for about 1-2 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Top with basil and serve!

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