Teachers all across the country are soon going to be packing in their lunches between lunchroom duty and recess as school starts for the new year. Instead of relying on diet soda and candy bars, we asked our Really Good Teachers on Facebook what their favorite school lunches are. Surprisingly easy, the lunch suggestions given were both helpful and relatively inexpensive. Eating healthy this school year just got easier.
50 Healthy Lunch Ideas for Teachers to Take to School
1. “Carrots (or other crunchy veggies), grapes or apple slices, hard boiled eggs, and half a peanut (or almond or sunbutter) sandwich. Think the protein box from Starbucks – only yours is way cheaper.” ~Teresa B.
2. “Fix a pasta or congealed salad to keep in [the] fridge at school for the week.” ~Amanda B.
3. “I buy a bag of salad and keep it at school so I don’t have to pack a lunch every day.” ~Robin R.
4. “I usually cook a pot of soup over the weekend and take a bowl and either crackers or half a sandwich.” ~Rebecca P.
5. “I make a fruit smoothie every morning to have with breakfast and it lasts me throughout the AM [until] lunch. I use chia seeds for protein. I also drink tea or hot water, or water throughout the day.” ~Michelle R.
6. “Fix some shrimp, chicken or fish and put it in a microwave bowl. Then pack some lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes in another bowl. Heat up your protein and place in [the other] bowl for salad or eat [it] separately. Pack a sugar free pudding. This can easily be a 300 calorie meal if your protein is 3.5 oz or less.” ~Angela M.
7. “Salads, fruits, [and] raw veggies.” ~Brittany L.
8. “My mentor teacher kept a bowl, spoon and a can opener in her room, as well as some cans of soup. When all else fails, soup is usually a pretty good meal and fewer calories than most things.” ~Angela S.
9. “I find that either oatmeal with fruit or Greek yogurt & fruit plus nuts for a mid-morning snack are great until lunch.” ~Margie S.
10. “I do ‘Meal Prep Sundays’ and grill up chicken breast, turkey breast, and prep various salads and side veggies, as well as hard-boiled eggs. Pack up your meals in Tupperware or mason jars for the whole week and you are set!” ~Miranda V.
11. “Protein shakes. I make them at night, freeze them, and they thaw by lunch.” ~Kathlyn P.
12. “I like things that can stay in my room with no refrigeration: canned beans with chopped veggies in a vinegar based dressing can be made the night before and last 2 or 3 days. Cucumbers and hummus. Apples and peanut butter with raisins. Chopped apple and celery with walnuts and raisins in a cider vinegar dressing. Salads made with leftover brown rice, chopped vegetables and canned beans. Most anything with an oil and acid dressing will be better if you make it the night before and can be packaged in single servings at home.” ~Christina M.
13. “Leftovers from dinner the night before.” ~Susan R.
14. “Hummus on a low carb tortilla is my go-to, paired with some cut up veggies and a bit of ranch with chia seeds mixed in. [Add a] small apple or a clementine on the side.” ~Angie W.
15. “Cook boneless, skinless chicken breasts ahead of time (marinade if you’d like), cut up veggies and fruit, non-fat Greek yogurt with granola, [and a] banana with natural peanut butter.” ~Claire T.
16. “Turkey pepperoni and light string cheese. It’s like a pizza snack!” ~Claire F.
17. “You can make salads in mason/ball jars (dressing on the bottom, veggies on top) and vacuum seal them up to a week ahead of time. Then, just shake and eat.” ~Christine H.
18. “Take an individual container of cottage cheese and add a spoonful or pineapple (or other fresh cut fruit when in season) and add a teaspoon of sunflower seeds! Yum!” ~Jeanne M.
19. “Chopped veggie salad + 1 package of tuna in water = a nice lunch!” ~Patti W.
20. “Hummus and cucumbers.” ~Karen B.
21. “Tuna salad sandwiches with a side of carrots and bell pepper slices, low-sugar yogurt mixed with your favorite fruit and your favorite flavored crackers.” ~Michelle S.
22. “Fruit and salad!” ~Edyie H.
23. “Sometimes I make lettuce wraps with turkey, mustard and a low-fat mozzarella cheese stick. Add some fruit or a yogurt.” ~Kristin R.
24. “Bake BBQ Marinated chicken. Cut it up and put in small bowls with a little extra BBQ and just reheat at school.” ~Stacia D.
25. “Baby spinach with your choice of meat, pears and walnuts with balsamic. I used to pack this a few times a week and it was really easy and yummy.” ~Sheena H.
26. “I make a large salad in the beginning of the week and keep a bottle of dressing at school. This way you can just scoop it out into a container and add your meat (lunch meat, tuna, etc.) for some protein.” ~Donna S.
27. “Salads and yogurts, fruit and granola bars.” ~Joan W.
28. “Yogurt, fruit, turkey and cheese roll-ups (no bread), nuts, and granola bars.” ~Lisa H.
29. “I make a quick salad the morning of, but the night before would be better. I use already prepared salads – all kinds. I put strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, purple onion, carrots and anything else I have on hand.” ~Jennifer W.
30. “I have one packet of plain oatmeal and Greek yogurt.” ~Karrie H.
31. “Greek yogurt, high fiber cereal, and fruit all mixed together for lunch [keeps you] full for a very long time, and [it’s] healthy.” ~Renee T.
32. “[A] sandwich in a tortilla wrap rather [than] bread.” ~Becky G.
33. “Canned tuna and wheat thins with yogurt!” ~Jerri M.
34. “I discovered a desperation salad one day when I was running late. I tossed together chick peas, tomatoes, tuna, and some vinaigrette I had in the fridge. It was so good, I made it many times afterward. I occasionally tossed in some [cooked] pasta noodles. If you don’t like chick peas, substitute them out for a different bean; switch tuna for salmon or chicken. It’s a good ‘clean out the fridge’ meal.” ~April W.
35. “I make a recipe for ‘Healthy Chicken Salad’ (no mayo) and put it on a low carb wrap with 100 calorie guacamole packets, a little salsa, and the salad crunchies that are either spicy or chili lime.” ~Jen J.
36. “I cook healthy at home and bring leftovers. I also have something that looks awful, but tastes great! [Take] 1 cup of plain 0% fat Greek yogurt, 2 T creamy peanut butter, a dash or cinnamon, and either a little bit of honey or some stevia (I’m diabetic) for sweetening. I layer them in a small plastic bowl, then mix them up with a spoon for lunch! At first, my 1st Graders reacted with “eeewww!”, but I’ve actually had some ask for the recipe!” ~Patti W.
37. “Wheat bread with slices of tomato, a slice of a gala apple, a thin slice of baked chicken, [add] lettuce on top with a little light mayo.” ~Hannah M.
38. “[Pre-made] crock pot soup is good!” ~Les M.
39. “A Greek yogurt, a Kashi or protein bar, and some fruit with a bottle of water. I found that if I took 5 days worth of lunches and kept them in the mini-fridge in my classroom I was less likely to cheat and eat unhealthy food.” ~Jeanie P.
40. “I prepare bowls of cut up mixed fruit for the week on Sundays. I also mix cut-up peppers and onions with eggbeaters. I put it in a sealable bowl and microwave. [It’s an] instant omelet with a tortilla.” ~Kristen W.
41. “I make enough egg salad or tuna salad for the week. Then all I have to do is make a sandwich and I’m good to go!” ~Kristin J.
42. “I love smoothies. I use Chobani yogurt, spinach and kale, with some fruit and blend in my magic bullet. I can prepare 2 or 3 to take to school and blend through the day as I need them. [You can] eat with a half of a chicken breast if you want some meat, as well! They are delicious and good for you!” ~Tammy L.
43. “Prep small containers in the fridge with cooked brown rice, egg salad, tuna salad, canned chick peas, fresh or jarred salsa [to make] whole wheat tortilla wraps. Having the right ingredients on hand is essential to building a healthy lunch. Take time to prep on a Sunday afternoon and you are set for the week! This also cuts out sodium and unwanted preservatives from pre-packaged, processed food.” ~Kara T.
44. “I make a ham wrap. [I use a] whole wheat tortilla with a little bit of cream cheese spread on it, ham or turkey (or both), baby spinach, and whatever other greens you prefer, and cheese. I also add salsa to mine. Roll it up and wrap it in foil. [It’s a] yummy and healthy lunch! You can also use the tortilla and cream cheese, but use berries, yogurt, and granola for a yummy breakfast.” ~Molly E.
45. “I do this a lot: buy a package of broccoli slaw, put 2 cups in a Tupperware container and sprinkle a handful of almonds or cashews on top. I also throw a few dried cranberries on sometimes for variety. Then bring a serving of Mandarin oranges and pack a serving of raspberry vinaigrette dressing. Mix them together at lunch time and it’s a high fiber tasty salad. I usually eat a piece of string cheese with it to boost the protein. With the broccoli slaw, you could probably mix it all at home without it getting soggy.” ~Julie A.
46. “I am a vegetarian and I like to mix things up each week, and I enjoy fresh meals. My favorite make-a-head lunch (or to bring to a party) is to make my orzo salad. You could add chicken if you wanted to.
- Cook and drain orzo, rinse with water. Cut up peppers (any color), dice up an onion, wash cherry tomatoes, open a can of olives, dice up fresh mozzarella or put in feta.
- For the dressing, mince up garlic, sea salt and pepper, flat leaf parsley chopped, zest of 3 lemons, juice of three lemons, and extra virgin olive oil.
I make it up on a Sunday and have enough for dinner that night, and several lunches throughout the week. ~Michelle R.
47. “Sharp cheddar cheese and wheat crackers to much all day long! Healthy proteins and fiber make you feel full. Yum!!” ~Leslie B.
48. “Rice cakes with peanut butter and bananas or thin apple slices with drizzled honey.” ~Mischelle F.
49. “Canned chicken, chopped celery, halved grapes, chopped apple, and dried cranberries. Mix in a cup of Greek yogurt with some walnuts and you have chicken salad for a week!” ~Kelly R.
50. “My go to on long teaching days was cereal. I kept a bowl and spoon in my desk and milk in the teachers’ lounge fridge. It definitely got me through the afternoon!” ~Jessica B.
What are some of your favorite healthy school lunches? Share them with us below!