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Photo of children eating lunch at school.


Like breakfast, lunch is an important meal for kids. They need lunch every day at school for the energy to learn and play for the rest of the day. Here are some healthy, tasty tips for helping kids eat a healthy school lunch: 


Bring Your Own

Making lunch at home and taking it to school is a great way to ensure your kids are getting healthy foods. You can: 

  • Let Them Help. Let your kids help make lunch. Kids are more likely to eat the lunch they bring to school if they have some say in the menu and preparation. Even young kids can spread peanut butter on bread or put some cut up veggies in a single serve bag.
  • Pack It Safely. Keep lunches cold for food safety! Use an ice pack to keep foods from spoiling and to decrease the risk of getting sick from food-related germs.
  • Pack Cool Combos: Include a good combination of several of the following: sandwich, canned or fresh fruit cup, veggies like baby carrots, low-fat yogurt, single serving container of low-fat or skim milk, granola bar or low-fat pudding.


Buy At School 

Short on time? School lunch food options can be the solution. Some tips to remember: 

  • Check On Choices. Check with your children on what they bought to eat. Recommend that your child buy the main meal offered at school, because they meet the nutrient needs of students and are the best value. Guide your child away from the a la carte line - it usually has less healthy choices and costs more than the school lunch.
  • Avoid Vending Machines. Your child may want to buy foods from vending machines when cafeteria lines are long. Remind them that it is hard to get a balanced lunch unless the machines are refrigerated and stocked with healthy sandwiches, fruit or milk.
  • Drink More Milk. Find out if your school has a milk vending machine and encourage your child to use it. Many are stocked with flavored milk kids love.