Healthy Real Food Lunch Box Ideas

Real Food, Lunch Box Ideas

Life can get busy! Yet it is so important to find healthy fast food to prepare…especially for the developing and growing child. This article will help you pack a healthful lunchbox or cooler anytime your family travels.

Healthy on-the-go lunch box

Today we are faced with a challenge…packing a lunch that inspires our child to eat nutrients. Unfortunately, approximately 1 in 2 children have a chronic illness. And we foster children who HATE real food and are all sick of something. [Read our article]

Their bodies are accustom to processed, fast food. It takes perseverance and patience. If we can do it, I am confident that you can too! Today school lunch boxes are filled with fast foods or processed foods. According to my friends who are teachers, the typical lunch box may have: poptarts, a sandwich, soda, and other processed “food-like” products. And in the classroom there are cubbies for all the children who need; epi-pens, benadryl, and prescription medications of all sorts. Yes, I absolutely put these two facts together! Here’s Dr. Mercola’s agreement article!

Food is fuel. So let’s make the best fuel possible to grow our children healthy. It just takes some creativity and experimentation. I’ll help you get started.

So what in the world are we to do?!

We fight. We fight with love to keep and achieve the health of our children. The cute little packaging and sugar foods make the processed foods inviting! But beware! With a simple glance at the ingredients, it is painfully clear that these pre-packaged foods are not nourishing. Too many times, I’ve seen a child improve rapidly just by dropping the “foods” with sugar, bread, additives, chemicals and colorings. Sally Fallon, of “Nourishing Traditions” and the Weston A Price Foundation says it best:

“Long Shelf Life means Short Human Life!”

Since I have the privilege of being a Foster Family, we use creativity. We also see the tremendous difference that real food and love can make in a child. Please believe me when I say you give the greatest benefit to a child when you fill his/her belly with nutrients to sustain the body. Even if they eat very little. They will grow into it.

There are influencing factors such as environment, sleep, exercise, but the most important and effective way to give health to a child is through love.

Our food and the source of our food is truly significant. When the gut health of a child is compromised, there are many chronic illnesses that can present themselves. Read my article and series for more informative data on the importance of diet. Here are a few chronic illnesses we have in the children we have brought into our home:

Eczema, cancer, tummy aches, childhood depression, Type 2 Diabetes, constipation, ASD, ADD/ADHD, etc… this is NOT normal.

A Successful Plan to Emotionally Change

For every child we work with, raise and love, we respect their ability to understand. No matter the age. This is the discussion that typically occurs:

Mom: I love you. [pause]

Mom: You are angry and mad. There are times to have these emotions, but God made you able to handle it better. [pause]

Mom: I need you to be strong and brave, can you try this food for me? It’s delicious, but you may not taste it right at first.

Child: Yes, maybe.

Mom: You may not like the food, but I want you to understand that we are making a change. We are going to eliminate foods that harm you…like processed bread and sugar. No more cheetos. You must be strong, OK?

Child: But I want bread and cheetos. Do I have to stop eating it?

Mom: Well, it will be gradual because it’s a big change. We need to remove processed foods, chemicals, and coloring dyes from our diets to help you be amazing! We love you very much and feel that you should be given the very best opportunity to succeed and this is a huge way to do that!

Child: O.K.

Mom: You keep eating and tell me what you like, and my job will be to make the food tasty and fun! Deal:?!

Child: O.K.

Make it yours, but this is the start we find critical for “getting on board”.

Veggies with hummus

“Keep it Real” Food Lunch Box Ideas

So here’s a collective to help you turn around the health of your child AND hopefully give you inspiration to make lunch affordable, healthy, yummy, and fun!

I’m putting it together in 4 food groups.  Simply pick from each group and put together a fun and healthy meal. Let the child(ren) help with ideas. Involvement always helps our children get more excited to eat.

For budgeting, it’s a lot cheaper to find a local farmer, plus the vegetables are more fresh. Seek organic/non-sprayed and non-GMO! This is a great site to help you find farmers/markets around you.

Vegetables and Fruit (largest section of lunchbox!)

  • Apple slices (soak in water and a drop of food grade lemon oil or 1 Tbsp of lemon juice)
  • Carrots (sliced)
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Grapes
  • Mango
  • Medjool dates
  • Red, Green, Yellow, Orange Bell Peppers (sliced or chopped)
  • Salad; lettuce leaves, boc choi leaves
  • Tomato slices
  • Zucchini slices (non-GMO)
  • Roasted vegetables; carrots, beets, onions, green beans
  • Olives without chemicals! Like this


  • Choose organic, non-GMO crackers and chips We use these sometimes
  • We mostly use sliced fruit (apples, pears) and vegetables for this category
  • Pancakes (blend 1 zucchini, 1 egg, 1/2 cup nut butter, 1 tsp salt and skillet fry in coconut oil)


  • Raw cheese slices are filling and delicious (good source of fat to rebuild cells and brain nourishment!)
  • Yogurt (topped with nuts and honey)


  • Hummus
  • Nuts, soaked and crispy [like this]
  • Grilled Chicken, turkey, steak – great leftovers, fish
  • With a thermos we like this, a great addition is seasoned bone broth
  • Boiled Eggs, sprinkle mineral salt and a bit of pepper while warm and moist

The concept is a buffet! Every day you can mix and match a different combination for a spectrum of nutrients. Be sure to choose one out each of the 4 Food Group ingredients:

Wrap: Lettuce/ Bok Choi (shown in photos) we dip in hummus, it’s delicious!

Dips: Hummus,cheese, blended veggies with cheese and chips (crackers, sliced; carrots, potatoes, zucchini, tomatoes, etc…)

Filling Snacks: Nuts and dates

Chop: Salad, just put dressing in a separate container! [Here is a dressing we make with probiotics]

Have fun and inspire those kiddos to eat healthy and delicious!

Healthy Real Food lunch boxes






Follow along

Latest posts by Mandy (see all)

4 thoughts on “Healthy Real Food Lunch Box Ideas

  1. This is a wonderful article to help parents pack nutritious lunches that are relatively easy to make! Thank you!

  2. I could spend all day here, just reading all of your ideas!!! We have to eat nut-free, and it is so HARD. I’m off to bed, but I will be back to read more!

    1. Thank you, April. Boys are fun aren’t they?! Goodness, no nuts is hard. We had one child that couldn’t have nuts and when we worked through that, I wrote a lot of articles on nuts…we were so thankful. Fortunately, there are a lot of options. Sunflower seed butter and tahini are tasty with raw honey, if you haven’t tried yet.

  3. i am a school counselor at the elementary level. I have students that have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD and I would love to offer parents alternatives ways to help their child (rather than meds which is of course a parent’s decision). I feel nutrition may help address some of the issues naturally and without upsetting the delicate balance of a child’s chemistry which meds seem to do. Do you have any articles on how children with ADD/ADHD could be helped through healthy nutrition that I could refer parents to? Thank you for any suggestions or ideas!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *