Food & Recipes

7 Healthy School Lunch Options

by Shaun Dreisbach

7 Healthy School Lunch Options

Lunch tray picks that are actually healthy and nutritional for kids

Holy hairnets! Your child's school cafeteria actually does serve healthier foods than "mystery meat" and fried cheese. Encourage your young gourmand to load up his tray with these picks, from Ann Cooper, nutrition services director for Colorado's Boulder Valley School District and author of Lunch Lessons.

Bean-and-veggie quesadillas 

These tend to be made on-site with fresh produce, low-fat cheese and whole-wheat tortillas. Salsa adds anti-oxidant-rich tomato (which a lot of kids won't touch in its natural state).


Ground turkey is ideal, but even school hamburgers aren't a bad choice because they're usually small and contain vegetable filler (a good thing). Of course, it helps if kids forgo cheese, bacon and fries (at least sometimes).


Yep, pizza! Many schools now offer up whole-wheat crusts and top the pies with part-skim-milk cheese. Even if not, a plain or vegetable slice is always a solid lunch standby.


Whole-grain wraps filled with turkey, cheese, lettuce and tomato make for a well-balanced, no-mess meal.

And on the side…

Baked potato

It's a lower-fat choice than mashed or fried.

Low-fat yogurt

It's calcium- and protein-rich.

Baked beans

Just half a cup provides loads of fiber and protein.

Pack and energy-boosting lunch in one of these cool lunch boxes.