ADHD, Meal Planning

Healthy School Lunches And Why They’re Beneficial

Eating Healthy At School Is Important

The struggle to find time to prepare healthy school lunches is real. As I walk through the grocery store, I see so many opportunities to cut time by purchasing conveniently packaged and pre-portioned foods. These can serve as time savers for sure, but what are we sacrificing in using these options all the time for our children? Read about my Healthy School Lunch Ideas, and see if it can help you at all with yours.

Healthy School Lunches

Healthy Eating Effects ADHD Behaviors

I believe diet can be a huge contributor to behavior issues with many children. We have been on a recent path to discovering that our son, who is now 8, has ADHD. When first researching this growing diagnosis, I learned a lot about how foods, especially processed and color added varieties, can contribute to aggression, emotional swings, and increased hyperactivity in children.

Facing this challenge every day makes it extremely difficult for children with ADHD to learn simple things we take for granted every day, like time management, remembering a sequence of steps, or the skills needed to accomplish daily tasks. Having a healthy school lunch can help sustain those impulsive actions at school.

Growing Up Behind The 8 Ball

When I consider this and the growing body, I can’t help but feel like I’m already set up for failure as a parent. Not to mention the challenges my son will face every day. What to eat has now become so very important to us, that it is oftentimes the first thing I think of when we have an excessive amount of energy or excitement (good or bad). That walk through the grocery store becomes more and more difficult, especially with him by my side. Seeing all of the fun packaging and flavors and colors!

Simplifying The Healthy Lunch Process

Healthy School Lunch Items Organized In The Pantry

The best thing that I can do to support healthy eating, is to cut out as much processed foods as I can. There will always need to be a balance for us between this and the convenience factor, however, trying to keep choices in our home that have as little ingredients in them is how we do just that. Understanding ADHD, My son has already learned how dyes and colors affect him, so he can usually make a good choice when faced with it. When choosing healthy school lunch items at the grocery store, look for foods that are colored with natural products, low sugar, and are made with whole grains.

Setting Our Kids Up For Success

3 Fruit Choices, 3 Vegetable Choices

My son is most successful when he only has a few choices. Not more than 3 for each category then he gets frustrated and feels overwhelmed. One thing I have noticed with his ADHD is that he needs to be successful in his choices. He gets so much negative attention due to his constant high energy levels and racing thoughts, that having a positive experience with his self-management is crucial for him being able to repeat a “good” behavior, rather than a “bad” behavior. Giving him healthy school lunch ideas to choose from does just that.

Having a few baskets or totes in the fridge and cupboard works perfectly. I pre-stock them with the items we have on hand: veggies, fruits, applesauce, granola bars, cheese sticks, and juices. He or I can then grab a few things during our Evening Routine, set them together, and the next morning I can make a sandwich or bagel and lunch is done! We even include leftovers, like when we make pizza for dinner. He loves to take leftovers the next day. Here are some ideas of what to fill your totes with.

Easily Pack Healthy School Lunches

Make Eating Healthy School Lunches Fun!

Puzzle Sandwich Pieces

You can make healthy school lunches fun or special with a note or silly face on a go-gurt! Try using cookie cutters to make fun sandwich shapes, or cheese and ham shapes. You can use the excess pieces for your salad! Bento boxes make lunch super easy! Keep foods separated without having to go through a million zip-lock baggies. Just pop them into the dishwasher after school for easy cleanup.

Bento Lunch Boxes

The important thing is to make it work for you and your busy schedule. Use this list of healthy school lunch ideas to keep things interesting. Rotate through items to see if they are a hit or not, and try not to include too many processed foods. We have saved serious money over the years by packing healthy school lunches from home every day. You can read more about our easy budget system here.


As children get older, they will be transitioning into making these choices on their own. This gives them the skills and taste buds to make balanced choices later on in life. Need more help with meal planning? Read my 7 Steps to easy meal plans and start planning ahead for healthy dinners too! Breakfast is another area you can prepare for in advance for your busy week. use these Busy Mom Breakfast tips for yourself or your kids.

Do you know any moms who could benefit from packing healthy school lunches with these time-saving tips? Share or pin this post! There are so many families struggling to manage ADHD and behavior issues. Comment below and tell me what works for you! I would love to gather more insight! Remember, we’re all in this together! Find more ideas on my Pinterest board.

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