100+ Healthy, Delicious and Easy Lunchbox Snacks

by Marla on August 27, 2012 · 119 comments

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100 Healthy, Delicious and Easy Lunchbox Snack Ideas on FamilyFreshCooking.com GREAT for Back to School & Summer Camp!

One of the most important features successful lunchboxes have are the snacks you tuck inside. You need a main meal for lunch & to keep energy levels high throughout the day it’s best to have well balanced, tasty and healthy snacks at the ready.

Snacks don’t have to be over thought, they just need to provide essential nutrients and calories to keep you going. Reaching for overly processed items in vending machines and the school cafeteria are costly, filled with sugars, salt, also empty calories. One of the goals of Project LunchBox is to help you make better, more informed choices. Those choices are best when you purchase your own foods and cook at home.

Besides, snacks and mini meals are super fun to look forward to!

100 Healthy, Delicious and Easy Lunchbox Snack Ideas on FamilyFreshCooking.com GREAT for Back to School & Summer Camp!

In case you are wondering, what you see above includes:

*it’s OK if you buy the healthy stuff from the store too

100 Healthy, Delicious and Easy Lunchbox Snack Ideas on FamilyFreshCooking.com GREAT for Back to School & Summer Camp!

Snacking tips

Eat whole foods.

We hear this time and time again. Not only are whole foods better for you, they are budget friendly and are more likely to keep you in your skinny jeans. Besides, whole foods (foods closest to their natural source) taste better. More on this in my 10 Secrets to Skinny post.

Choose your ingredients from the perimeter of the grocery store.

These are the freshest foods and the most economical choices. See my Food Shopping page.

100 Healthy, Delicious and Easy Lunchbox Snack Ideas on FamilyFreshCooking.com GREAT for Back to School & Summer Camp!

Steer clear of packaged foods.

These are generally over priced, have wasteful packaging and are filled with ingredients you don’t need anyway.

By the way I am obsessed with these sistema containers. They are microwave safe, BPA free and super pretty. They come in so many shapes and sizes too. Lots of the containers have compartments to keep foods from touching one another. You can find them at my Project LunchBox Amazon.com store.

100 Healthy, Delicious and Easy Lunchbox Snack Ideas on FamilyFreshCooking.com GREAT for Back to School & Summer Camp!

Read labels.

Always know what is in the food you buy. Keep an eye out for ingredients that you don’t understand, excess sugars, sodium and too many fats. Always remember, different strokes for different folks. In our house, fats from cheese, nuts, avocado, coconut and natural sources are amazing sources of energy. Fat helps sustain energy and feed the brain fuel. Some people are really into calorie counting and fat grams, that is not my thing.

Even though I do not calorie count ~ I do carefully watch portions and practice a mindful eating lifestyle. More about that on my About and Get Started pages.

100 Healthy, Delicious and Easy Lunchbox Snack Ideas on FamilyFreshCooking.com GREAT for Back to School & Summer Camp!

Watch out for “enriched.”

The word enriched means that whole foods (let’s use whole wheat as an example) have been stripped of their essential nutrients (maybe in the bleaching process.) Vitamins and minerals are then added back in for color & flavor and to make you think the food still has nutritional value. Our bodies can’t process machine made foods nearly as good as they can real whole foods. As I said above, stick to the good stuff (fresh and minimally processed) and you will reap great rewards in the end.

Prepare a Big Batch when you have time.

Shop and prepare food when you have small chunks of time. That said, make sure you responsibly carve out chunks of time to do this. It is well worth it for your wallet, waistline, energy levels and taste buds. Prepare Big Batches of snacks to get you through a week or more of lunchbox meals.

100 Healthy, Delicious and Easy Lunchbox Snack Ideas on FamilyFreshCooking.com GREAT for Back to School & Summer Camp!

Above is another one of my favorite lunch box containers (you all ready know how much I am in LOVE with Easy LunchBoxes!) That beautiful meal is featured in the upcoming Cooking With Trader Joe’s Cookbook – Easy Lunch Boxes that I photographed.

Have a separate bag or container for snacks.

In order to keep from eating everything in your lunchbox at once store snacks separately in brown paper bags or re-usable containers (LunchSkins and Itzy Ritzy are great for this). This is what we do for my Kindergartener son. It ensures kids eat their lunch and their snacks!

100 Healthy, Delicious and Easy Lunchbox Snack Ideas on FamilyFreshCooking.com GREAT for Back to School & Summer Camp!

Make adjustments to recipes.

The recipes below are merely suggestions and ideas to point you in the right direction. If you have allergies or certain restrictions make the appropriate changes to ingredient lists. If you are in a nut free school zone many times sunflower seed butter is a great adaptation. Gluten free? Try swapping out whole wheat flour with gluten free options.

100 Healthy, Delicious and Easy Lunchbox Snack Ideas on FamilyFreshCooking.com GREAT for Back to School & Summer Camp!

100+ Amazing, Easy & Healthy Lunchbox Snacks 

Here is a list of 100+ recipes from around the web to get you started.


DIY power bars and granola bars are simple to prepare and are a great way to save money, use healthful ingredients and they taste amazing! See Brownies and Bars on Pinterest ~ lots of these are decadent, but fun to look at anyway!

Breakfast-y Snacks

These double as breakfast on the go or delicious snacks. if you are anything like me then you crave breakfast all day long! See loads of great (constantly updated) Breakfast ideas on my Pinterest page.

Cookies (healthy ones)

Want more cookies? Check out my Cookie favorites on Pinterest.

Crackers + Crunch

For more ideas follow my Snacks and Nibbles Pinterst board.

Fruity Snacks

Berries and sliced fruit and fruit salads are great in the lunchbox. You can also try these recipes. Follow my Tutti Fruitti board on Pinterest.

Muffins and Healthy Cakes

Follow Muffins on Pinterest too!

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts for Nuts! on Pinterest….for even more nutty ideas.


Also followt my Popcorn Pinterest board for more ideas…


You can follow my Puddings and Custard Pinterest board too!

Savory Bites

For more follow Savory Bites on Pinterest.

Shakes and Smoothies

A great way to have a cold smoothie for your snack is to freeze it overnight and let it thaw throughout the day. Make sure you use a freezer safe container and you leave room for expansion! Follow Shakes, Floats & Smoothies on Pinterest.

Spreads and Dips 

Kids and adults love dips. Pack organic nut and seed butters or make your own! Dips, spreads and sauces make fruits and veggies more tempting and they add some sustain to your snack. Also follow Dip + Dress + Sauce + Spread on Pinterest.

Veggie Snacks

Keep containers full of sliced and prepped veggies for grab and go snacks and lunches. You can also make these fun recipes. Eat Your Veggies on Pinterest.


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{ 67 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amy (Super Healthy Kids) August 27, 2012 at 9:38 am

Thanks for including us in your list Marla!! Love all the resources you found. WOW!!


2 Marla August 28, 2012 at 8:30 am

Thanks Amy!! I hope this post helps out many people :)


3 Kathryn August 27, 2012 at 9:45 am

What an awesome round up Marla! So many great ideas there, thank you so much for sharing!


4 Jami @newbiehomestead August 27, 2012 at 9:49 am

WOW this is a fantastic list! Thank you for sharing :) I think finding something healthy, fun, and filling for the lunch box is one of the biggest quandaries of the school week so it’s always good to find some new ( and great!) ideas to freshen up your repertoire lol.


5 Marla August 28, 2012 at 8:31 am

So happy I could help you out Jami!


6 Aggie August 27, 2012 at 10:02 am

Oh Marla, I love all the work you put into this post…it is AWESOME and full of so many helpful tips. I have really gotten into a good lunch packing groove this year with the kids. The easy lunchbox containers have been great, and I’m trying to keep things fun and fresh for them too. Thanks so much for the link love!!



7 Marla August 27, 2012 at 10:27 am

You are so welcome Aggie. Glad you like this list and I hope it is helpful for all that busy lunch packing this year!


8 Averie @ Averie Cooks August 27, 2012 at 10:13 am

Marla this is just an astounding roundup and post! WOW! Can’t even imagine how long this took you – but thanks for all the great ideas and for the linky love. I appreciate it and hope someone packs a lunch for YOU now :)


9 Marla August 27, 2012 at 10:26 am

Seriously Averie, I need a private chef for this house asap 😉 Happy you like the list. Yes, it did take a long time….I hope worth it to everyone though!


10 Sommer@ASpicyPerspective August 27, 2012 at 10:16 am

What an incredible list of ideas! Thanks for including me. :)


11 Marla August 28, 2012 at 8:31 am

Your welcome Sommer ~ thanks for all of your excellent recipes :)


12 Kate@Diethood August 27, 2012 at 10:53 am

Oh my! I am bookmarking everything on here! Thank you, Marla, for sharing, and for including me.


13 Marla August 28, 2012 at 8:32 am

Awesome Kate! Hope you get to try EVERYTHING!!


14 Kiran @ KiranTarun.com August 27, 2012 at 11:06 am

Incredible list and tips on healthy lunchbox ideas, Marla! And thanks for the link love! Off to pin :)


15 Marla August 28, 2012 at 8:33 am

You are so welcome Kiran. You have amazing recipes and so many are helpful for people trying to pack healthy + tasty lunch boxes.


16 HeatherChristo August 27, 2012 at 11:19 am

This is an incredible list Marla! I am inspired now instead of dreading another year of scrambling for packed lunches!


17 Marla August 28, 2012 at 8:33 am

Heather, it is hard not to have that scramble. Hopefully we can all encourage one another to be great lunch box packers!


18 Jeanette August 27, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Thanks for taking all the time to put this post together Marla. My kiddos are starting school this week, so back to packing school lunches and healthy snacks. Thanks also for the link love to my Healthy Brain Boosting Snacks. Best wishes for a fantastic start of a new school year.


19 Marla August 28, 2012 at 8:34 am

Jeanette, glad you are finding this helpful. I had a great time putting it all together and visiting all of your blogs.


20 Deliciously Organic August 27, 2012 at 12:48 pm

What a fantastic post Marla! It’s so helpful. Thank you!


21 susan August 27, 2012 at 2:09 pm

So many great ideas, Marla! Thanks!


22 kristin August 27, 2012 at 2:22 pm

I love the sistema systems too! got some at homegoods and they are perfect for little ones and my lunches.


23 Marla August 28, 2012 at 8:35 am

Kristin, we all love the sistema boxes here. Soooo simple to use and easy to clean! Love that we don’t have throw away packaging too!


24 JulieD August 27, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Thanks for including my smoothies. I love your lunchbox ideas!!


25 Jackie @ Domestic Fits August 27, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Pinning this for later! My daughter is only 2 1/2 and I’m already thinking about the horrors of school lunch. I am so set on packing a lunch for her, and making sure she gets a healthy, unprocessed meal. Plus, I can’t wait to leave her notes to remind her of how much I love her.


26 Marla August 28, 2012 at 8:39 am

Awesome Jackie ~ stay in touch. Lots of ideas over here for when your little gal needs that lunchbox!


27 Monique @ Ambitious Kitchen August 27, 2012 at 4:08 pm

This is incredibly useful for parents — LOVE IT! Thanks for the link love too! :)


28 Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers August 27, 2012 at 4:25 pm

What a fantastic post, so many recipes! I need to get some lunch boxes!!!


29 Jennifer August 27, 2012 at 7:14 pm

I just discovered your website and I am so excited to try to get lunches healthier and more of a variety for my kids this year. Thanks for all the suggestions.


30 Marla August 28, 2012 at 6:40 am

Hi Jennifer! Thanks for stopping by and I am thrilled you found me too. Please stay in touch :)


31 Heidi @ Food Doodles August 27, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Great list! Thank you so much for including me! I’m going to have to spend some serious time on this post. And I’ll definitely be saving it to check back on over and over again! Thanks for putting this all together :)


32 Marla August 28, 2012 at 6:40 am

Heidi, happy I could give you some material to hold onto. I need to get started working with these recipes for the back to school rush!


33 Dina August 27, 2012 at 9:52 pm

What a great idea for a topic. I am sure many will find this very useful. Your entire site is really fun to visit and has a lot of good information and beautiful photography. Thanks for including a link-back to my blog.


34 Marla August 28, 2012 at 6:39 am

You are welcome Dina! Glad you could pop over for a visit :)


35 Rachel Cooks August 28, 2012 at 4:57 am

Awesome post, Marla!


36 val August 28, 2012 at 7:06 am

This post is thoroughly impressive. I’m very inspired. Thanks Marla.


37 Marla August 28, 2012 at 8:40 am

Glad I could help to inspire Val!


38 TidyMom August 28, 2012 at 2:52 pm

fabulous post packed with great info Marla!!
thanks for the linky love too!


39 Ann August 28, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Thanks for featuring my white cheddar popcorn! I love all these ideas and this post will certainly come in handy when my kids start school!


40 Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar August 28, 2012 at 3:59 pm

This is an amazing list! You put so much awesome work into this. Love it!


41 Cori August 29, 2012 at 9:23 am

Most schools do not allow any nuts or nut products – which I am happy for because I have a severely nut allergic child.


42 Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking August 29, 2012 at 12:27 pm

All of these snack ideas are SO creative, Marla! Going to steal a few of them for my weekdays! Thanks so much for sharing.


43 Diana August 29, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Great ideas and links – thanks you for all your effort it is very appreciated!


44 Kelly August 29, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Hi. I just found this page from Deliciously Organic and am looking forward to perusing your “whole food recipes” and ideas.

I was wondering if you choose/approve the advertisements that appear on your pages? I see on this page 2 Pillsbury dough-in-a-can products that contain many dangerous and other questionable ingredients.

Cinnomon Rolls:
Enriched Flour Bleached, Water, Sugar, Partially Hydrogentated Soybean Oil, Dextrose, Wheat Starch, Bakin Powder, Palm and Soybean Oil, Whey, Salt, Cinnamon, Corn Starch, Corn Syrup Solids, Monoglycerides, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate, Polysorbate 60, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Yellow 5, Red 40

Artisan Pizza Crust:
Whole Wheat Flour Bleached, Enriched Flour Bleached, Water, Soybean Oil, Vital Wheat Gluen, Destrose, Sugar, Leavening, Ssalt, Partially Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil, Natural and Articial Flavor, Mono and Diglycerides, Xanthan Gum, Yeast, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Azodicarbonamide

While I haven’t seen much of your site yet, these ads don’t seem to fit with the “fresh”, “whole”, and “healthy” titles I see at the top.


45 Marla August 29, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Thanks for your well researched comment! Hopefully you can find plenty of whole food, great for you recipes on FFC :)


46 Heather August 29, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Thanks Marla for mentioning my Paleo Pumpkin Muffins! What an amazing post! Great ideas for snacks for the kiddos. I’m always looking for healthy snacks for my little ones and your detailed list is going to be fabulous!
I hope you are doing well! I have been following you on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook and your photography continues to amazes me! :)


47 Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen August 30, 2012 at 2:00 am

What a great resource you’ve put together here Marla!


48 Abby @ Fig & FOrk August 30, 2012 at 8:56 am

I have been sharing this post with everyone – thank you for putting this together!


49 Katherine August 30, 2012 at 1:19 pm

This is well done. Great job! Looking forward to trying some of these :)



50 DessertForTwo August 30, 2012 at 2:50 pm

I love this! Adults and kids need help in the lunch department!

Thanks for including me in the roundup :)


51 Roxana | Roxana's Home Baking August 30, 2012 at 7:46 pm

What a great list Marla! i’m saving it for future reference. Thanks for putting it together


52 Sally August 31, 2012 at 7:44 am

Thanks for the ideas! I love having so many creative lunch ideas in one spot. I am going to share this on facebook for all of my mommy-friends to see :)


53 Marla August 31, 2012 at 9:44 am

Awesome Sally and thanks so much for the share :)


54 Christina @ Sweet Pea's Kitchen August 31, 2012 at 7:33 pm

What a wonderful roundup of snack ideas! Thanks so much for including my baked applesauce! :)


55 domonique @ abowlfullofsimple September 3, 2012 at 7:14 pm

you have really outdone yourself with this one! what a thorough list.
thank you for compiling it all in one place!


56 Marla September 3, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Thanks Domonique – hope you gets loads of new lunchbox ideas :)


57 Jeri Thurber November 3, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Thanks for the great ideas. I have perhaps a silly question: we eat healthy, organic meals at dinner & I usually make extra so we can have them for lunch during the week (we homeschool). Our snacks are fresh fruits & veggies & hummus/bean dips. Is it less nutritious to eat leftovers, even healthy ones? Should I be making fresh lunch everyday? TIA!


58 Marla November 3, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Hi Jeri, I always make extra big batches to have food at the ready when we need it most. As far as nutrition on leftovers – not sure about that. Someone knowledgeable in the science of food would know better :) Good luck!


59 Li Mei Ye January 6, 2013 at 11:19 am

Thanks for putting your ideas on pinterest. I found this invaluable. Any suggestions for feeding fussy eating toddlers?


60 Clare January 12, 2013 at 7:33 pm

These ideas are great!! I hope you dont mind but I just added a link to this post on my blog about school lunch inspiration.


61 Marianka January 16, 2013 at 3:20 am

Love your ideas! Thank You for sharing


62 Daphne April 10, 2013 at 2:00 am

My son loves his food crispy and crunchy. I tried sending him with mini quiche baskets that was crispy when I got it out of the oven but turned soft and soggy in his lunch box. The quiche was cooled before packing it in the box. Any ideas on how to retain crispness in boxes?


63 Jill B May 8, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Do you buy organic or focus on the dirty dozen or what.? Also what cheese do you recommend.? Organic or raw.? Thanks so much.!!


64 Lani August 30, 2013 at 8:47 pm

I am so happy to have been suggested to search for healthy lunchbox items on your site! My kids have been bringing back their lunchboxes with uneaten food and I was almost thinking of sending them to school with nothing but a water bottle!! Their school wants us to pack them healthy food and they practice Trashless lunches. So I am looking forward to using your excellent tips, advice and suggestions to get our kids to eat right and enjoy their food as well. I happened to have already bought some Systema containers. Can’t wait to fill them up with your recipes!


65 Marla September 1, 2013 at 5:08 am

Hi Lani, I am thrilled you found my blog as well. Sounds like you are all ready on the right track with lunch boxes. It is really tricky to get it right (and not all days will we do so) The best we can do is try many options! Good luck & hope to see you around here a lot :)


66 Kassiah September 16, 2013 at 9:49 am

This is an amazing list. Thank you so much!


67 loss journey November 26, 2013 at 3:52 pm

Way cool! Somme extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this write-up and the rest oof tthe website is also very good.


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