Healthy lunch for school with sandwich, fresh apple and orange juice. Assorted colorful school supplies. Copy space.

Summer is over (at least here in the states), and with it, all that free time to make up incredible, elaborate lunches that resemble Instagram spreads. Or maybe you’re like me and you weren’t doing that anyway?
Either way, with school back in session, the luxury of whipping something up when you have the time is all but gone. Now, it’s all about thinking ahead and stocking up on the right foods that will keep you and your family satisfied and energized all day long.
We think we can help. Here’s a quick shortlist of simple lunches you (and the kids) will enjoy:

1. Bento Box Lunch Easter Bunny healthy lunch box, fun food art for kids

Ever seen one of these ()? They’re genius. Typically there’s a big section; where you can put your carbs or your protein, and at least two smaller sections for fruit, veggies, nuts, and seeds. This is great if you don’t want to cook, and would rather throw in some ham and cheese chunks with a few crackers in lieu of spaghetti.

2. Finger food Young woman making school lunch in the morning

One of my main challenges with lunch is that I don’t always have access to silverware when I’m out, and I always think bringing my own is a pain. The other is that I don’t have a microwave. Cold food that should be warm is kind of depressing. What I do instead is load up on things that can be eaten cold, or at least at room temperature.

Here’s a quick list of some of the foods I go for:
1. Breakfast and protein bars (some have added sugar, skip them)
2. Boiled eggs
3. Dried fruit
4. Beef jerky (once again, watch out for sugar)
5. Olives
6. Hummus and veggies
7. Plantain chips
8. String cheese or babybel

I try to mix it up every now and then so I don’t get bored of what I’m eating, but these are a great way to make sure I get all the nutrients I need.

3. Sandwich baget sandwich including turkey chese tomatoes and lettuce

Bread can often get a bad rap but it isn’t the enemy if it’s eaten in moderation and you’re eating the right kind. Read labels on your bread, or better yet, make your own! The best kind of bread to buy is whole grain, dark, full of fiber, contains a few grams of protein, and is low in sugar and saturated fat.

When you’re making your sandwiches, go for slices with medium to thin thickness, and focus on building flavor and nutrients layer by layer. This could be adding sauerkraut or pickles, thick round tomatoes, crunchy, watery lettuce, and hunks of chicken.
One tip though: go easy on the sauce, or make your own, most contain a lot of unhelpful and unnecessary things.

4. Leftovers Two plastic food containers with green vegetable (salad, basil, dill, sorrel, peas, cucumber, pepper) on a shelf of a fridge.

Let’s face it, these are kind of a no-brainer. Make your favorite meal with twice the portions and keep some for later. You won’t regret it.

Femi A-Williams is a health and fitness convert trying to reconcile a healthy lifestyle and a happy food life. She is 80% whole grain and 20% donut.

All posts by Femi A-Williams