School Lunches Are the WORST: What to Pack Instead


The kids are back in school, and that means new challenges for busy parents.

So this week and next week, we’re going to tackle two of the biggest. Next week, I’ll give you a cold and illness survival guide for all of the germs they bring home.

And today, I’m going to give you a ton of nutritious and delicious school lunch ideas. These work for grown ups’ lunches too, so even if you don’t have school-aged kids, keep reading for good ideas!

It’s hard to be a parent trying to raise healthy kids today. Kids are inundated by tempting junk food and surrounded by other kids eating garbage every day, and school lunches are a big part of the problem.

And yet, we are talking about our children – they are worth the challenge! With childhood obesity on the rise, now more than ever, we need to enable our kids to become healthy adults.

We know how obesity contributes to diseases as serious as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. And yet, obesity rates in children and adults have increased over the last 20 years. You might already know that 1 in 3 children are overweight, and 1 in 5 children are obese. But did you know that the rate jumps dramatically after age 5?

That’s right, according to the CDC, from ages 0 to 5 we do a fairly good job of helping children stay healthy and fit. But then obesity rates DOUBLE between the ages of 6 to 19.

What that tells me is that when parents have more control over what their kids eat, they are healthier, but once kids are in school all day and away from parents’ influence, they begin to veer off course. That’s what leads to US students who eat school lunches getting 2 or fewer servings of fruit a day. And don’t even ask about vegetables!

So it’s essential that we not only send our kids to school with nutritious foods, but that we also get them involved in the process so they can continue to perform well in school and make good choices for themselves now and throughout their lifetimes.

No kids are too young to help pack lunches, and at the same time, no kids are so grown-up that a watchful eye from mom or dad every now and then won’t help ensure they’re packing good choices.

Alright, I’ve got more than 30 ideas for you, so let’s get started.

Water – H2O is the new juice! Instead of sports drinks, soda, vitamin water, or fruit juice, you’ll save a ton at the grocery store checkout when you stop buying juice boxes and start sending water in lunch boxes instead. You can add a lemon or lime slice into their water to give it a little extra flavor and alkalinity, and if you want to kick it up a notch, add some flavored essential oils from the company Medicine Flowers (my favorite is passion fruit)

Green smoothies – Use an insulated drink holder to pack a smoothie made with spinach, coconut milk, almond butter, and banana (or their choice of fruit and veggie add-ins…spinach usually is least green tasting and works best). Just tell them to give it a shake when they’re ready to drink. 

Ezekiel bread with hummus – The sprouting process denatures most of the gluten, making this your healthier choice of bread if you are going to use. Moderation, you’re totally fine.

Avocado toast – Use Ezekiel bread and plenty of lime to keep the avocado from browning, and then cover with plastic or reusable wrap.  

Sweet Potato Chips

Pre-cut veggies and hummus or guacamole – celery, cucumbers, broccoli “trees,” carrots, or cherry tomatoes

Zucchini Sushi – My kids think this is so fun! Make extra filling, as you can use this for a vegetable stick dip. 

Fresh fruit – Washed and ready to eat fruit like green apple slices, berries, and cherry tomatoes. Here’s a great tip if your kids won’t eat apple slices that have browned in their lunch during the morning... Core and slice the apple into even wedges, squeeze a lemon slice over the wedges, and put the slices back together with a clean rubber band around them to keep them fresh.

Ezekiel bread with raw almond butter and cinnamon – Cut this in small pieces for little ones. And you can add fresh berries to make “PB&J” the alkaline way!  Feel free to add a drizzle of Manuka honey.

Baked Zucchini Chips with Cool Dill Dip – Better option to potato chips!

Ezekiel brand sprouted tortilla topped with our alkaline Burrito Bowl filling

Lots of little snacks – Use a vitamin pill container or bento box to hold hemp seeds, raw sprouted almonds, fresh berries, unsweetened coconut flakes, raw walnuts, and macadamia nuts.  My wife sends our 5-year old Brayden off to school with one of these EVERY day!

Salty Sesame Soy Chickpeas

Daily Greens fruit pop – Made with frozen fruit, Alkamind Daily Greens, coconut oil, date, and chia seeds.

YES Bars (prefer these ones) or Chia bars – These are a good brand for a quick, ready to go option. Make sure they are marked vegan and pay close attention to sugar and carbohydrate levels as well. For YES Bar, I love the Black Sesame, and if going with Chia Bar, go with the pumpkin bars as they have less acidic ingredients and no soy. 

Homemade applesauce – The store-bought is HIGHLY acidic, so make your own!  Blend slow-cooked green apples with spinach and add cinnamon.

Salads – Store the dressing in a small glass container to keep the lettuce fresh and teach your kids how to mix it.

“Cheesy” Kale Chips

Make your own trail mix – I like raw almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, pecans, unsweetened coconut flakes, cacao nibs, goji berries, sunflower seeds, and hemp seeds. Make it in a big batch in advance with your kids so the prep work is done for you. 

Tomato, basil, and avocado skewers – Drizzle with lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. This is like alkaline caprese! But you can also substitute their favorite veggies.
Creamy Butternut Squash Soup – in an insulated Thermos mug or bowl

Zoodles – or spiralized zucchini noodles, with tomato sauce (check for sugar content and ingredients if you’re using store bought or better yet, make your own). Zoodles are a GREAT replacement for pasta, and can be quite versatile simply by changing the sauce you make. 

Quinoa bowls – Top quinoa with fresh add-ons like bell peppers, green onions, black beans, and tomato.

Watermelon Gazpacho – Any chilled soup makes an easy and satisfying lunch and this one is a kid-pleaser. 

Green apple slices with raw almond butter 

Pre-cut veggies with Italian Hummus – An Italian twist on traditional hummus that comes from my very own mom!  

Sesame Sweet Treats 

Celery “boats” topped with raw almond butter, sunflower butter, tahini, or hummus.  

Sweet Pumpkin Breakfast Bars
 – good for lunch too! 

Dessert Sushi

Don’t forget to start and end your kids’ days right! 

Give them a scoop of Alkamind Daily Greens in water or a smoothie in the morning so they get 5 whole servings of raw super foods in less than 30 seconds!

And 30 minutes before bed, give them a scoop of Alkamind Daily Minerals in water so that they sleep better – and you do too!


Dr. Daryl

1 comment

  • Great post, thank you! We just started kindergarten, and it’s been real challenge to have my kid eat anything that I pack. Will use some of your ideas.


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