Lunch is the hardest meal of the day in my family. My kids love fruit and even some veggies, but for some reason when lunch time arrives, they just want junk. They wouldn’t dare eat salad. And they only want the peanut butter for a sandwich, which isn’t allowed at school. So for healthy lunches, we have to get creative.

1. The Dipping Salad

My kids won’t eat salad, except when they don’t know they’re eating salad. That’s why this idea from Amy Marlow, MPH, RD is so perfect. She tears up pieces of lettuce and chops up assorted veggies and puts them out separately with a side of vinaigrette to dip them into. The salad all put together is simply too much for them, and this makes it simple and fun.

2. The “Not a Sandwich” Sandwich

My kids love sandwiches, they just don’t know it. They like cold cuts. They like bread. They like cheese. They just don’t like them put together. So instead, we roll up the meat and we roll up the cheese and we put some bread on the side. It’s a sandwich, just not a sandwich.

3. Apple Cookies

My girls love apples dipped in peanut butter, so this idea from Stock Piling Moms is right up our alley. Apples sliced into flat circles, so they look like cookies. Then spread some sunflower butter on top with some chocolate chips. Sounds pretty perfect to me.

4. Bagel Sandwich

Do your kids love breakfast? Give it to them for lunch. This mini-bagel breakfast sandwich from Bon Appetit is perfect. It’s got eggs for protein and Canadian bacon and cream cheese for extra amazing taste.

5. Zesty Bean Dip

Kids love to dip their foods. (Okay, we all kinda like to dip our foods.) So how about making a healthy bean dip with a side of tortilla chips? This one from Eating Well has a kick to it.

6. Quesadillas

My kids have recently discovered a love for quesadillas. The great thing about quesadillas is you can make them with just cheese or you can add your child’s favorite things to them – bacon, ham, turkey, or even some veggies.

Packing school lunches doesn’t have to be a nightmare or boring. And you don’t have to stick to store bought items. Keep it healthy and keep it fun.