Lunch for A Month!

Picky kid? Nut-free school? Slow eater? Celebrity chefs forked over 30 simple ideas that take the stress out of packing.

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Tyler Florence

Dad of Dorothy, 4, and Hayden, 5; host of Tyler’s Ultimate on Food Network;
and creator of Sprout, a line of organic baby and toddler foods


Tortellini salad (cook pasta; add peas in last 2 minutes; toss with pesto)


Small tossed salad

Goat-cheese and grape-jelly bagel

Peter Ardito

Goat cheese and grape jelly sandwich on a small cinnamon-raisin bagel


Raw sugar snap peas

sunflower butter and banana sandwich

Peter Ardito

Half a sunflower-butter and banana sandwich on whole-wheat bread

Low-fat fruit yogurt

Grape tomatoes

Healthy Lunch Ideas for Kids

Peter Ardito

Soup (heat rotisserie chicken, broth, pasta, and veggies for 15 minutes)

Animal crackers


Rice balls

Peter Ardito

Rice balls (cook short-grain rice; roll with chopped cooked veggies into 1-inch balls)



Turkey Sloppy Joe on slider bun

Peter Ardito

Ming Tsai

Dad of David, 10, and Henry, 12; host of PBS cooking show Simply Ming; author of four cookbooks; and owner of Blue Ginger restaurant, in Wellesley, Massachusetts

Turkey Sloppy Joe on slider bun (keep meat warm in a thermos)

Apple wedges

Cucumber slices

Ramen noodles

Peter Ardito

Ramen noodles (minus the seasoning pack) in chicken broth with veggies

Rice crackers


Turkey, lettuce, and Dijon mustard pinwheels

Peter Ardito

Turkey, lettuce, and Dijon mustard pinwheels on a whole-grain tortilla

Baby carrots

Vegetable chips

Lettuce wraps with grilled teriyaki chicken and carrots

Peter Ardito

Lettuce wraps with grilled teriyaki chicken and carrots

Air-popped popcorn

Mandarin orange

Lunch Monitor: What Are Kids Throwing Away?

Peter Ardito

Soba-noodle salad

Bell pepper strips and ranch dip


Start to Finish: 20 minsGet the Recipe PB&J heart shaped sandwich

Peter Ardito

Josh Capon

Dad of Amanda, 6, and Max, 3; guest judge on Food Network’s Chopped; and executive chef of Lure Fishbar and B&B Winepub, in New York

PB&J heart-shaped sandwich on whole-wheat bread

Baby carrots

Banana with silly sticker

Fruit kabob

Peter Ardito

String-cheese stick

Rolled-up turkey lunch meat

Fruit kabob (cut off pointy end)

Whole-grain crackers

Tuna fish sandwich stars

Peter Ardito

Tuna-fish sandwich stars


Edamame in shells (more fun to pop!)

Oatmeal with brown sugar and cinnamon

Peter Ardito

Oatmeal with brown sugar and cinnamon

Green-bean letters

Applesauce cup

Brown Spanish Rice

Peter Ardito

Brown Spanish rice and ground beef in a thermos

Tortilla chips

Green grapes

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 40 minsGet the Recipe

How to Eat Healthy: Raising Nutrition-Smart Kids

Peter Ardito

Marcela Valladolid

Mom of Fausto, 8, and host of Food Network’s Mexican Made Easy

DIY tostada: shredded chicken, cheddar cheese and refried beans, and 2 corn tortillas

Grilled-chicken sandwich with mayo

Peter Ardito

Grilled-chicken sandwich with mayo

Guacamole for dipping sliced cucumbers, jicama, and carrots

Tortilla Soup

Peter Ardito

Tortilla soup in a thermos



Prep: 40 mins Cook: 20 minsGet the Recipe Veggie and black-bean burrito

Peter Ardito

Veggie and black-bean burrito on whole-wheat tortilla with salsa

Watermelon wedges

Roasted cherry-tomato and mozzarella salad in olive oil-balsamic vinaigrette

Peter Ardito

Half an egg-salad sandwich on whole-wheat bread

Roasted cherry-tomato and mozzarella salad in olive oil-balsamic vinaigrette

Melon slice

Apples & PB

Peter Ardito

Jeffrey Saad

Dad of Sebastian, 12, and Isabella, 15; host of Cooking Channel’s United Tastes of America; and author of Jeffrey Saad’s Global Kitchen: Recipes Without Borders

Apples & PB (core a small apple, spoon 2 Tbs. peanut butter in middle)

Back to Nature Harvest Whole Wheat Crackers

Leftover broccoli

ham and veggies pita

Peter Ardito

Leftover ham (or low-salt deli ham) in whole-wheat pita with shredded carrot and zucchini tossed in vinaigrette


Surf Sweets natural Gummy Bears

Creamy shells

Peter Ardito

Creamy shells (leftover pasta with milk, butter, and juice from canned tomatoes microwaved until hot; put in thermos)

Cucumber slices


Half a BLT sandwich

Peter Ardito

Half a BLT: lettuce, tomato, and leftover turkey bacon on whole-wheat bread (bit of mayo with a dash of smoked paprika for flavor)

Baby carrots and ranch dip


Egg-salad wrap

Peter Ardito

Egg-salad wrap (chopped leftover hard-boiled egg and chopped
bell peppers tossed in vinaigrette; roll up in an 8-inch tortilla)

Sliced pears with lemon juice

Terra Sweet Potato Chips

Nutrition Labels: 3 Things To Avoid

Peter Ardito

Andrew Zimmern

Dad of Noah, 7; host of Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods; and author of the upcoming Andrew Zimmern’s Field Guide to Exceptionally Weird, Wild, and Wonderful Foods: An Intrepid Eater’s Digest

Pork salad

Cucumber sticks with yogurt-dill dip

Fruit salad

Start to Finish: 15 minsGet the Recipe Pasta salad

Peter Ardito

Pasta salad

Roasted broccoli

Berry and vanilla yogurt

Start to Finish: 10 minsGet the Recipe Chicken-salad sandwich

Peter Ardito

Chicken-salad sandwich with grapes, scallions, and celery on roll

Cheese stick

Dried peaches

Chili in a thermos

Peter Ardito

Chili in a thermos

Mini corn muffin

Pineapple chunks

leftover meat loaf on a roll

Peter Ardito

Leftover meat loaf on a roll

Santa Cruz Organic applesauce cup

Leftover steamed asparagus

Chicken & Brown Rice Soup

Iain Bagwell

Bonus recipe: Parents advisor Elisa Zied, R.D, recommends this yummy chicken & brown rice soup.

Get the Recipe 36 of 36 Next Slideshow

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