5 Economical School Lunches That Can Help Your Kid Stay Alert In School


We’ve all heard the adage “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” But can a good lunch every day keep bad grades at bay?

Research has shown that what children eat can directly affect their grades, behavior, and mood. Eating well-balanced meals can enhance and sustain brain function, memory, and physical performance throughout the day. An ideal meal for the brain consists of three to four ounces of protein along with two servings of vegetables. Here are some of the best school lunches that incorporate protein-and-vegetable offerings while also feeding your desire to stick to a reasonable grocery budget.

1. Upgraded PB&J Sandwich

The nuts from peanut butter (or almond butter) contain protein, fiber, and healthy fats as well as vitamin E, which can help with cognitive function. Serve the sandwich on 100% whole wheat bread or a bagel and add a serving of fruit, cherry tomatoes, sweet corn, or other small veggies and you’ll have a complete lunch.

2. Cobb Salad

A green lunch option that won’t have you seeing red when it comes to cost. A cobb salad contains both healthy greens and protein, including toppings such as turkey bacon, cheese, chicken or turkey, and dried fruits and nuts. Topping the salad with sliced avocado adds even more fiber along with vitamins E and B, and folic acid.

3. Mac And Cheese With Veggies

Say “cheese” and kids just naturally smile. Mac and cheese is always a go-to favorite when you’re feeding your family; make it with 100% whole wheat pasta and you’re adding nutrients to this preferred pasta dish. Blend in fresh veggies like tomatoes, bell pepper, cauliflower, carrots, or broccoli and you’ll be giving your kids a healthy boost during the day.

4. Turkey Wrap And Fruit

You can absolutely wing it when it comes to making a wrap: Feel free to customize your child’s sandwich while also keeping it super healthy. Choose a 100% whole wheat wrap and add in some baby carrots or other veggies that will serve to bulk up your child’s lunch and leave them feeling ready to take on any afternoon school tasks.

5. Veggie Burger And Veggie Chips

The high fat and calorie count of a burger can really take a bite out of your child’s recommended daily caloric intake. Serve up a veggie or bean burger instead; many meatless patties include an assortment of veggies and spices that offer a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. And don’t be surprised if veggie chips become your kid’s favorite snack – they’re crispy, salty, and tasty like regular potato chips but contain hidden veggies that other high-calorie snacks lack.


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Sandra Murphy

Holds a master's degree in professional writing and has more than 15 years of experience writing for national and international entities.

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