When your kiddos head back to school and the whole family’s schedule shifts around, it can be hard to maintain the garden to table lifestyle. The foods you eat fuel your body, so creating healthy meals from your garden is the foundation of a balanced lifestyle. And that goes for your kids, too! Keep their brains sharp with nutritional garden to lunchbox meal and snack ideas that can be prepped ahead of time.

Luckily, back-to-school season coincides with a lot of garden abundance. Use your garden harvests to create delicious and nutritious lunchbox meals that will energize your kids throughout the day. 

Life gets busy, but if you prep properly, you can stay ahead of the curve. Plus, when you eat nutrient-dense foods from your garden, you naturally boost your energy levels so you’re ready to tackle any task that comes your way!

Here are some creative ideas for packing garden-fresh lunches that kids will love.

1. Veggie Wraps with Homemade Hummus: Transform your garden’s harvest into colorful veggie wraps. Use large lettuce leaves or a Siete tortilla as the base. Fill them with fresh veggies like sliced cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes. Add a dollop of homemade hummus for extra flavor. 

I’ll admit, your kids are gonna have to like veggies already to be on board with a veggie wrap! If you hear your kids complaining about the taste of fresh veggies, try swapping out the hummus with ranch (or whatever their favorite sauce is). Also, sprinkle a little salt over whatever veggies you’re using inside the wrap – salt compliments the natural flavors of the veggies. 

2. Garden-Fresh Pasta Salad: Make a garden-inspired pasta salad using freshly picked herbs and vegetables. Cook whole-grain or gluten-free pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain and toss with diced tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, celery, broccoli, cauliflower (really any veggie) and a simple vinaigrette dressing with garden herbs. 

Tip for kids: Cut the veggies super small so they are easy to eat!

3. Caprese Skewers: Create mini Caprese skewers by threading cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil leaves onto skewers. Drizzle with a balsamic glaze for a sweet and tangy twist. Kids can have fun helping make this garden-fresh lunchbox snack. Try setting up an assembly line with the family the night before!

5. Berry Bliss Parfait: Incorporate berries from your garden into a delightful parfait. Layer with organic yogurt of your choice with fresh berries (or other fruit) and a sprinkle of granola for added texture and sweetness. It’s a nice sweet treat!

6. Infused Water: Stay hydrated with a refreshing twist by infusing water with garden herbs like mint or basil or fruits. Fill a reusable water bottle with water and ice, then pop in whatever natural flavors your kids like best!

7. Mini Garden Pizzas: Bake mini sourdough or whole-grain pita bread pizzas using homemade tomato sauce, fresh basil, and garden veggies like bell peppers and zucchini. Let your kids get creative with their own toppings. 

8. Mini Charcuterie Board: Kids like to feel fancy, too! Take inspiration from the grazing table phenomenon and create a mini charcuterie board in your  kid’s lunchbox. Think fresh fruits like apples, grapes and kiwi; dried fruits like dehydrated figs, yogurt-covered raisins and freeze-dried strawberries; fresh or pickled veggies; crackers and pretzels with dips like hummus or guacamole; deli meats and summer sausage; healthy nuts like almonds; and maybe a sweet surprise like a chunk of dark chocolate. 

Whether your kids are already back in school, on winter break, or homeschooled, having lunch ideas at the ready means that you can keep your kids healthy and nourished with relative ease. Making sure your kids eat a balanced diet in childhood sets them up for a healthier adulthood. Let your kids know that their food is coming from the garden, and explain the healthy benefits. In a world that continues to push convenience, instill in your children the importance of fueling their bodies with real, nutritious foods.