Healthy, Low Cost Lunch Ideas from Budget Dietitian

As a registered dietitian, I want to send my soon-to-be first grader off to school with a healthy lunch. However, I know that if I don’t keep lunch interesting, all the healthy stuff will get traded for Oreos!

To help with packing, I am listing out healthy & budget friendly options for brown bag lunches. These options are also relatively easy; no carving a carrot into a swan! :)

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Healthy, Low Cost Lunch Ideas

Entree Ideas:

  • The classic pb&j as well as pb& honey sandwiches
  • Nitrate free lunchmeat & cheese sandwiches
  • Cottage cheese and fruit
  • Homemade muffin with a side of string cheese
  • Tic-Tac-Toe
  • Cold Pasta Salad with veggies & cubed cheese
  • Hummus & Vegetable Wraps
  • Egg Salad Sandwiches
  • Tuna Salad Sandwiches
  • Ants on a Log
  • Celery filled w/ Cream Cheese dotted with Dried Cranberries
  • Asian Chicken Salad Wraps
  • Hard Boiled Egg
  • Hummus w/ Whole Grain Pita & Carrots/Green Peppers to dip in it
  • Marinated Vegetable Pasta
  • Cream Cheese & Sliced Strawberry Sandwich
  • Couscous Salad w/ Leftover Chicken & Vegetables
  • Leftover Cubed Chicken w/ BBQ Sauce to dip in
  • Peanut Butter & Banana Roll Up
  • Pita Pizzas
  • Fruit Roll-Up
  • Chicken Salad
  • Babybel (or other cheese) and whole grain crackers
  • Chicken Kabobs w/ Peanut Sauce (or BBQ sauce for the less adventurous)
  • Entree Salad such as Greek Salad, Caesar
  • Cheese Sandwich
  • Fruit & Yogurt Parfait

Side Dishes:

  • Unsweetened Applesauce
  • Carrot Sticks or Shredded Carrots
  • Whole Fruit like Bananas, Apples, Oranges, Clementines, Pears, Plums, Peaches
  • Olives
  • Cut Veggies w/ Dip
  • Dried Cranberries, Apricots, Apples, or Raisins
  • 100% Fruit Leather
  • Fruit Salad
  • Raw Veggie Kabobs
  • Raw Fruit Kabobs
  • Trail Mix
  • Cut Fruit w/ Yogurt Dip
  • Yogurt
  • Canned fruit in light syrup or fruit juice
  • Dried Fruit mixed with an Unsweetened Cereal (such as Cheerios or Rice Chex)
  • Side Salad w/ Favorite Dressing
  • Corn Salad
  • Fruit Cut into Wedges such as Apples, Oranges, Peaches
  • Grapefruit Half
  • Homemade Granola Bars
  • Secret Message Bananas


  1. says

    Some manufacturers even sell ordinary coconut oil with virgin label.
    Medium chain saturated fats are very gentle
    on the cells that line the gut since they can be passively absorbed
    without being broken down by digestive enzymes and used for energy without any
    modification. (And did I bring up that beautiful, irresistible scent.


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