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:

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
  • Pantry 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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