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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!

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 [20]
  • 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 [21]
  • Fruit Cut into Wedges such as Apples, Oranges, Peaches
  • Grapefruit Half
  • Homemade Granola Bars [22]
  • Secret Message Bananas [23]