Back-to-School Healthy Lunch Ideas - By Devin Alexander

boys laughing while eating apples

The AHA is grateful for volunteers, like Devin Alexander - Chef for NBC’s Biggest Loser and author, to lend her voice on topics like this. Devin shares her personal perspective as a chef in this blog entry.

Devin Alexander headshotI absolutely love getting creative with a lunch box. And with back-to-school thoughts on every mom’s (and maybe even dad’s) mind, now is the perfect time for new and creative ideas.

In addition to treating the children in my life, I often bring boxed lunches to my meetings with executives (tasting is believing!) and to picnics galore all summer long! After all, packing a healthy yet satisfying lunch is an important part of the day – you never want to be stuck at a vending machine or at the beach faced with only a hot dog stand.

Get Creative

Sure, we all know to include the good old-fashioned PB&J sandwich, but there are so many more ideas! I’m always the envy of the others surrounding me when I make cooked “sushi” for concerts. You can stuff brown rice on soy or seaweed wraps with everything from cooked salmon, cilantro and avocado to steamed shrimp with a touch of hot sesame oil.

I’ve even made “sushi” rolls with deli-thin shaved, left-over London broil, cucumber and roasted red peppers. Seriously, the ideas are endless! I’m also a big proponent of “different wraps”. What about a curry chicken pita pocket or a sprouted grain tortilla spread with the new Greek Cream Cheese, which is naturally lighter. Add some leftover cooked turkey breast and chicken, some veggies, and everyone will love it!

Make it Quick

For quick solutions, hard-boiled eggs, celery and carrot sticks, grapes, and a light Greek yogurt topped with walnuts can be really alluring.

Or try changing up good old tuna (be sure to check the sodium and go with a light one), dressing it with a bit of olive oil and lemon juice and then adding veggies like hearts of palm, capers or even mandarin oranges or pomegranate arils.

As you can see it doesn’t have to be hard. Be sure to fill a lunch box with lean protein, fiber, vitamin-rich foods, and even some healthy fats. While bought-at-school lunches may have the convenience factor, you’ll feel better knowing your child has gotten awesome nutrition from a lovingly-packed meal by you!

I’ve also pinned tons of lunch packing ideas on my pinterest board, so check me out at And be sure to check my facebook page and blog too!