Make Your Own Lunch Kit

lunch kit

Say sayonara to store-bought lunch kits! These DIY versions will make your kid the envy of the lunchroom.

Nutrition Facts

Pre-packaged lunch kits sure seem convenient, but the quality of the food is subpar at best. Popular options include crackers and processed meats and cheeses, coupled with sugary drinks and cookies. The calorie counts vary from 300 to 450 per serving, with 8 to 20 grams and fat, plus 30 to 40 percent of an adult's sodium needs for the entire day. What's even more disturbing is the staggeringly long list of ingredients, usually chock-full of preservatives.

Packing Up

Bento-style containers make homemade lunch kits a breeze. Compartments keep food fresh and allow little fingers to snatch up and assemble their favorites. Most set-ups retail for $15 to $25 each at Pottery Barn Kids and Laptop Lunches. Resealable plastic bags and small plastic containers can also get the job done.

Getting Fresh

Here are 5 fresh lunch combos that keep the menu fun and healthy.

  • Thick-sliced roasted turkey, cheese cubes, edamame and yogurt-dipped pretzels (above)
  • Greek yogurt, fresh berries, granola and carrot sticks
  • Grilled chicken, tortilla chips, black bean salsa and broccoli florets
  • Mini PB &J, whole wheat pretzels and grapes
  • Pasta salad, green beans and apple

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana's full bio »

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Make Your Own Biscuits

Don't fill up on bread at Thanksgiving, but don't skip the bread basket all together. Keep the calories in check with these 60 calorie homemade biscuits.

Make Your Own Condiments

The ingredient lists for most packaged condiments are just plain scary! The added sugar, salt and other unpronounceable preservatives make these basic dips and spreads practically junk food. With some simple ingredients and easy prep work, you can make your own. We’re starting out with three of the most popular condiments: ketchup, mustard and tartar sauce.

Make Your Own Jam

Many store-bought jams, jellies and preserves contain more sugar than fruit. While you do need some sugar, it’s really the fruit you want to taste! Simple ingredients and a little bit of simmering and you’ll have the best tasting fruit spread imaginable.

Make Your Own Gravy

The pre-made gravy might be convenient, but it’s sure not the real thing. Making your own gravy is healthier, tastier and easier than you might think.

Make Your Own Hummus

Hummus may be an old favorite to some, but still foreign to others. Here is the skinny on this healthy spread and some recipes to try.

Make Your Own Pickles

Not sure what to do with those extra cukes sitting around? My grandma used to make batches of homemade pickles—we’d have jars lining the fridge shelves. Dill, spicy, sweet or sour---oh, the possibilities!

Make Your Own Croissants

Try these buttery bite-sized treats at your next get-together. They're full of flavor but have just 59 calories per croissant.

Make Your Own Granola

Granola is the classic healthy food, right? Not exactly. Many packaged granola mixes are drowning in sugar, fat and calories, but don't worry -- there are ways to work it into a healthy diet, especially when you make your own.

Make Your Own Popsicles

My kids absolutely love ice pops! Instead of buying store brands packed with sugar and high fructose corn syrup, I make my own using the freshest ingredients. They’re easy and fun for the whole family.

Make Your Own Twinkies

Twinkies' ingredient list includes highly-processed ingredients like trans fats, processed sweeteners and preservatives. Avoid all this stuff by making your own instead!