21 Protein-Packed Lunches for Kids

Give your kids what they need to grow healthy and strong!

Did you know that the average children’s lunch is higher in carbohydrates, sugars, and additives than it is in protein? It’s time that we made a change to that statistic! Protein is essential for muscle growth and tone, especially during early childhood development. If we’re not feeding our children meals that are high in protein, then we’re probably hindering their ability to grow healthy, strong muscles. That’s why it’s so important to make these protein-packed lunches for kids.

It’s hard to think of protein-filled meals for your kids, especially if they’re picky eaters. That’s why we came up with these 21 protein-packed lunches for kids. The recipes are all kid-approved and delicious, so you’ll always have a go-to recipe to feed your little ones when you’re short on meal ideas. This list will provide you with over four full weeks worth of school lunch ideas!

We tried to mix in some plant-based proteins, too, so not everything is meat-forward. And don’t worry: there are plenty of suggestions for those of you who want to provide protein-packed lunches for kids who have picky appetites.

1. Deli Snack Box

This deli snack box from Damn Delicious is a much healthier version of a Lunchable. The ingredients are very basic, but they’re high in protein. Feel free to change out the ingredients with items that your kids might prefer, like substituting the type of fruit or cheese.

2. Spinach and Bean Burrito Wrap

When you combine rice and beans, you get a complete protein that has all the amino acids your body needs. That means this vegetarian recipe has all the same protein content as meat! The whole-wheat tortillas are filled with beans, cheese, and spinach, which are ingredients that are familiar to children. They’re healthy and full of plant-based protein to keep their energy up all afternoon.

3. Copycat Starbucks Protein Bistro Box

Damn Delicious’ bistro box is healthy, colorful, and high in protein. It’s also much less expensive to make it at home. So skip the trip to Starbucks and pack one of these boxes instead. It’s one of our favorite protein-packed lunches for kids.

4. Turkey and Cheese Crescent Rolls

It doesn’t get easier than this recipe from Rachel Cooks: take some turkey and Provolone cheese, wrap it up into a crescent roll, and bake it in the oven. They’re quick and easy to make, and they can be paired with any number of side dishes. Try packing an apple and some peanut butter (or, veggie sticks and hummus) to further increase the protein content of this meal.

5. Easy Chicken and Cheese Quesadillas

Point blank: kids love quesadillas. That makes these Easy Chicken and Cheese Quesadillas perfect for protein-packed lunches for kids. They’re quick, simple to make, and loaded with protein from the chicken and cheese.

6. Sausage and Pepper Skewers

The beautiful thing about this recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod is that you can pick whatever kind of sausage you want. Pair it with your kids’ favorite vegetables and you’ve just created a decent lunch that’s high in protein.

7. Turkey Avocado Egg Wraps

This Cooking Classy recipe is a fun, new take on a wrap: the egg acts as the “tortilla,” and you roll all the ingredients up inside it! Add turkey, tomatoes, avocado, and cheese to pack a mighty protein punch.

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Chef Heather

Heather is a trained chef and writer from Houston, TX. She has a degree in culinary arts, and is married to her culinary school sweetheart who is also a chef. Heather has a passion for creating healthy meals that don't sacrifice on flavor. She loves Crossfit and is always looking for ways to make healthier versions of her favorite meals. Heather believes the secret to sticking with any healthy meal plan is to include foods that you really enjoy!

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