The sounds of school buses and the smell of new notebooks signal a season loved by parents and dreaded by kids– back to school time! The start of a new school year is the perfect time to take a moment and evaluate. Ask yourself, what are your children eating at school, and are their healthy lunch ideas for school that could be better? Are your kids on the right path when it comes to their health?

Healthy lunch ideas for lunchboxes ensure that your kids and teens are eating well while they’re at school, and is a great way to avoid some of the less intriguing cafeteria options. Having kids pack their own lunch is also a great way to get them involved in their own health! Thea Runyan of Kurbo has shared some of our favorite nutritious school lunch fixes and after school snack hacks for teens and elementary schoolers. Check out her tips and tricks:

Start with Building Blocks

In order to make sure your children are getting nutrition out of their lunches, try to incorporate 3 key components– whole grains, lean proteins, and fruits/veggies. This will ensure lunches are filling and well-balanced. Try framing the meal as a main dish, a fruit, vegetable, and a snack.

Plan Ahead

Creating a schedule or shopping list ahead of time can make it easier on you throughout the week! If you have time on the weekends, do some assembly or prep so that mornings are quick and you can play around with your healthy lunch ideas. Stocking up on fun napkins or food containers can make kids more excited about their packaged lunch! This can mimic some of the intrigue of eating food from the cafeteria.

Make it Easy, Keep it Simple

Having healthy snacks ready to go when kids get home will help steer them away from what seems like the easier choice– packaged, high sodium foods. Peeling and cutting up items to keep in the fridge can be a great way to encourage kids to opt for healthier options when they get home or make mornings move more quickly when packing a healthy lunch for school.

For some healthy lunch and after-school snack ideas, check out the Kurbo Back to School Cookbook!