baked pita chips recipe
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From brain food snacks to hearty weeknight meals that double as lunch, these 11 healthy back-to-school recipes are designed to keep your whole crew fed and fueled up for the year ahead.

Summer’s easy, but also kind of hard. Easy because you don’t have to think about packing up school lunches, hard because—well—you have to think about keeping the kids busy all day. Tradeoffs. Fortunately, you won’t have to trade off nutrition or flavor in these healthy school lunch faves. From protein-packed snacks to bag up and end off with the kids to a few easy weeknight meals you can transform into tomorrow’s lunch. We’ve got you covered—at least where the food is concerned.

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1. Crumbly Oat and Apricot Bars

Crumbly Oat and Apricot Bars


Dried apricots, honey, and apricot jam form the filling for these tender, sweet (but not too sweet), and whole-grain–bolstered lunchbox bars. The recipe makes 16 bars—perfect if you’ve got a bunch of little scholars to pack for, otherwise they freeze extremely well. Get our Crumbly Oat and Apricot Bars recipe.

2. Hard-Boiled Eggs

perfect hard boiled egg recipe


Hard-cooked eggs are some of the simplest things to make. Sadly, they’re also some of the easiest things to mess up. Here’s a simple technique for ensuring that the yolks will be cooked through, but far from turning the dry, green-edged, sulfury-tasting things a lot if us grew up with. Get our Perfect Hard-Boiled Egg recipe.

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Related Reading on CNET: 8 Ways to Boil Perfect Eggs

3. Honey-Mustard Snack Mix

easy honey mustard snack mix recipe


Snacks are a major part of any kid’s food life, and the hard truth is, if you’re not making good snacks for your family, they’ll find less innocent ones to fill up with. This crunchy mix has the appeal of pre-made ones, but it’s filled with honest ingredients, so you can let your little ones snack away without stressing. Get our Honey-Mustard Snack Mix recipe.

Related Reading: Back to School Brain Food for Your Kids’ Lunch Boxes | The Most Interesting Healthy Snacks on the Market

4. Hummus

homemade hummus with vegetables


Hummus is a great thing for school lunches. It’s full of fiber, has a decent amount of protein, and—best of all—it doesn’t taste one little bit like health food. Make up a batch, pack it lunch boxes along with baked pita chips and mini carrots, and you can be sure it’ll all be eaten. Get our Basic Hummus recipe.

5. Baked Tortilla Chips

baked tortilla chips recipe


What parent can say no to chips? You can, however, insist that chips be relatively healthy—like these baked tortilla chips. They’re easy to make, not greasy, and perfect for scooping. Make a bunch and keep them stored in an airtight container for several days. Get our Baked Tortilla Chips recipe.

6. Cinnamon and Pear Fruit Leather

Cinnamon and Pear Fruit Leather


Back-to-school season coincides with the end of the summer pear season and the beginning of the fall one, so it only makes sense to make this perennially popular treat for packing into lunch boxes. Here, blended cooked pears are spread onto silicone mats to dry out in the oven (it’s a great Saturday project). Get our Cinnamon and Pear Fruit Leather recipe.

Related Reading: How to Make Fruit Leather in Any Flavor You Like

7. Baked Pita Chips

baked pita chips recipe


Pita chips are really good at not breaking, even when little hands scoop them hard through a stiff container full of hummus. They’re also a lot more economical than buying premade ones, and a great way to use up day-old (or longer!) pitas. Get our Baked Pita Chips recipe.

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8. Chicken Parmesan Mac and Cheese Bites

Chicken Parmesan Mac and Cheese Bites recipe


A really tasty macaroni and cheese mixture bakes in muffin tins for single-serving portions perfect for packing up in school lunch. This particular mac and cheese mix is designed for maximum flavor and protein. Shredded mozzarella and grated parm combine with shredded cooked chicken (which means these are also a great way to use leftover rotisserie chicken) and a white sauce made with whole milk. Healthy bonus: Use whole wheat pasta. Get our Chicken Parmesan Mac and Cheese Bites recipe.

Related Reading: 17 Muffin Tin Recipes That Aren’t Muffins

9. Beef and Broccoli “Takeout” Noodles

Beef with Broccoli Takeout Noodles recipe


Inspired by a Chinese-American restaurant dish we love, this mix of wok-fried skirt steak, broccoli florets, and fresh egg noodles gets a healthy boost from carrots and red bell peppers. Your kids will love it warm or cold. They’ll also love the crunchy toasted cashews sprinkled on top. Get our Beef and Broccoli Noodles recipe.

10.  Nutty Trail Mix

gourmet trail mix recipe


Dried fruit, nuts, and a hint of chocolate make for a perfect after-school snack, or a sweet addition to their lunch bag. Get our Nutty Trail Mix recipe.

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11. Carrot Chips

Homemade Carrot Chips recipe


All the crispy crunch of potato chips with way less of the salt and grease—plus a delicious natural sweetness that will keep them munching. A veggie peeler is the key to thin strips that bake up to an addictive crisp in the oven. Get our Carrot Chips recipe, and see how to make other veggie chips too. Send them as a side to a classic sandwich, or include a small container of dip or dressing as part of a bento-style spread.

Related Video: A Veggie-Filled Kid Lunch

Everything Else You Need to Know

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