Mama Jess’ 5 Favorite School Lunches – healthy, easy and veggie packed!

Posted by on Aug 8, 2012 in blog, recipes


Moms, Dads, Fellow Lunch Packers…it’s Back to School time! I can’t believe it myself, it always sneaks up on me. In order to send our kids off on the right foot, I wanted to share my 5 Favorite Mama Jess Lunches. Filling my kid’s tummies with the best nutrition to get them through their school day is a top priority. As much as I miss them as they go off to school, I feel good about sending them off with a healthy lunch box.

Mama Jess Rules for School Lunches:

  1. Follow the half plate rule. Half your plate or half the lunch should be comprised fruits and veggies. Check out for more details.
  2. Fill up on lean protein sources. I tend to use cheese, nuts, beans, nut butters, eggs, whole grain pastas.
  3. Fill up on fiber. Fiber from fruit and veggies will keep those tummies satisfied through the whole school day.
  4. Fill up on water. Be sure to pack a big, fresh container (BPA free) of water.
  5. Use leftovers to make school lunches. You don’t have to create these lunches from scratch every morning. When making dinner or doing weekend cooking, add an extra serving here and there, it’s a time saver!
  6. Every child is different, some benefit from being involved in school lunch packing and with others it’s best to surprise them every day. Either way make the lunch colorful – it’s important to eat a rainbow of colors.
  7. Add some flair & thoughtfulness! Use some stickers or cupcake papers to add fun to the lunch. Sometimes it’s all in the presentation. Add a cute note or joke to make your child’s day. See the Lunch Survey below – a great way to start the after school conversation/re-cap!
  8. Be Green! Avoid plastic sandwich bags, saran wrap, BPA containing plastics and coatings. There are great lunch containers nowadays. I use a couple varieties like Pottery Barn Kids Spencer containers (great seal for liquids) and Sistema.



Ok -now here’s to the fun:

Mama Jess Bean Good Organic Pasta Sauce and Brown Rice Pasta.



Oat bran Muffin


Mama Jess Bean Good Organic Pasta Sauce on Whole Grain Pizza

Orange Slices

Celery with Almond Butter

Organic Raisins

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookie


Mama Jess Garden Good Organic Pasta Sauce for Dipping with

Whole Grain Pizza Muffins

Steamed Green Beans


Walnuts and Chocolate Chips



Mama Jess Garden Good Organic Pasta Sauce in Quick ABC Tomato Soup

Grape & Cheese Sticks

Steamed Broccoli

Sunflower Seeds

Mama Jess Bien Good Organic Enchilada Sauce for Dipping with

Whole Wheat, Bean & Cheese Quesadillas

Salad with Dressing on bottom

Organic Applesauce






A couple recipes from above:


whole grain pizza muffins
Serves 8
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Total Time
25 min
Total Time
25 min
  1. 1/4 cup rye flour
  2. 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  3. 1/4 cup All Purpose flour
  4. 3/4 teas. baking powder
  5. 2 teaspoons basil
  6. 1 teaspoon oregano
  7. Pinch of salt and pepper
  8. 3/4 cup milk, skim or almond
  9. 1 egg, lightly beaten
  10. 1 cup low-fat mozzarella cheese, shredded
  11. 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  12. 1/4 cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  13. 1/4 cup chopped turkey sausage or pepperoni (optional)
  1. preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. grease 12-cup muffin tin or use silicon muffin cups (the tin produces a crispy muffin, yum, but the silicon is mess-free).
  3. mix dry ingredients together (flours through salt & pepper).
  4. add milk and egg to dry mixture.
  5. mix thoroughly.
  6. add cheese and sun-dried tomatoes -also meats if you’re using them.
  7. let stand 10 minutes.
  8. divide batter evenly.
  9. bake for 20-25 minutes, till golden.
Adapted from pinterest
Adapted from pinterest
mama jess
mama jess quick abc tomato soup
Serves 2
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Total Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
  1. 1 cup Mama Jess Garden Good Pasta Sauce
  2. 1 cup vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
  3. 1/2 cup ABC pasta noodles (I use Eden Vegetable Alphabets Whole Grain Pasta)
  1. toss the three ingredients in a sauce pan.
  2. bring to a low boil for 5 minutes.
  3. fill soup container and you’re all set.
  4. if you can sneak some Cannellini Beans or carrot slices in, that would be great too!
mama jess
stacked salad
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Total Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
  1. your choice of dressing
  2. your choice of fruit and/or veggies
  3. greens
  1. simply spread 1 tablespoon of dressing in bottom of container.
  2. layer sliced fruits and veggies on top.
  3. then add the salad greens. this prevents soggy greens.
  4. just have your student mix it up before eating.
mama jess




As for the muffins and cookies pictured, they are from scratch, made in big batches and frozen. My kids prefer an oat bran muffin, but there are several options. Just stick to high fiber muffins and grains. There are some delicious recipes for muffins on Pinterest. I want to try the Spinach muffins and Zucchini bread muffins soon. We’ll test those out in the Mama Jess kitchen and report back next time.


And don’t forget your lunch notes! I’m a big fan of Lunchbox Love for Kids, sold at Pottery Barn Kids and Office Max. Here is a link to my favorite lunchbox survey on Pinterest:


Here’s to a great school year –

Happy & healthy eating,

Mama Jess