10 Healthy Back-to-School Recipes with 10 Ingredients or Less


Whether your kids are heading off to preschool or high school, you want them to make healthful choices. Learning a few healthy back-to-school recipes will help instill those good habits.

You already know nutritious foods can also be tasty, but it can be harder to prepare fresh meals and snacks. That’s why parents like you have been sharing their easy recipes online in blogs and on social media. We’ve selected a few of our favorites to get your family’s school year off to a delicious note.

What Our Favorite Healthy Back-to-School Recipes Have in Common

We understand that you’ve got a lot on your calendar, and prepackaged meals or treats might look attractive. But if you want to really keep track of what is in your family’s diet, you need to play an active role. So here are a few reasons even the busiest parents can enjoy our healthy back-to-school recipes.

  1. Limited ingredients. We wanted to start here for a couple of reasons. First of all, it’s just plain simpler and less expensive to keep the number of ingredients down. Plus, you have more confidence in the nutrition with simple, natural recipes.
  2. Maximum nutrition. Not only do we recommend keeping the ingredient list short, it should also be healthful. So fruits, veggies and other natural ingredients get our attention.
  3. Minimum mess. This might not play such a big factor, but we do keep it in mind. We know that some snacks and meals are messier than others, and all other things being equal, we’ll go with the one that helps keep your home or car tidy.
  4. Fun factor. Whether you’re preparing a quick breakfast, a packed lunch or a handy snack, it should also be fun for your kids to eat. You probably already know that makes healthy back-to-school recipes even easier to swallow.
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If you’re looking for these types of eats in your family’s kitchen, keep reading. Here are some of the tastiest and healthiest options we’ve discovered so far.

Healthy Back-to-School Recipes for Kids of All Ages

1. Popcorn Cake

Popcorn is probably already a crowd pleaser with the schoolkids in your life. But when you mix that with the natural sweetness of fruit and honey, you’ve got a real treat. Many of our selections come from innovative Instagram accounts like this one. After popping the corn, mix with honey in a greased tin. After it hardens in the fridge, take it out and add your favorite fruits. The result is one of our favorite healthy back-to-school recipes. It will probably hit the spot in your family just about any time of day.

2. Cinnamon Raisin Cream Cheese Sandwiches

If you love to bake your own bread, here’s a great use for that cinnamon raisin recipe. But we also think it’s just as delicious with high-quality store-bought loaves. Spread some cream cheese on and pack it for a lunch along with your child’s favorite fruits and a boiled egg. This meal offers a change of pace from the typical lunchbox sandwiches. Peanut butter and turkey will always have their place among healthy back-to-school recipes. If you want to add some variety, though, cinnamon raisin cream cheese sandwiches are a great place to start.

Healthy back to school recipes: raisin bread
(Flo Maderebner / Pexels)

3. Breakfast Pita

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Finding a quick and creative way to whip up breakfast can be a challenge, but the breakfast pita is simple and fun to eat. It makes a great lunch or dinner, too. Just scramble up some eggs, brown some sausage and tuck it into a pita pocket. Throw in some cheese or veggies for added nutrition and flavor. It’s highly portable as well as being packed with the protein and carbs kids need. Pair it with some fruit or yogurt to really complete the meal.

4. Overnight Oats

healthy back to school recipes: Overnight oats with berries
(Keegan Evans / Pexels)

Just mix some oats, milk and yogurt for the base of this delicious morning snack. Add in raisins and honey to taste. Then let the concoction sit in the refrigerator overnight to thicken it a bit. When your family wakes up, it’s the easiest breakfast you could serve. Just grab a spoon, add some nuts or berries and dig in. It’s an interesting and tasty alternative to traditional cereals. And you can tweak this recipe to match your tastes. We recommend adding a dash of cinnamon before placing it in the fridge.

5. Chopped Veggie Taco Dip

Just a few simple ingredients combine for all the Mexican flavors your kids love. Start with black beans, then mix in cream cheese and sour cream. Toss in some taco seasoning, then finish with some veggies. Corn, onions, olives and peppers all make great additions. When you’ve got the mixture you’re looking for, just set it in the refrigerator for a while. When it solidifies to a firm dip, you can dig in anytime. Pile it on tortilla chips or just spoon it out. This is a healthy back-to-school recipe that’s hard to top.

healthy back to school recipes: Tortilla chips and dip
(Natasha Bhogal / Unsplash)

6. Sweet Potato Cupcakes

Baking cupcakes can be time-consuming and it doesn’t offer your family the best nutrition. But if you’re looking for a healthier and simpler option, we suggest these sweet potato concoctions. In fact, you can use a variety of veggies to suit your tastes. Zucchini and squash work well, too. All you’ll need is a peeler, a cupcake tin and a little oil. Grease your pan with some seasoning if you prefer and add in slices of the veggies. Bake it until brown and then serve. The natural sweetness of the sweet potato shines through, perfectly caramelized in the oven. We also think they look pretty cool.

7. Fruit Strips

Your kids might be big fans of store-bought fruit snacks, but if you want to make sure they’re eating the freshest stuff available, you might want to make your own. We recommend these healthy snacks, a take on the ever-popular Fruit Roll-Up. As it turns out, this is among the easiest healthy back-to-school recipes to follow. First, mix apples, sugar, lemon juice and water in a saucepan. While that is boiling, line a greased baking sheet with parchment paper. When the mixture begins to solidify, pour it into a food processor. When it’s smooth, simply transfer to the baking sheet and let it dry for a few hours. You’ll be able to tell when it is not sticky and ready to cut.

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8. Bacon Spinach Quiches

Just whisk some eggs and milk together to get started with this healthy breakfast. Mix in the spinach, cheese and bacon and pour into a muffin tin. Bake the quiches 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown at about 350 degrees. After they cool for a bit, you can pull them out and serve.

9. Mini Waffle Sandwiches

Cooking up some miniature waffles can lead to more fun than a traditional stack. You can use them as a sweet replacement for bread. It’s easy to add whatever you might like, from fresh fruit to cream cheese. Pack them in your kid’s lunch for a new twist on the classic sandwich.

10. Chicken Soft Tacos

Give your child a taco lunch anytime with this healthy lunch option. Use a cookie cutter to make larger tortilla shells more kid-friendly. Pack in avocado, cheese, chicken and mango. Few of our healthy back-to-school recipes pack so many different flavors into so few ingredients.

Bonus Category

We’ve got a few great recipes that editors have placed in their own category. While they were deemed not to meet all of the criteria outlined above, they are fun and yummy. These can be handy additions to our healthy back-to-school recipes.

1. Pepperoni Pizza Crescents

It might not be considered the healthiest of choices, but it’s still a delicious and easy-to-make lunch. Pizza is a popular choice for most kids, and so are warm, flaky crescent rolls. Combining these classic flavors might just create a new family favorite. Few healthy recipes are quite this simple. First, grab your favorite brand of canned crescent rolls. Then add some mozzarella cheese sticks and pepperoni slices. Brush the dough with olive oil and wrap all the toppings inside before baking. When it’s perfectly browned, pull out of the oven and serve. A cup of marinara sauce on the side adds that final burst of flavor.

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2. Banana Sushi

It may not necessarily fit into the “minimum mess” category, but it makes a great snack. Getting your kids to eat a quick breakfast before school can be challenging enough. That’s why we recommend this quick and easy option. Among the healthy back-to-school recipes for early mornings, this one stands out. Not only is it fun to eat, it’s also a breeze to prepare. Just peel a banana and cut it into sushi-shaped bites. Then spread some peanut butter on the outside. Roll it in puffed rice cereal, and your banana breakfast sushi rolls are ready to serve.

3. The Ultimate Ice Cream Alternative

We had to include a great dessert on our list of healthy back-to-school recipes, and ice cream seemed like a good choice. This one may be difficult to bring to school, but it makes for a great after-school healthy dessert that can be fun to make with the kids. With just a few natural ingredients, you can give your kids a frozen treat that’s actually good for them. Start with a sliced, frozen banana. Mix and mash it up with your family’s favorite natural jam. Then top with a dash of salt before giving it another thorough mix. Freeze it again and serve it however you would serve ice cream.

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Chris Agee is an American journalist with more than 15 years of experience in a wide range of newsrooms.
Chris Agee is an American journalist with more than 15 years of experience in a variety of newsroom settings. After covering crime and other beats for newspapers and radio stations across the U.S., he served as managing editor at Western Journalism until 2017. He has also been a regular guest and guest host on several syndicated radio programs. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife and son.
Texas Press Association, Best News Writing - 2012
Bachelor of Arts, Journalism - Averett University
Professional Memberships
Online News Association
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment