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The Truth About Lunchables: Are They Really That Bad?

Are Lunchables really that bad?

The Lunchables war has been raging between kids and their parents since Oscar Meyer’s highly processed lunch kits first hit the school cafeteria scene in 1988 (via The Atlantic). Kids beg for the brightly colored boxes of deli meats and snacks, intentionally designed to look like a gift. Meanwhile, their moms and dads are fighting an internal battle; they want to pack healthy food for their kids…but they just don’t have the time to fill a cute bento box with healthy alternatives.
Nate Spiller, a father of two, admitted to the Washington Post that he doles out Lunchables twice a week and feels terrible about it. “It’s for convenience. When I’m lazy.”

Are Lunchables healthy?

Whether Lunchables are healthy is a question on the minds of adults concerned about their diets. Reddit’s u/MrCapitalismWildRide wondered if he could eat Lunchables every day, noting that the conveniently packaged meals are not only cheap, but the very definition of portion control. His favorite flavor clocks in at just 270 calories per serving.
Lunchables were not designed to be healthy; the CEO of Lunchables’ original parent company, Philip Morris, is quoted as saying, “If you take Lunchables apart, the healthiest thing in it is the napkin” (via the New York Times).
But today’s Lunchables website now advertises Lunchables With Natural Meat and Cheese, available in turkey or ham, with white cheddar the same muted yellow as the vanilla cream cookie that accompanies it, instead of the usual candy miniature. And according to calorie tracker My Fitness Pal, most Lunchables (they also offer snack and breakfast options) come in under 400 calories, with protein grams in the double digits. Of course, they’re also high in carbohydrates.
Even with these changes, the iconic Lunchables may always carry a bit of a stigma. But Nicki Pennington, a self-proclaimed “Lunchables mom,” posted on Facebook that we should all remember that parents are doing the best they can to make sure their kids are fed. “Here’s to the lunchable moms who wake up with just enough time to grab one out of the fridge and toss it in with the juice box,” she wrote.

Compare to school lunches

And besides, can Lunchables really be that much worse than school lunches?

The Bottom Line

In summary, Lunchables have long been a controversial choice for parents looking for a quick and convenient lunch option for their children. While they may not be the healthiest choice available, Lunchables has made an effort to offer options with natural meats and cheeses, lower calorie counts, and higher protein content. Ultimately, whether or not Lunchables are “bad” depends on individual dietary needs and preferences. Parents should strive to make informed choices and consider alternative options when it comes to providing nutritious meals for their children.


Are Lunchables a healthy choice for kids?

Lunchables were not originally designed to be a healthy choice. However, Lunchables now offer varieties with all-natural meats and cheeses, lower calories and higher protein. While they may not be the healthiest choice, they can be a convenient option for busy parents.

Do Lunchables provide enough nutrition?

Lunchables may provide some nutritional value, such as protein and carbohydrates. However, they may lack other important nutrients such as fruits, vegetables and fiber. It’s important to consider adding other nutritious foods to a child’s overall diet.

Are Lunchables suitable for kids with dietary restrictions?

Lunchables offer a variety of options, including turkey, ham and cheese varieties. However, they may not be suitable for children with specific dietary restrictions, such as gluten-free or dairy-free diets. It’s important to read the labels and ingredients carefully to make sure they meet any dietary restrictions.

How often can Lunchables be used?

The frequency of Lunchables consumption depends on several factors, including overall dietary habits and nutritional needs. While Lunchables can be a convenient option on occasion, it’s generally recommended to include a variety of fresh and whole foods in a child’s diet for optimal health.

Can Lunchables be part of a balanced diet?

Lunchables can be part of a balanced meal plan when paired with other nutritious foods. Consider adding fresh fruits, vegetables and a source of healthy fats or whole grains to ensure a more complete meal for your child.

What are some alternatives to Lunchables?

If you’re looking for alternatives to Lunchables, consider packing a homemade bento box with a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Other options include wraps, salads, or sandwiches made with whole grain bread or wraps and filled with nutritious ingredients.

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