Is it me, or do the summer vacations and Christmas breaks get shorter and shorter every year? I have to admit I wasn’t ready for the kids to go back to school just yet, but ready or not, they had to go! And so it’s back to the hectic schedule of running all over town, helping with the homework, and making school lunches! Anyone running out of lunch ideas yet? Me, too.

So, I gave it some thought, and considering 99% of Americans have probably resolved to get a little more healthy in some way this year, I came up with a plan.

It involves mini DIY pizzas the kids can make themselves, with all the toppings they love the most (or at least the semi-healthy ones!).

There are probably as many varieties of this that can be created as there are kids in the world, but here are just a few…

They all start with a simple pita for a crust. Whole wheat, white, or whatever else you choose is fine.

You’ll also need some small containers to pack the toppings in. I found this 4-pack at Dollar General for only $1, and they’re perfect!

Just pack the toppings in the containers, along with a piece of the pita bread and a plastic knife for spreading or cutting. The kids can even help with the packing the night before and store in the fridge!

You know your kids, but I’d suggest this plan works best for around 3rd grade and up. The child should be able to assemble the pizza themselves in a minute or so. (Teachers all want to remind us they do not have time for making these for the kids!)

Peanut butter with banana slices is my youngest’s favorite (and probably the favorite of most kids), but there are so many other options to be thought up as well!

Using cream cheese or a yogurt and cream cheese spread, build a Hawaiian version with ham slices and fresh pineapple chunks!

I made the Mexican with refried beans, then added lettuce, cheese, taco sauce and black olives. So many more possibilities here, as well!

A good vegetable pizza option is to start with hummus, then add broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, and cheese. Lots of nutrition here!

For the adventurous kids, try the cream cheese spread, then add baby spinach, strawberries, and a little poppyseed dressing.

And for those less adventurous, there’s always the traditional pepperoni!

Ask your kids what toppings they might like, then try them out! Building the pizza themselves is much of the fun, and may be just the incentive they need to try the healthier options!

And here’s a great tip– rather than buy several large packages of each ingredient, shop your market’s salad bar and buy just the amount of each that you need. Saves you money and gives you more ideas, too!

I hope this gives you a few new ideas for your kids’ lunch boxes! If you think of some other combinations that may be good, share them below!

One task on the to-do list done, only 99 more to go, right?

Local East Tennessee friends–tune in to see me share these ideas on the noon show on Wednesday on WVLT Volunteer TV, channel 8!