Back-to-School: 20 School Lunch Ideas

School lunch ideas from

Looking for easy school lunch ideas? If your kid is like mine, the school lunch menu doesn’t always provide appetizing or nutritious options that will keep him filled up and focused throughout the day. That’s why it’s nice to have a list of healthy and easy school lunch ideas on hand.

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But first, some tips on packing school lunches.

Skip the brown bag. A good, insulated lunch bag is essential for food safety. Kids are also more likely to finish their entire lunch when it’s been kept at the proper temperature.

Keep things cool. Having a few blue ice packs that you can slip into your child’s lunch box means you’ll always have spares in the freezer ready for use.

Pre-heat your thermos. If you’re sending soup or a hot meal in your child’s thermos, be sure to first fill it with very hot water for a minute or two to pre-heat the container.

Pack lunch at dinnertime. Speed up your mornings, and reduce your stress levels, by packing lunch while dinner cooks. Pop the packed lunch in the fridge and in the morning all you’ll need to do is grab the ice pack. Worried you’ll forget it? Leave your keys on top of the lunchbox in the fridge and you’ll be sure to grab it before leaving the house!

20 School Lunch Ideas

1. Ham and cheese roll-ups/sandwich, pretzel sticks, yogurt cup.

2. Mini-meatballs, carrot sticks with Ranch dip, apple slices, whole wheat crackers.

3. Turkey sandwich on multi-grain bread, cheese squares, pickle slices, banana.

4. Baked chicken drumstick, carrot sticks with Ranch dip, grapes, cornbread.

5. Hard boiled eggs, green salad with dressing, Laughing Cow cheese wedge, whole wheat crackers.

6. Roast beef (or roast beef spread) and lettuce in whole wheat pita pocket, red grapes, carrot sticks.

7. PB&J (or almond butter if your school has a no-peanut policy), carrots and celery with dip, pretzel sticks.

8. Turkey on whole wheat, cheese cubes and crackers, fruit salad.

9. Spaghetti in a thermos, green salad with homemade dressing, apple slices.

TIP: Keep apple slices from turning brown by soaking them for 30 minutes in 1 cup water mixed with 2 tablespoons honey.

10. Bean and cheese burrito, jicama slices sprinkled with lime juice and chili powder, sliced berries.

11. Chicken noodle soup in a thermos, carrots with dip, grapes.

12. Roast beef and cheese roll-ups, grape and berry skewers on a straw, celery sticks.

13. Turkey and lettuce in whole wheat pita pocket, cantaloupe chunks.

14. Chili in thermos, Tex-Mex cornbread, apple slices.

15. “Lunchable” made from homemade bologna, sliced cheese and whole wheat crackers, fruit salad.

16. Macaroni and cheese in a thermos, apple slices and almond butter, carrot and celery sticks with dip.

17. Black bean burger on whole wheat bun, pickle spears, yogurt cup.

18. Sliced chicken sausage in BBQ sauce kept in thermos, green salad with dressing, banana.

19. Bagel with turkey and avocado slices, green salad with dressing, cantaloupe chunks.

20. Turkey and lettuce wrap in whole wheat tortilla, string cheese, grapes.

And, of course, leftovers always make great school lunches — especially cold pizza!

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  1. Amanda says

    Great meal ideas! I’m printing this page and putting it on my fridge. I’m sure the boys will appreciate the variety, as they usually have 2 options: ham & cheese or spaghetti in the thermos.

  2. says

    Just be careful about letting your kids see this, ladies, or they may do as my son did and start putting in their “orders” at bedtime for the next day’s lunch!

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