Having simple ideas for school lunches is a must in our families daily routine. My youngest daughter is a very picky eater and for everyone’s sake it is easier to pack items we know that she will eat. (And I’ll be honest – the lunches at school are not always the most appealing.) I went through a similar phase with my oldest son, so developing a system and collection of simple lunch ideas was a must.
First step, I developed a list with my children for great tasting, somewhat healthy and nutritious, make ahead meals. I also want to keep the cost down so not wasting is important. We have our list of tried and true items like yogurt, trail mix, fruits and veggies. (Great tip from my friend Clarissa is to purchase veggie trays from wholesale clubs to have an affordable variety for lunches and snacks.)
I have compiled a list of 10 ideas for school lunches to share with you. I hope you can utilize the list and certainly be creative and add to it. This list incorporates items that our children can help make on Sunday night. This entices them to help learn to prepare foods and they seem more apt to eat it. So give these a try and see what your children enjoy eating.
Must-Haves for Packing School Lunches
There are few must-haves our family has for packing my daughter’s school lunch each day:
– an easy to carry, insulated lunch box
– a thermos that will not leak
– a Bento box or food storage containers
– lunch box notes
– ice packs
– wet wipes
– sturdy plastic utensils
10 Ideas for School Lunches
Mini Pizza Bites
All my children love pizza so this automatically went on our list. I like it because it is easy, the kids are able to help, we can make them in mass quantities by using muffin tins and they freeze well so no waste. They also are a good after school snack. It requires making your favorite pizza dough, roll it out and press out circles of dough for each muffin hole. Place a spoon of your favorite sauce, add cheese and mix it up with different topping. Bake, cool and freeze. Pop them in a lunch box with fruit and carrot sticks and they will be thawed by lunchtime. This is great recipe by Mom In The Madhouse.
Simple Turkey Wraps
I like making these with the kids and all put all the options out on the table. This recipe has a great cranberry spread to put on a flavored wrap with turkey, choice of cheese.. You can make several and wrap and store in parchment paper in a tupperware container to be packed during the week. The parchment paper keeps them from becoming soggy or stale. Add some fruit and a granola bar and it is a delicious lunch. This is a recipe by Kimspired DIY.
I wanted to try something that was different for lunches, would last through the week and could add sides to change it up. We decided to trial a pasta salad with a choice of veggies based on each child’s likes and dislikes. This is a basic recipe with great flavors. Please feel free to pair with crackers, pepperoni bites, cheese or fruit. This recipe is by I should be mopping the floor.
It was not hard for my kids to vote yes for a fruit smoothie in their lunch. We found plastic jars with lids to freeze them in and a trial to see if our product was good by lunchtime. It was perfect and held up so when we grocery shop we stock up on fresh or frozen fruit. Then on Sunday night, each child makes a batch with their choice of fruits for when ever they want to grab one out of the freezer. This is another great recipe by My Fussy Eater.
Greek Yogurt Tuna Salad
I know it is hard to believe but my kids will eat tuna salad as long as it has apple pieces or grape halves added. We make this recipe together so each child can add the things they like. I don’t care if they label their own container to store in the refrigerator. So then pack a scoop of tuna salad, a sandwich round or crackers, cheese cubes and some fresh veggies or fruit and it will make this lunch an easy healthy lunch. So happy to find another yummy recipe for lunches by Project Meal Plan.
Make Ahead Taco Salad
My children think the next best thing to eat after pizza is tacos. So this make ahead taco salad is perfect. We make the ground beef and put it over lettuce but then make a baggie or cup of cheese, tomato and the final salad dressing. The Catalina salad dressing adds a nice zing to the salad. It is easy to add corn chips or tortilla strips for an added crunch.This recipe is a whole balanced lunch. This was a great recipe to find by Organized Island.
Blueberry Pancake Bites
Most kids love breakfast for lunch so this recipe works great. Once again these can be made in a large quantity in muffin tins. I like to make them with fresh blueberries but frozen are fine just thaw and rinse before adding to the batter. After these are baked, cool them and they may be frozen in a bag. Pack them and they will defrost by lunch. Send some extra maple syrup in the lunchbox and serve with fruit and something salty. This is an easy recipe by Honey and Lime.
We like making meat, cheese and fruit or veggie kabobs for lunch. They are fun and very tasty. We like the combination of pepperoni, sharp cheese and tomatoes. I then pack cubes of bread with pizza dipping sauce and a fruit. Our other choice is ham, Swiss cheese and pineapple. Kabobs may be as creative as your kids want. These easily store in the refrigerator. My children and I have created these as a go-to lunch.
Chicken Gyro Wrap
This wheat wrap only has two ingredients to keep it tasty but simple. It has chicken and tzatziki sauce. My children love making the sauce and it is healthy. Then pack pickles, raisins and pita chips with extra sauce for dipping. This is another easy lunch recipe by The Pinning Mama.
Nutella and Banana Sushi
My family loves taking these for lunch because it is healthy but has some sweetness to it. A wrap spread with nutella can be stored in the refrigerator overnight. Then in the morning, add a banana and slice into rounds. I send raisins to add to the wrap at lunch. A bag full of carrots and some pretzels balance this lunch out. A great recipe and a fun one by Nutrisnackers.
What are your favorite ideas for school lunches?
I hope these ideas for school lunches help you as much as they’ve helped our family. If you’re on Instagram, let’s connect. You can see my Lunchbox Chronicles with my daughter.