Family Recipes

52 Easy School Lunch Ideas

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It's lunch time!

Get kids excited about taking lunch to school by offering plenty of variety. Tailor this list of 52 lunchbox ideas to your child’s preferences. Discover her favorites and plan them once a week. Consider planning school lunches one month at a time, using a dry-erase calendar or typing and printing a list. Have fun and make school lunches something your child looks forward to eating. Be sure to consider accessibility to a refrigerator and microwave.

  1. DIY “lunchable”: Whole-wheat crackers, chunks of cheese and slices of meat

  2. Bagel and cream cheese

  3. Mini pizza: English muffin, pizza sauce, cheese, pepperoni

  4. Banana slices and peanut butter with a handful of popcorn

  5. Ants on a log: Celery sticks with peanut butter (or cream cheese) and raisins on top

  6. Apple sandwiches: Slice apples into rings and spread peanut butter on each piece

    Cottage Cheese and fruit is a good lunch.
  7. Cottage cheese mixed with fruit 

  8. Hot dog cut into bite-sized pieces with ketchup for dipping

  9. Hard-boiled egg and a smoothie

  10. Bacon, lettuce and tomato (BLT) sandwich

  11. Sliders (mini hamburgers with cheese)

  12. Hummus and vegetables

  13. Pita pocket stuffed with sliced meat, lettuce and mayonnaise

  14. Chili with cheese sprinkled on top

  15. Soup packed in a thermos to stay warm

  16. Salad with your child’s favorite toppings. Put dressing in a separate container.

  17. Fruit kabobs with yogurt for dipping

  18. Turkey and cheese sandwich

  19. Peanut butter and marshmallow creme (fluff) sandwich

    Pancakes! Yum Yum.
  20. Pancakes or waffles (syrup in a separate container)

  21. Mini muffins with fruit

  22. Omelet

  23. Breakfast casserole (hash browns, eggs, meat, cheese)

  24. French toast sticks (syrup on side)

  25. Yogurt parfait with homemade granola (rolled oats, chia seeds, flax seeds, brown sugar & salt)

  26. Macaroni and cheese

  27. Pasta with frozen peas and carrots (they’ll thaw by lunchtime)

  28. Zucchini bread, applesauce bread or pumpkin bread with a side of applesauce or yogurt

  29. Cereal and fruit (buy milk at school)

  30. Chicken nuggets with dipping sauce

    Grilled cheese with a hot bowl of tomato soup is healthy.
  31. Grilled cheese (add tomatoes or bacon) with cup of tomato soup

  32. Quiche with side salad

  33. Baked potato with cheese, broccoli and/or bacon

  34. Tuna sandwich and chips

  35. Cheese quesadillas with side of refried beans

  36. Burrito with tortilla chips & salsa

  37. Sliced chicken breast with rice and vegetables

  38. Cheese plate (variety of cheeses with crackers, olives or fruit)

  39. Egg salad sandwich and pretzels

  40. Ham and cheese croissant sandwich

  41. Pigs in a blanket (hot dogs baked in crescent roll dough)

  42. Spaghetti with meatballs
    How hard is it to put together a taco for lunch?
  43. Tacos (assemble at school)

  44. Fish sticks with tartar sauce

  45. Panini and chips

  46. Lettuce wraps (bib lettuce with toppings that can be rolled up inside)

  47. Stir fry and rice

  48. Calzone (pizza dough stuffed with cheese, pepperoni and sauce)

  49. Chicken salad sandwich and grapes

  50. Pulled pork sandwich

  51. Nachos

  52. Sloppy joe

Meagan Ruffing is a freelance writer. She was inspired to write this article when her son kept coming home from school with lunch still in his bag.

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Published August 2016