52 Easy School Lunch Ideas

lunches 1967

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.

Discover 6 Grab-and-Go Breakfasts for Hurried School Mornings.

Published August 2016

Healthy Halloween Treats

Healthy Halloween Treats

With the plethora of candy and sugary snacks that Halloween brings, why not balance holiday snacking with a few healthy, low sugar treats? Thank you to Deborah at www.SuperMoms360.com for sharing her . . .

Read more

Candy Corn Smoothie

Candy Corn Smoothie

This smoothie may look like candy corn, but it’s a much healthier alternative! Serve it in clear cups so the kids can see the three layers: banana, mango-carrot and pineapple. Ingredients for a&n . . .

Read more

Snacking With Joy: Pumpkin Patch Snack

Snacking With Joy: Pumpkin Patch Snack

Feeding my family allergy-free whole foods inspired these festive Halloween snacks that your kids will love to make and eat. My girls call it delicious and fun. I call it Snacking with Joy. Eat . . .

Read more

Vampire Bites

Vampire Bites

Makes 24 bites Prep time: 20 minutes Baking time: 7 to 10 minutes Decoration time: 15 minutes Difficulty: Easy•••••••••••••••••••••••••••• . . .

Read more

Snacking With Joy: Friendly Ghost Jicama and Dip

Snacking With Joy: Friendly Ghost Jicama and Dip

This recipe is a great way to introduce kids to healthy, juicy, delicious jicama, which is a healthy alternative to chips and is allergy friendly.IngredientsFresh jicamaBlack olives (or red grapes)P . . .

Read more

Snacking With Joy: Frankenstein Pops

Snacking With Joy: Frankenstein Pops

My great grandma always made crisp rice treats for special occasions. As a tribute to her memory, my girls and I created a Halloween treat that everyone will enjoy. See below for instructions on an . . .

Read more

"Pumpkiny" Goodness

If fall is your favorite season, then it's likely that you're an enthusiast of "pumpkiny" goodness! And that's exactly what we have here: pumpkin treats that take you way beyond the traditional pumpki . . .

Read more

Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Mini Pumpkin Whoopie PiesPumpkin treats are perfect for holiday baking and kids will love helping with Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies. Makes 3 dozenCookies2     cups all-purpose flour1 &n . . .

Read more

Pumpkin Streusel Pie

Pumpkin Streusel Pie

Love pumpkin pie, but want to kick it up a notch? Try this delicious recipe featuring a sweet, nutty streusel topping.Pie Filling2 eggs, lightly beaten2 cups pumpkin¾ cup sugar½ tsp. salt1 tsp. ci . . .

Read more

San Diego Restaurants with Kid-Friendly Play Space

San Diego Restaurants with Kid-Friendly Play Space

Hey, foodie parents. Skip the dollar menu this weekend. These local restaurants feature real chefs, great food and play spaces for kids. Officine Buona Forchetta2816 Sims Rd., Liberty StationNew to L . . .

Read more

San Diego Family Magazine Logo

Be Family Informed – Sign up for our Newsletters below!