10 School Lunch Ideas

Are you looking for some great school lunch ideas to get your kid’s mid-day meal off to a great start this school year? (I know this is a bit of a catch-22, as, if you start with awesome lunches, you have nowhere to go but down.) Anyway, here are some delicious lunch ideas that will get Junior to eat more than just the special treat.

PS: I know lots of these lunches are shown packed in bento boxes. I’m a huge fan—everyone in my family has their own Yumbox—but you do you and pack the stuff however you want.

lunch ideas
Photo credit: 100 Days of Real Food

A modern whole-food take on the pimento cheese sandwich. I love pimento cheese. No time to make your own? Check your local grocery store (the hoity-toity refrigerator case near the deli is a good bet).

lunch ideas
Photo credit: Parents

I love this pretzel kabob lunch! I also love carbs, so I’d probably throw a few extra pretzels in on the side. I know that roll-up-style snacks are a huge hit among the kids I know; we parents explained them as “just like the samples at the grocery store!” You know, every small child’s favorite meal.

lunch ideas

A simple idea that you can make for dinner and then toss in the next day’s lunchbox is pasta salad. Add some veggies on the side. Maybe grape tomatoes with mozzarella cheese cubes, or some spinach chips—no really, even my daughter agrees they’re good! Finish the meal with fruit or a small sweet and you’re all set.

lunch ideas
Photo credit: Parents

My daughter loves when she gets to have a pretzel for a meal. You can swap out the cheese cubes with hummus or a softer cheese if your little one likes to dip.

lunch ideas
Photo credit: LunchBots

Up your ham and cheese sandwich game by using a delicious baguette! And I had a total “duh” moment looking at this yummy lunch: for some reason, fresh peppers always fall off my radar when I’m packing lunches. Don’t forget about those crispy, crunchy peppers, people!

lunch ideas
Photo credit: Inhabitots

This fruity lunch gives the starring role to, well, a roll—a peanut butter and banana roll-up, that is. If your school is nut-free, use sunbutter or another sweet spread (fall is coming; pumpkin butter, anyone?).

lunch ideas
Photo credit: The Kitchn

I was idly wondering if cold grilled cheese would be appealing, but then I came across this lunch idea: quesadillas! Even I have to admit that they’re not bad at room-temperature. Not that you’d ever find me horking down anyone’s rejected dinner quesadilla or anything.

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Photo credit: Peter Ardito

This tortellini salad is inspiring. Mainly because I wouldn’t actually serve this, but it did give me an idea. I’d skip the peas and pesto and send the tortellini (or maybe some small ravioli) with sauce for dipping the pasta in. Yum! And, not gonna lie, my kid would never eat the salad. Maybe some green beans and mushrooms on the side instead? Tip: if you want to send sauceless pasta, toss it in a bit of olive oil to keep the pasta from sticking together.

lunch ideas
Photo credit: Betty Crocker

It’s breakfast for lunch! I’m not usually into “cute” lunches (too much work), but colorful silver dollar pancakes and linzer-cookie-inspired cut-out pancakes are simple and fun. So are the pancake sandwiches. Heck, we may have those for breakfast. While it probably goes without saying, don’t be bound by the “use Bisquick” instructions; feel free to use whatever pancake mix or recipe your heart desires.

lunch ideas
Photo credit: MOMables

Now these…these are amazing. Ham and Cheese Apple Wraps. Oh my. Toss in some baguette slices and a small bite of chocolate call it lunch!

And there you have it: ten lunch ideas. We’ve got the first two weeks of school covered; the rest is up to you. Share your favorite school lunch ideas in the comments!

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Christina lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, daughter, and two English Springer Spaniels. Before becoming a reluctant stay-at-home mom, she worked in a variety of customer-service-oriented jobs while dreaming of living in the lap of luxury as a housewife. Unfortunately, having a child threw a wrench in Christina's plan to do nothing but eat bonbons while lounging in the Jacuzzi reading all day. Now, she spends her time looking for fun activities and crafts for her daughter and easy-to-prepare meals for her family, while trying not to land the kid in therapy when she grows up. Christina volunteers at several different places, and her particular passion is for her role as a sexuality educator. She loves to read, and to learn about--and share--new products and resources.

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