50 School Lunch Ideas {healthy & easy!}

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My daughter is starting school in September…..whaaaaaaa :(

And, wouldn’t ya know my child doesn’t like sandwiches. GREAAAAAAT.

But, I was exactly like her growing up so lucky for me I know a thing or two about lunches that don’t completely revolve around sliced bread and meat. My mom always packed a healthy, well balanced lunch that I for the most part enjoyed. Sometimes, I’d get the occasional sandwich, but all in all it was just a series of snacks put together that covered all the basic food groups. That’s usually how I throw lunches together for Brooke. Protein, carb, fruit, veg and dairy {sometimes}.

So, here’s a list of 50 {yes, that’s FIFTY!} healthy lunches that my daughter happens to like that you can try out on your little ones this coming school year:

1. Greek Yogurt, granola, peppers, baby tomatoes, grapes, mini muffin

2. Ham & cheese mini bagel, banana, cup of greek yogurt, sugar snap peas

3. Peanut butter & Banana tortilla roll-ups, unsweetened applesauce pouch, celery sticks

4. Cracker pizza, broccoli with ranch, apple slices

5. Hummus & Veggie Wraps, dried fruit, crackers

6. Tex-Mex Chopped Veggie Taco Dip, tortilla chips, orange slices, frozen greek yogurt tube

7. Four Cheese Pepperoni Pizza Knots, carrot sticks, cup of diced, unsweetened peaches

8. Southwest Pepper Turkey Egg Cups, watermelon cubes, fruit leather, celery sticks

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9. Veggies and dip, cheese stick, banana mini muffin, trail mix

10.  Tuna fish on a croissant,  mini chocolate doughnut muffins, baby carrots, yogurt

11. Tuna Pasta Salad with Dill & peas, unsweetened applesauce pouch, red pepper slices

12. Basil & Pecan Chicken Salad, crackers, cucumber slices, blueberries

13. Macaroni Salad, cheese stick, apple, fruit leather, cauliflower pieces

14. Tuna California Club Sandwich, babybel cheese, dried fruit, celery sticks.

15. Hummus, pita, cucumber slices, carrot sticks, homemade granola bar

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16. Cottage cheese, peanut butter sandwich crackers, strawberries, baby carrots

17. Roasted Red Pepper Dip, deli turkey, soft pita, veggies, grapes

18. Coconut Curry Chicken Salad, tortilla chips, cherries, tube yogurt

19. Turkey and cream cheese tortilla pinwheels, dried fruit, baby tomatoes,

20. Cucumber tea sandwiches, apple slices with peanut butter, cheese stick

21. Chicken Caesar Pasta saladhomemade granola bar, strawberries

22. Homemade Lunchables with meat, cheese, crackers + juice box, raspberries, unsweetened applesauce pouch

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23. Mini Salad Pita Pockets, pretzels, carrot sticks, mandarin oranges

24. PB&J tortilla roll up, Cocoa-Nut Almond Energy Balls, grapes, bell pepper slices

25. BLT on a soft roll, fruit leather, cheese stick, sugar snap peas

26. Ham & Cheese Melt Deviled Eggs, tube yogurt, strawberries, celery sticks

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27. Laughing cow cheese wedges, pretzels, fresh cherries, lemon poppyseed mini muffin

28. Chicken & Ranch Wraps, goldfish crackers, peach, celery sticks

29. Sesame Noodle Salad, mixed fruit cup, yogurt, watermelon cubes

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30. Turkey and cheese roll, goldfish crackers, green pepper slices, strawberries, nectarine

31. Fancy Chicken Salad on mini bagel, dried fruit, black olives, cauliflower pieces

32. Green smoothie, peanut butter sandwich crackers, pear slices, trail mix

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33. Jalapeño Artichoke Dip, crackers, orange bell peppers, sugar snap peas, watermelon, dried apricots

34. Homemade Pizza Lunchable with pita, pizza sauce, grated cheese, pepperoni, grapes, black olives, broccoli + ranch

35. Chicken soft taco, banana, unsweetened applesauce pouch, mini muffin

36. Apple slices turned into peanut butter sandwiches, yogurt raisins, cheese stick, baby tomatoesIMG_0079

37. Mini bagel ham sandwich, cheese stick, cucumber slices, apple, pretzels

38. Leftover slice of quiche, cherries, celery and carrot sticks, homemade crackers

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39. Mini Cheese tray: Brie cheese wedge, crackers, grapes, strawberries, baby carrots

40. Tuna Fish, crackers, cheese cubes, pear, yogurt covered raisins

Don’t forget about warm lunches for those chilly winter months!

41. Chicken noodle Soup, crackers, apple slices, homemade granola bar

42. Homemade Spaghetti-Os, pear, cucumber slices, soft dinner roll

43. Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup, trail mix, cornbread muffin {leftovers :)}

44. Secret Ingredient Tomato Soup, biscuit, cup of greek yogurt, fruit leather

45. Irish Beef Stew, crackers, blueberries, side salad

46. Simple Chili, grapes, cheese stick, trail mix

47. Macaroni and Cheese, cup of fruit, carrot sticks, ranch

48. Tomato Basil Alphabet Soup, chocolate milk box, garlic toast, strawberries

49. Sweet and Sour Meatballs, rice, yogurt, apple slices

50. Spaghetti, fruit smoothie, yogurt raisins, broccoli and ranch

 

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49 Responses to “50 School Lunch Ideas {healthy & easy!}”

  1. #
    1
    Ingrid — August 1, 2014 at 12:50 am

    Love this!! Thank you so much for doing fiftty options!

    Reply

  2. #
    2
    Paula — August 1, 2014 at 4:16 am

    I am a teacher who also does not like sandwiches. Yogurt, salad and soup are really boring. I am definitely going to use this great list of lunch ideas for myself. By the way I love all your recipes and your blog. Thank you Lauren!!!

    Reply

  3. #
    3
    Jamielyn@iheartnaptime — August 1, 2014 at 5:27 am

    Such a great list!! Thanks for sharing! xo

    Reply

  4. #
    4
    Jenn @ Mother Thyme — August 1, 2014 at 5:52 am

    I love this list! My kiddos start pre-k in the fall and I am looking for ideas like this for their lunches!

    Reply

  5. #
    5
    Shannon — August 1, 2014 at 6:20 am

    My girls have never liked sandwiches. Well they do like grilled cheese but those are just a soggy mess if they sit for 5 mins. So we do a lot of not your regular school lunches also. Will check out and pin this list!

    Enjoy time with just 1 at home, while she is in kindergarten! My youngest who is not a 3rd grader was only 5 months old when my oldest who is now an 8th grader started.

    OK now I’m sad next school year I’m going to have a high schooler! WHAAAAA :'(

    Reply

  6. #
    6
    Kathy — August 1, 2014 at 6:59 am

    Great ideas. Would love to see more details like how to make a homemade lunchable.

    Reply

  7. #
    7
    Katya @ Little Broken — August 1, 2014 at 7:29 am

    Love your post. My son starts kindergarten this year and I’ve been pin hunting for school lunch ideas.

    Reply

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    8
    Lynn — August 1, 2014 at 7:53 am

    This is a great list! I don’t have kids, but these are fabulous ideas for lunches to pack myself for work! (It’s so easy to fall into the rut of same old, same old)

    Thanks from the ‘big’ kids! :)

    Reply

  9. #
    9
    Karen E — August 1, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    Oh be still my heart. Thank you . Thank you. Thank you. Lunch is my nemesis. Now I have 50 great ideas. I can’t wait to try them all. You’re awesome!

    Reply

  10. #
    10
    Roni R — August 2, 2014 at 4:48 am

    These lunches look great! I love the little containers that you have that has the dip right in the middle. Can you tell me where you got those containers?

    Reply

    • Lauren — August 2nd, 2014 @ 7:13 am

      Homegoods!!

      Reply

  11. #
    11
    Maggie C Ewing — August 2, 2014 at 5:25 am

    Great ideas! I thought my daughter was the only one who didn’t like sandwiches ! Maggie

    Reply

  12. #
    12
    Alice // Hip Foodie Mom — August 2, 2014 at 6:46 am

    I’m so not looking forward to school starting. . I like the kids sleeping in and enjoying the summer :P . . anyway, my oldest does not like sandwiches either .. or mac and cheese (I still can’t believe she is my daughter) so definitely going to use some of these ideas here . . thank you Lauren! Enjoy the rest of the summer! :)

    Reply

  13. #
    13
    Kendra — August 2, 2014 at 6:53 am

    Great ideas!! Where did you find all the great containers?? Especially the one with the dip holder in the middle? Love your site!

    Reply

    • Lauren — August 2nd, 2014 @ 7:12 am

      Homegoods, mostly. Some are just ziploc containers.

      Reply

    • Jen — August 29th, 2014 @ 5:00 pm

      Target has tons of great containers. I think maybe the brand is Bloc.

      Reply

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    14
    karen — August 2, 2014 at 10:04 am

    Great list…my kids are grown, but it is a great list of good foods for anyone…wish I had had this when I had to pack lunches, but both my kids were kind of one track eaters. I used to make hummus every week for my daughter…she ate it every day on pita…I have the recipe memorized. When I was in school it was white bread and pimento cheese sandwiches, and peanut butter and dill pickles…there…you have two more options!

    Reply

  15. #
    15
    linda galarza — August 2, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    Loved the lunch ideas. Just read the Simple macaroni salad recipe. Love it; like you, macaroni salad is good for me anytime!

    Reply

  16. #
    16
    Jane Thomas — August 2, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    I have 2 great granddaughters starting school this year – one in PreK and the other in K – where did the time go? I don’t recall seeing that neat container with 4 sections and the circle in the middle. Could you please say where I could find them? Thank you and these dishes look great for anyone.

    Reply

  17. #
    17
    Phi @ The Sweetphi Blog — August 3, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    Can you be my mom and pack my lunch? lol! These all look so yummy!

    Reply

  18. #
    18
    Nicole — August 3, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    This is awesome! Thank you! Another we do, especially in the winter is oatmeal and the toppings are endless.

    Reply

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    19
    Rachel — August 4, 2014 at 11:39 am

    Don’t forget hard boiled eggs!
    Also cold or hot homemade baked beans, cold fried chicken strips with bbq, crockpot green beans with turkey keilbasa, and cold pulled pork tortillas!

    Reply

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    20
    April — August 4, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    I love these ideas, as my son does not like sandwiches either. It’s nice to have a resource to look at when I’m at a loss to pack-up for lunches. Thanks!!

    Reply

  21. #
    21
    Chocolate-Covered Katie — August 4, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    Thank you so much for including me. Your blog is beautiful! I love the layout and gorgeous photos :)

    Reply

  22. #
    22
    Ashley | Our Full Table — August 5, 2014 at 7:15 am

    Those little pita pockets are the cutest! Great list!

    Reply

  23. #
    23
    Kk — August 9, 2014 at 10:51 am

    Ok so this list sounds good…in a perfect world. But in my world kids don’t usually like eating the majority of the stuff on the list. Any tips for picky eaters who refuse to try anything new?

    Reply

  24. #
    24
    Jessica — August 12, 2014 at 9:30 am

    This list is awesome! and not just for kids either! I will be giving some of these lunches a try!!

    Reply

  25. #
    25
    Jocelyn@Brucrewlife — August 12, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    Such a fantastic list! Love it! :) Thankfully my kids are old enough now to make their own lunches, but it’s great to have healthy choices like these for them to choose from!

    Reply

  26. #
    26
    Melanie — August 14, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    Thank you so much for these fun, healthy, easy lunch ideas. My little guy did not do great with sandwich lunches last year and these are the kinds of foods he enjoys. I cannot wait to prepare his lunches with these fun foods.

    Reply

  27. #
    27
    Meg — August 25, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    Great list – might actually use some of these ideas for my own lunches!

    Reply

  28. #
    28
    Lisa — August 26, 2014 at 9:24 am

    I love all of these idea’s. How long can some of these dips and yogurt be out of the fridge before going bad. I pack my son’s lunch about 5:30am and he eats about 11:30. Thanks for all the idea’s

    Reply

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    Susannah — August 26, 2014 at 9:54 am

    I too am not a fan of making lunches. Love the ideas in your list. I must say I am surprised you include things with nuts. I live in Ontario, Canada and our local school board (the second largest in the country 150K+ students) and many, many others are completely nut free. I realize things differ by regions, etc but do your schools allow nuts to be taken? How do the kids/parents who have an allergy feel about it?

    Reply

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    30
    anupama — September 1, 2014 at 10:20 am

    Great ideas, however just an FYI that most schools do not allows nuts or anyversion of it to school. Always check your school for allergy alerts.

    Reply

  31. #
    31
    cupcakegirl — September 3, 2014 at 11:25 am

    I start 7th grade tomorrow and I am the pickiest eater on earth. My mom showed me this list and I was able to pick out a ton of cool ideas to bring for lunch

    Reply

  32. #
    32
    Jane — September 14, 2014 at 8:01 am

    Love the hot foods idea! How do you keep your food (that is not a thermal container like soup) hot? Thanks!!

    Reply

  33. #
    33
    Kk — October 1, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    Omg looks so good you are awsome totally gonna pack it by the way what price are those containers??

    Reply

  34. #
    34
    Amy — October 9, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    Hi. My daughter does not like sandwiches, either. Throwing together a lunch has been a struggle this year. I love all of your ideas, but I have to ask, how do you keep the dairy (yogurt, cheese, etc.) and meats cold? Unless it is very cold and straight from the fridge my daughter won’t eat it. Little Miss Picky, this one. I’ve tried freezing Gogurt and sending it that way, but she says it gets all lumpy and then she still won’t eat it. From seeing what she brings back home uneaten I figure she eats chips or crackers, fruit snacks, and occasionally some fruit. That’s it. Every day. Then she comes home famished and spoils her appetite for dinner. Oh, and she only occasionally will eat raw vegetables with dip that I send for her. If it wasn’t so hot here (So Cal) I’d send warm soup, but, come on, it’s 90 degrees out! Any ideas on how to deal with this kind of pickiness?

    Reply

    • Lauren — October 10th, 2014 @ 7:14 am

      Instead of using a thermos to keep foods warm, you can also use it to keep food cool! Fill it up with ice water and let it sit 10-15 minutes before draining and adding the yogurt or cottage cheese. Should stay cold 4-6 hours :)

      Reply

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