Having difficulty finding new ideas for your kids school lunches? Sometimes it’s so hard to come up with something fun and exciting for our kids. But here are 10 fresh school lunchbox ideas that are sure to keep your kids happy and full!
But First: The Supplies for Kids School Lunches
These kids school lunchbox supplies are absolute essentials when it comes to packing your kids lunch. I’ve been using all these products for over 8 years and recently bought more since my daughter has started preschool.
- Containers: These lunchbox containers are fantastic! What I love about these are that the compartments allow for portion control. Whereas, if you were to use a sandwich bag for chips, you could definitely put 2-3 portions in a bag. They are reusable, microwave safe, and dishwasher safe too!
- Silicone Liners: These reusable silicone baking cups are the most perfect item for these lunchboxes! Not only do they help separate different foods in the larger compartment, they help keep all the food ‘together’ and keeps it from touching other foods. I know a lot of kids (and adults!) hate when foods touch each other. By using these silicone liners, this helps in that department. I also purchase the rectangle shape too for foods like Biscoff cookies or carrot sticks.
- Condiment Cups: These reusable mini condiment cups with lids are great for dippings and sauces like hummus, salsa, jelly, cream cheese, etc. Just work with your kids to make sure they don’t throw them away, along with the silicone liners.
- Cookie Cutters: Now I will say, I don’t go overboard with trying to make my kids cucumbers out of stars or anything, but every once in a while, I will cut their sandwiches into Mickey head shapes using this cookie cutter. It’s cute and fun!
- Water Bottles: I love these water bottles for my kids school lunches. You can sometimes find them on sale at Costco too! If you’re trying to stay away from straw water bottles, we have about 3 or 4 of these wide mouth ones. We have a ton of water bottles at home since sometimes they forget to bring them home, so we need back-ups lol
- Lunch Boxes: There are so many lunch boxes or bags that will fit these lunch containers! I have this one for my daughter and it fits perfectly. This one is another great option too!
Kids Lunches Don’t Have to be for School
Although this post is titled, “Easy Kids School Lunches” these lunches don’t have to be strictly for school. Use these ideas for day trips, family vacations, day care, or even lunches at home! During, the-years-that-shall-not-be-named, I tried my best to keep my kids lives as normal as possible when they were home from school. Being able to keep making fresh lunch ideas at home, was a way to keep things normal and my way of being in control of a situation that I couldn’t control.
Also, these lunch containers are fantastic for road trips! I’ve used these several times for day trips or family road trips. The containers help keep their lunch fresh and you’re only messing with the containers themselves. Not brown paper bags, plastic wrap, and plastic baggies spewed all about the car haha!
1) Charcuterie for Kids School Lunches
This is probably one of my kids favorite lunches ever! It has a little bit of everything, just like a charcuterie board you would make at home or order at a restaurant. It’s very similar to a lunchable but so much better and healthier! It consists of a hard-boiled egg, slices of salami, cubed cheese, sliced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, triscuit crackers, grapes, and blueberries.
2) Turkey Roll-ups
I love purchasing tortillas from Costco, not only to use for burritos or quesadillas, but they are perfect for turkey roll-ups! Add a little spread of mayo and/or mustard, some cheese and spinach if you’d like. I also have some ruffles, carrot slices with hummus, grapes, strawberries and a homemade chocolate chip cookie that I tore in half to make it fit.
3) Peanut Butter & Jelly
The quintessential of all kids school lunches, in my opinion. It’s the easiest to make and who doesn’t love a solid pb&j? I actually have one myself from time to time with a glass of cold chocolate milk, yum! I paired this lunch idea with a small handful of chips, sliced cucumbers, grapes and a store-bought m&m cookie. Although, now would be a perfect time to plug these absolutely delicious, homemade Monster M&M cookies that I make!
4) Beef & Rice Burritos for Kids School Lunches
If you ever participate in, “Taco Tuesday’s” at your home, i’m sure you’ve had leftover taco meat to have for another meal. My kids love burritos so much, they could have it every day if I let them haha. If you like to make your kids school lunchbox the night before, the easiest thing to do in ‘hot meal” cases like this, is to prep the whole lunch the night before, and make the ‘hot’ portion the day of. The night before I added some doritos, sugar snap peas, mandarin oranges, blueberries, and a diced up slice of marble loaf to these lunchbox containers. The following morning, I warmed up the taco filling and a tortilla and rolled it up! It might not be blazing hot when they go to it, but it should be slightly warm.
5) Mickey Shaped Ham & Cheese
These Mickey shaped sandwiches are so fun for my kids, they love to open up their lunches and see it! Now i’m not the type of person to make cute little shapes or ‘faces’ out of food. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I just don’t have the patience for it haha! But this is the closest I’ll get to it, and that’s okay. I paired this Mickey shaped Ham & Cheese sandwich with some pretzels, goldfish crackers, sliced cucumbers, cauliflower, strawberries, blueberries, and a quarter of chocolate chip muffin.
6) Naan Bread Pizza for Kids School Lunches
I don’t know about your kids, but my kids absolutely adore pizza! We have it weekly either homemade or pick-up. So I knew these Mini Naan Bread pizzas would win them over! To make these, put a tablespoon of pizza sauce or marinara sauce on top of the naan, add some shredded cheese and pepperonis. Broil these in the oven on high for 2-4 minutes, checking on them around the 2 minute mark to make sure they don’t burn. I then cut the pizzas in half so they would fit better. With their pizzas, they have some shredded carrots and spinach, chips, grapes, mandarin slices and a twinkie on the side. Watch me make the Naan Bread Pizzas here!
7) Egg Salad on a Croissant
Egg Salad sandwiches are another one of my kids favorites, and it’s even better on a flaky croissant! I love to make my egg salad with a little bit of mayo, Dijon mustard, and a little bit of pickle juice. The pickle juice just completely elevates the egg salad! I like to get my croissants at Costco to make these sandwiches with and also for Croissant French Toast. They also got some chips, shredded carrots, broccoli, blueberries, mandarin slices, and some Oreos.
8) Ham & Cheese Sliders
This kids school lunch is perfect for when you have leftover rolls from dinner. Use whatever lunch meat you have, cheese and some greens! I added some fritos, mixed fruit, baby carrots, broccoli, and a biscoff cookie for their sweet treat.
9) PB & J ‘Sushi’
This lunch was actually inspired to a trip to Disneyland that we took as a family. The boys had ordered some PB&J ‘sushi’ at the LampLight Lounge at Disney’s California Adventure and thought this would make such a fun meal! You can watch how I make this but I basically just roll out the bread till it’s thin and pliable, smear some peanut butter on it and roll it up and cut it into little ‘sushi’ bites. In the small condiment cups, I added some preserves that they could dip their ‘sushi’ into. They also got chips, baby carrots, cucumbers, blueberries, mandarins, and a mini chocolate chip muffin.
Another leftover my kids were excited about. Cheeseburgers! Except that my youngest son was disappointed he got half a cheeseburger instead of a whole on haha! I put some avocado and butter lettuce on top as well. They also received some tortilla chips, carrot sticks, sliced plums and a square of homemade brownie.
Extra Packing Tips
Packing a healthy and delicious school lunch for your kids can be challenging. Here are some tips for creating a kid-approved school lunch:
- Variety is key! Pack a mix of whole grains, protein, vegetables and fruit to provide a well-balanced school lunch. But definitely be sure to include a sweet treat!
- Make it fun and visually appealing. While I personally don’t have the talent to make sandwiches in the shape of a rocket ship (although my youngest son would love that!), I do love using a Mickey head shaped cookie cutter for sandwiches. The use of fun food picks could draw more attention to the lunch too!
- Get your child involved in the process. Having your child help make their school lunch, might entice them to eat it! Maybe lay out three different kinds of chips and/or crackers and have your child choose what they’d like to eat. It is their lunch after all!
- Pack leftovers. I am a huge fan of giving my kids leftovers in their school lunches. Not only does it save you time on preparing it, but it saves you money as well.
- Is your child going to daycare or preschool soon? Help prepare them a week ahead of time, by serving their lunches in the lunchbox container of your choice. Teach them to unzip their lunchbox, how to open their containers, and learn what to throw away, and what not to throw away. Knowing how to ‘work’ their lunchboxes will make it much less stressful for them (and you too).
Looking for kid-friendly meals to make? Check out these recipes!