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It’s officially back to school time and it’s about to get a whole lot more hectic! These easy back to school lunch ideas for your kids will make packing lunches a breeze. Now you’ll have just one less thing to worry about during the school year.
No more running around in the morning unsure of what to pack. With 120 items on this list, you won’t have to listen to your kids complain or boredom. The variations are endless!
Also don’t forget to download your FREE School Lunch Ideas Printable here!!
Print the list out and put it in a place where you see it often. If you put this list where you can easily access it, you will never run out of ideas for packing your child’s lunch!
Go through and highlight things your child would like. You guys can even sit down and do this together. There is also space at the end to add in all your child’s favorites as well.
Before I get to all the school lunch ideas, I wanted to share with you a few helpful tips for packing lunches and using this list.
School Lunch Prep Tips
- If possible try to pack lunches the night before, or even pick one or two nights a week to do all your prep for the week. This will help you out so much because you are already busy scrambling around in the morning trying to get you and your little one ready.
- If your kids are old enough, enlist their help. Let them bag snacks or wash fruit. This will not only help you out, but teach them valuable life skills.
- Buy in bulk at discount stores and be on the look out for sales. If you plan everything ahead of time and shop smart, you can save a lot of money on lunches.
- Mix and match everything. By varying up the lunches, your child won’t get sick of the same old thing. Maybe you repeat a main course, but having a different snack makes it a little less boring.
- Customize everything to your child. Maybe your child needs extra veggies or can’t eat nuts (or they’re not aloud at their school), be sure to take this as a general guideline and tweak it as you see fit. Maybe you don’t give your child juice or some other foods on the list and that’s okay, just customize it to fit their dietary needs.
School Lunch Ideas For Kids
Main Course (Choose 1)
- Italian Sandwich: Pepperoni, Salami & Mozzarella Cheese
- Peanut Butter (or nut/seed butter of their liking) and Jelly
- Ham and Cheese
- Turkey, Avocado & Sprouts
- Tuna Plain or With Celery
- Egg Salad
- Salami & Cheese
- Peanut Butter and Banana
- Cucumber & Cream Cheese
- Turkey & Cheese
- Pita Pizza Pocket: Spread pizza sauce inside pita bread and stuff with mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, and their favorite pizza toppings.
- Roast Beef & Cheese
- Club: Turkey, Ham, Cheese, Lettuce & Regular or Turkey Bacon
- Hummus & Veggie
- Chicken Cesar Salad
- Peanut Butter, Banana and Honey Roll-up
- Chicken Ranch
- Lettuce Wraps (Use lettuce instead of a tortilla)
- Hummus, Meat & Veggie
- Veggies & Cream Cheese
- Any of the sandwiches listed above can be made into wraps.
- Cold Pizza
- Chicken Nuggets
- Lunch Meat, Cheese & Crackers
- Nachos: Healthy Baked Kid Nacho Recipe from Thriving Home
- Pasta Salad
- Chili & Cornbread
- Bagel with cream cheese, avocado and sprouts
- Steak or Chicken Quesadilla
- Shredded chicken and barbecue dipping sauce
- Rice and Beans
- Baked egg cups: Check out my post 10 Egg Muffin Recipes for ideas!
- Mac ‘n Cheese
- Mini Corn Dogs
- Taco Salad: Kid Friendly Taco Salad Recipe from Food Network’s Healthy Eats
- Sloppy Joe’s (These are still tasty cold.)
Snacks & Sweet Treats (Choose 1-2)
- Trail Mix
- Granola Bars
- Jerky or Beef Sticks
- Veggie Chips
- String Cheese
- Yogurt & Granola
- Hummus (Eat with veggies or crackers)
- Salami & Cream Cheese
- Hard Boiled Egg or Deviled Eggs
- Laughing Cow or Babybel Cheese
- Individually Packed Guacamole (Wholly Guacamole brand is great) & Tortilla Chips
- Crackers: Saltines, Goldfish, Annie’s brand etc.
- Cold Cuts & Cheese
- Kind Bars
- Pirate’s Booty Rice or Corn Puffs (Yes, the name is hilarious!)
- Celery or Apple and Nut Butter (SunButter made from sunflower seeds is a great alternative to peanut butter if your child is allergic.)
- Chex Mix or Cheerios (dry)
- Pita Chips
- Graham Crackers
- Roasted Crunchy Chickpeas (They come repackaged in all different flavors or you can make your own. Ranch is yummy!)
- Sun Chips
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Pepperoni and Mozzarella Cheese
- Rice Cakes
- Banana and Peanut Butter
- Homemade Baked Chips or Store Bought: Here’s a Baked Chip Recipe from Super Healthy Kids.
- Rice Krispie Treats
- Fruit Snacks
- Handful of chocolate chips alone or with nuts
- Pudding or Jello
- Chocolate Covered Strawberries
- Fun Size Candy
- Fruit Roll-up/Fruit Leather
- Apple slices with peanut butter & marshmallows
- Yogurt Covered Raisins
Fruits & Veggies (Choose 2)
Note: Some of these veggies are technically fruit (like tomatoes) or in another food group, but for the sake of making it easy, I’m going go with what people generally consider as veggies.
- Mandarins: Cuties, Halos
- Applesauce: Plain, Cinnamon, Strawberry, etc.
- Dried Fruit
- Freeze Dried Fruit
- Cherry Tomatos
- Baby Carrots
- Sliced Cucumber
- Sliced Bellpepper Strips
- Snap Peas
- Winter Squash
- Baby Corn
- Roasted Veggies & Ranch
Drinks (Choose 1)
- Juice (100%)*
- Plain or Chocolate Milk
- Sparkling Water Plain or With Lime/Lemon Wedges (This one is hit or miss, some kids do not like this.)
- Water Diffused With Fruit (Lemon, strawberries, etc.)
* Please note if you are packing your own lemonade or fruit juice in a thermos, you can always dilute it down with water to reduce the sugar content.
Hope these kid lunch ideas make back to school time a little easier! Comment below and tell me your favorite lunch you pack your kiddo!