When you think about packed school lunches, peanut butter and jelly or ham and cheese sandwiches come to mind. While sandwiches certainly make for nice school lunch, they are not your only option. Mix it up by fixing something different for your kids this school year. Here are some great school lunch ideas to get you started.
Beyond the Sandwich – School Lunch Ideas
Make It A Wrap
A quick and easy alternative to a sandwich is a wrap. Grab some tortillas and fix your child’s favorite sandwich as a wrap. Wraps are also great for adding lots of lettuce and extra veggies. Hummus and cucumbers make a delicious vegetarian lunch option.
When you’re done adding your toppings, roll it up like a burrito and if desired, cut it in half. The wrap is good as is, or you can pack a small serving of salad dressing to dip. Ranch Dressing is always a favorite around here. Just make sure you pack it in a small, airtight container so your child doesn’t end up with ranch all over her lunch box (ask me to know I know).
Who Doesn’t Love Snack Food And Lunchables?
I have yet to meet a child that doesn’t love Lunchables. But have you looked at the price of those found at the grocery store lately? Plus I’m not the biggest fan of the food options. Why not make your own version instead of fresh ingredients and food you know your child will eat.
Start with some sandwich meat and cheese cut into bite-sized pieces. Add some fresh raw veggies like sliced cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and baby carrots. Throw in some fresh or dried fruit and you have a delicious, healthy, homemade version.
Of course, you can turn any of your child’s favorite snack foods including popcorn, trail mix, crackers, cheese, fruits and veggies, and the likes into lunch. Grab a container with lots of little dividers (bento boxes are perfect) and fill them up with kid-friendly favorites.
Healthy Salads For Lunch
Salads are another great school lunch option, particularly for older children. Get a container with a tight-fitting lid and add all your child’s favorite salad ingredients minus the dressing in there.
Start with a bed of lettuce greens, add raw veggies, croutons, bacon bits, nuts and seeds, and the likes. Top it with a source of protein like cheese, hard-boiled egg, ham or turkey, or even some grilled chicken.
Pack dressing in a separate container along with a fork and napkin and lunch is done. You can assemble the salad the night before and store it in the fridge. The key is to make sure all your ingredients are very dry. If you’re washing your lettuce, use a salad spinner, or dry it on some paper towels before starting to pack it. Cutting everything into small bite-sized pieces will ensure that the lunchtime salad is easy to eat.
Fun School Lunch Ideas
Need more suggestions? Here are some fun school lunch ideas to help you break the mundane cycle of packing the same thing for lunch every day. A little variety never hurt anyone. What is your favorite thing to pack for lunch? Add a fun lunchbox note for a lunch your kids will love.
Banana Burrito Ideas
PB & J
- Whole-Wheat Tortilla
- 2 Tbsps. Peanut Butter
- 1 Tbsp. Jelly
Nutella and PB
- 2 tbsp. Peanut Butter
- 1 tbsp. Nutella
Fluffer Nutter Roll-Up
- 2 tbsp. Peanut Butter
- 1 tbsp. Marshmallow Fluff
Spread peanut butter over the tortilla. Peel the banana and put it at the edge of the tortilla. Spread the banana with your optional topping (jelly, Nutella, marshmallow fluff) and then roll up the tortilla. Fold the ends to hold all the ingredients inside. For a yummy alternative warm up the tortilla in the microwave for 10-15 seconds for an ooey-gooey treat.
Pair with these items to make a delicious lunch your child will love:
Italian Sausage and Broccoli Egg Muffin
- 1 lb. Italian Sausage
- 8 Large Eggs
- 1 Cup Broccoli Florets
- 1/2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
- 1/4 Cup Milk
- 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
- Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
- In a large pan, fry up the sausage until it’s no longer pink. Remove from heat and add broccoli florets
- In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, milk, oil, baking powder, and salt and pepper.
- Lightly spray a 12 cup muffin pan with oil. Spoon the sausage mixture evenly into each tin. Pour the egg mixture over the top and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes at 375 F
- Refrigerate lunch portions overnight and add to the lunch box in the morning. It’s portable and yummy!
Jello with fruit at the bottom
Ham and Mozzarella Sticks
- 4 Ham Slices
- 2 String Cheese Sticks
- 2 Green Olives
- 2 Toothpicks
Take two ham slices and wrap around one cheese stick. Add the olive to the seam and secure with the toothpick.
Red Seedless Grapes
100% Real Juice Box
- 1 Roll Your Favorite Biscuits
- 1/2 Ricotta Cheese
- 2 Cups Shredded Mozzarella
- 2 tsp. Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Dash Salt
- Dash Garlic Powder
- Open the biscuits and roll each one out flat with a rolling pin. If the dough sticks to the rolling pin take a little bit of flour and sprinkle over the rolling pin.
- For each biscuit add a 1/4 tsp. of Parmesan cheese onto one half of the flattened biscuit. Then add 3 Tbsps. of mozzarella and a tsp. of ricotta. Sprinkle with a little salt and garlic powder. Fold the biscuit over on itself. Crimp with a fork.
- Cook at 350F for 14-17 minutes or until the biscuit is golden brown.
Spaghetti sauce for dipping
Green salad with dressing
- 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Tbsp. Baking Powder
- 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
- 1/4 Cup Sugar
- 1 tsp. Each Salt and Dried Basil
- 1 cup Cheddar Cheese, cubed
- 2 Eggs
- 1 cup Yogurt
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 1/4 Cup Pizza Sauce
- 1/2 cup Mozzarella, shredded
- Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, and basil. Stir in cheddar cubes.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, yogurt, and butter until smooth. Stir into flour mixture just until well combined and no dry spots remain. Add batter into muffin cups, dividing evenly. Spoon 1 tsp. pizza sauce on top of each muffin; sprinkle each with shredded mozzarella.
- Bake at 400 F for 20 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the middle muffins comes out clean. Let muffins cool in the pan for at least 5 minutes before removing, then let cool completely on a wire rack. (Freeze muffins in an airtight container for up to 1 month; defrost at room temperature.)
Spinach salad with salad dressing