Fun and easy Lunch Ideas for Kids including recipes, tips and tricks to organizing and preparing school lunches, and a free printable with kids lunch ideas.

Six lunch containers with dividers, filled with different homemade lunches to send with kids to school.

This resource for school lunch Ideas is one of my favorite posts and makes the kids school year so much easier! When I stay on top of the planning, organizing and ideas for kids school lunches (and our weeknight Meal Plan), it makes everything else run smoothly.

Let’s jump into it: I have tons of recipes, tips and tricks below to make preparing school lunches a breeze, and also fun and exciting for your kids.

Don’t miss the FREE PRINTABLE school lunch ideas list at the bottom of the post. Print it off and keep it on your fridge so you never run out of ideas!

Tip #1 – Pack lunches the night before (have kids help!)

I like to use these bento-style containers and have my kids help pack their lunch the night before. If they’re taking food in a thermos, we warm that part in the morning.

  • Fresh Sandwich Trick: Place the cheese slices directly on the bread, and then the mayo and mustard on top of the cheese, to keep the bread from getting soggy. . This will keep the bread from getting soggy–especially if you’re making the sandwiches the night before!

Tip #2 – Stock up on healthy grab-n-go snacks.

Tip #3- Use leftovers!

Take advantage of that great dinner you made and use a thermos to send warm leftovers for lunch. Pasta, Soups and Casseroles are great for this.

Tip #4 Good containers and a lunch bag.

  • Choose a lunch box container with divided compartments. It will help you remember to include all the components of a balanced meal: grains, protein, fruit and veggies and a snack. These are what we use, and many people like these Bentgo boxes.
  • Thermos Containers are my favorite for mixing things up and sending them with a hot lunch (thermos lunch ideas below!).
  • An Insulated lunch pack with ice packs is a MUST have!

Free Printable

a list of back to school lunch ideas.


Prep 15 minutes
Total 15 minutes
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Main Course:

Hot Lunch (Thermos Ideas):


  • Cucumber
  • Cherry Tomato
  • Avocado
  • Edamame
  • Snap peas
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Bell peppers
  • Pickles
  • Broccoli florets
  • Olives

Fruit :

  • Peaches
  • Cutie orange
  • Apples
  • Berries
  • Banana
  • Applesauce
  • Grapes
  • Dried fruit
  • Melon, cut into cubes

Sides and Treats:

  • Trail mix
  • Nuts
  • Granola bars , or Granola Bites
  • Fruit leather
  • String cheese
  • Cottage cheese
  • Popcorn
  • Chex mix
  • Yogurt and Granola
  • Rice crackers
  • Fig bar
  • Rice Cakes
  • Fruit snacks
  • Hard boiled egg
  • Celery with peanut butter

Complete Meal Ideas:

  • Summer sausage slices, Cheese cubes, crackers, sliced cucumber, apples
  • Hummus and pita bread, hard boiled egg, grapes, yogurt Tube
  • Healthy muffin, veggies and dip, string cheese, berries
  • Pasta Salad, carrots, granola ball
  • California sushi roll, almonds, applesauce
  • Sandwich, edamame, cutie orange
  • Tuna with crackers, pickle, string cheese, strawberries
  • Quesadilla, chip with salsa and guac, apple slices
  • Bagel with cream cheese, trail mix, veggies
  • Turkey wrap, celery with peanut butter, fruit

Did You Make This Recipe?

Tag @TastesBetterFromScratch on Instagram with #TastesBetterFromScratch!

What additional tips and ideas do YOU have?! Share with us below!

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I originally shared this post August 2016. Updated August 2022.

This post contains affiliate links.

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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  1. I make up 10-12 boiled eggs at once and keep them in a separate egg carton (Mine is blue). I wrote ‘BOILED’ in sharpie on the carton. So far, everyone in the family understands were the boiled eggs are kept.

  2. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for creating and sharing these delicious, easy to follow recipes and shopping lists! This is an amazing resource that has helped me tremendously. I’m a stay at home Mom of two young boys and I’m so happy I found your site.

  3. 5 stars
    I’m using these for MY lunches! No more kids at home, but I’m a Kindergarten teacher and need all the energy and time saving tips that I can get! This will work great! 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    Thanks for the great ideas! I love that I can print this and hand it to my child with a highlighter and have him mark what he things he will eat. Will make the upcoming school lunch prep so much easier.

  5. Thank you for posting this as I struggle with making lunches and you just made it easy💕😁💕
    Such good ideas😍 NO more stress🥳

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