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.
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.
- Freezer muffins like my Healthy Applesauce Oat Muffins, Skinny Banana Muffins, or Skinny Chocolate Muffins.
- Homemade Granola Bars or Energy Balls
- Hard boiled eggs – Cook a dozen and have them ready to go in the fridge. Mark them with an “H” with a sharpie marker. (Or, these ones from Costco are convenient).
- Beef Jerky Sticks
- Healthy Trail Mix Packs
- Healthy Crackers like Triscuits, or Almond Crackers
- Or browse my list of 50+ Healthy Snack Ideas.
Tip #3- Use leftovers!
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!
School Lunch Ideas
Hot Lunch (Thermos Ideas):
- Cherry Tomato
- Snap peas
- Bell peppers
- Broccoli florets
- Cutie orange
- Dried fruit
- Melon, cut into cubes
Sides and Treats:
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
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I originally shared this post August 2016. Updated August 2022.