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


Prep 15 mins
Total 15 mins
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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.

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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. 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.

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

  3. Thanks for suggesting that we make the lunches at night and not in the morning. I’ve been letting my nieces and nephews stay with me while their parents are on vacation, and it’s been difficult for me to make their lunches in time in the morning. I’ll definitely follow your advice and start making their lunches the night before. I know it’ll make the mornings a lot less stressful!

  4. Thank you so much for all your fantastic ideas! I have already printed your meal suggestions, and I’ve placed them on the fridge. Every day my kids take their time looking at them while deciding what meal they want for the day to come. Now they are both happier because they get to choose what they are going to eat and I am so pleased as well with this time-saving process that allows my children to eat healthily every day!

  5. Its really hard to think on what to bring for your lunch everyday, like I seriously run out of ideas and just end up bringing the same food. Kudos to this article for helping me in my everyday burden.

  6. These are perfect ideas. I pack lunch for my son every day and trying to come up with something new is hard. Thanks so much for the list of ideas.