Back to School Lunch Resolutions {with Recipes!}

The start of another school year often feels like the beginning of a New Year.  We get all excited about fresh crayons and new backpacks and we resolve that this is the year we will be prepared for school lunch and pack a healthy variety of food for the kids {well, I do anyway}.  Fast forward a few months later and the reality sets in when the kids are grabbing Lunchables and maybe a piece of fruit before running out the door without brushing their hair.  Now, I’m not bashing Lunchables, because they’ve saved my butt more times than I can count… but seriously, THIS is the year that I’m going to be more organized!  I swear!  

There are a few things that I’ve learned to do over the years and there are a couple of things I’d like to implement this year to set my school lunch planning up for success.  So, as a way of showing accountability, I’ll share my plans for success with you. 

School Lunch Meal Plan

I need to decide on how many meals per week I’ll need and prep for how many days the kids will bring lunch. Some days {like pizza day} my kids prefer to eat a school lunch.  Simple pleasures…

Then, what meal should I make for each day?  Based on that I can build a grocery list.

I found a cute printable for lunch meal planning.

Then, I’ll spend an hour or so on a Sunday prepping the ingredients.

For a couple of years now I’ve set up a “snack drawer” in my refrigerator.  In this section, I divide cut fruit and veggies and put them in small plastic or reusable bags and have them ready to go in the drawer. 

In another drawer I keep cheese sticks, yogurt tubes and individual hummus and peanut butter ready.  This makes for quick lunch packing! 

In the pantry I keep all the crackers, pretzels, cookies, etc in the same area for easy access.  

That just leaves the “main course” part of the meal.

Fun School Lunch Ideas::

The reality is that most days my kids will pack sandwiches.  But that gets boring.  So here are a few simple ideas to sprinkle in and make lunch a little more fun.  

  • Home made snack kits {think Lunchables or Protein Packs}
  • Deconstructed Taco Kits {think Chipotle kids meal}
  • Hot Lunch Ideas {for cold days}
  • Salad {or pasta salad}

School Lunch Recipes::

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

4 heads broccoli, cut into 1-inch pieces
Olive oil, for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
1 whole onion, diced
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk
2 cups half-and-half
Pinch nutmeg
3 cups grated cheese {mild Cheddar, sharp Cheddar, Jack, etc.}, plus more for garnish, optional
1 cup chicken broth, optional

Tomato soup

1 medium white or yellow onion
6 tablespoons {3/4 stick} butter
Two 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes
One 46-ounce bottle or can tomato juice
3 to 6 tablespoons sugar
1 or 2 tablespoons chicken base, or 3 chicken bouillon cubes
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup sherry, optional
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Small pasta shapes of your choice  {make this separate and add it just before packing, otherwise it’ll get soggy}

Cheese Tortellini Pasta Salad


Back to School Lunch Resolutions {with Recipes!}

1 {15-ounce} bag cheese-filled tortellini pasta
16 ounces grape tomatoes, halved
2 bell peppers {1 orange and 1 yellow}, cut into bite-size pieces
1 English cucumber, cut into spears and then sliced
1/2 medium red onion, rough dice
1 {4.25-ounce} can sliced black olives {optional, my kids don’t like it… but I do!}
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, cubed
1 cup bacon crumbles {1 pound cooked, cooled and crumbled}


{you won’t need to add the entire amount to your pasta}

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
3 tablespoons dry ranch salad dressing mix
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 cloves minced garlic (or 1 teaspoon garlic paste)
1 teaspoon course ground black pepper

Taco kit

Back to School Lunch Resolutions {with Recipes!}

Seasoned ground meat or chicken {I purchased pre cooked chicken from the grocery store}
Shredded cheese
Chopped tomato

Protein Kit


Sliced Apple
Boiled Egg
Peanut Butter

Pizza Lunch Kits

Back to School Lunch Resolutions {with Recipes!}

Whole wheat rounds
Marinara sauce

Lets face it, there will be days when I won’t be proud of the meal that my kids are having for lunch, life happens! But hopefully being prepared ahead of time will keep those school lunch “Lunchable” moments to a minimum.  Check back on me in May!

Need more back-to-school tips? Check out The Ultimate Back to School Guide for Houston Moms!

The Ultimate Back-to-School Guide for Houston Moms | Houston Moms Blog

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