These School Lunch Ideas Earn an Easy A

Happy August, fellow moms! Can you believe we’ve survived the summer? I know where you’re coming from… we’ve been feeding these children 15 times a day all summer but there’s light at the end of the tunnel. They are headed back to school and we’ll only be responsible for maybe 6 meals a day! In anticipation of the season of packed meals, here are 33 easy school lunch ideas to put in kids’ lunchboxes. 

Suggestions range from the super obvious (fresh fruit and veggies) to hot lunch options (soups and lo mein) to delicious recipes that require minimal ingredients or time in the kitchen (a Starbucks eat-alike and a DIY pizza lunchable). Thoroughly kid-tested, you can be assured that tummies will be full and lunchboxes will come home empty.

mom places lunch box in son's backpack, which he is wearing on his backSchool Lunch Ideas

Low Hanging Fruit

  1. Apple slices
  2. Peach slices
  3. Grapes
  4. Berry trio – Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries
  5. Mandarin oranges

Veggie Delights

  1. Bell pepper slices
  2. Cherry tomatoes
  3. Cucumber slices
  4. Broccoli florets
  5. Baby carrots
  6. Baby dill pickles

Pantry Picks

  1. Chia pouches
  2. Gogo squeeze
  3. Fruit leather
  4. Cookies and crackers

Protein Power Up

  1. Yogurt pouches
  2. Cheese sticks
  3. Meat sticks
  4. Pepperoni and salami slices
  5. Nuts, seeds and trail mix
  6. Hummus and pita
  7. Hard boiled eggs

Quick Kitchen Wins

  1. Protein balls (15 recipes!)
  2. Pinwheels – ham and cheese, turkey and ranch and pizza
  3. Soups – Cheese broccoli (huge crowd pleaser!), tomato and veggie beef
  4. Taco salad (and 6 other bento ideas!)
  5. Pasta – Mac and cheese (warm) or Italian pasta salad (cold)
  6. Hawaiian roll sliders
  7. Easy cheesy tortellini bake
  8. Kid charcuterie kebabs
  9. Lo mein noodles
  10. DIY Starbucks protein bistro box
  11. DIY pizza lunchable

Lunchbox Recommendations

I’ve used the Yumbox brand for 7 years; most recently, I’ve used the 5-compartment Tapas box. There are several different sizes and configurations, making it easy to scale the size of lunches depending on age/appetite. They are also easy for small hands to open and shut and I’ve never had an issue with compartments leaking.

My recommendation for sending hot foods to school would be the Omiebox container. TIP: Pour hot water into the thermos compartment while prepping other lunch items. Pour water out and add food to the thermos. The residual heat from the water should allow the food to stay warmer, longer.   

Quick Tips for First Time Lunch Takers

  • Have your child practice opening their lunchbox and any containers, pouches, drink boxes or peelable fruit that might be inside.
  • Have them practice closing their lunchbox and putting it back in their lunch bag
  • This one is a little controversial but lunch periods are notoriously short. You might consider having your child practice eating in the amount of time they will have for lunch, just so they’re not completely caught off guard if it’s a lot less time than they’re used to.

What are your favorite school lunch ideas? Any recipes or lunchbox brands Houston moms need to know about?

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Bambi N.
Bambi is a Kingwood transplant by way of Fairbanks, Alaska. Her Houstonian status was fast-tracked by her family’s disastrous Hurricane Harvey experience just 2 months after arriving… but she’s never looked back! She spent 14 years doing meaningful work for the University of Alaska Fairbanks before landing her dream job as a children's library worker for the Harris County Public Library. She has been happily married to Richard since 2004 and is an extremely proud mom to Miles {April 2012}. When she’s not scouring Pinterest for story time craft ideas, she enjoys reading, blogging and vegging out to British TV while eating pasta. Her family loves Disney cruises and will sail any chance they get! Bambi's goals are to create a Little Free Library in her front yard and to volunteer with local child-centric services. She a bit obsessed with personal development and would be happy to suggest several books and podcasts if you dare mention a similar interest! She can't wait to connect with Houston families through her writing and Houston Moms events.


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