Peanut Blossom » Peanut Blossom: develop everyday possibilities

Masthead header

30 days of lunchbox recipes: No Repeats!

135.1K Flares Pin It Share 84.9K Facebook 48.2K Twitter 140 StumbleUpon 1.7K Google+ 229 135.1K Flares ×

Back to School. Did that phrase just leave you in a cold sweat or fill you with glee?

Packing lunches is not my favorite part of school. Day in and day out this task must be done and it is so easy to fall into a ‘sandwich, chips, fruit, done!’ rut. That is not the most healthful approach and it makes eating lunch a chore for everyone.

So this year I’m heading in with a plan! I’ve made a list of all the popular combinations of lunch foods I can think of and am sharing them with you!

So what’s your favorite lunch combo for the kids?

Share your ideas in the comments below!


P.S. Did you like this post? I would love to keep in touch with you over on Facebook! Please stop by and say hi and join our discussion!



Each of my menu suggestions have been tested on the Peanut and are as kid friendly as I can get while following this strict criteria:

1. Fairly light on veggies: I know the more veggies that get packed in that bag, the less that gets eaten and I hate throwing away food. We work on our veggie tasting skills together at dinnertime and I push the fruit for lunch instead. The few veggies I do mention are on the Peanut’s approved list.

2. Quick & easy packing: If you have the time and energy to be crafting animals and characters out of produce at 6 a.m. before your coffee more power to you. I don’t. These lunch combos take minutes to toss in the bag. That said, I find a simple cookie cutter and a handwritten note on a napkin works wonders!

3. No sandwiches!: Well, “almost” no. My girls get crazy tired of sandwiches and several times last year the Peanut would come home with a lunch bag full of bread. She’d eat the filling and leave the rest! I have several methods of getting that filling presented besides putting it in between 2 slices of bread.

4. Nut free!!: Probably the most important factor here. The Peanut’s school is peanut-free, so no peanut butter or nuts appear in these suggestions.

Materials you need, links to sources included:

  • Cute and easy lunch bag: Buy here
    UPDATED: The bag featured in my images is currently sold out but they do have 2 other cute styles available.
    You can find them both here and here.
  • Plastic bento-style container: Buy here
    UPDATED: I’m told my original container suggestion is sold out. Though I have not tried them personally, a great friend recommended these as another alternative. You can buy them here.
  • Ice pack
  • Small cookie cutters: Buy here
  • Toothpicks or skewers

Methods: I have 4 presentation methods I rotate depending on the ingredients and food.

1. Roll-ups: The Peanut’s favorite. Take the meat and/or cheese, lay it flat. Roll it up like a burrito. Slice it into chunks, hold in place with toothpicks.

2. Stackers: I call this the “make your own lunchables” method. Meat, cheese, crackers, and assorted toppings are presented for the kids to mix and match their own bites.

3. Nibble Plates: Also known as “What on earth do I have in the fridge?!” day! Random bits and pieces that have some seemingly cohesive theme are presented in their own containers to nibble on. Bits of leftover chicken, fruits, veggies, etc.

4. Cut-outs: There are a precious few sandwiches on this list. When they hit rotation, I use a larger cookie cutter to remove the crusts. My favorite is a scalloped heart shape that uses almost every ounce of food with little wasted edges.

30 Days of No Repeats!

1. Deli turkey + cheddar slices in roll-ups, pretzels, apple wedges

2. Turkey pepperoni + swiss cheese + butter crackers in stacks, red grapes, carrots

3. Deli ham + grilled corn guacamole + American cheese, rolled up in a tortilla and sliced into pinwheels, strawberries, carrots

4. Whole wheat pita wedges + cream cheese spread + raisins + ham roll-ups

5. Graham crackers + cookie butter sandwiches, strawberries, yogurt

6. Tortillas + cream cheese spiced with taco seasoning + rotisserie chicken rolled up and cut into pinwheels, cherry tomatoes

7. Pasta tossed with olive oil or salad dressing + pea pods + rotisserie chicken + grapes

8. Deli roast beef + cheddar in roll-ups, carrots, apple wedges

9. Jelly sandwich cut-out, cheese stick, banana

10. Nut-free homemade granola (that recipe has nuts but you can easily leave them out), yogurt, strawberries, Nilla wafers

11. Shredded cheese + rotisserie chicken microwaved into a tortilla quesadilla, salsa + tortilla chips

12. Deli ham + havarti + pear + rye toasts served as nibble plate

13. Bacon + tomato + shredded lettuce + cream cheese rolled into a tortilla pinwheel, berries

14. Asian marinated chicken bits leftover from dinner + pea pods + pasta noodles + grapes served as nibble platter

15. Breadsticks + marinara dip + mozzarella cheese stick cut into cubes + pepperoni slices served as a nibble platter

16. “Deconstructed chicken pot pie”: Rotisserie chicken + peas + carrots + butter crackers served as nibble platter, applesauce

17. Noodles tossed with pesto, parmesan cheese chunks, tomatoes

18. “The Toddler”: Goldfish crackers, raisins, cheese stick, apple cut into chunks

19. Honey soy chicken leftover from dinner, plain noodles (avoid the peanut butter that comes with the original recipe), carrots

20. Deli ham + cantaloupe + mozzarella cheese + tomatoes served as a nibble platter

21. Biscuit, split in half + pulled pork leftover from dinner + shredded cheddar cheese for a mini sandwich, watermelon chunks

22. English muffin + marinara sauce + shredded mozzarella for homemade pizza bites, grapes

23. Pumpkin bread + whipped cream cheese spread + raisins + plain ham rollups

24. Chicken pieces leftover from dinner + pita wedges + cherry tomatoes + tzatziki sauce served as dipping platter

25. Pancakes cut into strips + yogurt + berries + bacon served as dipping platter

26. Shrimp + cocktail sauce + pineapple chunks + bagel chips served as nibble plate

27. Banana zucchini bread + yogurt + raisins

28. Hawaiian bun + ham + american cheese for miniature sandwiches, apple slices, carrots

29. THINLY sliced cucumbers + cream cheese + white bread + sprinkle of dill for uncrusted cocktail sandwiches, grapes,

30. Leftover salmon chunks from dinner + blueberries + tomatoes + pita bread wedges served as nibble platter


Looking for more great ideas for feeding the family? Follow me on Pinterest!

I maintain several fun family-oriented food boards including:

Bring Back the Family Meal: Making meal time memorable and doable!

Healthy New Family: Making healthy changes in lifestyle for the whole family and getting the kids on board.


Peanut Blossom is proud to be a Melissa & Doug Blog Ambassador. This post was sponsored by Melissa & Doug. I was provided products to review and compensated for my opinions but all thoughts and opinions are my own. You may view my full disclosure here.



Julie - I had catered to my two boys’ limited palates all through preschool since there was no lunch provided where they attended. But when both went off to kindergarten, we took advatage of the school lunch offered to address two issues: 1) betaing picky-eater syndrome and 2) getting my shy kids to interact and transact. I’m glad we did. Both took the school lunch until they were old enough to pack their own sack lunch.

paula schuck - This is fantastic! Thanks for the list! I can use several of these ideas!

Tiffany Dahle - Julie, I agree with that tactic completely. We tried it last year only to discover that the Peanut’s school doesn’t do the single option lunches from my childhood. It’s a true cafeteria where the children are given choices. She was choosing horrendous nutritional combinations. A typical lunch consisted of: 1 chocolate milk, 1 juice box, a plate of french fries, and a cookie. Yikes! More info coming on that next week!

Melissa Casatelli - Hello,
Thanks for sharing! The recipes look great. Does anyone know where I can find the bento box containers and the lunch bag to hold them? The one(s) in the picture look perfect.

Tiffany Dahle - Hi Melissa. The links to both are in the materials list in the post! :)

Melissa - These look amazing. Thank you so much for sharing!

hannahammonds - how do you get apples to not go brown? or do you not worry about it and your kids are alright with that? :)

patsy - How do you keep things warm? ??

Tiffany Dahle - Hannah: I’ve found the green apples don’t go brown as fast so it usually isn’t a problem but if you’re worried, a little pineapple juice or lemon juice will help them stay fresh.

Patsy: All of these meals are intended to be served cold, I’ve never tried to keep things warm. An ice pack in an insulated bag should keep them safe until lunch time! I’ve heard other moms us Thermos bottles if you want to try hot lunches!

Alisha B. - Love these!!!
We do warm lunches like soup and leftover pastas. I use a Thermos Foogo lunch container. It’s the perfect size for an elementary kiddo!!

Back To School: 30 Days Of Lunchbox Ideas - […] an entire list of 30 days worth of lunchbox meals by clicking here for Peanut Blossom’s excellent blog.  Take a look and get some inspiration…or just do […]

Melanie - These are wonderful!! Will help me greatly with my little ones lunch! The school lunch is so unhealthy love these ideas! ;)

Erin - Great ideas! What is cookie butter??
Also, for apples, I cut mine in four pieces (trying to leave them slightly attached at the bottom), close it up and wrap in saran wrap (and can put a rubber band around it if you need to). Helps keep it from getting brown. Believe I found the idea on pinterest.

Cheryl - In Canada, has an abundance of litterless lunchbox products and ideas. Well worth a visit. :) . I like the goodbyns because there are no little parts to lose and i can toss them in the dishwasher. Happy lunching!

Joanne - I don’t have any more lunches to pack for school , where was this site when my kids were in grade school, but I will share this page , great and wonderful ideas

Tammy - Love this

Heather - How do I join pintrest ???

Kerri - Planet Boxes saved us!! Metal! No lids, easy to open, room for water bottle in the carrying bag, throw in the dishwasher, customizable with magnets, etc! Hot food goes in a kids’ sized Thermos in their back packs. :)

christiane - superd idee

Monica - Awesome ideas! Great for the little guy. Anything for high schoolers?

ATB - We are “nut” free also. We use Sunbutter with the jelly. It’s made from sunflower seeds. There is Soybutter too not as good.

Around the Web: Back to School Lunch | SocialCafe Magazine - […] 30 days of lunchbox recipes. No Repeats! by Peanut Blossom […]

Carissa Bonham - thanks for the great ideas! I linked to you in my post on “Tips for Packing Better School Lunches” on Creative Green Living (

Nutritious choices for the lunch line - Melissa & Doug Blog - […] ready to rely on hot lunch yet? Gear up for back to school with my 30 Days of Lunch Box Menus: No Repeats post over on Peanut […]

50 Tips, Tricks and Ideas For Packing Great School Lunches - […] 30 Days of Lunchbox Recipes: No Repeats by Peanut Blossom […]

Ainsley - Yum

Elizabeth Shaw - My son Gavin is such a picky eater, and has peanut, and tree nut allergies. You have given me great ideas to start his Kindergarten year! Thanks!

Lisa - Sprinkle cinnamon on apple slices to
Keep them from going brown!

Michelle - OMG…. These are but snacks/starters. Bring on REAL FOOD ideas, these would never feed a Country Boy who Moves! Typical lunch for 1 boy here is Leftovers (mealtime) in a 4x4x2″dish (or Sandwich with meat, lettuce/cheese), Granola Bar, Juicebox, 4 Carrots, Yogurt Cup or Fruit Cup, Apple, A piece of desert square or a Muffin. As well he will buy a Milk thru the school Milk Program. His lunchkit is FULL but empty when he arrives home. I chuckle at these tiny lunches – wonder if that’s why some kids do poorly at school, not enough to eat!

Annette - This is very helpful as I cannot stand making school lunches! This gives me simple crafty ideas! Thank you!

Andrea - You’re my hero!! If I give my girls one more round of quesadillas, grapes and apple slices they may turn their forks on me!

Rebeca - Good!

Melinda - Great ideas for school lunches!!!

Joni - Now we just need 30 days of yummy gluten free packable kids lu chess!

Shelley - Michelle, I was thinking the same thing! That little amount of food wouldn’t do for a kid in upper elementary grades. Thankfully our elementary schools don’t have cafeteria’s….they have a healthy hot lunch program 2-3 days a week and other days we pack a lunch.

Fabulous Finds Friday | Directly Successful - […] Great ideas here for those of you who, like me, dread the daily lunches! […]

Back-to-School Bento Box Lunches...Bye-Bye Sandwiches! | Saving by Design - […] 30 Days of Lunchbox Recipes: No Repeats […]

Savannah - I want your newsletter.

Mary - Great ideas! Thanks

Cj - Hi, I like to use a gluten free hot dog bun sliced into mini bread like pieces. Your meals are the perfect size for all those picky eaters that would rather go the day hungry than eat what they have in their lunch kits. I have run a home daycare for 25 years and I see this with all my kindergarten kids. Kudos to you for coming up with these fabulous ideas. Thanks and I’m sharing with my daycare moms this ideas.

Cindy - Is there a recipe for grilled corn guacamole? Or is this something you can purchase at the store?

Gary - Love the recipes but I am faced with 3 very picky boys. Lunches are not fun for me. Any suggestions to get them to be “out of the box” with their eating habits? I would love to make all of these but I know we will see a lot of this food back at the end of the day and maybe wasted. Please help?

Lindelle - My daughter was picky in kindergarten. I had to be imaginative. I would use a sugar cone, smear peanut butter inside and give her a little container of chocolate chips to put in before eating. Another thing she liked was imitation crab meat in her lunch.

Erin - Another idea for picky eaters- try muffins. I usually keep some in the freezer and throw in it the lunch bag, usually defrosted by lunch. Frozen go-gurts, yogurt covered raisins, those summer beef sausage sticks (I’ve found some that are already small and cut up), favorite hot dishes in a thermos (mac n cheese, spaghetti).

Jac - Sign up for new blog post updates

Avoid Lunchbox Boredom this Fall - Magnificent Mothers - […] Peanut Blossom 30 days of lunchbox recipes […]

Tracey - These are great ideas for my girls. Do you have the recipes for some of the things in your menu?

Lasso the Moon 20 Healthy On-the-Go Snacks - […] With pinwheel roll-ups, the sky is the limit; there are so many combinations to try. Tiffany of Peanut Blossom explains, “Take the meat and/or cheese, lay it flat. Roll it up like a burrito. Slice it into […]

Chrissy @ The Outlaw Mom® Blog - Making lunches is the HARDEST thing for me…thanks for these ideas!

Toddler and Preschool Lunches and LunchboxesGeek Mama | Geek Mama - […] Peanut Blossom – 30 Days of Lunchbox Recipes: No Repeats! […]

Shandi - My sons school is also nut free. Is the cookie butter allowed there? Just reading the label I see it may contain tree nuts and other tree nuts. Do you have any other suggestions of what I may use?

Darlene - Tiffany, I love these ideas, as I’ve started packing my 7th grade daughter’s lunch this year in a healthier fashion, and have taken this same approach. For those complaining that these lunches aren’t big enough, you can increase the amounts that you put in the lunch. Or you can just use it as a guideline and add additional items. :)

d king - Great ideas…thanks

Angie Cachia - These ideas are great! I tried ordering the lunch boxes via amazon..but they do not deliver to Malta:((( Does anyone know of another website from where I can order similar ones?

LSH - We’ve used the divided Ziploc containers you show for going on four years now and love them! Walmart and Target both carry them year-round, not just at ‘back-to-school’ time. They are typically with the other plastic food storage containers and cost less than $3 on the East Cost for a packaged of 2 containers. Less than a box of sandwich bags, and you can reuse them for years!

shereen - l like your ideas

visit website - I love this revealing detailed post on bento, espacially the fact of you mentioned that what kind neutration to go in boxes.Japanese lunch boxes attribute all these features to fit there.

Jessica - These meals are good for my toddler, but would not fill up my 1st grader or my 2nd grader. They’d come home starving.

PoopMaster - I am the poop master please follow me to the land of poop

CJ - I love the idea. While the portions are fairly small for some children, simply increase the amounts. It is an idea page, not written in stone that this must be followed exactly as is!

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *