30 days of kids school lunch ideas: No repeats. You will find ALL 30 lunch suggestions for packing lunch for your child right here in this post. We have everything you need for an entire month of inspiration and a happier kid.
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 kids' school lunch ideas I can think of and am sharing them with you!
And if you have a new kindergartener, make sure to read our kindergarten lunch ideas for more inspiration.
So what's your favorite lunch combo for the kids?
Share your ideas in the comments below!
P.S. Whether you're tracking a month of school lunches or a full month of super-easy school night suppers, keeping track of the meals to feed your family has never been easier.
Use my handy lunches & dinners blog posts to make a meal plan in a pinch. Track your favorite suggestions on a print-out from my brand new Monthly Meal Plan bundle and keep it handy in your kitchen.
Stop by the Happy Family Movement shop and be sure to get your copy of the monthly meal plan here.
What to Pack for School Lunch
Each of my lunch packing suggestions has been tested on the Peanut and are as kid-friendly as I can get while following these strict criteria:
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.
Easy Packed Lunches:
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!
Non-Sandwich Lunch Ideas:
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.
Nut-free lunch ideas!!:
Probably the most important factor here. The Peanut's school is peanut-free, so no peanut butter or nuts appear in these suggestions.
School Lunchbox Supplies & Tools
The key to packing school lunches is to have handy lunchbox supplies you can grab quickly. These are the items we've turned to again and again for easy packed lunches.
- Cute and easy lunch bag: Buy here
- Plastic bento-style containers: Buy the easiest lunch boxes here.
- Ice pack
- Small cookie cutters: Buy here
- Toothpicks or skewers
School Lunch Presentation Ideas
I like to keep everything about packing lunch simple to remember. I just remember four presentation methods and I rotate them depending on the ingredients and food. You can easily take one of these four presentation methods and turn just about any leftovers in your fridge into an easy school lunch.
Lunch Box Roll-ups & Pinwheels:
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.
Meat & Cheese 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.
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.
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 Kids School Lunch Ideas!
Here are some of my kids favorite suggestions for lunches. You'll discover that many of these suggestions started as dinner the night before.
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