Your Ultimate School Lunch Ideas List

Relax. You've got this.

by: Alex Thom
School Lunches Idea List

I went to buy school shoes for my kids today, and guess what? Apparently I've nearly missed the boat, because they were out of stock on almost every pair my kids liked. And why is that? It's because other parents out there were way more prepared than I. 

Here's my organizational contribution: this amazing list of lunch ideas I've compiled! I'm so prepared, I've got ideas to last... I don't even know how long. A long time, though.

Anyhow, over many years, members on a web board I frequent have added to this list and it's been a great resource for me over the past few school terms. Daily lunch packing for school-aged kids is a little bit of a soul-sucking job, and lists like this take the thinking out of the equation. I like that. No-Think Lunch Solutions. It's catchy, right?

We don't use all these ideas, but you might! And if you have some to add, please speak up, I'm always excited for new ideas. 

For the Thermos

Mini quiche
Chicken pot pie
Beans and wieners
Scrambled eggs
Pasta with herbs and cheese
Pasta with lemon (olive oil, butter, dairy free spread, s/p, fresh lemon is best)
Pasta with tomato sauce/meat sauce
Oriental noodles
Leftovers from dinner
Pancakes (rolled up in thermos)
Mac and cheese
Fish or chicken sticks/nuggets
Yam fries/regular fries
Hot dogs
Rice with veggies (even with take out packs of soy sauce)
Grilled cheese
Black beans and rice
Meat chili
Veggie chili
Mini quiche
Chicken soup 

No Heat Required

Pasta salad
Potato salad
Bean Salad
Quinoa Salad with Black Beans

Sandwich Inspiration 

Bagels with coconut butter
Cream cheese and jam
Cream cheese and cucumber
Pea butter and or jam
Deli meat
Tuna salad/salmon salad
Chicken salad
Cold Pita Pizza  (pre-shred/slice & freeze mozzarella & pepperoni + use pizza sauce in a squeeze bottle)
Cheese melted in a pita
Egg salad

Fruits and Veggies

Carrot sticks
Snap peas
Celery sticks
Corn nibblets
Broccoli spears
Cherry tomatoes
Apple slices — with a shaker of cinnamon and sugar to put on apple slices to hide the oxidizing apples, squirt of lemon works as well
Orange segments
Mmelon pieces
Salad with teeny container for dressing
Fruit salad
Hummus and veggies
Watermelon and feta cubes together

Other Snacks

Goldfish crackers
Cheese strings
Dried apricots
Frozen yogurt tubes
Granola bars
Fruit bars
Oatmeal bars
Yogurt drinks
Cubed ham
Rolled-up deli meat
Pickles and olives
Hard-boiled eggs
Mini muffins
Momemade trail mix: dried apricots, cranberries and raisins, chocolate covered sunflower seeds, pretzels, roasted sunflower seeds, salted pumpkin seeds, wheat berries etc.
Apple sauce

And take note that there actually is no fancy school lunch competition, so kids' lunches don't have to be a work of art every day (although if that's your thing, absolutely go for it!). Sometimes boring is a-ok.

(Or so I tell my kids.)

Click here for a downloadable pdf of this list. It's perfect for your fridge! 

School Lunches Ideas List

The Cost Of Convenience: Homemade School Lunches Make (Dollars) and Cents

You can learn even more ways to get organized and transition from summer to school on our Back-To-School 2014 page.