10 Easy + Healthy School Lunch Ideas (no sandwiches!)
These 10 Easy + Healthy School Lunch Ideas are our go-to school lunches that my kids absolutely love. Full of bright, colorful and healthy foods, these lunches are packed with taste as well as nutrients to keep your kids healthy and full all day long!
10 Easy + Healthy School Lunch Ideas
School has started (or about to start), and whether your kiddo is in preschool or 3rd grade, making lunches is now part of your daily life.
Some days, I love to get creative and make new delicious recipes just for my girls’ lunches. On other days (really most days), I like to have a rotation of healthy lunches I can pack in 5 minutes or less.
Because more then anything, I want them to be healthy, happy and FULL while they are in school.
Below, you will find 10 of my favorite go-to school lunches. I pack these school lunches on a rotating basis and each time the lunch boxes come back empty!
These 10 school lunches are geared toward the warmer weather months because as much as I long to send my kids off to school with tomato soup, pasta and meatballs and other warm and comforting foods, the 90 degree weather we have in my neck-of-the-woods this time of year is too hot for those type of lunches.
But don’t worry, I will post my favorite cold weather school lunches later this year!
Favorite School Lunch Box
I used one of my favorite bento boxes in this post – the Omiebox. For more in depth look at all of my favorite bento boxes and accessories check out my Compete School Lunch Survival Guide.
Here are a couple of reasons why I love the Omiebox so much –
- It has a thermos container you can add right into the box! This is a total game changer for me! No more packing a bento and a thermos. It keeps hot items hot and cold items cool.
- Small but deep compartments make this a great size bento box for ages both younger preschoolers as well as older kids.
- Not only is each compartment leak proof, but also the entire box is leak proof!
- It’s easy to open. I would say that 3-4 year olds can open the box lid but might need some help opening the twist off thermos.
Whether or not you have this particle bento box doesn’t matter, you can still pack the lunches below for your kiddos. You might just need to pack a bento and a thermos or other sealed container for some of the ideas below.
Alright, let’s get lunching!
Lunch on Top
Curry Chicken salad served with gluten free crackers and cucumber slices, watermelon stars and a mixture of freeze-dried blueberries and dye-free candy coated sunflower seeds.
Using leftover chicken from dinner, I made a version of this Curry Chicken Salad. But my kiddos also love this Harvest Chicken Salad for lunch. You can also make this lunch with your favorite tuna or egg salad. Since my kiddos don’t like sandwiches, I like to pair this with some gluten-free crackers, cucumber slices and a spoon so they can spoon some chicken onto either one of those. You could also serve the chicken salad rolled into a tortilla or on a piece of leaf lettuce. Really this simple lunch has endless possibilities.
Lunch on Bottom
My girls’ favorite lunch – rainbow fruit skewer, plain Greek yogurt with a jam heart to sweeten it up and healthy chocolate zucchini mini muffins.
I think my girls would eat this everyday for lunch if I let them! Rainbow fruit paired with their favorite yogurt, what’s not to love. While I used rainbow fruit because I had it on hand, feel free to use any fruit you have. If I am running short on time, I will use a container of greek yogurt, some pre-made heated waffle strips and chunks of fruit instead of fruit kabobs.
One of the reasons I love the Omiebox so much is that the thermos cup helps keep items such as yogurt and curry salad cold! Plus, I know it won’t leak before lunch is even served.
Lunch on Left
Healthy Lunchables – crackers, turkey rollups, salami and 2 types of cheese cut into flowers (I used this cutter), apples and blueberries, olives and carrots with ranch dip.
I want to call this a charcuterie lunch box, but that just sounds way too fancy for what this really is. Because in reality, this is the lunch I make when I have nothing left in my fridge and I am forced to use the remnants of whatever bits and pieces of food that are leftover in the fridge to make a lunch. You can use any lunch meat, leftover cooked chicken chunks, salami, pepperoni, hot dog chunks, any cheese you have cut into slices or chunks served with any crackers, bread or tortillas cut into shapes. Paired with whatever fruit is still looking good from your fridge, a veggie with a dip and maybe olives if you want to get super fancy up in here.
Lunch on Bottom
Spinach pesto pasta salad with chicken, mozzarella, corn and tomatoes, strawberries and raspberries and chocolate avocado pudding.
Pasta salad is my go-to lunch whenever we have pasta for dinner. For the warmer months, I usually set aside a portion of the pasta and then toss it in a simple basil and spinach pesto or a dressing that I have on hand and then mix in a couple of veggies and some chunks of mozzarella or feta for a fun lunch. For the colder months, I use the Omie thermos cup for hot spaghetti and meatballs. This chocolate avocado pudding is amazing and totally healthy, so I don’t feel bad at all for serving a huge portion of it for lunch. The recipe is below.
Lunch on Top
Turkey + cheese bagel sandwiches on-a-stick with cucumber and tomatoes, plum halves, beet strawberry applesauce in squeeze pouch and a few dark chocolate candies.
Is this technically a sandwich? Not sure, but sandwiches on a stick are the only way my kiddos will eat ‘sandwiches’ as they like to completely dismantle the stick and eat each item by themselves. While this is a fun way to serve a sandwich, if you kids are normal and like sandwiches then you can also just make a turkey and cheese sandwich on a bagel, cut in half and serve. I love to make easy applesauce for my kids that have added in fruits and veggies (get 8 of my favorite easy applesauce recipes here) for a variety of flavors and nutrients.
Lunch on Bottom
Spinach Tortellini, chicken and snap pea dippers with a pesto ranch sauce, grape, blackberry and blueberry fruit salad and a couple dark chocolate covered pretzels.
This lunch if for those kids that like to dip their food. I love saving some cooked tortellini from other meals and serving them for packed lunches. I usually serve them plain and let the kids do all the work, which they love. I usually just serve with a ranch or tomato sauce, but I made this delicious ranch pesto sauce by mixing in a little ranch dressing and pesto together. I for sure packed this yummy dressing in my lunch as well:)
Lunch on Left
Breakfast for Lunch – another favorite in our house. Cinnamon maple syrup steel cut oats, hard boiled egg, spinach chocolate waffles, kiwi and blueberries and some orange slices.
Ellie loves breakfast for lunch and oatmeal is her absolute favorite. I had some leftover steel cut oats from the weekend but you can also use instant oats if you want to make this on the fly. I heated the leftover oats in the microwave and then added in some extra milk or water (not shown in picture) to help keep the oats creamy. You can serve them in your Omiebox thermos or in a separate thermos. I love this healthy spinach chocolate waffle recipe which you can also make into muffins.
Lunch on Bottom
DIY Pizza Lunch (I usually serve this on Friday). Mushroom pizza on an english muffin, simple salad with carrots and tomatoes, blueberries and blackberries and a juice box (which is extra special for my girls).
They serve crappy pizza at Ellie’s school every 2 weeks and while I don’t mind that she has pizza, I do like to keep it on the healthier side. To make it fun, I do this pizza DIY style and she can pick any toppings she wants. She usually picks mushrooms, pepperoni or peppers but whatever your kiddo will eat let them have at it. To make these simple english muffin pizzas, I heat the english muffins in the oven (425 degree F) for 5-7 minutes or until they are crispy on the bottom, then I top with whatever toppings my kids love, place them back into the oven and broil them for 5 or so minutes until the cheese is melted. I let them cool on the counter and then pack into their lunches boxes. I usually make these the night before and my kids love cold leftover pizza. You can also use naan, pre-made pizza crusts, flatbread or pita pockets with this easy recipe.
For kids that don’t really love salads, I have found that if you serve some cut veggies with some dipping sauce they tend to eat it more then they would if it was served like a plain salad.
Lunch on Top
Build your own Hummus Lunch – carrots, broccoli, snap peas, peppers and pita chips with hummus, strawberries and chocolate coconut cookies.
This is another DIY lunch! I let my girls pick the veggies they want in their lunches. Even for kids that don’t gravitate towards veggies, I have found that if you let them pick (and even cut) their own veggies they will often surprise you and make some healthy picks! For those kiddos with allergies – I have found these Emmy’s Organics Chocolate Coconut Cookies are amazing! They are peanut-free, gluten-free and refined sugar-free but are completely delicious! My girls literally fight over the bag of cookies whenever I buy them.
Lunch on Bottom
Ground turkey and cheese quesadilla with homemade guacamole, try-color pepper slices, fruit salad (grape, pear and kiwi) and a couple yogurt covered cookies.
My old stand by lunch – cheesy quesadillas filled with some leftover meat or beans (if I have some in the fridge) and a side of guacamole. I make this with some grand meat tossed in a little chili powder and paprika, black beans and even chopped chicken or steak. This is really a fool-proof lunch. Easy to make and loved by the kids. I usually make my quesadillas the night before because my kids will totally eat these cold. I cook them while I am cleaning the kitchen after dinner, then I let them cool completely on a cutting board before packing them away and storing in the fridge until the next morning. But if you want to serve them warm, you can make them the morning of, wrap them in some tinfoil and pack in their lunch box.
MORE SCHOOL LUNCH BOX INSPIRATION YOU’LL LOVE:
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Get the recipe: Chocolate Avocado Pudding
- 1 avocado ripe
- 1 banana brown
- 2/3 cup almond or coconut milk
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- Place the avocado, banana, almond milk, cocoa powder, maple syrup, vanilla and cinnmaon into a food processor or blender and run the machine for 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed, or until the mixture is completley cream and smooth.
- Spoon the pudding into 4 separate containers and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve. This pudding is great when chilled for 1-2 hours for a cold pudidng, but we eat it straight out of the blender for a warmer pudding as well. If packign in a bento, place ina sealable container, and place in a lunch bag with an ice pack.
Did you make this recipe?
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Where to some quick links for some of my favorite lunch boxes and accessories:
For even more info on my favorite lunch boxes and accessories, check out my Complete School Lunch Survival Guide!
Disclaimer – this post contains affiliated links but 100% of the opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Baby FoodE!
3 Comments on “10 Easy + Healthy School Lunch Ideas (no sandwiches!)”
Hi. I have seen many of these Omibox lunch ideas online and they are always shown in a beautiful display method but I find myself concerned about what happens when you close the lid, the kid carries the box around all of God’s creation and it sits all morning in there till lunch. Your pictures are very pretty but are they practical? How do you keep things from getting smashed or all mixed up? Also, how do you keep the refrigerated items cold till lunchtime? The thermos does not keep hot foods hot that long. Are any of your foods put in their hot? How do you keep them hot? Thanks!
Correction: “Are any of your foods put in their hot?” should have said: “Do you put any of your foods in there while they are hot?”
I know right?! My kids will literally toss their lunch bags into the air as high as they can get them while waiting for the school bell to ring 🙈. I have joined my kids during their school lunch time several times over the past couple of years and am always surprised how great their lunches still look both in the omie and the planetbox. With the omie box, each section is completely leakproof from each other, so if you have carrots in the top section those will not over around to the other sections. The box comes with a removable divider you can add to either the side or top section, which also prevents food from moving all around. This is one reason I love this box so much. When the kids open it several hours later, the food looks generally as you placed it when you packed it.
Cold – I pack my kids omie boxes in a lunch bag with an ice pack (especially on hot days). This seems to work just fine. The omie box is insulated and if you pack it the night before and place it in the fridge, it will stay cooler, that’s if you don’t want to use a lunch bag.
Hot – I heat up the foods going into the thermos super hot but by the time lunch time comes my kids say they are warm and actually at a good temperature to eat. Probably too cool for adults but perfectly warm for kids. You can also add boiling water to the thermos before you pack it with food and let it sit for 10 minutes. This will keep your foods hotter.
Hope this helps!