An ultimate list of over 100 Lunch Ideas for Ideas will help you keep your kids lunch at school or home fresh and interesting all year long! In this guide, you will find homemade and store-bought lunch ideas, our favorite lunch boxes, tips on how to pack more filling lunches as well as a free printable for easy reference. Great for kids 2 – 12 years old.

Graphic for post – 100 lunch ideas for kids, healthy kids lunches for school or home. Images are in a grid against a white background with colorful lunchboxes.

Medically reviewed and co-written by Jamie Johnson, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN).

School Lunch Ideas

Looking to send your kid to school with a healthy homemade lunch, but you are all out of ideas?

Then you are in the right spot! This guide to lunches for kids is everything!

It’s a one-stop shop for easy, healthy and delicious school lunch box inspiration.

Over 100 of our favorite school lunch ideas that are both kid and mom-approved! 🙌

And because I know you will have a ton of other amazing school lunch ideas of your own 😎, I made a blank cheat sheet for you (or your kids) to fill out with your own favorite go-to things to pack for school lunches.

Feeding kids can be tricky! But, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! Here you will find 40 Family Dinner Ideas, over 100 Healthy Snacks for Kids, great Hidden-Veggie Recipes50 Cooking with Kids Recipes and so much more! Plus, don’t miss my best-selling cookbook Little Bento: 32 Irresistible Bento Box Lunch for Kids for more recipes and ideas!

Back To School Lunch Video

Watch this video to see a fun lunch idea for back to school!

Reasons to Love these Lunch Ideas for Kids

  • easy to pack lunches
  • great for lunches at home
  • healthy
  • colorful
  • full of nutrient-dense foods to boost learning
  • can be packed in any bento box or lunch box
  • so many options, your kid will never get bored
  • great way to introduce new foods

Tips for Picky-Eaters

  • Have your child pick out food – sit down with your child and highlight all of the foods on the list below that they would love to have in their lunches, and then highlight (in a different color) 2-3 items that they want to try over the next couple of weeks. Go slow and let them be in charge of it.
  • Have your child help make their lunch – kids that help prep and make food in the kitchen are more likely to eat a variety of foods. Have your kid help chop veggies, wash and slice fruit, make a sandwich or simply place the items in their lunchbox.
  • Always serve something you know they’ll eat- when serving unfamiliar foods, or foods that are not your child’s favorite, always serve it alongside something that you know they will eat. And just because they may not like something, it doesn’t mean you have to stop serving it. The more exposure they have to a food and become familiar, the more likely they are to eat it. Plus, their friend at school might happen to have the same food in their lunchbox, which could entice your kid to eat it. Peer pressure isn’t always a bad thing 😉
A Cheat Sheet of healthy and easy school lunch ideas.

Favorite Lunch Boxes

I tested out the top 6 lunch boxes to help you find the perfect lunch box for your toddler, preschooler, or big kids that can go anywhere they go – school, preschool, a school pod, lunch at home, a playdate, or a fun outing. Here are my top 3 lunch boxes for kids:

Best Overall Lunch Box: OMIEBOX

We love the OmieBox because it has a built-in thermos that can be inserted into the lunch box for warm or cold foods that can be removed if needed. How brilliant is that? Plus, you can insert dividers in the 2 smaller sections to separate the food, and each section is leakproof.

Best Eco-Friendly Bento Box: PLANETBOX ROVER

We have been using the Planetbox Rover for years, and we all absolutely love it! The Rover holds a good amount of food for both my 5 and 7-year-olds, and I know I can pack it with even more food as they grow. My girls love the fun magnets, the carrying case, and the small colorful pods you can add into the bento for small amounts of food. This lunchbox is made completely without plastic – it is made with only stainless steel and food-grade silicone.

Best for Younger Kids: Bentgo

This is a great little lunch box for younger kids or kids who don’t eat very much. I loved that it is a compact, lightweight, and completely leakproof lunchbox. My kids loved the fun designs on the front. Plus, this lunchbox is super easy to open and shut for younger kids.

Best Value Lunch Box: Easy Lunch Boxes

A very basic bento that comes in a 4-pack with different colored lids. This set of Bentos comes with the smallest price tag, and you can get all 4 boxes for under $20. This bento is a great size for both kids and grown-ups which means you can use them for the entire family. They aren’t made with the highest quality of materials (BPA-Free Plastic), but we have had our bento boxes for over 6 years, and they are still going strong. I think every family should have a set of these. They are also a great option if your kid tends to misplace everything in their life;).

Lunch Packing Tools

Besides having a lunch box, it’s great to have some of these tools on hand to make it easier to pack fun lunches.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I keep my child’s school lunch cold?

We recommend adding in a small ice pack into your child’s lunch bag along with their lunch box. We love the Bentgo Buddies Reusable Ice PacksThrive Ice Packs for Lunch Bags, or the Fit & Fresh Cool Coolers Lunch Ice Packs.

How do you keep kids’ lunches warm in a lunch box?

The best way to keep your child’s lunch warm is to use a OmieBox lunch box, which comes with an insertable thermos.

What should I put in my child’s lunch?

Ideally you want to include at least 3 food groups in your child’s meals so that they are eating from all 5 food groups (grains, protein, dairy, fruits, and vegetables) throughout the day. Always include something you know they’ll eat if you are also adding in a new food.

What is a good lunch for kids at home?

Really anything kids eat at school is also good for at home, but you may have more options at home. For instance, things that need to stay frozen, need to be heated up, may get smushed in a lunchbox, or are messier are more suited for home. Lunch ideas that get kids involved in making it are great, as it can double as an activity to pass the time.

What do you give a picky kid for lunch?

Always include something you know your kid will eat, whether it’s their favorite sandwich, a yogurt pouch, fruit, or a treat. And then include variety to help with exposure. It may be helpful to serve foods in fun ways, like different shapes, with dips, or with a new utensil. Have them help you make their lunch or give them choices to help them feel more in control of what they are eating.

A silver bento box filled with one of 100 healthy school lunch box ideas.

Kid Serving Sizes

Serving sizes will vary from child to child but generally, kids need a quarter of the portion an adult does. Parents tend to overestimate servings for their children. I recommend starting small not to overwhelm your kid and give seconds if your kid wants more. Keep in mind it’s totally ok if your child eats more or less of these serving sizes. Here are some examples of typical serving sizes for kids ages 2-12:

  • 1/4 cup dry cereal
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/4 -1/2 slice of bread
  • 1/2 egg
  • 1 oz. meat
  • 1/2 piece of fresh fruit
  • 1/3 cup of yogurt
  • 1-2 tablespoons of cooked veggies

How to Build a Healthy Lunch for Kids

  • Try to include at least 3 food groups
  • Make one food group protein to help keep them full
  • Avoid sugary drinks like soda, juice, lemonade, etc.
  • Serve foods in an age appropriate way (cut up v. whole) and in age appropriate serving sizes
  • Include different colors to make the meal more appealing
  • Limit high sugar and sodium foods
  • Serve a variety of foods instead of the same ones to encourage them to try new foods

Favorite Recipes

Here are some of our reader-favorite homemade lunch recipes for kids.

A back to school lunch that is full of healthy and colorful foods.

Back to School Lunch

5 stars (2 ratings)
This Back-to-School Lunch is a fun way to serve lunch for kids on their first day back at school!
Get the recipe
Carrot hummus in a white bowl with pita chips and vegetables.

Carrot Hummus with Toasted Paprika Pita Chips

5 stars (2 ratings)
This Carrot Hummus with Toasted Paprika Pita Chips is a perfect addition to any family summer picnic. Easy, quick and healthy!
Get the recipe
Hand reaching over a plate of veggie hidden pizza rollups with a side of sauce ready for kids to take and eat.

Easy Pizza Pinwheels (hidden veggies!)

5 stars (10 ratings)
These easy pizza pinwheels are five-finger fun for the whole family! Super tasty and super versatile, you can load them up with endless combinations of sauce and toppings for everyone to enjoy.
Get the recipe
School lunch box packed with a homemade lunchable the tis healthy.

Homemade Lunchable for School Lunch or Home

5 stars (1 rating)
It's so easy and quick to pack up a healthy and easy for your kids when school starts back. These homemade lunchables are quick and easy to put together and you can feel great about knowing that your kid will have a tasty and well balanced meal.
Get the recipe
a white bento box is filled with a mini pita pocket cut in half and filled with an avocado tuna salad, there are cut sticks of carrots on the plate as well. The plate is sitting on a multi-colored napkin on a white surface.

Avocado Tuna Salad in Mini Pita Pockets

5 stars (5 ratings)
For a fun twist on this classic tuna salad sandwich we are using avocado in place of the mayo, then mixing the tuna with celery and apple chunks for some crunch, before we spoon the fresh tasting tuna salad into a mini pita pocket.
Get the recipe

Main Course Lunch Ideas for Kids

These filling main courses are easy to make and are kid-approved. These recipes are versatile and just a starting point, so feel free to substitute your child’s favorite ingredients if needed.

Warm Main Course – great in Omiebox or served in a thermos

*use sunflower butter for nut-free schools

A blue bento box filled with healthy school lunch box ideas

Fruits & Veggies Ideas for Lunch

Chopped fruits and veggies are a healthy and easy thing to add to any lunch box. Pack whichever fruits and veggies are in season, your child prefers or you have in the fridge.

Fruit

  • berries
  • apple slices
  • applesauce: homemade or store-bought, cinnamoncarrotstrawberry applesauce and 8 more easy flavors
  • mandarin oranges
  • banana
  • grapes
  • dried fruit: strawberries, mango, berries, banana, etc
  • cantaloupe chunks
  • watermelon
  • orange sections
  • honeydew balls
  • fruit cup
  • mango
  • kiwi
  • peaches
  • pineapple
  • pomegranate seeds
  • fruit kabob

Veggies

  • broccoli florets
  • celery sticks
  • carrots – sticks, baby, coins
  • snap peas
  • edamame
  • sliced peppers
  • olives
  • cherry tomatoes
  • jicama
  • avocado (squeeze of lemon keeps it from browning)
  • peas
  • green beans
  • cauliflower florets
  • pickles
  • sliced zucchini
  • corn
  • cucumber slices
A silver bento box filled with a healthy school lunch box.

Something Fun (optional)

While a small treat, chips or store-bought foods are completely optional items to pack in your child’s lunch, a little bit of fun food does go a long way. If you prefer, you can also send a handwritten note or opt for foods that are on the healthier side (popcorn, mini chocolate chips, pirates booty, etc).

  • mini chocolate chips
  • trail mix
  • chocolate covered raisins
  • mini marshmallows
  • graham crackers
  • pretzels
  • popcorn
  • veggie sticks
  • pirates booty
  • mini muffin
  • 2-bite brownie or cookie
  • chocolate covered pretzels
  • yogurt covered raisins
  • yogurt covered pretzels
  • rice crispy treats
  • chocolate-covered nuts, seeds or dried fruit
  • baked chips
  • corn chips with mild salsa
  • gummy treats
  • homemade treat
  • kale chips
  • energy bites
  • seed crackers with guacamole
  • yogurt tubes (frozen or cold)
  • cheddar snacks
  • pudding
  • string cheese
A blue bento box filled with a healthy school lunch.

Dips

Dips are usually loved by kids and is fun side to add to cut veggies, fruit or crackers.

*use sunflower butter for nut-free schools

Kid Lunch Recipes

Here are some of our favorite school lunch recipes. These recipes are great served in a lunch box for school or at home.

  1. Beet Hummus
  2. Easy Pizza Pinwheels
  3. Veggie-Loaded Hummus 
  4. Back-to-School Lunch Idea
  5. DIY Heart Pizza Lunchable
  6. Freezer-Friendly Spinach Waffles
  7. Rainbow Fruit Skewers
  8. Blueberry Avocado Mini Muffins
  9. On-The-Go Granola Bars
  10. Healthy Strawberry Yogurt Dip
  11. Valentine’s Day School Lunch
  12. Halloween School Lunch for Kids
  13. Avocado Tuna Salad in Mini Pita Pockets
  14. Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa Bites
  15. Easy Veggie “Fried” Rice
  16. Kale Pesto Chicken Quesadilla
  17. Easy Tomato Soup with Cheesy Bread Dippers
  18. Mini Chicken + Carrot Meatballs
  19. Pesto Summer Salad
  20. Mini Bagel Pizzas with Pepper “Sprinkles”
  21. Turkey + Carrot Roll-Ups
  22. Tortellini-on-a-Stick with Marinara Dipping Sauce
  23. Caprese Salad on a Stick with Basil Dipping Sauce
  24. Veggie-Loaded Rainbow Pizza
  25. Harvest Chicken Salad

Download your FREE Printables HERE!

Get the recipe: 100 Healthy Lunch Ideas for Kids: Pizza Rollups

5 stars (1 rating)
These easy pizza pinwheels are five-finger fun for the whole family! Super tasty and super versatile, you can load them up with endless combinations of sauce and toppings for everyone to enjoy. Plus, these 100 Lunch for Kids Ideas will help you keep your kids school lunch box fresh and interesting.

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound pizza dough at room temperature, homemade or store-bought
  • 1/2 cup hidden veggie pizza sauce, or any homemade or store-bought brand
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella or Italian blend cheese
  • 1/3 cup parmesan

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 375° F. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil.
  • Lightly flour a cutting board or counter. Roll out the dough into a rectangle shape roughly 18 inches by 12 inches. If the dough is not staying rolled out, leave it on the counter for 5-10 minutes to reach room temperature.
    pizza dough rolled out into a rectangle.
  • Spread the pizza sauce over the entire pizza dough, leaving an inch margin on the top and bottom of the dough.
    Pizza dough in a rectangle with hidden veggie sauce on it.
  • Sprinkle the mozzarella over the pizza sauce. Add any extra toppings. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the parmesan.
    Pizza dough in a rectangle with hidden veggie sauce and cheese.
  • Starting at the bottom of the long side of the pizza dough, roll tightly upwards until you have a log shape. Gently push the seems together. Using a serrated (bread) knife, slice the dough into 2-inch sections. For thicker pinwheels, aim for 12 slices. For thinner pinwheels, aim for 16 slices.
    pizza rollups in a roll and sliced.
  • Place the pinwheels on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan.
    pizza dough is rolled up and sliced and on a baking sheet. Hand is sprinkling parmesan on top.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes or until just golden brown. Let cool on the baking sheet.
    Baked pizza rollups.
  • Serve and enjoy!
    Hand reaching over a plate of veggie hidden pizza rollups with a side of sauce ready for kids to take and eat.

Notes

Storage: store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. 
 
Whole Wheat Homemade Pizza Dough: place 1 cup warm water, 1 packet of instant yeast and 1 teaspoon honey into a large bowl and let sit for 5-10 minutes or until it becomes bubbly. Add in 2 cups of white whole wheat flour, 2 tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp salt and mix with a dough hook in a stand mixer or handheld mixer. You can also knead by hand for 2-3 minutes on a floured surface. If sticky, add in more flour, 1 tbsp at a time. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and let sit for at least 30 minutes or up to 12 hours. Place the risen dough on a lightly floured counter and knead a few more times. Wait for 15 minutes and then roll out into a rectangle. 
 
Pizza Toppings: choose from tomato sauce, pesto, or just olive oil; veggies like mushrooms, tomatoes, and broccoli; favorite pizza meats like pepperoni and sausage; and any melty cheese from mozzarella to cheddar.
 
Pizza Variations: try Classic with pepperoni, Veggie with mushrooms and peppers, BBQ with chicken, Italian with sausage, or Greek with feta

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