These 20 Healthy School Lunch Box Ideas for Kids are filled with real-life packed lunches that my kids loved! Simple and easy-to-make lunches that are flavorful, fun and delicious while also being packed with nutrients! I also added allergy-friendly suggestions for each lunch box idea. Great for daycare, preschool or elementary school-aged kids!

20 school lunch ideas – easy and healthy lunches for school or home. Images are of a silver kids lunchbox full of colorful healthy and easy foods.

School Lunch Box Ideas for Kids

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These are the real-life lunches that I have packed my daughters.

And for the most part, they have eaten them right up🙌!

I refuse to spend a ton of time making school lunches so all of these lunches were packed in roughly 5-10 minutes⏲, all while I was making dinner. I usually pack school lunches at night while I’m making dinner because I just can’t get my sh*t together enough in the mornings.

TIP: To make simple, easy and fast school lunches I utilized leftovers and simple ingredients I can pull out of my fridge – no fancy labor-intensive recipes involved.

So if you see nachos in one of the lunches, we probably had taco night for dinner and I used the leftovers for a fun nacho lunch. Muffins – I had those leftovers from the weekend when I did have some time to make some fresh muffins, but you could also use store-bought. Same with pasta and pizza – all leftovers.

All the extra cute Pinterest-worthy items – animal or eyeball picks, sandwiches and fruit cut into shapes and fun cut fruits and veggies are ALL OPTIONAL. Please 🙏 do not feel like you have to go the extra mile here; they are just kids’ lunches, after all. I have a slight bento box accessory shopping problem🙈, so I add the extras in. But you will still be a fantastic parent and lunch-maker if you skip them altogether.

Reasons to Love these packed lunch ideas for kids

  • full of real, wholesome foods that your kids will love
  • can be made allergy-friendly – Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free or Nut-Free (see notes for each recipe)
  • no fancy recipes – I used leftovers or simple ingredients to make these lunches
  • great for daycare, preschool or elementary-aged kids
  • can be packed in any bento box style lunch box or any containers you prefer (read about my favorite bento boxes)
  • health versions of school lunch food – pizza, nachos, and burritos – so your kid doesn’t feel left out
  • balanced lunches with a protein, fruit, veggie, and something fun
  • bonus – fun or cute item to surprise your child

Helpful Tools

These tools will make packing school lunches a little easier. For more of my favorite kitchen tools make sure to check out my shop.

School Lunch Tips

  • Find a good time for you to pack school lunches – this may be the night before or the morning of. Find a time and stick to it.
  • Get your kids involved – have them pick a few fruits or veggies they want to eat in their lunches for the week, help chop the veggies, make the sandwich, or even have them pick out the fun dip containers or food picks used.
  • Utilize leftovers – make sure you take advantage of using any leftovers that will work as a cold lunch – cooked chicken, pizza, pasta, sauces, etc.
  • Plan it out – using this handy printable, you can plan your kids’ lunches for the week.
A kid friendly school lunch inside a bento box.

Chicken “Fried” Rice

Chicken, rice, corn and carrots sautéed in a drizzle of sesame oil and coconut aminos. Edamame, peaches, broccoli and ranch, raspberries with apples cut out in the shape of hearts, and a few dark chocolate-covered raisins.

Allergy-Friendly – GF and NF. Use DF ranch and treat to make DF.

Colorful and healthy, this school lunch features healthy foods for kids.

DIY PB&J with Crackers

Crackers are served with a container of peanut butter (or almond butter) and another container filled with jam as well as carrots, olives, golden kiwi, mini grapes, cut strawberries and raspberries and mini dark chocolate chips. Eye picks can be found here.

Allergy-Friendly – GF – use gf crackers, DF – use df chocolate chips, NT – use sunbutter instead of peanut butter

Colorful and healthy, this school lunch features healthy foods for kids.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin + Cream Cheese Sandwich

Pumpkin pancake sandwich with cream cheese and raspberry jam, cut yellow peppers, mini grapes, Chobani yogurt tube and a piece of dark chocolate. The pancakes were leftovers from a weekend breakfast, the pancakes were made from a gluten-free pumpkin pancake mix from Trader Joe’s, but any homemade, mix or frozen pancakes would work in this lunch box.

Allergy-Friendly – GF and NF. Use a DF brand of yogurt tube (like Kite Hill) to make DF.

Colorful and healthy, this school lunch features healthy foods for kids.

Lunchable-on-a-Stick

Turkey + Cheddar + Salami on a Stick, cut kiwi, red pepper, and carrot sticks with a side of ranch, strawberries, blueberries, and dye-free candy. Sandwich sticks can be found here and ranch container -here (similar).

Allergy-Friendly – GF and NF. To make DF use DF ranch and cheese.

A kid friendly school lunch inside a bento box.

Choose Your Own Adventure

Applesauce with cinnamon, salami with dinosaur pick, sliced and cubed cheese, turkey roll-ups, almond crackers, orange pepper slices, kiwi slices, mini grapes and chocolate raisins.

Allergy-Friendly – NF and GF. To make DF use DF treats and cheese.

A healthy and homemade school lunch for kids - featured in a school lunch box.

It’s Friday and I’m Over School Lunches

Cream cheese with honey star sandwich, lentil puffs, cut grapes, cut carrots and dye-free candy.

Allergy-Friendly – NF and DF. For GF use GF bread.

Colorful and healthy, this school lunch features healthy foods for kids.

Green Monster School Lunch

Pesto gluten-free pasta with parmesan, cut kiwi, grapes and avocado salad, roasted seaweed, cut cucumbers, and dye-free candy.

Allergy-Friendly – GF, NF and DF. If NF, make sure your pesto is nut-free.

bento box filled with a healthy lunch for kids.

Mexican Fiesta

Bean and cheese burrito with guacamole (I wrapped the burrito in the foil before packing the lunch up), corn, sliced carrots, watermelon balls, and dye-free candy. I used a frozen burrito for this lunch, but any homemade or frozen variety you prefer would work.

Allergy-Friendly – NF. To make GF and DF you can use DF cheese and a GF tortilla.

A healthy and homemade school lunch for kids - featured in a school lunch box.

Hidden Veggie for #thewin

Beet applesauce, cut tomatoes, sliced string cheese, snapeas, cut mild Italian sausage with outer-space picks, mini container of mustard, and a dye-free gummy.

Allergy-Friendly – NF and GF. To make DF, use DF cheese or omit.

School Lunches - bento box filled with a healthy lunch for kids.

Gluten-Free Pesto Pasta with Chicken + Corn

Gluten-Free pesto pasta with chicken and corn, Pure Organics Apple Strip, cut cucumbers, blackberries and walnuts.

Allergy-Friendly – GF and DF. For NF, omit the walnuts and make sure you use pesto that is nut-free.

bento box filled with a healthy lunch for kids.

DIY Cheese & Crackers

Laughing cow with two types of crackers in silicon muffin liners, chopped broccoli, chopped red and green pluots, snapeas, and a chocolate pretzel.

Allergy-Friendly – NF. To make GF, use GF crackers and treat. To make DF, use DF cheese and treat.

A healthy and homemade school lunch for kids - featured in a school lunch box.

Healthier DIY Nachos

DIY Nacho Kit – organic corn chips, lettuce, shredded cheese, taco turkey and guacamole all in silicon cups. Also in the bento is grapes with mandarin orange sections and allergy-friendly chocolate chips.

Allergy-Friendly – GF and NF. To make DF, use DF cheese,

School Lunches - bento box filled with a healthy lunch for kids.

Tortellini + Chicken Dippers

Cheese tortellini and chicken dunkers with pesto dip, cut cantaloupe, cut cucumbers, popcorn and chocolate pretzel.

Allergy-Friendly – NF and DF. To make GF, use GF tortellini and treat.

A healthy and homemade school lunch for kids.

Happy Tummy School Lunch

Kefir pouch, snap peas and carrots with ranch (similar container here), sliced apples, crackers with cheese and salami, and dye-free candy.

Allergy-Friendly – NF. To make DF, use a dairy-free kefir pouch or replace it with an apple pouch and use DF cheese. To make GF, use GF cheese and ranch.

bento box filled with a healthy lunch for kids.

Breakfast for Lunch

Gluten-Free cinnamon-sugar pancake muffin, strawberries and raspberries, yogurt and granola, kiwi and avocado, sliced chicken sausage and daily vitamins. I used this pancake mix but turned them into muffins by following the recipe on the back of the bag.

Allergy-Friendly – GF. To make DF, use a DF yogurt. To make NF, use NF granola and make sure the pancake muffin mix is NF.

A healthy and homemade school lunch for kids - featured in a school lunch box.

A Pizza the Puzzle

Leftover pizza cut into puzzle pieces, carrots, pepper slices, and snap peas with ranch in a mini container, strawberries and raspberries, Chobani yogurt tube, and dark chocolate raisins.

Allergy-Friendly – NF. To make DF, use DF cheese, ranch, and yogurt tube. To make GF, use GF pizza.

School Lunches - bento box filled with a healthy lunch for kids.

Almost Out of Groceries Lunch

Bean and cheese quesadilla with smashed avocado, sliced apples, cut kiwis, sliced carrots and chocolate raisins.

Allergy-Friendly – NF. To make GF, use GF or corn tortillas. To make DF, use DF cheese and pack a DF treat.

A healthy and homemade school lunch for kids.

Greek Lunch Spread

Greek Meatballs with feta dipping sauce, pistachios and roasted chickpeas, sliced olives, cucumber, feta and tomato salad, cut watermelon, and dark chocolate. I used pre-made organic greek flavored meatballs that were gluten-free.

Allergy-Friendly – GF and NF. To make DF, use DF dip, omit the feta in the salad and pack a DF treat.

A kid friendly school lunch inside a bento box.

Is it Friday yet.. ??

Leftover cheeseburger and pickles, sliced mini peppers, raspberries and blueberries, cucumbers with ranch in a mini container (similar), and a piece of dark chocolate.

Allergy-Friendly – NF. To make Gf, use a gluten-free bun. To make DF, omit the cheese and use DF ranch.

Bento box filled with kids lunch.

Gluten-Free Pizza Roll-Ups

Gluten-Free pizza roll-ups with marinara dipping sauce, carrots with ranch dip, grapes, berries, and chocolate-covered gummies.

Allergy-Friendly – GF and NF. To make DF, use DF cheese, ranch and treat.

More School Lunch Inspiration

Colorful and healthy, this school lunch features healthy foods for kids.

Get the recipe: 20 Healthy School Lunch Ideas for Kids

5 stars (9 ratings)
Simple and easy to-make lunches that are flavorful, fun and delicious while also being packed with nutrients!

Ingredients 

  • 2 tbsp peanut or almond butter
  • 2 tbsp jam
  • 6-10 crackers
  • 2-4 tbsp chopped strawberries and raspberries
  • 6-8 baby carrots
  • 4 black olives
  • 1 kiwi peeled and quartered
  • small bunch grapes can cut lengthwise

Instructions 

  • Place the peanut butter and jam into small containers with lids. Add to one section of container with the crackers.
  • Add in the grapes, kiwi, olives, carrots, strawberries and raspberries to other sections in your lunch box or seperate contatiners.

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