These 20 Healthy 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!
Lunch Box Ideas for Kids
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 am 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 an amazing 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
- also great for homeschool or remote learning
- 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 (see my tips on packing healthy lunches here)
- bonus – fun or cute item to surprise your child
- Planetbox Bento Box
- Mini Dip Containers
- Fruit and Veggie Cutters
- Sandwich Shape Cutters
- Silicon Muffin Liners
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.
DIY PB&J with Crackers
Crackers served with a container of peanut butter (or almond butter) and another container filled with jam, 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
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 Joes, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hidden Veggie for #thewin
Allergy-Friendly – NF and GF. To make DF, use DF cheese or omit.
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.
DIY Cheese & Crackers
Allergy-Friendly – NF. To make GF, use GF crackers and treat. To make DF, use DF cheese and treat.
Healthy 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,
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.
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 with an apple pouch and use DF cheese. To make GF, use GF cheese and ranch.
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 Pizza the Puzzle
Allergy-Friendly – NF. To make DF, use DF cheese, ranch and yogurt tube. To make GF, use GF pizza.
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.
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 a 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.
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.
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.