Are you ready for more lunchbox ideas?! One of my readers on FB (Hi Janice!) told me she does a two-week lunch schedule which I thought was a GREAT idea. This keeps lunches from getting boring and you can figure out what your kids are loving and what to skip. Coming up with 10 lunch ideas is actually pretty easy–I made a list and the planning took less than 5 minutes! Just think about how much time that would save. Now if only dinner meal planning was that simple!
I have some of our favorite lunchbox items and easy recipes to get those lunch planning wheels in motion–I would LOVE if you shared in the comments what you pack! The more conversation and ideas thrown around, the better!
My girls have around 20 minutes to eat and they are pretty slow eaters. This means that I have to pack filling, but easy to eat food. I gave a few tips last week about how to rock lunchboxes and I wanted to snowball off of those.
Usually we have a sandwich/wrap/pizzadilla, one side and a drink. SOMETIMES a dessert. If they take a thermos of soup, there is usually a smaller side. I have a few thermos friendly soup recipes coming up this week too! I’m all about bringing the thermos back!
As much as you might want a nice cup for them to take to school, I highly recommend a drink they can recycle like a water bottle or juice box (we love the Capri Sun roaring waters or 100% juice). With so many germs going around school, it’s nice to not have them carrying a drink around all day. Plus cups are easy to lose!
From the top: Dick & Jane crackers (educational!!), Horizon sandwich crackers, hummus with baked crackers, cheese options: stick or triangles, veggies with Greek yogurt ranch, Big Ritz: perfect for MYO sandwich crackers or cheese, Greek yogurt fruit dip served with fruit and FLAT toothpicks (not sharp!), dried fruit trail mix from Aldi.
Those are some of our favorite sides. Frozen yogurt tubes or chia pudding are also on our list! When serving crackers, be sure to count out a serving size, unless it’s really large. For Goldfish, I do half a serving. The silicone cupcake liners are SO handy for lunches, especially if you have a kiddo who doesn’t like their food touching. I found ours in the cake baking/birthday section (NOT baking aisle) at Walmart for $1! For dressings or runny dips, I like a small container with a lid on it.
Instead of regular sandwiches, try Pizzadillas! You can play around with different tortillas and fillers. Best part: it doesn’t have to stay warm! I make mine the night before. Above are three ideas, but play around with what your kids like! Favorite tortillas: Meijer whole grain or Mission fajita sized tortilla. We tried FlatOut wraps, which I love, but my kids didn’t like the texture and said their wraps got soggy.
- Regular Pizzadilla: Add pizza sauce, sprinkle with mozzarella and top with pepperoni, sausage or whatever toppings you want! Try to keep the toppings to around 1/4 cup.
- Hawaiian: Add pizza sauce, sprinkle with mozzarella and top with chopped pineapple and honey ham.
- Turkey Ranch: Add Greek yogurt ranch (it’s a bit thicker than normal), sprinkle with cheese, add 4 slices of turkey and red peppers.
My girls love to have a hardboiled egg as a side or in their salads. If you’re packing a whole egg, be sure to cut it, then wrap tightly in plastic to keep it from getting slimy. This is a good tip for taking lunches to work for breakfast or lunch, too!
Don’t forget about filling salads and leftover soups! I have a few of my favorite thermos soups coming up in a different post, but consider other items such as macaroni and cheese, leftover pasta or casseroles.
When filling a thermos, I heat up the food in the microwave and fill the thermos with hot water from a kettle. I feel it warms up the container for much longer. After 5 minutes, I dump out the hot water and fill it with the food for lunch. If you’re in a rush in the AM, this isn’t necessary!
With salads, you can make them the night before, leaving off any croutons or dressing. I like the Cobb salad because it’s a filling meal and you can toss in whatever veggies, lunch meat or proteins you have on hand. If your kids like beans, it’s a great addition to the salad. For dressings, we like either ranch or a raspberry vinaigrette.
- Turkey & Ham Wrap, hard-boiled egg and water bottle
- Cobb Salad w/ ranch on side and croutons, juice box and fruit.
- Ham & Pineapple Pizzadilla, juice box and treat (cookie or muffin).
- Chicken Salad Wrap with a fruit and water.
- MYO Lunchable (fiber crackers, cheese and meat), yogurt and water.
- Peanut Butter & Jelly (with Sunbutter), yogurt and veggies with ranch.
- Cheesy Turkey Wrap, apples and juice box.
- Pepperoni Pizzadilla, fruit salad and water.
- Thermos Soup with crackers, yogurt and juice box. Tip: make a big batch of soup on the weekend and use it for lunches! I love soup too!
- Turkey & Cheese sandwich, pineapple chunks, yogurt and water.