Lunch Box Ideas

Okay, I know this isn’t technically a recipe, but I am posting it anyways. My oldest asked for more variety in his sack lunches this year. So, I created this list of choices. The kids choose one from each category and then they can help put it together.

Main Course
PB and J
Macaroni and Cheese
Meatball Marinara
Hard Boiled Eggs
Turkey and Cheese Sandwich
PB and Honey
Chicken Nuggets
Cheddar and apple slice sandwich
PB and apple slice sandwich
Cheddar and apple quesadilla
Pasta with Marinara
Bean and Cheese Burrito
Soup/Stew/Chili
Tuna Salad/Chicken Salad with Crackers
Hummus with Pita Chips
Leftovers from the night before
Peanut butter sandwiches using Ritz or Ritz-like crackers

Fruit/Veggies
Apple Slices
Applesauce
Strawberries
Blueberries
Watermelon
Cantaloupe
Carrots
Grapes
Raisins
Pineapple
Mandarin Oranges
Snap peas

Dairy
Yogurt
Cheese Stick
Babybel Cheese
Cottage Cheese

Crackers/ Chips
Pretzels
Popcorn
Chips and Salsa

Dessert
Cereal Bar
Z-Bar
Cookie
Nutella with Graham Crackers
Graham Crackers
Trail Mix-cereal, raisins, chocolate chips
Banana/Pumpkin/Zucchini Bread
Chocolate Chips
GORP
Muffin

Drink
Milk
Water
Juice

Any other ideas are MORE than welcome! 🙂

24 Comments

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24 Responses to Lunch Box Ideas

  1. Heather G

    I love the list. I think edamame will be on our veggie list. It is a favorite here.

    Have you seen this link? http://www.marthastewart.com/article/magnetic-lunch-chart?backto=true&backtourl=%2Fphotogallery%2Fready-set-school#slide_1
    It is to a printable chart that has similar food categories. You can print it on magnetic sheets and then make your selections.

  2. Nina

    I like that website, Heather. I am thinking about laminating the list and then they can use an Expo marker or overhead-type marker to circle their choices. It can easily be erased and then used the next day.

  3. Robyn M.

    The staple in our house is basically homemade lunchables. I use Crispy Wheat crackers, sliced cheese and pepperoni. They taste SO much better than store bought lunchables and they are very portable!

  4. Rebecca M.

    My kids would never have time to eat from all those categories. We usually do 2 or 3 categories and a snack. Although I would love to send nuts in their lunches it never fails that they have someone who has a nut allergy in their class which limits a lot of snacks. We send those little cutie oranges. I start to peel them and they finish them at school. We do a little thermos of soup sometimes, too. My kids love turkey and pepperoni sandwiches too and PBJ on crackers. Oh yea, luckily my kids will eat cold left over pasta from dinner sometimes too! Great post Momma!

  5. Meredith Lamb

    How do you keep your apple slices fresh and not brown looking by lunchtime?????? I’ve tried lemon juice, but my daughter says it makes it taste sour! I’d appreciate any tips! Thanks! Great post! Thank you!

  6. Meredith, You can soak your apple slices in sprite or 7up or sprinkle them with fruit fresh. Fruit fresh also works on guacamole.

  7. Nina

    I don’t give them sliced apples in their lunches for the same reason. However, in a sandwich, they tend not to get so brown.

  8. This is awesome. My daughter just started preschool and I don’t want to give her PBJ everyday.
    I’m going to feature this in my Friday Round-up, thanks!

  9. Denise

    Those of you asking about apples….I take the simple route. I get mine from Costco. Their individual wrapped apple slices don’t brown, but obviously it costs more than cutting your own apples.

    Another idea: tuna with saltines. My kids love it.

  10. Christine

    I love this list! Rebecca will start taking her lunch this year. As particular as she is, this is a great start! Maybe she’ll give something new a try 🙂
    BTW- She LOVES edamame (you suggested that to me a while back)!

  11. Megan

    Meredith – To save apples from browning you can put pineapple juice on them. Then you don’t have the sour problem

  12. This is a great list! Thanks so much for sharing! I was at a loss as to what to pack for my daughter’s this year. I’ve always had them buy lunch, but it is getting way too expensive!!!

  13. Spring

    i stole an idea from a friend. On Fridays, my daughter get’s a “yogurt parfait”, it’s a layer of Wallaby vanilla yogurt, a low sugar granola, mixed fruit. She loves it! (and it’s healthy).

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  15. sally

    One way to keep apples not brown is to cut them and leave it in the apple shape with the core like this: http://pinterest.com/pin/363747821/
    -OR-
    i put pineapple juice on them. Sometimes if i have canned pineapple and i don’t want the juice a that time i put it in ice cubes and melt it later.

  16. Kerry

    One way to make hardboiled eggs fun is to make it a square egg. Kids love showing their friends this silly trick. It only requires a square egg kit which you can find at bed bath & beyond, or a toy store.

  17. Nicos Mom

    Bagel n cream cheese, peanut butter banana sandwich, steak or chicken soft taco w/shredded cheese n a bit of taco sauce, tortilla turkey roll up with cream cheese (add spinach leaves or bell peppers) even a PB & J waffle or French toast sandwich

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  19. I pack gatorade due to the fact I get very warm and it gives me all of the electrolytes that I need.. I pack G-2s. They have less sugar, I also pack granola squares and on one side they are covered with chocolate.

  20. annof3

    All: Do you send hot items to school? If so, how do you keep them hot? And, if you are also sending something cold (like a string cheese – cold) with pasta in a thermos – hot), do you include an ice pack and does it make the hot item colder?

  21. Erika

    I have sent my daughter a few different things. First she really likes anything in a taco shell (wrap). Also we like to use english muffins and bagels instead of bread. You can also boil water to fill a thermos and put a hot dog in it and by lunch time the hot dog is hot and they can make their own hot dog, or you can fill it with hot dog chili if they like chili dogs (coney dogs). She also tried today for her lunch raw veggies and cream cheese on a english muffin. One last suggestion for a kids lunch marshmellow cream and either peanut butter or fruit.

  22. Nichole

    How do u keep cheese and dairy products cold? I pack an ice pack with my daughters lunch but it makes it heavy and takes up space. Anybody have other suggestions? Like how to keep a turkey and cheese sandwich cold?

  23. Nina

    One thing I have tried is putting a frozen yogurt tube in their lunchbox. It helps keep things cold and is melted by lunchtime. Another trick I have heard people use is freezing a juice box and putting it in lunches. They help keep things cold and should be thawed by lunchtime. I have tried it and it didn’t work for us, but we also had lunch super early and the juice box was still frozen at lunchtime.

  24. Michele

    I used the Pack It lunch boxes ( lots of options at Bed, bath and Beyond) and they work really well to keep lunches cold! and no lost or dirty ice packs to mess with!

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