50 Healthy School Lunch Ideas

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Back to school time means we’re all looking for easy and healthy school lunch ideas. Browse this list of 50 ideas to get more variety in your day.

I’m posting these 50 Healthy School Lunch Ideas because my daughter is starting school in September. And, wouldn’t ya know my child doesn’t like sandwiches. GREAAAAAAT.

School Lunch Ideas

But, I was exactly like her growing up so lucky for me I know a thing or two about lunches that don’t completely revolve around sliced bread and meat. My mom always packed a healthy, well-balanced lunch that I for the most part enjoyed. Sometimes, I’d get the occasional sandwich, but all in all, it was just a series of snacks put together that covered all the basic food groups. That’s usually how I throw lunches together for Brooke. Protein (dairy included in this), carb, fruit, veg.

School Lunch Ideas

So, here’s a list of 50 {yes, that’s FIFTY!} healthy lunches that my daughter happens to like that you can try out on your little ones this coming school year:

1. Greek Yogurt, granola, peppers, baby tomatoes, grapes, mini muffin

2. Ham & cheese mini bagel, banana, a cup of greek yogurt, sugar snap peas

3. Peanut butter & Banana tortilla roll-ups, unsweetened applesauce pouch, celery sticks

4. Cracker pizza, broccoli with ranch, apple slices

5. Hummus & Veggie Wraps, dried fruit, crackers, hard-boiled eggs

6. Tex-Mex Chopped Veggie Taco Dip, tortilla chips, orange slices, frozen Greek yogurt tube

School Lunch Ideas

7. Four Cheese Pepperoni Pizza Knots, carrot sticks, a cup of diced unsweetened peaches

8. Southwest Pepper Turkey Egg Cups, watermelon cubes, fruit leather, celery sticks

9. Veggies and dip, cheese stick, banana mini muffin, trail mix

10.  Tuna fish on a croissant,  mini chocolate doughnut muffins, baby carrots, yogurt

11. Tuna Pasta Salad with Dill & peas, unsweetened applesauce pouch, red pepper slices

Cottage Cheese and Fruit

12. Basil & Pecan Chicken Salad, crackers, cucumber slices, blueberries

13. Macaroni Salad, cheese stick, apple, fruit leather, cauliflower pieces

14. Tuna California Club Sandwich, babybel cheese, dried fruit, celery sticks.

15. Hummus, pita, cucumber slices, carrot sticks, homemade granola bar

16. Cottage cheese, peanut butter sandwich crackers, strawberries, baby carrots

17. Roasted Red Pepper Dip, deli turkey, soft pita, veggies, grapes

Pita Pockets

18. Coconut Curry Chicken Salad, tortilla chips, cherries, tube yogurt

19. Turkey and cream cheese tortilla pinwheels, dried fruit, baby tomatoes,

20. Cucumber tea sandwiches, apple slices with peanut butter, cheese stick

21. Chicken Caesar Pasta saladhomemade granola bar, strawberries

22. Homemade Lunchables with meat, cheese, crackers + juice box, raspberries, unsweetened applesauce pouch

Lunch Box

23. Mini Salad Pita Pockets, pretzels, carrot sticks, mandarin oranges

24. PB&J tortilla roll up, Cocoa-Nut Almond Energy Balls, grapes, bell pepper slices

25. BLT on a soft roll, fruit leather, cheese stick, sugar snap peas

26. Ham & Cheese Melt Deviled Eggs, tube yogurt, strawberries, celery sticks

27. Laughing cow cheese wedges, pretzels, fresh cherries, lemon poppyseed mini muffin

28. Chicken & Ranch Wraps, goldfish crackers, peach, celery sticks

Turkey Slider

29. Sesame Noodle Salad, mixed fruit cup, yogurt, watermelon cubes

30. Turkey and cheese roll, goldfish crackers, green pepper slices, strawberries, nectarine

31. Fancy Chicken Salad on a mini bagel, dried fruit, black olives, cauliflower pieces

32. Green smoothie, peanut butter sandwich crackers, pear slices, trail mix

33. Jalapeño Artichoke Dip, crackers, orange bell peppers, sugar snap peas, watermelon, dried apricots

Vegetables, Chips and Dip

34. Homemade Pizza Lunchable with pita, pizza sauce, grated cheese, pepperoni, grapes, black olives, broccoli + ranch

35. Chicken soft taco, banana, unsweetened applesauce pouch, mini muffin

36. Apple slices turned into peanut butter sandwiches, yogurt raisins, cheese stick, baby tomatoes

37. Mini bagel ham sandwich, cheese stick, cucumber slices, apple, pretzels

38. Leftover slice of quiche, cherries, celery and carrot sticks, homemade crackers

39. Mini Cheese tray: Brie cheese wedge, crackers, grapes, strawberries, baby carrots

40. Tuna Fish, crackers, cheese cubes, pear, yogurt covered raisins

Cheese and Fruit

Warm School Lunch Ideas

41. Chicken Noodle Soup, crackers, apple slices, homemade granola bar

42. Homemade Spaghetti-Os, pear, cucumber slices, soft dinner roll

43. Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup, trail mix, cornbread muffin {leftovers :)}

44. Secret Ingredient Tomato Soup, biscuit, a cup of greek yogurt, fruit leather

45. Irish Beef Stew, crackers, blueberries, side salad

46. Simple Chili, grapes, cheese stick, trail mix

47. Macaroni and Cheese, a cup of fruit, carrot sticks, ranch

48. Tomato Basil Alphabet Soup, chocolate milk box, garlic toast, strawberries

Bagel Sandwich

49. Sweet and Sour Meatballs, rice, yogurt, apple slices

50. Spaghetti, fruit smoothie, yogurt raisins, broccoli and ranch

Looking for even more school lunch ideas?

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92 Responses
  1. Paula

    I am a teacher who also does not like sandwiches. Yogurt, salad and soup are really boring. I am definitely going to use this great list of lunch ideas for myself. By the way I love all your recipes and your blog. Thank you Lauren!!!

    1. Mr. Stacy Dennis

      A good one to disguise sandwiches is to make sandwich sushi>>> std sandwich of your choice. Cut the crusts off cut the sandwich into 9th’s or 4th’s (depending on the size of you kid or lunchboxes) and turn them edge on when you stack them in. It looks cool easier to eat.

  2. Jenn @ Mother Thyme

    I love this list! My kiddos start pre-k in the fall and I am looking for ideas like this for their lunches!

  3. Shannon

    My girls have never liked sandwiches. Well they do like grilled cheese but those are just a soggy mess if they sit for 5 mins. So we do a lot of not your regular school lunches also. Will check out and pin this list!

    Enjoy time with just 1 at home, while she is in kindergarten! My youngest who is not a 3rd grader was only 5 months old when my oldest who is now an 8th grader started.

    OK now I’m sad next school year I’m going to have a high schooler! WHAAAAA :'(

    1. shannon

      Here are the few sites I’ve used when I first started making my girls their homemade lunchables:

      http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2013/09/23/homemade-healthy-lunchables/

      http://www.momables.com/homemade-lunchable/

      http://www.momables.com/lunchbox-wars-2/

      Hope these help

  4. Katya @ Little Broken

    Love your post. My son starts kindergarten this year and I’ve been pin hunting for school lunch ideas.

  5. Lynn

    This is a great list! I don’t have kids, but these are fabulous ideas for lunches to pack myself for work! (It’s so easy to fall into the rut of same old, same old)

    Thanks from the ‘big’ kids! 🙂

  6. Karen E

    Oh be still my heart. Thank you . Thank you. Thank you. Lunch is my nemesis. Now I have 50 great ideas. I can’t wait to try them all. You’re awesome!

  7. Roni R

    These lunches look great! I love the little containers that you have that has the dip right in the middle. Can you tell me where you got those containers?

  8. Alice // Hip Foodie Mom

    I’m so not looking forward to school starting. . I like the kids sleeping in and enjoying the summer 😛 . . anyway, my oldest does not like sandwiches either .. or mac and cheese (I still can’t believe she is my daughter) so definitely going to use some of these ideas here . . thank you Lauren! Enjoy the rest of the summer! 🙂

  9. Kendra

    Great ideas!! Where did you find all the great containers?? Especially the one with the dip holder in the middle? Love your site!

  10. karen

    Great list…my kids are grown, but it is a great list of good foods for anyone…wish I had had this when I had to pack lunches, but both my kids were kind of one track eaters. I used to make hummus every week for my daughter…she ate it every day on pita…I have the recipe memorized. When I was in school it was white bread and pimento cheese sandwiches, and peanut butter and dill pickles…there…you have two more options!

  11. linda galarza

    Loved the lunch ideas. Just read the Simple macaroni salad recipe. Love it; like you, macaroni salad is good for me anytime!

  12. Jane Thomas

    I have 2 great granddaughters starting school this year – one in PreK and the other in K – where did the time go? I don’t recall seeing that neat container with 4 sections and the circle in the middle. Could you please say where I could find them? Thank you and these dishes look great for anyone.

  13. Rachel

    Don’t forget hard boiled eggs!
    Also cold or hot homemade baked beans, cold fried chicken strips with bbq, crockpot green beans with turkey keilbasa, and cold pulled pork tortillas!

  14. April

    I love these ideas, as my son does not like sandwiches either. It’s nice to have a resource to look at when I’m at a loss to pack-up for lunches. Thanks!!

  15. Chocolate-Covered Katie

    Thank you so much for including me. Your blog is beautiful! I love the layout and gorgeous photos 🙂

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  17. Kk

    Ok so this list sounds good…in a perfect world. But in my world kids don’t usually like eating the majority of the stuff on the list. Any tips for picky eaters who refuse to try anything new?

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  19. Melanie

    5 stars
    Thank you so much for these fun, healthy, easy lunch ideas. My little guy did not do great with sandwich lunches last year and these are the kinds of foods he enjoys. I cannot wait to prepare his lunches with these fun foods.

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  22. Lisa

    I love all of these idea’s. How long can some of these dips and yogurt be out of the fridge before going bad. I pack my son’s lunch about 5:30am and he eats about 11:30. Thanks for all the idea’s

  23. Susannah

    I too am not a fan of making lunches. Love the ideas in your list. I must say I am surprised you include things with nuts. I live in Ontario, Canada and our local school board (the second largest in the country 150K+ students) and many, many others are completely nut free. I realize things differ by regions, etc but do your schools allow nuts to be taken? How do the kids/parents who have an allergy feel about it?

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  25. anupama

    Great ideas, however just an FYI that most schools do not allows nuts or anyversion of it to school. Always check your school for allergy alerts.

  26. cupcakegirl

    5 stars
    I start 7th grade tomorrow and I am the pickiest eater on earth. My mom showed me this list and I was able to pick out a ton of cool ideas to bring for lunch

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  28. Amy

    Hi. My daughter does not like sandwiches, either. Throwing together a lunch has been a struggle this year. I love all of your ideas, but I have to ask, how do you keep the dairy (yogurt, cheese, etc.) and meats cold? Unless it is very cold and straight from the fridge my daughter won’t eat it. Little Miss Picky, this one. I’ve tried freezing Gogurt and sending it that way, but she says it gets all lumpy and then she still won’t eat it. From seeing what she brings back home uneaten I figure she eats chips or crackers, fruit snacks, and occasionally some fruit. That’s it. Every day. Then she comes home famished and spoils her appetite for dinner. Oh, and she only occasionally will eat raw vegetables with dip that I send for her. If it wasn’t so hot here (So Cal) I’d send warm soup, but, come on, it’s 90 degrees out! Any ideas on how to deal with this kind of pickiness?

    1. Lauren

      Instead of using a thermos to keep foods warm, you can also use it to keep food cool! Fill it up with ice water and let it sit 10-15 minutes before draining and adding the yogurt or cottage cheese. Should stay cold 4-6 hours 🙂

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  30. Karen Miller

    5 stars
    Thank you for these great ideas. As a non-sandwich person (except PBJ), I am always trying to entice myself to eat lunch to avoid scarfing when I finally get home for dinner!

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