Lunch Box Ideas

School lunches don’t have to be fancy to entice kids to eat, they just need variety. If your children are tired of sandwiches there are lots of ways to get the nutrients they need in a different format. 

Lunch Basics:

  • Aim to include foods from all 4 food groups. These are the grains, fruit and vegetables, dairy and alternatives (soymilk) and meat and alternatives (eggs, beans, nuts).


Fruit and vegetables




Mandarine orange, apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, plums, kiwi, cantaloupe, strawberries, raspberries, bananas, grapes, canned fruit

Carrots, cucumber, peppers, celery, broccoli, snap peas, lettuce, spinach, cherry tomatoes

Whole grain bread, tortillas, English muffins, bagels, homemade muffins, cheerios, Shreddies, pasta, rice, granola, quinoa, barley, potatoes, pretzels, popcorn, hotdog bun, banana bread, pancakes, French toast, waffles, pita bread

Milk, chocolate milk, yogurt, Greek yogurt, tatziki, cheddar, mozzarella, brie, Havarti, feta, Boursin, cream cheese, soymilk, yogurt tubes, yogurt smoothies

Chicken, salmon, tinned tuna, shrimp, cod, turkey, beef, eggs, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sun butter, WOW butter, chickpeas, lentils, beans, tofu, edamame


  • Keep cold foods cold with ice packs (nobody likes warm yogurt) and hot foods hot with a thermos.

  • Have easy to open, well sized containers and a good lunch bag.

  • Get the kids involved. If they help make it they will be more inclined to eat it.

  • Kids love finger foods and dips.

Here are some lunch ideas to help inspire you and your kids for a brand new year of school lunches.

  • Sun Butter (or peanut butter) roll up with apple slices in a whole wheat tortilla.

  • Kebobs:
    Fruit kebob: strawberry, watermelon, cantaloupe and grapes with a yogurt dip
    Greek kebob: cucumber, bell pepper, cherry tomato, feta, olive, pita triangle and grilled chicken cubes with tatziki dip
    Veggie kebob: carrot round, cherry tomato cucumber, pepper, broccoli with hummus dip
    Picnic kebob: cheese cube, sliced ham or turkey rolled up, cucumber, whole grain bread or bun pieces, cherry tomatoes

  • Pizza quesadilla: spread tortilla with tomato sauce, sliced ham and mozzarella cheese. Brown in frying pan to melt cheese. Cut into triangles, wrap in foil and place in thermos previously heated with hot water.

  • Trail mix: whole wheat fishy crackers, pretzels, cheerios, raisins, craisins or dried apricots, pumpkin seeds, almonds, sunflower seeds and a chocolate chips for fun.

  • Pinwheel sandwiches: use a flour tortilla (whole wheat, sundried tomato or spinach) and spread with mayo or a cheese like cream cheese or Boursin. Add sliced meat or tuna, sliced vegetables (cucumber, grated carrot, tomatoes, spinach, lettuce). Roll it up and slice into rounds.

  • Fried rice with ground turkey, frozen peas, carrots, corn, green onions and soy sauce. Keep hot in a thermos.

  • Chicken Noodle soup with carrots and celery.

  • Smoothie: Greek French vanilla yogurt with frozen banana and frozen cherries.

  • Smoothie: Coconut or pineapple yogurt with frozen pineapple, OJ and frozen banana.

  • Chicken sloppy Joe: leftover chicken chopped with grated carrots, diced tomato, cilantro and tossed with BBQ sauce on a burger bun.

  • Pasta salad with tortellini, cheese cubes, edamame, tomato and basil.

  • Egg sandwich with scrambled egg, melted cheese, spinach and salsa or ketchup. Wrap in foil and put in thermos or reheat at school.

  • Homemade fruit cups: combine frozen strawberries, tinned mandarins, frozen blueberries, crushed pineapple and grapes with pineapple orange juice. Divide into 1 cup freezer containers and freeze. Will be slushy by recess snack.


When packing the lunch, be sure there is a source of protein, at least one fruit and one vegetable, a source of calcium and a whole grain. Send enough food for snack and lunch and don’t forget the water bottle. 

Lunch Box Ideas Lunch Box Ideas Lunch Box Ideas Lunch Box Ideas