Sandwich, chips, juice box, repeat… the kids are getting tired of eating it, and you are getting tired of packing it.
Back to school season comes with a good amount of stress, and packing lunch for the kids is just one of them. Dream Dinners wants to help make the school year as easy as possible for you and your family. That’s why we’ve created this list of 31 school lunch ideas to get you through the entire first month of school! We will also let you in on our favorite lunch boxes, school lunch supplies, packing tips & tricks, and ideas to make school lunch a little more fun for your kids!
31 School Lunch Ideas for Kids
1. Turkey and Cheese Bagel
Sandwich, chips, juice box… Repeat. We’ve all found ourselves in this cycle at one point or another. The kids are tired of eating sandwiches for lunch, and you’re tired of making them! Level up the go-to sandwich by turning it into a delicious bagel.
2. Mini Beef Tostada Cups
These cute cups will impress the entire lunchroom. Bake flour tortillas in a muffin pan until crispy and top with cheese, beans, seasoned beef, and lime crema. Order these off our August menu to save yourself a trip to the grocery store.
3. Peanut Butter & Jelly Pancakes
Another school lunch idea that will make the cafeteria jealous is to replace the bread on this classic sandwich with pancakes for a fun and easy lunch!
4. Mini BBQ Pork Sandwiches
The easiest lunch comes from last night’s leftovers! Cook our Slow Roasted Carolina BBQ Pork Tenderloin for dinner, store it in the fridge overnight and pack onto mini brioche buns for the kids to bring to school for lunch.
Pinwheels are an easy and delicious lunch to pack for the kids. Combine their favorite deli meat with their famous cheese to make tiny pinwheels. Serve with a side of grapes!
6. Hawaiian Chicken Sandwich
Use last night’s leftovers from our Hawaiian Chicken Bowl with Pineapple and Peppers to create a Hawaiian chicken sandwich. Grab a Hawaiian bun and top with the previous night’s sliced chicken, pineapple, and a dollop of Hawaiian BBQ sauce so the kids can bring the tropics to the cafeteria.
7. Cashew Chicken with Noodles
Our Cashew Chicken with Noodles tastes excellent cold! Combine tender pieces of chicken sauteed in an Asian-flavored sauce with crunchy cashews and thin Asian noodles.
8. Pulled Pork Biscuits
Use pulled pork leftover from last night’s Pulled Pork Banh Mi Sliders to make Pulled Pork Biscuits for school lunch. Split the biscuit in half, top with the previous night’s pulled pork, and add shredded cheddar cheese to make these delicious little biscuits.
9. Cucumber Sandwiches
Thinly slice cucumbers and combine with cream cheese, spread on white bread, and a sprinkle of dill to make these delicious cocktail sandwiches. Serve these up with a side of grapes to create the perfect school lunch.
10. Ham and Cheddar Hearts
If you’re going to pack a sandwich, make it a fun sandwich! Make a traditional ham and cheese sandwich and cut it into mini hearts to put a smile on your child’s face during lunchtime.
11. Cod Fish N Chips
Instead of fries, pack our flaky pan-fried cod with a bag of potato chips. Don’t forget the side of tangy tartar sauce!
12. Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
To really slay the school year, a thermos is a must. Put tomato soup in a thermos for lunch with grilled cheese sandwiches cut into long slices for easy dipping.
13. Southwest Pork Carnitas Wrap
Wraps are a great school lunch idea for kids, and we can’t think of one better than our Southwest Pork Carnitas Wrap. Throw slow-cooked pulled pork in the crockpot overnight and wrap in a flour tortilla with white rice and cheddar cheese.
14. Swiss and Bacon Quiches
These petite puffy pastries are perfectly packed for the kids to bring to school. Filled with a savory mix of egg, Swiss cheese, and bacon, this lunch has a hint of breakfast that the kids will love.
15. Ranch Chicken Tender Wrap
Use the leftovers from last night’s Crunchy Oven-Fried Chicken Tenders to make quick and delicious Ranch Chicken Tender Wraps. Place our baked tenders, coated in a parmesan panko mixture, inside a flour tortilla and add lettuce, tomato, cheddar cheese, and ranch.
16. Pizza Lunchable
Enjoy a fun family night customizing individual Dream Dinners pizzas for dinner, and then cut them into tiny, bite-sized circles for the kids to bring their personally-made pizza to show off at lunch the next day!
17. Nibble Plate Shrimp
Cook our Thai Coconut Shrimp over Jasmine Rice for dinner and serve the leftovers in a unique way for the kids to bring from lunch. Pack tiny pieces of the shrimp with cocktail sauce, pineapple chunks, and bagel chips to make the perfect nibble plate.
18. Havarti Nibble Plate
Nibble plates are a great school lunch idea for kids because they are easy, quick, and have many different varieties! Pack crackers with deli ham, Havarti, and pear slices as a nibble plate in the kid’s lunchboxes today.
19. Meatballs on a Stick
Place cooked meatballs on toothpicks for a fun school lunch. To make things easy, serve our Firehouse Three Cheese Pasta with Meatballs for dinner and save the meatballs for lunch. Two meals, one dish!
20. Pita Snack
Pack hummus, pita bread, grape tomatoes, sliced oranges, and cucumbers into the lunchbox today for the perfect pita snack.
21. Thermos Loaded Potato Soup
Trust us, the thermos will come in handy this school year. Pack our Fully Loaded Chicken and Potato Soup into the thermos for a hearty and delicious lunch for the kids.
22. Banana Sushi
Sounds odd, doesn’t it? We promise this simple and easy lunch will be a hit. Slice up a banana and cover it with Nutella and peanut butter. Make it a roll by wrapping a thin slice of tortilla around the banana and pack it with the kids to go!
23. Mozzarella Chicken Sliders
Use leftovers from last night’s Sage and Mozzarella Chicken to make Mozzarella Chicken Sliders. Top the sliders off with some fresh tomato for this tasty and fancy school lunch for kids.
24. Mini Cheesy Broccoli Chicken Pot Pies
This Dream Dinner will taste just as great for lunch as it did for dinner. Place diced chicken with chopped broccoli and velvet cheese sauce in a flaky puff pastry. Serve it for dinner and pack it the next day for lunch!
25. Leftover Breakfast
Did you know leftover breakfast can make for a great packed lunch? Fruit, yogurt, hard-boiled eggs. Take those breakfast items that didn’t get eaten and load them into lunch.
26. BLT Crackers
Instead of a Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato sandwich, make BLT crackers for a finger-sized food perfect for cafeteria hours. Use bacon bits, shredded lettuce, and diced tomato. Sandwich between two butter crackers and add a dollop of mayo; the kids will love this lunchtime snack!
27. Mini Cornbread Pork Sandwiches
Order extra of our Southwest Pulled Pork with Confetti Cornbread so you can repurpose this delicious dinner into lunch for the kids. Use the cornbread as a base for your sandwich and pack in the pulled pork to make mini cornbread sandwiches!
28. Sandwich, Apple, Chips
Ok, we couldn’t leave this classic school lunch off the list. Step up this classic combo by making a Maple Glazed Pork Tenderloin sandwich using this Dream Dinner’s favorite pork. Add some cheese, and your kids will have a unique and delicious sandwich made up of leftovers from dinner!
29. Arroz Con Pollo
Order our Arroz Con Pollo for a delicious dinner and pack the leftovers with some tortilla chips for the kid’s lunch the next day. Don’t forget a side of salsa!
30. Mini Steak Sandwich
Use Dream Dinners Southwest Steaks with Ancho Butter to create Mini Steak Sandwiches for lunch. Make some extra for yourself because you will want a taste of this! Place steak between a mini brioche bun and add our crispy fried onions and Havarti cheese. This is a delicious lunch that will work for the entire family!
31. Spinach, Bacon, and Orzo Salad
Grab this as a side when you place your Dream Dinners order. Our Spinach, Bacon, and Orzo salad is an add-on everybody loves, and it also happens to make a great packed lunch!
There you have it, school lunch for the kids for the entire first month of school! Make sure to place a Dream Dinners order, as many of these items come from our menu. We do all of the shopping, chopping, and prepping, so cooking these delicious dishes will be a breeze. Want to step up your lunch-packing game? Here are some packing tips and tricks that the kids will surely appreciate!
Lunchbox Hacks – Packing Tips & Tricks for School Lunches
- Purchase a Thermos for warm school lunches – this will be a game-changer.
- Prep lunches at night to cut down on morning chaos. Using leftovers from dinner? Pack them into lunchboxes and store them in the fridge overnight!
- Cut veggies into fun shapes. The kids will be more likely to eat them!
- Plan ahead with our 31 days of school lunches, so you aren’t scavenging to scrape together a last-minute lunch.
- Pack lunchbox notes to make cafeteria time a little more fun for the kids. Don’t have time? Don’t worry; check out our blog post with tons of cute lunchbox note ideas and a free printable.
- Invest in great lunchboxes – make sure there is plenty of room and divided compartments.
- Freeze drinks the night before so you can have an ice pack and juice all in one.
- Let the kids help pack their lunch.
- Side station: Create a side station in your pantry for school lunches (chips, crackers, apple sauce, etc.) that the kids can quickly choose from.
- Cut sandwiches into fun shapes to remove crust and encourage the kiddos to finish their meals.
- Wrap food in plastic wrap and decorate with cute stickers.
- Meal Prep. This is the most essential packing tip of all! Meal Prepping will save you time and stress. You’ll never have to wonder what’s for lunch (or dinner) again with our easy meal prep solutions that work great for both lunch and dinner during the back-to-school season.
Place your order today to ensure that you and the family are prepared to head back to school this year! Do you have lunch-packing tips or fun school lunch ideas for kids that you didn’t see on this blog? Leave a comment with suggestions your family uses to make school lunch a breeze; we’d love to hear them!