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 20 school lunch ideas to get you through the start 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!
20 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. 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!
3. 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!
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. Chicken and White Bean Chili with Corn Cakes
To really slay the school year, a thermos is a must. Put our Chicken and White Bean Chili in a thermos for lunch with corn cakes cut into long slices for easy dipping.
9. 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.
10. Pizza Lunchable
Enjoy a fun family night customizing individual 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!
11. 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.
12. Meatballs on a Stick
Place cooked meatballs on toothpicks for a fun school lunch. To make things easy, prep our Mini Turkey Meatloaves as meatballs for easy dipping.
13. Pita Snack
Pack hummus, pita bread, grape tomatoes, sliced oranges, and cucumbers into the lunchbox today for the perfect pita snack.
14. 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!
15. Terracotta Chicken Pitas
Make our Terracotta Chicken with Pita and Hummus into a lunch pita pocket. Dice your chicken, spread hummus on your pita and fold in half. Wrap in foil for an easy to go meal.
16. 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.
17. 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!
18. 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!
19. 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!
20. Ranch House Steak Dippers
Cook up your Ranch House Steaks on skewers the night before. Pack them cold with our creamy dipping sauce for a delicious lunch option.
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!