This post is sponsored by Welch’s® Fruit Snacks. I am being compensated for this post. All comments and opinions are my own.
This is the first time I have to pack my kids’ lunches for school. With a super picky eater on my hands, it can be challenging. Luckily, their preschool is willing to heat things up for them, so I’m not limited to sandwiches-only. Either way, it can still be hard to come up with kid-friendly lunch ideas for school.
A lot of the time, I end up throwing the same things in their lunch box. I definitely stick to the old standbys like applesauce in a pouch, yogurt in a tube, string cheese, fruit, and various kid-friendly crackers. I also always include Welch’s Fruit Snacks. My kids absolutely love them and I feel good about including them because they have 100% of the daily value of vitamin C and 25% of the daily value of vitamins A & E. Also, fruit is the first ingredient.
Despite the old standbys, I don’t want my kids to get bored with their choices so I’ve come up with a list of many other kid-friendly lunch ideas for school. This way, my kids will look forward to their lunch hour and I’ll feel good about what I pack. Having this list will also be a handy way to ensure I have other ideas at the last-minute when I run out of the usual choices.
Kid-Friendly Lunch Ideas for School
My kids aren’t huge meat fans, but I try to give them the option when I can. Here are some meat options you could consider. Most of the meat options would require a microwave, which my kids’ school offers.
- Meatballs – the pre-cooked ones in a container with a little marinara – just heat and enjoy!
- Lunch Meats – I often will include lunch meat rolled up on their own or inside of a tortilla.
- Chicken – pre-cook a chicken breast or a breaded chicken patty, slice it, and let them reheat it.
- Taco Meat – my kids love tacos. They don’t even need a tortilla, although they do like to eat it with lettuce. Pack a small container of taco meat and a spoon and let them eat it like that, or throw a tortilla in so they can make a little burrito.
- Chili – if your kids like chili, throw a little in a soup container and let them take it to school. It’s a great source of protein and will stay warm in a thermos.
- Eggs – if your kids like eggs, you could make little mini egg frittatas or even an egg wrap.
- Rotisserie chicken – they can eat it cold. Include a little container of BBQ sauce or ranch and they’ll love it.
Figure out which veggies your kids will eat and include them in their school lunches. My kids will eat most veggies if I include a small container of ranch dressing. Some of the veggies I often include are:
- Cucumber Slices
- Bell Pepper Slices
- Snap Peas
- Fresh Broccoli (I was shocked to find out my kids like this!)
- Fresh Cauliflower
Don’t forget that container of ranch dressing!
My kids are pretty regular fruit eaters so this one isn’t too tough for me. Here are a few ideas if you’re not sure how to get fruit into your kids’ diets.
- Melon Ball Salad – this is a recipe I’ve used before – feel free to leave out the nuts and the basil
- Fruit Kabobs – kabobs just make fruit more fun – use whatever your kids like best – like apples, watermelon, strawberries, grapes, and banana
- Whole fruit – apples, bananas, oranges, tangerines, grapes, you get my point
- Canned fruit – I like to get those little plastic containers of fruit that are in light syrup. I always get the no-sugar-added ones. My kids usually like the peaches, and sometimes the pineapple.
- Fruit Pouches – My kids like the applesauce, but there are other fruit/veggie mixes too.
- Dried Fruit – whatever your kids like! I often include raisins. My daughter also likes apricots
I generally stick to the old standbys here.
- Yogurt in tubes
- String Cheese
- Sliced Cheese
- Shredded Cheese – my kids just love eating shredded cheese. I have no idea why, it’s the same as other kinds of cheese, but they just love it shredded.
- Cottage Cheese – my daughter (surprisingly) loves cottage cheese
- Smoothie – make a kid-friendly smoothie the night before, freeze it, stick it in their lunch box, and it will thaw just in time for lunch!
I mentioned some leftovers in the meat section, but there are others that work great for school lunches.
- Quesadillas – whatever your kids like
- Spaghetti – my son loves spaghetti and I like to use the high-protein kind to add more protein into his diet
- Soup – just like with chili, soup can be kept warm in a thermos
- Pizza – you don’t even have to heat it up to enjoy it!
- Quinoa Salad – this recipe is great for lunch and my kids happen to love quinoa
Any other meal that your family enjoys that can be easily stored in a plastic container and reheated at school (or eaten cold)
Other Snack Ideas
- Pita and Hummus
- Crackers – whatever kinds your kids like, graham, cheese, salt, you get it
- Fruit Snacks – my kids love Welch’s Fruit Snacks and they make me happy since they have Vitamins A, C & E!
- Homemade Cookies or Desserts – I don’t make this a regular thing, but every now and then I might throw a cookie in their bag. I try to teach my kids about ‘sometimes’ foods, like cookies.
I hope these ideas help you this year when you’re trying to come up with kid-friendly lunch ideas for school. If you have other ideas, I’d love to hear them. If you have a minute, drop me a comment so we can share tips and tricks!