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Ten Beyond-the-Sandwich Lunch Box Ideas


I'll be honest; packing my kids' school lunches is one of my least favorite parenting tasks. Some days, it truly is easier to send my kids to school with money for hot lunch. But in our family, we only buy hot lunch once a week.

Thankfully, our Adventist school offers a healthy, vegetarian hot lunch. When my kids eat school lunch, they get to enjoy pasta with steamed broccoli, bean and cheese burritos or cheese pizza. It’s a good deal and my kids like it.

Now that my children are older, they're responsible for packing their lunches. In fact, it's on their evening to-do list, so our mornings go much more smoothly.

If your back-to-school goals include expanding your lunches beyond the typical sandwich, be sure you get your kids involved. You could even prep school lunches together on Sundays, to make the week ahead easier.

I make sure to always keep our kitchen stocked with foods my kids like, foods that are healthy and foods that are easy to pack. I also try hard to provide a variety of options because they both have different likes and dislikes.

Here are 10 examples of lunch box meals my kids enjoy. I hope this inspires some new ideas for your family.

Ten Beyond-the-Sandwich Lunch Box Meals:

  1. Macaroni and cheese, sliced vegetarian hot dogs and steamed broccoli
  2. Hummus wrap with fresh veggies and fruit on the side
  3. Peanut butter and jelly roll-ups and cut fresh veggies
  4. Black beans, rice, cheese and tortilla chips with fresh salsa
  5. Bagels with cream cheese and sliced cucumbers
  6. Vegetable soup with crackers in a heat-safe container
  7. Vegetarian chicken salad on toast or with crackers and grapes
  8. Pasta salad loaded with veggies and cubed cheese
  9. Bean and cheese quesadillas
  10. Veggie meatball sub with carrots

That’s just a start! I am sure you have more ideas you could add to this list.

One last tip: Before your kids walk out the door for school, sneak a note or joke into their lunch boxes. They will love a special surprise from you! 

Happy back-to-school season!

Featured in: September/October 2022