Back-To-School: 9 Easy Lunch Ideas

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Wouldn’t it be great if kids didn’t need to eat lunch? Between nut-free schools, kids’ dietary restrictions, and just generally picky eaters, packing a nutritious school lunch that your kids will agree to eat really is quite a challenge! If you have a case of lunchbox anxiety, keep reading for some easy lunch ideas that should make everybody happy.

  1. If your kids are happy with a simple sandwich for lunch, you are a lucky parent! If not, try making a wrap, or stuffing a pita to make it more interesting for them. And don’t stick to the same tired, old fillings, either. With just a little creativity you can have an amazing sandwich! Add some pickles to a tuna sandwich for some zip- which kid doesn’t like pickles? Or try some grilled chicken from last night’s dinner with some barbecue sauce.
  2. And speaking of last night’s dinner, you can always pack it up for lunch the next day, or skip a day if your kids don’t want to eat the same thing two days in a row. I often make more than my family needs for dinner just so that my kids can take it for lunch. And you don’t have to serve it exactly the same way for both meals, either. If you have roast chicken for dinner, put the extra chicken in a sandwich, or slice it over a salad for lunch.
  3. Pasta, which is another kid favorite, is one of my favorite things to pack for lunch. It’s another food that can be cooked once and used for two meals, and you can have it so many ways. Mix it up with some veggies and a sprinkle of cheese for an easy pasta salad- any combination your kids like- or warm it up with sauce in the morning and pack it in an insulated container. Or just pack it cold if your kids will eat it that way- easier for you, for sure!
  4. Hummus is full of protein and other good stuff. Send a little container of hummus with veggies and crackers on the side for dipping, and you have a healthy, easy lunch. Switch up the crackers with some pretzels or tortilla chips to make it fun! You can pack tuna, egg salad, or even guacamole this way instead of the usual sandwich.
  5. Make yogurt a more substantial meal with some granola and fruit to mix in. Oh, what the heck- give them some chocolate chips, too!
  6. Delegate some of the lunch-packing responsibility to the kids, according to what’s age appropriate. It can take some of it off your head, and they’ll enjoy being involved.
  7. Make sure to keep food at safe temperatures, so use an insulated lunchbox and reusable cooler packs. You can freeze water bottles overnight and then pack them in the morning. They will help keep the food cool, but should defrost by lunchtime so the kids can drink them.
  8. Let your kids know that you’re thinking of them and put a cute little note in their lunchboxes. Write your own, or download these free printables.
  9. To make this chore easier on you, have a weekly lunch schedule. You can have the same rotation every week to take the guesswork out of the mix, or plan the lunch menu at the beginning of each week. And do whatever you can at night to minimize morning madness. Who wants to go to bed knowing you have to get up to school lunch craziness?

We love our kids and we’re going to keep feeding them lunch! But let’s love ourselves, too! Follow these tips and preparing those lunches won’t have to be a punishment for you.


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