30 Easy School Lunch Recipes (2023)

If your kid’s lunch box looks less like a healthy meal and more like a cry for help, check out these nutritious and delicious school lunch recipes.

They’re designed to walk that tightrope between good-for-you and kid-friendly.

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30 Easy School Lunch Recipes (1)

So if your little monsters hate the thought of anything wholesome, don’t panic.

These quick and easy lunch ideas will keep them happy, full, and healthy.

From pizza rolls to pasta salad, these 30 recipes are a great way to stop kids snacking throughout the day.

They’ll be too full from quesadillas or homemade pretzels to stop by the candy store!

Whether you have teenagers or tiny tots, give them the gift of gorgeous homemade meals. Nothing says ‘I love you’ like grilled cheese roll-ups.

30 Yummy School Lunch Ideas The Kids Will Love

1. Pizza Burgers

Start cooking these melted, delicious pizza burgers and every kid in the neighborhood will come running.

The combination of gooey cheese, soft bun, and meaty pepperoni is basically child kryptonite.

Your kids will go crazy for these lunchtime treats, so it’s a good thing they’re so easy to make!

2. Cucumber and Cream Cheese Sandwich

Creamy and light, these sophisticated snacks are bursting with unique flavors and textures.

Smooth and crunchy, they’re made with thick cream cheese, crisp cucumbers, and fresh dill.

The magic of this meal lies in the ingredients. Buy good quality bread, fresh herbs, and ripe cucumbers.

3. Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwich

You can’t beat the classics, and there’s nothing cozier than a homemade grilled ham and cheese.

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Crunchy toasted bread, salty ham, gooey cheddar cheese – what’s not to love?!

You can use almost any combination of ham and cheese here.

Try peppered ham for a little kick, mix it up with a spicy pepper jack cheese or a smooth Swiss.

30 Easy School Lunch Recipes (2)

4. Homemade Sloppy Joe

Just because sloppy joes can get messy, doesn’t mean they’re not suitable for lunchboxes.

With a bit of smart packing, you can get all the joy of this hamburger-laden sandwich at school.

Just slice up a burger bun and pack it up separately from the meaty filling.

When your child opens their lunch, they can assemble the two together and dive in!

Of course, make sure you pack extra napkins, too. They are kids, after all.

30 Easy School Lunch Recipes (3)

5. Best Grilled Cheese Sandwich

A good grilled cheese is perfection on a plate, and they’re one of those meals that’s easy to make ahead and store in a lunchbox.

(Video) Easy School Lunch Recipes

Simply toast your bread, grill until the cheese goes gooey and delicious, then set it aside for lunch.

6. Egg Sandwich

Eggs are a delicious way to get more protein into active kids.

This chunky egg sandwich is quick, easy, and very tasty. Made from chopped eggs, mayo, and mustard, the dense filling is irresistibly creamy.

7. Grilled Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

If you spent your childhood eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, you’re not alone.

This time-honored treat is irresistible to kids. And it’s easy to see why!

Salty, crunchy peanut butter and fruity jam are a match made in heaven, especially when spread onto thick slices of fresh bread and grilled until golden.

8. Cheese Quesadillas

These Mexican-style wraps are a great way to freshen up the lunchbox routine.

Melty cheese is sandwiched between tortillas for a soft, chewy, and savory snack.

Surprise your kids by sneaking in some salsa or sour cream to take this lunch to the next level.

9. Chicken Nuggets

Forget fast food nuggets and try this fun DIY recipe instead.

They’re made with a simple flour and breadcrumb batter then fried or baked to crispy perfection.

Pro tip – let these cool completely before storing them in an air-tight container as it will prevent them from going soggy.

10. Turkey and Cheddar Lunch Roll-Ups

These fun nibbles are really easy to whip up and are perfect for lunch boxes.

They’re pretty pinwheels, loaded with turkey, cheese, lettuce, and cream cheese, all wrapped in a soft, floury tortilla.

If you think you can get away with it, add some more veggies for extra nutrition. Tomatoes, avocado, or spinach leaves would work well.

11. Chicken Ranch Wraps

Healthy and hearty, these wraps are full of fresh ingredients and loads of mouth-watering tastes.

Grilled chicken, crunchy lettuce, and a creamy ranch dressing – it’s the ultimate lunchtime feast.

12. Classic Pasta Salad

I love pasta salads. They’re easy, store well, and you can sneak in a lot of healthy ingredients.

This recipe contains loads of colorful veggies, full of antioxidants. It’s a great cold lunch option for warm days.

13. Egg Salad

There’s a knack for egg salad. The secret is in perfecting the creamy dressing.

This recipe nails it with a tangy yet creamy sauce that pairs perfectly with crunchy celery and sharp green onions.

14. Tuna Salad Sandwich

Fish is great for developing brains, so feed your kids this tuna salad sandwich, and they might just ace all their exams.

But it’s not just good for brains, this recipe will keep their belly happy too.

Serve it as part of a tuna melt, or pile it into a fuss-free sandwich. It’s delicious either way!

30 Easy School Lunch Recipes (4)

15. Chicken Waldorf Salad

This hearty salad is a mouth-watering medley of fruits, shredded chicken, walnuts, and celery.

The great thing about this versatile recipe is how easy it is to adapt. If your child hates chicken, swap in ham or turkey.

If they won’t eat walnuts, throw in some cashews or pecans instead!

16. Homemade Hummus

Whip up a big batch of this hummus and lunch is sorted for the week.

For the ultimate easy lunch, just pack it up with chips or vegetables for a tasty, meze-style meal.

(Video) BENTO BOX LUNCH IDEAS | for work or back to school + healthy meal prep recipes

17. Homemade Lunchables

Kids love Lunchables. That’s just a fact.

But parents aren’t always as enthusiastic. Be sure your kid is getting all the goodness, but none of the additives with this healthy, homemade alternative.

18. Bagel With Homemade Cream Cheese

There are three different flavors with this gorgeous recipe, so your kid has plenty of choices.

Select from strawberry, chocolate, or garlic & herb. Or try all three and enjoy bagels all week long!

19. Turkey Sandwich

If you have leftover turkey lurking in the fridge after the holidays, turn it into easy sandwiches for your family.

Laced with cranberry sauce, these sweet and savory sandwiches are the perfect antidote to turkey fatigue.

20. Roast Beef Sandwiches

Filling and flavorful, these thick sandwiches are like a homemade version of a Philly steak sub.

They’re made with deli roast beef, sautéed peppers, and onions, all topped with melted pepper jack cheese and piled onto a toasted hoagie bun.

21. Veggie Wrap

This is the wrap that’ll get your kids to eat their greens.

It’s a delicious combo of spinach, avocado, carrot, and cucumbers, layered between bread along with a scoop of healthy hummus.

22. Grilled Cheese Roll Ups

If your mini-me loves mini-food, this is the recipe for them.

It takes all the things they love about grilled cheese but serves it up in adorable rolls!

23. Pepperoni Pizza Rolls

An instant kid-pleaser, these crispy pizza rolls are crazy good.

They’re packed with mozzarella and pepperoni and served with a dipping sauce for extra yumminess.

24. Cheese Board Lunch Box

Some kids play by the rules, and some like to do their own thing.

If you have one of the latter at home, they’ll love this DIY cheeseboard.

Play with different types of cheeses, dips, and sides to assemble their own unique lunch. You’re never too young to learn that food can be fun!

25. Homemade Soft Pretzels

Even new bakers can make these easy and delicious homemade pretzels.

And you can get the kids involved too, so they can see exactly what’s going into their lunch boxes.

The dough is made with just 6 ingredients and doesn’t take long to rise.

The fun part is shaping your bread. Make them into knots, or go big and braid them. You can’t go wrong!

26. Mac and Cheese Bites

Ok, they’re not exactly healthy fare, but these homemade mac n’ cheese bites are much better than the store-bought equivalent.

They’re also a great way to use up any leftover macaroni. Add a sprinkling of flour, some seasonings, then roll into balls and fry until crispy.

27. Peanut Butter Toast

There’s more to peanut butter toast than spreading nut butter on bread.

This recipe turns it into an art, with suggestions on toppings, technique, and extra touches to make things even tastier.

28. BLT Sandwich

A good BLT hits all the food groups, making it a great grab n’ go meal for kids.

There’s protein-packed bacon, healthy greens, and nutritious tomatoes, and don’t forget the energy-boosting bread.

This chunky sandwich is just what your kid needs to get from lunch to dinner.

29. Veggie Sandwich

Kids aren’t generally big fans of vegetables, but this sandwich might just change their minds.

(Video) WHOLE30 BENTO BOX LUNCH IDEAS [healthy paleo + whole30 approved recipes for school or work]

It’s full of colors, flavors, and textures so kids can get really creative.

Try crunchy cucumber, sweet carrots, tangy tomatoes, earthy spinach, or whatever you have in the fridge.

30. English Muffin Pizzas

You might need to hide these amazing muffins from the adult members of the household.

Otherwise, they’ll be devoured before they make it into the kids’ lunch boxes!

They’re classic kid comfort food, made from soft muffin bases topped with tangy tomato sauce, pepperoni, and two different types of cheese.

30 Easy School Lunch Recipes (5)

30 Easy School Lunches The Kids Will Love

These simple school lunch recipes will delight any kid! From pizza burgers to grilled cheese to chicken nuggets, you can’t go wrong with these meals.

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30 Easy School Lunch Recipes (6)

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FAQs

What can I make for lunch in a hurry? ›

Delicious Meal in a Hurry
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What is the perfect lunch? ›

Any well-balanced meal — lunch included — consists of lean protein, fiber-rich sources of carbohydrate and veggies, and healthy fats. The typical lunchtime staple of a sandwich can be made into a well-balanced meal if you include: 100% whole grain bread. Fresh deli turkey or leftover grilled chicken.

What should teenagers eat for lunch? ›

Here are some suggestions:
  • Chicken, grated carrot, cucumber and cream cheese pita bread.
  • Turkey, cheese and salad on multigrain bread with cranberry sauce.
  • Vegetable and lentil soup in a thermos with a bread roll.
  • Smoked salmon, salad and cream cheese bagel.
  • Leftover pasta with lots of cooked vegetables.
  • Quiche and salad.

What are 5 healthy lunches? ›

Healthy People Usually Eat These 7 Things for Lunch
  • Avocado and egg sandwich. ...
  • Summer rolls with peanut sauce. ...
  • Quinoa pear salad with spinach, cranberries and pecans. ...
  • Protein Salad. ...
  • Loaded Vegetable Sandwich. ...
  • Lentil vegetable soup. ...
  • Chicken burrito bowl with rice and beans.

What should a 12 year old pack for lunch? ›

In this article:
  • Pasta salad.
  • Homemade Lunchables.
  • Chicken and guacamole.
  • Nut or seed butter cracker sandwiches.
  • Deconstructed tacos.
  • Chicken salad.
  • Ham and cheese roll-up.
  • Leftover pasta.

What should a 12 year old child eat in lunch? ›

Foods that are the best source of fiber for a 12-year-old child
  • Grains – whole wheat, brown rice.
  • Dals – whole dals like Green moong and brown masoor, kabuli chana, rajma, chowli and so on.
  • Vegetables – spinach, bhindi, cabbage, gourds, pumpkin.
  • Nuts and seeds – almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds etc.
14 May 2020

What can I pack for school lunch with no fridge? ›

Fridge-Free Lunch Snacks to Stock Your Pantry

Jerky—beef or chicken are kid favorites and packed with protein. Dried Fruits—such as apricots, banana chips, and apple rings. Fruits with Sturdy Peels—such as apples, bananas, grapes, and nectarines. Whole Vegetables—such as baby carrots, broccoli florets, and cherry ...

What is the #1 favorite food? ›

The Number 1 Most Popular Foods in America are Hamburgers!

What is a typical US lunch? ›

The most popular combination for lunch is probably soup & salad. Many restaurants offer a combo meal for lunch with your choice of soup and salad. Just like sandwiches, you can make a salad in may different ways. A delicious southwest chicken salad.

What is the most eaten meal? ›

Is Rice the Most Eaten Food in the World? Rice is the most commonly eaten food around the world. More than 3.5 billion people in the world consume it as a staple dish. Especially in parts of Asia, Latin America, and Parts of South Africa.

What can I cook in 15 mins? ›

15-minute meal recipes
  • Prawn laksa curry bowl. A star rating of 4.3 out of 5. ...
  • Sardines & tomatoes on toast. A star rating of 5 out of 5. ...
  • Prawn & coconut soup. A star rating of 4.2 out of 5. ...
  • Creamy tomato courgetti. ...
  • Beetroot, feta & grain salad. ...
  • Citrus salmon salad. ...
  • Blackened salmon fajitas. ...
  • Prawn & pak choi stir-fry.

What can I make to eat in 5 minutes? ›

5-minute meals recipes
  1. Storecupboard pasta salad. A star rating of 4.4 out of 5. ...
  2. Pan-fried camembert sandwich. A star rating of 4.6 out of 5. ...
  3. Prawn & coconut soup. ...
  4. Ultimate French omelette. ...
  5. Chicken wrap with sticky sweet potato, salad leaves & tomatoes. ...
  6. Creamy tomato courgetti. ...
  7. Speedy tuna pasta salad. ...
  8. Easy pea & mint soup.

What do the Japanese eat for lunch? ›

Various rice bowls and noodle dishes are popular for lunch. For example, ramen, soba, udon, and gyudon beef bowls are popular. Many people take bento lunch boxes to school or work. Dinner is usually the main meal of the day and can range from sushi to tori katsu, which is like a chicken cutlet.

What can I have for lunch without cooking? ›

15 Quick and Easy No-Cook Lunch Ideas
  • Cobb Salad.
  • Steak Sandwich.
  • Mediterranean Platter.
  • Turkey Lettuce Wraps.
  • Tuna Salad Stuffed Avocado.
  • Healthy Egg Salad.
  • Pasta Salad.
  • Caesar Salad.
29 Apr 2020

What do you put in kids lunchboxes? ›

According to NHS choices a balanced lunchbox should contain:
  1. Starchy foods like bread, rice, potatoes or pasta.
  2. Protein foods like meat, fish, eggs or beans.
  3. A dairy item, like cheese or yogurt.
  4. Vegetables or salad and a portion of fruit.

Is a 25 minute lunch enough? ›

A study from Harvard School of Public Health shows that students with more time to eat lunch (at least 25 minutes versus 20 minutes) had “a 13% decrease in entrée waste, 12% decrease in vegetable waste, and 10% decrease in milk waste” (Cohen, 2015).

What is a light lunch? ›

A light meal consists of a small amount of food, or of food that is easy to digest. lightly adverb [ADVERB after verb] Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner's Dictionary.

Why does my 13 year old son eat so much? ›

As children begin puberty, they often feel hungrier and eat more. That's because their bodies go through a major growth spurt in the teenage years. Extra food gives your child extra energy and nutrients to support this growth and development. Your child might also start changing their eating habits.

What are the 10 best foods for a teenager to eat? ›

If you're a teenager, it's important to eat well-balanced meals, rather than too many snacks that are high in fat, sugar or salt.
...
Calcium
  • milk.
  • yogurts.
  • cheese.
  • milk puddings.
  • fortified breakfast cereals.
  • canned fish with bones (salmon, mackerel, pilchards)
  • calcium fortified bread.
  • soya.

What do 14 year olds eat? ›

Daily dietary guidelines for children 14-18 years

Teenagers aged 14-18 years should aim for 2 serves of fruit; 5-5½ serves of vegies; 3½ serves of dairy; 7 serves of grains; and 2½ serves of lean meats, eggs, nuts, seeds or legumes. Teens need plenty of water – the cheapest, healthiest and most thirst-quenching drink.

What is unhealthy for lunch? ›

8 lunches you think are healthy, but actually aren't
  • Sushi can pack in the calories. ...
  • Restaurant or pre-made salads contain unhealthy added ingredients. ...
  • Deli sandwiches pile on the sodium. ...
  • Omelets are usually too big. ...
  • Veggie burgers are often not healthy, despite their name. ...
  • Wraps are often as unhealthy as sandwiches.
3 Aug 2018

What should a 7th grader bring for lunch? ›

Even though your tween is well past the little kid years, they still need adult supervision in the kitchen.
  • Pita and Hummus Roll-Ups. ...
  • Take-Along Taco. ...
  • Whole-Wheat Mozzarella Cheese Sandwiches with Pesto and Veggies. ...
  • Nut Butter and Celery Stick Side. ...
  • Quick Cranberry Chicken Salad Tortilla Wraps. ...
  • Guacamole Bagel Bites.
31 May 2022

Should 13 year olds make their own lunch? ›

Fortunately, according to one doctor, parents don't have to and shouldn't do everything. Damon Korb, MD, an American Academy of Pediatrics fellow, recommends that if nothing else, kids should take over the lunch-packing responsibilities. And they should do it earlier than you'd think.

What kids should not pack for lunch? ›

15 Items You Should Never Pack In Your Child's Lunch
  • Fruit Snacks. Fruit snacks might have the word “fruit” in them, but they actually have very little nutritional value. ...
  • Lunchables. ...
  • Deli Meat Sandwiches. ...
  • Potato Chips. ...
  • Drink Pouches and Juice Boxes. ...
  • Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches. ...
  • Energy Drinks. ...
  • Soda.
8 Dec 2016

Why does my 12-year-old sneak food? ›

It's important to understand why a child might feel the need to sneak food. Sometimes children find emotions simply too hard to handle, and they find food soothing and comforting. Other times, children might be feeling anxious, stressed, bored, or sad.

How much should a 11 year old weigh? ›

78.5 lb.

How much should a 10 year old weigh? ›

10- to 12-Year-Old Children

As many children begin to enter puberty at this age, girls tend to be a bit heavier than boys. While a 10-year-old boy usually weighs between 53 to 109 pounds, girls of the same age often weigh between 53 to 113 pounds. The recommended range for BMI considers these weight differences.

What should a 13 year old be able to cook? ›

  • Breaded Chicken Cutlets. This four-ingredient recipe yields crispy, golden-brown chicken without any deep frying. ...
  • Test Kitchen's Favorite Grilled Cheese. ...
  • Kimchi Fried Rice. ...
  • Sloppy Joes. ...
  • 15-Minute Lentil Soup. ...
  • Ramen with Vegetables. ...
  • Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce. ...
  • Easy Basic Pancakes.
18 May 2022

Is it OK to have dinner at 12? ›

Recent medical studies have shown that eating between the hours of 12pm-11pm resulted in higher levels of blood glucose, insulin and cholesterol, than eating between the hours of 8am-7pm. So, if your goal is to reduce your body fat or your cholesterol, it may be beneficial to try curbing your late night eating habits.

Is 12 too early for lunch? ›

Lunch should be about four to five hours after breakfast. For example, if you ate breakfast at 7 am, eat lunch between 11 am and noon. If it is not possible for you to eat lunch until 2 pm on a particular day, then plan a snack in between those two meals.

What should a teenager take in lunch? ›

Here are some suggestions:
  • Chicken, grated carrot, cucumber and cream cheese pita bread.
  • Turkey, cheese and salad on multigrain bread with cranberry sauce.
  • Vegetable and lentil soup in a thermos with a bread roll.
  • Smoked salmon, salad and cream cheese bagel.
  • Leftover pasta with lots of cooked vegetables.
  • Quiche and salad.

What are things 12 year olds can cook? ›

12+ YEAR OLDS
  • Oven cooking.
  • Eggs, brown meat, sauté
  • Cooking pasta.
  • Cooking rice & grains.
  • Using food processors, slow cookers, instant pots.
  • Cleaning meats.
  • Cooking from a Recipe.

What can I pack in my kids pack for lunch? ›

All lunchbox recipes
  1. Cheesy coleslaw with wholemeal pitta.
  2. Creamy hummus dip with pitta bread and vegetable sticks.
  3. Egg mayonnaise and lettuce bap.
  4. Hummus and salad wrap.
  5. Salmon and salad bagel.
  6. Soft cheese and salad sandwich.
  7. Spicy chicken and salad wrap.
  8. Tuna and bean salad.

What should a broken student eat? ›

These cheap meals for college students are simple and healthier than fast food.
  • Chicken and Veggie Baking Sheet. Price: $1.50 per serving. ...
  • Tater Tot Casserole. Price: $2.28 per serving. ...
  • Ramen. ...
  • Mac and Cheese. ...
  • Two Scrambled Eggs and Toast. ...
  • Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup. ...
  • Baked Ravioli. ...
  • Tortilla Wraps.
8 Jul 2022

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