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5 Easy School Lunch Box Ideas

As a working mom, my life is crazy- like most parents. During the last 7 years, I worked full-time and learned a lot about packing lunches and cooking dinner on tight schedules and budgets. The tips and ideas keep the busy parent {you} in mind.

5 Easy School Lunch Box Ideas

5 Easy School Lunch Box Ideas & Tips

1| Pack foods your child will eat, NOT  what you want them to eat.

Students have anywhere from 15-30 minutes to eat lunch. To ensure your child gets the nourishment they need it is important you keep lunch fun, enticing and exciting. This can be done by:

  • Pairing favorite foods with “learning to like” foods.
  • Breakfast for lunch is a hit for many children. 
  • Use cookie cutters: they can add new shapes to sandwiches, fruit and veggies.
  • Explore variety with in the same food category. If your child does not like coined carrots, try serving them diced, speared or mashed.
  • Get creative and name your menu items with silly but fun names that will appeal to the child. Even better- let them help name the food. 
  • Get your kids involved- menu planning, shopping, and preparing the food. Kids of all ages can help in the kitchen when given an age appropriate task.

2| Get creative with leftovers! 

Leftovers are a perfect lunch box trick for busy parents.  Creating lunches from your leftovers not only minimizes stress but makes dinnertime clean up easier!

Roasted Chicken Ideas:

  • Taco Chicken Lettuce Cup: shred chicken and coat with taco seasoning. Mix with frozen corn, frozen black beans, diced tomato and scallions. Serve in a lettuce cup or tortilla.
  • BBQ Chicken Sandwich: shred chicken or dice chicken and toss in BBQ sauce. Serve on favorite pita, wrap, or bread with cheddar cheese, red onion slices, and avocado.
  • Caesar Chicken Wrap: shred chicken and toss in Caesar dressing. Wrap up in favorite flour tortilla with croutons, shredded Parmesan cheese, and tomatoes.

Hamburger Ideas:

  • Hamburglar Salad: chop up left over hamburger. Add hamburger, shredded cheese, tomatoes and croutons to a lettuce cup or bed of lettuce. Spice it up with your child’s favorite taco seasoning.
  • Taco Wrap: chop up left over hamburger and coat with taco seasoning. Mix with frozen corn, frozen black beans, tomatoes, avocado and scallions. Serve in favorite tortilla.
  • Combine warm leftover hamburger meat & homemade macaroni and cheese to a thermos in the morning for a hot school lunch. Using a thermos significantly increases the variety of foods that can be taken into school.

Pasta Ideas:

  • Leftover pasta is a perfect salad base.Use your child’s favorite dressings and veggies to make a masterpiece they are sure to eat.
  • Salad on a Stick: Add a rotating mixture of cheese, favorite veggies, basil leaves and pasta on a lollipop stick

5 Easy School Lunch Box Ideas

3| Think of a Salad Differently

A salad does not have to be a traditional salad full of lettuce greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, croutons, and dressing. A salad can be anything mixed together- grains, fruit, meat, veggies! Rethink your definition of a salad the next time you ask your child to eat a a bowl of leafy greens. Go for a frozen fruit salad. Not only will it keep the lunch cool but the child will love it. Our favorite frozen fruits are pineapple, mango, and peaches.

5| Keep cool!

Think of all the food we store in the refrigerator. Those are the foods that can spoil between the time your child leaves the house and actually eat the food. Keep the food cool with these tips:

  • Pack frozen fruit salads. My favorite frozen fruit that defrost with a great quality include mango, peaches, and pineapple. 
  • Use an ice pack with each lunch.
  • Freeze the drink the night before and it will be mostly defrosted and cold by lunch.
  • Add frozen yogurt tubes but avoid the yogurt with food colorings and added sugar.

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11 thoughts on “5 Easy School Lunch Box Ideas

  1. These are great ideas. For some reason my kids's school said they can't pack a lunch, but my kids came home STARVING yesterday. I don't know if it's because it's their first week or what. These will be good to have ready for them when they get home though and will keep my fridge tidy!

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