20 Lunchbox Meal Ideas (That Aren't Sandwiches)
I homeschool now, but years ago my oldest was in public school - and a nut free school, too. So I had to come up with creative meal ideas to send to school with them for lunch. As parents begin to send their kids back to school, I'm seeing a lot of posts on my social media feed fretting about what to pack for allergy friendly schools so I wanted to compile a list of some of my kids favorite lunchbox meals!
1. Wraps - Roll up meat, cheese, veggies, and sauce in a tortilla
2. Fruit salad - Cut up watermelon, cantaloupe, berries, apples, grapes and orange slices to make a finger food friendly lunch that is packed with nutrients!
3. Veggie salads - put sauce on the side in a little container and pack some crackers or bread as a side
4. Pasta, chicken, tuna or potato salad with crackers
5. Charcuterie - crackers, bread, cold meats, cheeses, grapes, veggie slices
6. Soup in a thermos
7. A burger (wrap the bun in aluminum foil to keep hot and put inside of thermos to retain heat, wrap bun and toppings separate) and chips
8. Mini pizzas - send marinara, cheese and pepperoni to top a bagel with
9. Chips and salsa, bean dip and queso with rice with avocado slices
10. Pasta in a thermos with heated sauce on bottom, have a dish for them to pour into and cheese on the side
11. Quesadillas in container that retains heat
13. Tacos (keep meat warm wrapped in aluminum foil in a container, toppings on the side)
14. Bagels with cream cheese, fruit on the side
15. Breakfast for lunch - bacon, cinnamon rolls, mini pancakes and syrup to dip in
17. Hard boiled eggs, veggie slices & fruit
18. Spring rolls, lo mein or pad thai and rice
19. Hummus, chips, veggie slices & cheese sticks
20. Chicken and dumplings, casseroles or other pan meals in heat retaining containers with bread, fruit and yogurt on the side
As a bonus, these were the staple side items I sent with my oldest and that I pack for our lunches on the go:
- Granola bars
- Carrot sticks
- Fruit leathers
- Dried fruits, especially raisins and cranberries
- Cheese sticks
- Veggie slices
- Cottage cheese
This list is not exhaustive but I do hope it offers some new ideas for lunchbox meal prep for all the parents & caregivers out there!
Something else we do to keep from eating out when we're out and about or on the way home from lessons is I have a Small Mon-stor hanging from a headrest in my car that has granola bars, water bottles, jerky, crackers, fruit snacks and other snacks that are fine with temperature fluctuations in the car.