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

12. Burritos

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

16. Sushi

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
  • Bananas
  • Grapes
  • Oranges
  • Apples
  • Carrot sticks
  • Fruit leathers
  • Dried fruits, especially raisins and cranberries
  • Cheese sticks
  • Veggie slices
  • Applesauce
  • Yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Jerky

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. 


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