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This post is all about school lunch packing made easy! You’ll get an entire list of mix and match ideas you can use all year long!
My kids went back to school last week (well, two did. My high schooler is out until 2021)! I will admit, I LOVED having them home. I truly did. Last school year was INSANELY busy with sports and school and everything in between, so actually having the kids home for awhile was a very special time. Buttttt…it’s time to go back! I am thrilled for them, but you know what it means??! LUNCH PACKING!!! UGHHHHHHH!!!!!
First off–in terms of lunch packing, I have never been this mom:
I’m very practical and short on time so my kids will be deprived of my spelling their names out in whole wheat, low sugar crackers. #sorrynotsorry
Below is my more. practical, school lunch packing game plan. I will be honest and tell you one thing I appreciated about “homeschooling” during the Covid crisis was NOT HAVING TO PACK LUNCH!!! It’s seriously on the top of my WORST MOM DUTIES! Now that my kids are older, they can pack their own lunches, but they still need some guidelines! Let’s jump in…
Two of my packing essentials
First of all, I love these Rubbermaid lunch containers. They fit perfectly into my 2 younger kid’s lunch bags AND they come with an ice pack 🙂 You can find them here: Rubbermaid Lunch Blox.
Also, my kids get tired of “cold lunch” (especially my high schooler!) so they each have one of these thermoses to mix it up. I love these because they come with a spoon 🙂
Next, let’s do a Mix & Match menu of options. Here is what I use based on what my kids like, but feel free to add/omit/swap your kiddo’s faves too! I’ll put a list of everything at the bottom, too so you can have it handy!
Mix & Match Lunch Options
Keep in mind this doesn’t have to be a traditional “main course” like a sandwich or wrap or anything big. I am using the word “main” loosely 🙂
- Sandwiches: Jelly, PB&J, Turkey, Ham/Cheese, Salami, Honey & PB
- Skewers: Ham and Cheese skewers (substitute any meat or cheese…turkey, salami, Will even likes turkey pepperoni. Don’t overthink it, just throw on the stuff that your kids like 🙂
- Whole wheat tortilla chips and shredded cheese/cheese cubes
- Quesadillas (my kids will eat them cold!)
- Mini bagels with cream cheese/jelly/honey, etc.
- Crackers and Hummus
- Waffles. Who says you can’t have brunch for lunch?? Will would request a side of sausage 🙂
- Meat/Cheese/Crackers (aka: homemade Lunchable)
- English muffin cheese pizza
- Leftover pasta with red sauce (thermos)
- Pasta Salad
- Chicken nuggets (thermos)
- Cereal and milk (thermos)
- Mac and cheese (thermos)
- Tacos! You could also just use those “Scoop” chips and put whatever “toppings” on the side.
- Noodles (thermos)
- Soup (thermos)
Fruits & Veggies
I want to include at least one fruit or veggie in each lunch, so here are my top picks that pack and travel well
- Apple slices (squeeze a little lemon juice on them to prevent browning)
- Pineapple cubes
- Orange slices/Cuties
- Apple sauce cups/fruit pouches
- Fruit cups
- Fruit chips (my kids love apple!)
- Mandarin oranges
- Carrot sticks
- Sugar Snap Peas
- Dried fruit (my kids love dried mango and banana chips)
Sides & Snacks
Last, I brainstormed a bunch of snacks I know my kids will eat. Here are my ideas.
- Cereal bars (my kids love the kids Clif bars from Costco)
- Veggie sticks
- Cheese sticks
- Cheese Its
- Graham crackers
- Fig Bars
- Popcorn/Pirate’s Booty
- Kettle chips
- Sweet treats (cookie, small brownie, Madelines, mini Pop Tarts, etc.)
- Mini rice cakes
- Yogurt pretzels
- Sun Chips
- Laughing Cow cheese
- Graham crackers
Now just Mix and Match! Each week I’ll pick 3-5 “main courses”, 2-3 fruits/veggies and 4-5 “sides”…then just mix it up throughout the week.
Pin the image above and save it for later! If you have any other great lunch ideas, I AM ALL EARS!! What do you kiddos love for lunch?