30+ Awesome School Lunch Ideas That Are Simple and Quick

school lunch ideas

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I don’t know about you, but it’s kind of hard for me to stomach the cost of buying school lunch every day for my kiddos. (Ha ha; pun intended. :)) So whenever we can, I love to make homemade lunches for them. But they don’t want to eat the same things every day, and I totally get that. So in this article I share some of my favorite school lunch ideas (these can work for kids of all ages, including the grownup kind :)).

Whether you’re sending your sweet kiddo off to school for the first time or just looking for some new ideas for easy school lunches, this article is for you.

There really are a lot of quick, easy, and budget friendly options for kids school lunch ideas. So read on to be inspired by these kid friendly lunch ideas.

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Easy Ways to Save Money on School Lunches

There are great ways to save even more money on school lunches.

For example, three of my favorite apps for saving money on groceries are IbottaRakuten (formerly Ebates), and Fetch Rewards (use XGGVM to get 2,000 bonus points when you sign up!). They are an easy way to save money on groceries every time you shop.

For example, you can get $20 just for signing up with Ibotta (probably still my favorite grocery money saving app), and you also get a $20 bonus when you sign up for Rakuten. And you can even stack your savings by using Ibotta, Rakuten, and Fetch all to save money on the same shopping purchases!

You can also save more money when grocery shopping by taking advantage of the sales and discounted items, buying produce in season, buying less expensive cuts of meat, buying generic brands rather than more popular name brands, and more.

You can find tons of ideas for how to slash your food and grocery budget here.

school lunch ideas

Tip: Save the image above to Pinterest so that you can easily refer to this article with kid friendly school lunch ideas later!

What Can I Give My Child for Lunch?

Really, there are so many possibilities for easy school lunches! You definitely don’t have to give your sweet kiddos the same old (pricey) Lunchables day after day. Nor do you have to give them PB&J sandwiches every day (though there’s nothing wrong with that if you want to do that :)).

Below you will find lots of ideas for easy school lunches you can send along with your kiddos.

Plus, you can use these easy school lunch ideas to do simple meal planning. Meal planning is a great way to save both time and effort in the kitchen (and at the grocery store!), and it is a great way to save tons of money, too!

For help with easy meal planning, grab this free weekly meal planning printable!

30+ Quick and Easy School Lunch Ideas

In this list are my favorite quick and easy (and budget friendly) school lunch ideas.

If you want an easy way to be able to pack your kiddo’s lunches, check out these handy lunch containers.

And be sure to read the next section to find a wide variety of simple kid-friendly foods to pair with these main school lunch ideas.

  1. Peanut butter (or other favorite nut butter) and jam or jelly sandwiches, peanut butter and banana sandwiches, or peanut butter and honey sandwiches
  2. Homemade Lunchables (snack crackers, small wedges of cheese, and small pieces of thick deli meat)
  3. Luncheon meat and cheese sandwiches (ham, turkey, beef, or chicken, or a combination of more than one)
  4. Luncheon meat and cheese wraps
  5. Hard-boiled eggs with cheese wedges
  6. Hard-boiled eggs with crackers
  7. Quesadillas
  8. Bean and cheese quesadillas
  9. Backpackers pizza (a tortilla with melted cheese and pepperoni inside, folded in half; marinara sauce optional)
  10. Pizza bagels or pizza buns
  11. Mini bagel pizzas
  12. Hummus pita sandwiches
  13. Tortilla with hummus
  14. Hummus with crackers or tortilla chips
  15. Peanut butter (or other nut butter) with apple or banana
  16. Peanut butter with thin wheat or other snack crackers
  17. Grilled cheese sandwich (or uncooked cheese sandwich)
  18. Bagel with cream cheese or jam
  19. Bagel with deli meat and cheese
  20. Mini bagels with luncheon meat and cheese
  21. Mini bagels with cream cheese or jam
  22. Mini meat and cheese kebabs (use toothpicks)
  23. Cream cheese and jam wraps
  24. Cheese wedges, crackers, baby carrots, and apple
  25. Pretzels, cheese, baby carrots, and an orange
  26. Tortilla chips or pita with bean and cheese dip
  27. Tortilla chips with salsa and cheese wedges
  28. Tortilla chips or pita with guacamole
  29. Leftover pancakes or waffles
  30. Leftover French toast
  31. Cottage cheese with tomato chunks
  32. Cottage cheese with peach or pear wedges

Easy Sides for School Lunch Ideas

Pair any of the ideas above with any of the ideas for sides below to make a more complete and balanced meal, with a wide variety of different school lunch combinations!

  1. Small oranges (like clementine)
  2. Apples
  3. Applesauce
  4. Grapes
  5. Banana
  6. Kiwifruit (peeled)
  7. Strawberries
  8. Raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries
  9. Edamame
  10. Grape tomatoes
  11. Cut up watermelon, cantaloupe, or honeydew
  12. Cut up pineapple
  13. Fruit cup
  14. Baby carrots
  15. Broccoli or cauliflower florets
  16. String cheese
  17. Crackers
  18. Pretzels
  19. Trail mix
  20. Fruit snacks or gummy bears
  21. Graham crackers
  22. Chips
  23. Popcorn
  24. Cookies
  25. Brownie
  26. Granola bar or fruit bar
  27. Pudding cup
  28. Gelatin cup

Want Help to Get Simple Meals on the Table, Quicker and Easier?

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Final Thoughts about School Lunch Ideas

With the wide variety of ideas above and all of the mixing and matching you can do, you are bound to find lots of options that your kiddos will love and that they won’t get bored of!

What other quick and easy school lunch ideas do you love? What are your favorite budget friendly recipes that you turn to again and again? Leave a comment below and let me know. I would love to hear your thoughts!

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