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.
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 Ibotta, Rakuten (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.
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.
- Peanut butter (or other favorite nut butter) and jam or jelly sandwiches, peanut butter and banana sandwiches, or peanut butter and honey sandwiches
- Homemade Lunchables (snack crackers, small wedges of cheese, and small pieces of thick deli meat)
- Luncheon meat and cheese sandwiches (ham, turkey, beef, or chicken, or a combination of more than one)
- Luncheon meat and cheese wraps
- Hard-boiled eggs with cheese wedges
- Hard-boiled eggs with crackers
- Bean and cheese quesadillas
- Backpackers pizza (a tortilla with melted cheese and pepperoni inside, folded in half; marinara sauce optional)
- Pizza bagels or pizza buns
- Mini bagel pizzas
- Hummus pita sandwiches
- Tortilla with hummus
- Hummus with crackers or tortilla chips
- Peanut butter (or other nut butter) with apple or banana
- Peanut butter with thin wheat or other snack crackers
- Grilled cheese sandwich (or uncooked cheese sandwich)
- Bagel with cream cheese or jam
- Bagel with deli meat and cheese
- Mini bagels with luncheon meat and cheese
- Mini bagels with cream cheese or jam
- Mini meat and cheese kebabs (use toothpicks)
- Cream cheese and jam wraps
- Cheese wedges, crackers, baby carrots, and apple
- Pretzels, cheese, baby carrots, and an orange
- Tortilla chips or pita with bean and cheese dip
- Tortilla chips with salsa and cheese wedges
- Tortilla chips or pita with guacamole
- Leftover pancakes or waffles
- Leftover French toast
- Cottage cheese with tomato chunks
- 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!
- Small oranges (like clementine)
- Kiwifruit (peeled)
- Raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries
- Grape tomatoes
- Cut up watermelon, cantaloupe, or honeydew
- Cut up pineapple
- Fruit cup
- Baby carrots
- Broccoli or cauliflower florets
- String cheese
- Trail mix
- Fruit snacks or gummy bears
- Graham crackers
- Granola bar or fruit bar
- Pudding cup
- Gelatin cup
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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!