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25 School Lunch Ideas That Even the Pickiest Eater Will Love

These meals are portable, light on the veggies and of course—delicious! Scroll through our favorite lunch ideas for picky eaters.

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Cheddar Spirals

Our kids just love this cheesy pasta and will sample a spoonful right from the slow cooker when they walk by. Sometimes I add cocktail sausages, sliced Polish sausage or cubed ham to make it into a hearty dinner. —Heidi Ferkovich, Park Falls, Wisconsin

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Cheesy Pepperoni BunsTaste of Home

Cheesy Pepperoni Buns

Like a pizza version of a sloppy joe, this open-faced sandwich is a surefire kid-pleaser! —Tanya Belt, Newcomerstown, Ohio

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Peanut Butter, Apple and Raisin SandwichTaste of Home

Peanut Butter, Apple and Raisin Sandwich

Tart, sweet and crunchy, these open-faced sammies are a perfect after-school (or after-work) snack. —James Schend, Taste of Home Deputy Editor

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Mini Burgers with the WorksTaste of Home

Mini Burgers with the Works

I started preparing these mini burgers several years ago as a creative way to use up bread crusts accumulating in my freezer. They're delicious. —Linda Lane, Bennington, Vermont

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Chicken NuggetsTaste of Home

Chicken Nuggets

I like to make these golden chicken nuggets because they’re so quick and easy. My whole family loves them. You can also use the seasoning to cook chicken breast halves. Stack them on rustic bread with mayo, lettuce and tomato for delicious sandwiches. —Annette Ellyson, Carolina, West Virginia

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One-Pot Bacon Cheeseburger PastaTaste of Home

One-Pot Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta

When the weather's too chilly to grill burgers, I whip up a big pot of this cheesy pasta. Believe it or not, it tastes just like a bacon cheeseburger, and it's much easier for my young children to enjoy. —Carly Terrell, Granbury Texas

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The Ultimate Chicken Noodle SoupTaste of Home

The Ultimate Chicken Noodle Soup

My first Wisconsin winter was so cold, all I wanted to eat was homemade chicken noodle soup. Of all the chicken noodle soup recipes out there, this type of soup is my favorite and is in heavy rotation from November to April. It has many incredibly devoted fans.—Gina Nistico, Denver, Colorado

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PBJ on a StickTaste of Home

PBJ on a Stick

I always try to come up with new ways to serve lunch to my kids. This recipe was a hit! —Sara Martin, Brookfield, Wisconsin

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Quick Taco WrapsTaste of Home

Quick Taco Wraps

I was running late one night, so I shopped in my own fridge and came up with ingredients that became taco wraps. Everybody at the table was a happy camper. —Katie Mitschelen, La Porte, Indiana

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Easy Slow-Cooker Mac & CheeseTaste of Home

Easy Slow-Cooker Mac & Cheese

My sons always say I'm the best mom in the world when I make this creamy mac-and-cheese perfection. Does it get any better than that? —Heidi Fleek, Hamburg, Pennsylvania

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Fruity Peanut Butter PitasTaste of Home

Fruity Peanut Butter Pitas

My kids ask for these pita sandwiches all the time. They haven’t noticed that as good as they taste, they’re also good for them. —Kim Holmes, Emerald Park, Saskatchewan

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Upside-Down Frito PieTaste of Home

Upside-Down Frito Pie

Using ground turkey is a smart way to lighten up this hearty family-pleaser!—Mary Berg, Lake Elmo, Minnesota

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Lunch Box PizzasTaste of Home

Lunch Box Pizzas

When you have these fun-to-make mini pizzas, it's no challenge finding lunch fare that the kids enjoy. Plus they pack nicely in sandwich bags and travel well, so there's no mess. —Rhonda Cliett, Belton, Texas

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Mama Mia Meatball TaquitosTaste of Home

Mama Mia Meatball Taquitos

We love lasagna, but it takes too long on weeknights. My solution: meatball taquitos. My kids get the flavors they want and I get it on the table in a hurry. —Lauren Wyler, Dripping Springs, Texas

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Macaroni and Cheese SoupTaste of Home

Macaroni and Cheese Soup

I have worked in the food service industry for too many years to count and have made this one-of-a-kind soup at many different jobs. It's always been a big hit. —Emma Head, Sunrise Beach, Missouri

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Wagon Wheel Pasta TossTaste of Home

Wagon Wheel Pasta Toss

I needed a quick one-skillet dish to put on the table. I thought if I added pizza sauce, pepperoni and mozzarella cheese to pasta, it might appeal to my daughter's selective palate. I was right! —Lori Daniels, Beverly, West Virginia

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Ham 'n' Swiss EnvelopesTaste of Home

Ham 'n' Swiss Envelopes

These clever envelopes will make people eager to look inside. The hot pockets shaped with refrigerated dough are stuffed with a delicious ham and cheese filling. —Tammy Burgess, Loveland, Ohio

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Easy Turkey Noodle SoupTaste of Home

Easy Turkey Noodle Soup

Rich, homemade taste that’s easy on the budget makes this chunky soup a family favorite. We enjoy it with hot bread in winter and with salad in summer. —Elaine Bickford, Las Vegas, Nevada

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Cheeseburger Macaroni SkilletTaste of Home

Cheeseburger Macaroni Skillet

This is the ultimate simple and fulfilling dinner that uses items I typically have in my cupboard. It's so easy to prepare and cooking all in one skillet makes it a snap for clean up. —Juli Meyers, Hinesville, Georgia

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Peanut Butter, Honey & Pear Open-Faced SandwichesTaste of Home

Peanut Butter, Honey & Pear Open-Faced Sandwiches

I work a 12-hour night shift at a hospital, and when I come home in the morning, I don't want to cook a big breakfast. I love these sandwiches because they're versatile; sometimes I use apples instead of pears and different cheeses, such as Brie or grated Parmesan. —L.J.Washington, Carpinteria, California

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Chicken Taco PocketsTaste of Home

Chicken Taco Pockets

We love these easy taco-flavored sandwiches made with crescent dough. Paired with a bowl of soup or a crisp salad, they make a quick and easy lunch or supper. I also like to cut them into smaller servings for parties. —Donna Gribbins, Shelbyville, Kentucky

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Chocolate Chip, PB & Banana SandwichesTaste of Home

Chocolate Chip, PB & Banana Sandwiches

I love finding new ways to combine peanut butter, chocolate and bananas. I was shocked when my nephews (who are very picky eaters) loved these sammies. —Charlotte Gehle, Brownstown, Michigan

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Garlic Bread Pizza SandwichesTaste of Home

Garlic Bread Pizza Sandwiches

I love inventing new ways to make grilled cheese sandwiches for my kids. This version tastes like pizza. Using frozen garlic bread is a timesaver. —Courtney Stultz, Weir, Kansas

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Quick and Easy StromboliTaste of Home

Quick and Easy Stromboli

Sandwich fixin's get rolled into a shortcut dinner favorite, thanks to refrigerated pizza dough. Use any combo of cheese, deli meat and veggies that you like or that you have on hand. —Catherine Cassidy, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Ham and Cheese PuffsTaste of Home

Ham and Cheese Puffs

These tasty little bites go over well with kids. They're also delicious with soups or as party appetizers. —Mrs. Marvin Buffington, Burlington, Iowa

Erica Young
Erica is a freelance lifestyle writer with a bachelor's degree in Journalism. Her favorite recipes are quick, easy and something her kids will actually eat. When she's not writing you'll find her organizing a closet, roaming the aisles at Target or nursing her third Diet Coke of the day.