14 Smart Ideas for Packing a School Lunch
Pack a school lunch your child will actually eat with these smart ideas. We'll show you how to tailor meals to different ages, dietary restrictions and more.
Packing a school lunch for your child (or children!) can be a real challenge. Between preferred foods, allergies and different needs for growing bodies, it can seem impossible to pack a meal your kiddo will actually eat. Here at Taste of Home, we understand the school lunch struggle—which is why we did the heavy lifting for you and found recipes for children of all ages, diets and preferences.
Whether your little one is spending the whole day at preschool or coming home mid-day, these school lunch ideas for toddlers will please even the fussiest eater. Pint-sized portion sizes and fun flavors are guaranteed to make meal time a success. In this collection, you’ll find pasta dishes, finger foods, soups and more.
Kindergarten is a big deal. And for many kids, it’s the first time that they’re away from home for the whole day. Keep nerves at bay by packing your child’s favorite foods for lunch. In this collection, you’ll find fun sandwich ideas, portable pizzas, sweet snacks and more.
Your elementary or middle schooler will love these yummy kids lunch ideas. Each recipe was designed with kids in mind—so it’s unlikely that they’ll be swapped for a stale fruit roll-up. In this collection, you’ll find both yummy cold lunches and lunches to pack in a thermos.
Though it might not seem cool to have a packed lunch from mom, your teen will definitely appreciate the effort by the time lunch break rolls around. In this collection you’ll find protein-packed ideas that will help your high schooler stay full and focused all afternoon. If your kid is involved in after-school activities, make sure to pack a few extra snacks.
No meat? No problem. Packing a vegetarian mid-day meal is simple, you just need to make sure that there’s enough protein to keep your child full all day. In this collection, you’ll find vegetarian lunch ideas chock full of whole grains, fresh produce, nuts, beans and more.
If your child has Celiac disease (or is avoiding gluten for other health reasons), you can still pack a hearty lunch. Plan to incorporate lean meats, fresh fruits and veggies and gluten-free grains into their lunch box. In this collection, you’ll find ideas for lettuce wraps, salads, grain bowls and more.
A vegan diet eliminates all animal products—including meat, eggs, dairy and honey. Plan to pack plenty of whole grains, produce, tofu, nuts and beans in your child’s lunchbox to keep them focused throughout the day. In this collection, you’ll find plenty of filling (and delicious) vegan lunch ideas—such as an asparagus tofu stir-fry, a chickpea & potato curry and General Tso’s cauliflower.
Back-to-school is a big deal. Whether your child is starting a new school or just a new grade, it’s easy to feel flustered and maybe even a little fearful. Ease the anxiety with some classic comfort foods. In this collection, you’ll find cozy chilis, fun roll-ups, bite-sized mac and much more.
Some kids are tried-and-true sandwich eaters, but after awhile PB & J gets a little old. Switch things up with one of our sandwich ideas. In this collection, you’ll find a mix of hot and cold sammies perfect for lunch time.
Ah, the dreaded picky eater. If your kiddo only eats a handful of foods, these recipes are for you. We found palate-pleasing lunches even the pickiest of eaters will enjoy. In this collection, you’ll find simple flavors, comfort foods and much more.
On a budget? These cheap lunch ideas will keep your family (and your wallet!) well-fed. In this collection, you’ll find pantry-stretching staples like pasta, rice, tomato sauce and more.
Once the school day is done, your children will be hankering for a snack. Tide them over until dinner time with one of these healthy snacks for kids. In this collection, you’ll find recipes boasting fruits and veggies, fiber, lean proteins and more.
Your child will be the coolest kid at the table when they’re sporting one of these amazing lunch boxes. From dinosaur head totes to a 3-D Stormtrooper, these cute carry-alls will make lunch time fun again. In this collection, you’ll find our top lunch box picks from Amazon.