The school bus is now returning to its route, the stores have been filled with back-to-school shoppers for the last few weeks, and you are already losing your mind trying to get the kids up on time.
Then, throw in making lunches and ensuring all the appropriate papers are signed – things get a little crazy, to say the least.
One of the back-to-school items you probably purchased for your child – and probably one of their favorite items to choose – was their lunchbox.
They come in a variety of sizes, shapes, colors, and styles. From a simple one to color coordinate with their backpack to a show stopper with their favorite cartoon character.
While they are daydreaming over how much their friends will adore their new lunch box, all you can think about is…
What will you put in it?
Of course, there is always the typically packed lunch idea like a sandwich and chips.
But, let’s be honest – kids get burnt out on foods easily, so you need to switch it up.
Here are a few sandwich-free lunch ideas to help your child kick off a great school year – starting with their lunch:
Food on a Stick – Lunch Ideas
Everything is more fun on a stick – beef kabobs, chicken kabobs, or even sausage kabobs. You can leave it plain and simple for the picky child or spice it up some if your child is the more adventurous type.
If your child does not have access to a microwave at school, try making kabobs with cheese squares and cubed meat such as salami.
Pair with: Sliced fruit and rice or sliced fruit and chips if you go for deli meat and cheese. Yogurt packs also make a great substitute for chips.
Quesadillas are one of my favorite lunch options – they are fun, easy to make, versatile, and reheat very nicely.
Try a simple cheese quesadilla to please your child’s palate.
Pair with: Sliced fruit or vegetables (pineapple or avocado are great) and tortilla chips.
Deli Meat Roll-Ups
While these do still incorporate lunch meat, they take the sandwich out of the equation.
Add lunch meat, lettuce, and cheese to a tortilla then roll it up and cut it into pinwheels for a fun treat. Or, for a healthier option, leave out the tortilla and make the deli meat the outside shell.
Pair with: Pretzels, celery sticks, and a few slices of dark chocolate.
Breakfast for Lunch
Is your child a breakfast-aholic? One of my favorite dinners as a child was breakfast for dinner. There is just something so much more intriguing about breakfast when you have it at an untraditional time.
Pack leftover mini pancakes as the main dish – they can even be eaten plain without the syrup.
Pack with: Yogurt, hard-boiled egg, and sliced strawberries.
Cauliflower Pizza Bites – Lunch Ideas
Instead of reaching for a make-it-yourself pizza Lunchable, try making your own mini pizzas at home for your child’s lunch.
Make a quick and tasty cauliflower crust and then top it with cheese and mini pepperonis.
Pack with: Veggie sticks and a small salad.
It can be hard to be creative and somewhat healthy, especially when it comes to packing lunches for children who won’t eat just anything.
Sometimes, all it takes is changing the form of the food – such as with the deli meat roll-ups. Simply switching up the visual appearance might just make all the difference, especially in a picky child.
Although it can be a challenge to come up with new and exciting lunch ideas for your kids, we hope that this list has provided you with some inspiration.
There are plenty of easy and affordable options for you to choose from. And don’t forget about packing a healthy snack or two as well – fresh fruit or vegetables always make a great choice.
What will your child’s next school lunch include?
What are some of your favorite lunch ideas for your kids that aren’t sandwiches?