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Back to School Lunch Ideas - More ideas added!

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Do you have challenges trying to figure out what to pack your child/children for their school lunch?

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 I love my daughter bless her sweet soul but she's a picky eater so it's a challenge to figure out what to pack her for her school lunch. School starts next week for us so naturally I've been thinking about this. Here favorite of course is anything with peanut butter something we can't send to school due to nut allergies for other children.

My daughter is slowly starting to expand her menu selection but it's still quite limited so I asked on Facebook of you our wonderful readers for some ideas on what you pack for your children. I"m also including some of the ones we do and I think it would be wonderful if we heard from even more people as I'm sure (I hope) that my daughter is not the only picky eater out there 🙂


I just had to share now that we've done 4 full days (September 4-7) back to school with my daughter that #8 on the list below.

The chopped chicken in the tortilla wrap she loved it! I added brown rice to it, just warmed up the rice first with the chicken, rolled the wrap and insulated it in tin foil. She had it 3x that week and the 4th day she had a soft taco. Left over taco meat with shredded cheese in you guessed it a tortilla wrap lol

I've also added a bunch of your ideas to the second list thanks everyone for sharing!!

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Here's what we do:

  1. Pasta in a thermos - we warm it up in the morning and put it in an airtight thermos that lasts until lunch according to my daughter
  2. Cheese strings
  3. Cheese & crackers
  4. Whole wheat hot dog bun and a low sodium all beef hot dog in a thermos
  5. Carrots, bell peppers (orange and yellow she actually likes these!) & Cucumbers
  6. Apples, oranges, bananas and grapes her favorite fruits
  7. Cheese sandwiches
  8. Our new idea chopped up chicken breast that she likes in a wrap - she said she might try it with lettuce
  9. I forgot about this one originally Luna Bars my daughter loves the Smores ones & the cookies and cream they are healthier than they sound 🙂 I like their coconut one yum same company that makes Clifbars.
Sadly my daughter would not eat a yummy looking sandwich like this no lettuce, no tomato, no mustard or any condiments and there are few sandwich meats she likes to eat.
Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Here are some wonderful suggestions that we received from readers

  1. Pepperoni and Mickey ear cheese in a container
  2. Turkey wraps
  3. Peanut butter with the crust sliced off and rolled up like a sushi roll( you can add nutella or honey or jelly also)
  4. Bagel Bites
  5. Motts Pouches
  6. Uncrustables
  7. Laughing Cow Cheese
  8. Baby Bell Cheese
  9. All Natural Peanut Butter
  10. Plum Organic snacks especially the Mash-ups and granola (they have a chocolate flavored one!)
  11.  Cream cheese & grape jelly sandwiches
  12. Krave cereal in a baggie
  13. Cut up fresh fruits mixed in a bowl and different varieties of trail mix
  14. Funbites (which cuts food up into different shapes) might help with kids who are picky because they get bored with “the same old thing
  15. Bags of dry cereal, if she likes cereal. There is all kinds of healthy cereal now and not just the sugary stuff
  16. Pretzels/pretzel thins/pita chips with hummus or pb, yogurt (freeze tubes/cups the night before), bagel thin with cream cheese or pb, try adding peas or edamame to pasta
  17. pocket thins w/turkey
  18. grapes, grape tomatoes, strawberries
  19. reheated baked beans, ravioli or spaghetti-o’s
  20. leftover pizza
  21. pudding with 5 chocolate chips she can add at lunch
  22. 100 calorie pack snacks (be sure to look at fat content as many are outrageous in saturated fats!)
  23. cheese quesadillas or bean and cheese in tortillas (in thermos)
  24. bean and cheese (in thermos)

That's what we have so far let's hear from more of you Moms, Grandmas, Aunts and anyone else with creative food ideas! Comment below and don't worry if your comment doesn't show up right away I have to publish them and this way I don't miss any! Happy Back to School 🙂

By on August 30th, 2012

About Powered by Mom

I’m Michelle aka Powered by Mom. I’m married with one daughter, my hubby was my high school sweetheart, our two dogs Nyx and Cleo and our cat Oliver. As you can see we’re a family of animal lovers. We love to travel when we can, try different food and activities all over the world and enjoy being together. My passions are writing, travelling, creating new recipes, encouraging people to adopt not shop and just to enjoy life while we can.

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112 thoughts on “Back to School Lunch Ideas - More ideas added!”

  1. Wow! Thanks for all of these great ideas!! Both of my kids are super picky eaters and take cold lunch at least 3 times a week. Sometimes the lunches get monotonous... so I'm definitely going to try some of these! I think the pasta in the thermos will be a big hit!

    A couple more ideas:
    Cold Pizza
    Taco Meat in a thermos that they can pour in a tortilla and add shredded cheese and veggies
    Lettuce salad with dressing in a small tupperware container so the salad is fresh
    Appes with Caramel Dip

  2. O.K. So now I have the munchies...LOL! I really do! It's really great to see all the suggestions from other readers...I love that! I also remember the oh so limited selection of foods we had as a kid. The hot dog/thermos idea is brilliant! I almost always have tortilla wraps and leftover taco meat so I don't know why I haven't thought to do that before. Thank you PBM...I kmow what I'm packin' tomorrow morning. 🙂

    • LOL so glad you liked those ideas Meg. I know with the taco meat I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner my daughter has liked tacos for over a year now and just thought of this last week geez.

  3. Thank you so much for more meal ideas for school! My first child just started kindergarten and doesnt like lunch meat or much of anything else lol. These are a great selection to help choose from!!

  4. Thank you for the awesome ideas.. It's hard trying to be creative at 6 am...lol.. this helps me get a few ideas ahead of time so we can be better prepared for variety 🙂

  5. My daughter saw a commercial where you can freeze gogurts and then put them in your lunch to be perfect for lunchtime.....she LOVES them.

  6. You have definitely inspired me with all the great suggestions... my son is now bringing his lunch instead of buying the crappy school lunches! I love being able to help him choose healthy snacks and lunches, and he enjoys helping to prepare his lunches with me. We do it the night before and then leave it in the refrigerator for him to take in the morning.

  7. I had to giggle, one of the first suggestions was Mickey Mouse cheese and Pepperoni, that's totally what my daughter has asked for in her lunch every single day!

  8. Thank you for all the lunch ideas!! I make my daughter sandwiches and cut them will a star shaped cookie cutter.. before I started doing this she wouldn't eat the whole sandwich, but now that I cut it into a shape she will eat them.

    She's 6 and picky!

  9. Even though my girls aren't in school yet, those are some great ideas to give them for at home lunches instead of lunchables or Mac and cheese.

  10. Great ideas! My kids are grown now. But soon will help for grandson. I had a son who loved peanut butter sandwiches and an apple and chips! I like all of your ideas!

  11. My son is a picky eater, plus he has a sensory disorder and many textures are not appealing to him. He loves ham and cheese. Actually he loves anything cheese. Cheese tortillas with a little taco seasoning sprinkled on top. He also loves dried fruit. His favorite is dried cranberries. And nuts, he loves nuts. You can make your own snack mix with dried fruit, pretzels, nuts, or anything else small they like to eat. You can even ad a few treats in it like chocolate chips. My son also like applesauce of any kind, so the individual cups work great for that. The teachers help open things if necessary.

    • Thanks for the tips Fern 🙂 I wish my daughter would eat dried fruit or nuts for that matter but at her school we can't send anything with nuts darn but those are all excellent ideas! We did start with some fruit cups too and yes applesauce only slightly sweetened is a great choice! Thanks for sharing!

  12. my grandson is a picky eater too. And I haft to say that I have never heard of the idea to put a hot dog on a bun inside the thermos, that is genious. I will be mocking tha idea, thank you for that tip. I love that idea, for three vital good reasons...It can not get crushed like in a regular lunch box or bag..it stays moist and warm and I think it would lock in the flavor more and easy to hit the item up in the microwave then just pop it out...I can't get over what a great idea that it 🙂
    [email protected]

    • Thanks so glad you like the idea Julie! We just put the hot dog in the thermos though and I cut the bun in half and put it in a baggie or wrap in saran wrap or tin foil 🙂 Although putting it in the thermos could work if you want the bun warm just maybe wrap it in saran first 🙂

  13. My kid is homeschooled now, but when he was in K and 1st, he ate nearly the same thing every day... due to sensory issues, he refused to eat fruit or raw vegetables (he'll eat 2 or 3 grapes occasionally, or a strawberry, or a piece of lettuce if it's "crunchy", but not enough to fill him up) and gluten foods will get him all hyper and out-of-control so no breads or tortillas or even pretzels. it was crazy trying to find things he'd actually eat. so his lunches always consisted of a thermos'd meal... soup, beans, or cooked veggies... and a string cheese and a box of 100% juice.

    to those asking about the thermos, there are always adults in the cafeteria, just make sure your kiddo isn't too scared/shy to ask for help! i always put in a tupperware bowl and a spoon so he wouldn't have to eat from the thermos (and a plastic ziploc baggie to put the dirty "dishes" in so they wouldn't get his lunchbox all yucky)

  14. Dd like the Plum Organic snacks especially the Mash-ups and granola (they have a chocolate flavored one!). They can get a little pricey but if you can score the Plus District Ecomom.com deals that are good on food items you can stock up on them. That's what i did right before school started! 🙂

  15. Thank you for the great ideas! It's so hard to come up with ideas on what to feed the kiddos! I have an {almost} 2 year old & he loves cream cheese & grape jelly sandwiches!

  16. I like to pack cut up fresh fruits mixed in a bowl and different varieties of trail mix. I like the list above. I too could use some lunch ideas!

    • so glad you like that idea Marti 🙂 we've done a lot of thermos lunches pasta, chicken and rice have even stuck a hot dog weiner in the thermos.

  17. When I was in school, my mother sent pretty much the same thing every day - a pickle with a piece of cheese and a piece of bologna wrapped around it. She was afraid bread would make me gain weight.

  18. Thank you for the ideas! I'm always trying to be creative with school lunches and my kids are like your daughter on the sandwich aspect!! thank you!!!

  19. Funbites (which cuts food up into different shapes) might help with kids who are picky because they get bored with "the same old thing."

  20. The current trend here is low sodium pickles and green olives...thankfully, out of 4 kids I have only a few with quirks...like no mayo ever...no tuna fish ( canned)... yet they eat Indian, Mexican, Sushi, Greek...you name it...so I can't complain...lol..

  21. I think she might like small bags of dry cereal, if she likes cereal. There is all kinds of healthy cereal now and not just the sugary stuff.

  22. Pretzels/pretzel thins/pita chips with hummus or pb, yogurt (freeze tubes/cups the night before), bagel thin with cream cheese or pb, try adding peas or edamame to pasta (my son will only eat Mac n cheese if it has peas or edamame in it!). Good luck!

  23. my kids don't go to school yet but i am looking for more options for my husband to bring to work. he works outside so he has to bring lunch with him every day. he gets tired of sandwiches.

  24. My daughter was a pretty picky eater but I managed to find things she liked so I'd make things for a few days at a time. I liked to make lunch the night before. She liked turkey slices with cream cheese,lettuce,olives, rolled in a tortilla. She really liked lunchable nachos. I like quick and easy. 🙂

  25. It's great that you are working with your daughter to send what she will actually eat, otherwise she'll either not eat or maybe trade for something else.

  26. My girls like to use the leftover grilled chicken from dinner the next day to make a chicken/lettuce/tomato sandwich or chicken ceaser wrap.

  27. Great suggestions especially since my son's room is peanut free and he LOVES peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (you all know the different phases that kids go through (: ) so I needed some more ideas!!!

  28. I make tiny turkey and cheese sandwiches in Hawaiian sweet rolls. Also, mix cashews with pecans in a little Ziploc for my picky 5 year old girl who just started Kindergarten. She loves it!

  29. Back to School is stressful enough. Lunch just got a lot easier. Thanks for sharing.

    Besos, Sarah
    Zookeeper at Journeys of The Zoo

  30. My daughter may not be in school yet, but I can attest to all these suggestions being great! I'll definitely keep them in mind for the coming years!!

  31. That sandwich looks tasty.

    My youngest was the same way. His first time getting lunch at school involved a sandwich with "green wrinkly stuff" which he screamed for someone to get it off his plate. He would only eat Taco Bell lettuce.

  32. All great tips. I've always struggled with getting into some lunch time ruts. I am always optimistic when a new year starts - I'll be trying some of your suggestions.

  33. How does your daughter do with the thermos and the pasta, does she eat it right from the thermos? My daughter is starting kindergarten and I'm concerned she might have difficulty with this. As I type it I think I am overthinking this.

    • Hi Michelle, my daughter does well with the thermos she's been doing it since grade 1. Teachers help to open it if necessary so that's never been a problem for us hoe that helps 🙂

  34. My children have this problem as well. I remember that I used to be like that when I was a toddler. I liked things more and more as I put new things on them, but I wish now that I had started putting pickles on my sandwich when I was three 😉 After I do some gutter cleaning this afternoon, I will be off to get a sandwich like this. Thanks!

    • I hear you I wish I had her eating everything early on but she was also taken care of by her Grandma for a the longest time too and I suspect it wasn't a wide enough variety of food all the time as Grandma didn't like to "make" her try new things.

  35. I have a picky eater too...but she's a teenager and there is NO WAY she is going to make her own lunches or it will be ALL crap....not that we have a lot in the house but she wouldn't pack good lunches. Here is what I do:

    ~pocket thins w/turkey
    ~grapes, grape tomatoes, strawberries
    ~reheated baked beans, ravioli or spaghetti-o's
    ~leftover pizza
    ~pudding with 5 chocolate chips she can add at lunch
    ~100 calorie pack snacks (be sure to look at fat content as many are outrageous in saturated fats!)
    ~cheese quesidillas or bean and cheese in tortillas (in thermos)
    ~bean and cheese (in thermos)

    Good luck!


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