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Tips for Packing Lunches for Back to School

Thanks for sharing!

It’s time to start packing those lunchboxes again. Choose an item from each of these categories to build a delicious lunch in no time, it’s a build your own lunch adventure!

collage with school books, book bag, lunches and text saying back to school lunch ideas

It is back to school time! In addition to getting the supplies ready, making sure you have great options to pack in lunchboxes is an important step to getting ready.  These great ideas will make that easier. 

Choose an entrée, a side and a treat and you are well on your way. Add a drink and a note (if you dare) and lunch is ready!

Coming up with fun lunch options for the kids to take to school is a challenge, especially when you are busy taking care of all of the other things life throws your way.  This year everything about the school year is extra interesting, so I thought it would be a good idea to help take the lunch worry off your plate.     

So below is a list of great ideas for entrees, sides and treats, the three building blocks of a great lunchbox lunch.  Choose and option from each and you are well on your way to a great lunch experience.

Little Dude and I have been taste testing our way through these ideas and most of them are second grader approved.  Now here is to a successful (and tasty!) school year for us all!

Build your own lunch infographic.

Lunchtime Entrée Ideas

Start the meal off with something delicious and filling.

Lunchbox kabobs are a fun and easy option. Alternate cherry tomatoes, chunks of cheese and bits of lunchmeat on a skewer.

A small jar of pasta salad is a great option. Make a big batch on Sunday and dish it out in jars for lunchboxes throughout the week.

Make your own lunchables with a few crackers, slices of cheese and a little bit of meat.

Pizza waffles can be made ahead of time.  Just be sure to add a little container of pizza sauce for dipping!

Macaroni and cheese muffins have all of the goodness of macaroni and cheese baked up in cupcake tins for a fun and cheesy finger food. They are great at room temperature and will easily be packed and eaten for lunch.

Pepperoni pizza muffins are another great bake ahead.  Make a batch and throw a couple in a plastic bag. Pack a little pizza sauce for dipping and lunch is sure to be a hit!

Some tortilla pinwheels with your kids favorite flavors is a fun idea as well. You can use the roast beef pinwheel recipe as a starting point and add your child’s favorite flavors.

If your child is into a little spice, whip up some buffalo chicken roll ups. I would have loved them in my lunchbox as a kid!

Of course a sandwich is always and option.  Ham and cheese is a good choice, but fruit and chicken salad is even better!

Ham and egg salad is great on sandwiches as well. Or send a small container of it along with some crackers as a fun treat.

Collage of images that are perfect for going into a lunch box.

Pack and Carry Side Dishes

Pick a side to help round out the meal. There are plenty of easy and healthy options to choose from!

  • Carrots, celery, snow peas and/or cucumber slices and ranch dip
  • An apple.  If sliced apples are more your style, slice it and rubberband it back together to keep the slices from oxidizing and turning brown.
  • Orange slices
  • Pretzels
  • Grapes
  • Berries
  • String cheese
  • Raisins
  • Swamp fish crackers take goldfish to the next level by coating them in ranch goodness!
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Applesauce
  • Yogurt
Lunch box side and snack ideas in a collage.

Treats to Make Lunch More Fun

While not absolutely necessary, a fun treat definitely makes lunchtime better!  Choose one of these options for a sweet finish to your lunchbox adventure.

Chunky Monkey Energy Bites are full of peanut butter, oatmeal, banana and honey! They are the perfect snack for kids and grown ups alike. Plus they are are a great new way to use some of those ripe bananas!

Monster Cookie Energy Bites are just like eating monster cookie dough. There is no baking, chopping or work involved. Just stir up the goodness and roll them into balls. Easy peasy and perfect for snacking!

Brown Sugar Oatmeal Bars are easy to make and fun to eat!
Granola bars are a classic grab and go.

Peanut Butter Maple Snack Mix is a fun treat and stores well.  Just make sure your school isn’t peanut free first!

Or make your own gorp or trail mix adding your favorite cereals, nuts, dried fruits and little chocolate candies to make it extra fun.

Apple pie chex mix is a great idea as well.  It is crunchy with cinnamon, sugar and apple goodness cooked on. It is so good and fun for a lunchbox.

Fill a small jar with yogurt, fruit and homemade granola.  A nutritious and delicious treat for sure!

Make chewy no bake oatmeal peanut butter bars for a filling and delicious sweet treat.You could make these 3 ingredient cookies with just bananas, oatmeal and raisins. They are super simple and really delicious.

Muffins don’t just work well for grab and go breakfasts. They can be fun lunchbox treats as well.

Try sending some baked oatmeal muffins, or if you have sourdough starter my chocolate chip sourdough muffins are a huge hit!

Strawberry rhubarb sauce and a few animal crackers to dip in it is another fabulous treat. Switch out the fruits depending on the season and it will never get old!

Or for a special treat, add a few fresh baked chocolate chip cookies!

It's time to start packing those lunchboxes again. Choose an item from each of these categories to build a delicious lunch in no time, it's a build your own lunch adventure!

What are your favorite lunch ideas? We could always use more tasty ways to fill up Little Dude’s lunchbox!

Thanks for sharing!


Sunday 23rd of August 2020

So many fun ideas to choose from!


Saturday 29th of August 2020

That way the lunches don't get boring too quickly!