Practical School Lunch Ideas (Cold & Hot)

You'll want to pin these practical School Lunch Ideas. Cold and hot lunches your kids will actually eat! | natashaskitchen.com

When my son started school, I was determined to pack him healthy, nutritious and satisfying lunches. Without me hovering over him while he ate, he brought his fancy sandwiches right back home, sometimes untouched. I could see he wasn’t really into what I packed for him.

After he brought several lunches back, I resorted to ordering food at school, but that never sat well with me since they weren’t very balanced meals – very little fruit or veggies. And, I could never tell if he actually ate his lunch.

Then I got creative. Read on for great (easy) lunch ideas for cold and hot school lunches your kids will actually eat and you’ll feel good about. Big thank you to Blogher and Shamrock Farms who sponsored this post!

OUR LATEST VIDEOS

P.S. Don’t miss our new lunch ideas post for 2017! 

Update on the Lunchbox:

For first grade, my son started using this Planet Box lunchbox.

PlanetBox Lunch Box-2

Start with the drink:

1. Milk: my son’s drink of choice so I always make sure he has milk for lunch.

2. Juice – select a juice box that has reduced sugar and real fruit juice

Practical School Lunch Ideas-6

School Lunch Main Course (Grains & Meats):

1. DIY “lunchables”: crackers, deli turkey or salami, sliced cheese

2. Sandwich or sandwich kabobs: disguise their sandwich by threading turkey, cubed string cheese, and squares of bread on skewers.

3. Mini bagels and cream cheese

4. Easy chicken sliders (canned chicken – drained well and mixed with mayo and black pepper to taste, place filling between lettuce and cheese to keep the bun from getting soggy)

5. Tortilla pinwheels (cream cheese, sliced cheese, deli turkey, thinly sliced tomatoes, shredded lettuce or spinach – roll tightly and slice into rounds)

You'll want to pin these practical School Lunch Ideas. Cold and hot lunches your kids will actually eat! | natashaskitchen.com

School Lunch Fruit:

1. Small banana

2. Grapes

3. Blueberries, strawberries or other berries

4. Fruit kabobs

5. Apricot, apple,.. whatever your kids love

6. Applesauce 7. Peeled clementines

School Lunch Veggies:

1. Baby carrots with ranch in mini cups

2. Cucumber slices

3. Snap peas

4. Salad (romaine, cheese, croutons, side of ranch)

5. Avocado slices (to prevent browning: slice flesh into bite-sized pieces inside the skin, scoop out flesh and replace into shell, drizzle with lemon juice, cover tightly with plastic wrap)

You'll want to pin these practical School Lunch Ideas. Cold and hot lunches your kids will actually eat! | natashaskitchen.com

School Lunch Snacks and Treats:

1. Banana bread (Here is my husbands perfect banana bread)

2. Yogurt

3. Pudding

4. String cheese

5. Pretzels, or gold fish crackers

6. Fruit snacks or fruit leather

7. Dried fruit (raisins, craisins, banana or apple chips)

8. Z-Bar or fruit bars

9. Muffin

10. Chocolate chip cookie (click for soft homemade cookies)

12. DIY trail mix

You'll want to pin these practical School Lunch Ideas. Cold and hot lunches your kids will actually eat! | natashaskitchen.com

Here are some winning lunch combinations:

You'll want to pin these practical School Lunch Ideas. Cold and hot lunches your kids will actually eat! | natashaskitchen.com

[DIY “lunchables”, cucumber slices, grapes, yogurt]

You'll want to pin these practical School Lunch Ideas. Cold and hot lunches your kids will actually eat! | natashaskitchen.com

[chicken slider, salad with ranch, trail mix, banana]

You'll want to pin these practical School Lunch Ideas. Cold and hot lunches your kids will actually eat! | natashaskitchen.com

[turkey sandwich kabobs, carrots & ranch, apricot, pudding]

You'll want to pin these practical School Lunch Ideas. Cold and hot lunches your kids will actually eat! | natashaskitchen.com

[mini bagel with cream cheese, snap peas, strawberries, fruit leather, string cheese]

You'll want to pin these practical School Lunch Ideas. Cold and hot lunches your kids will actually eat! | natashaskitchen.com

[tortilla pinwheels, sliced avocado, blueberries, banana chips]

Hot Lunch Ideas (with a Thermos):

Tips for using a thermos: *We recommend the Thermos Foogo 10 oz or Thermos Funtainer 10 oz: *Pack hot thermos in the morning (5 hours before it’s eaten) *Heat the thermos first: add boiling water, cover and let sit 5 min then drain. Heat food until it’s hot. Place into heated thermos and close tightly with lid. Food will be warm at lunchtime.

What to put in a hot lunch thermos:

1. Soup (try: chicken noodle soup or Mom’s meatball soup)

2. Pasta (try: chicken alfredo or spaghetti with shrimp)

3. Pilaf/rice, or stir fry (try: creamy chicken and rice, or shrimp fried rice)

4. Leftovers! You can really get creative with a thermos. Just avoid foods with overwhelming aromas (i.e. broccoli and cabbage) Here’s a Printable Reference:

Practical School Lunch Ideas (Cold and Hot Lunch Ideas)

4.91 from 51 votes
You'll want to pin these practical School Lunch Ideas. Cold and hot lunches your kids will actually eat! | natashaskitchen.com
Here are some great (easy) ideas for cold and hot school lunches your kids will actually eat and you'll feel good about.
Author: Natasha of NatashasKitchen.com
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: Varies

Ingredients

School Lunch Main Course (Grains & Meats):

  • DIY "lunchables": crackers deli turkey or salami, sliced cheese
  • Sandwich or sandwich kabobs
  • Mini bagels and cream cheese
  • Easy chicken sliders canned chicken - drained well and mixed with mayo and black pepper to taste, place filling between lettuce and cheese to keep the bun from getting soggy
  • Tortilla pinwheels cream cheese, sliced cheese, deli turkey, thinly sliced tomatoes, shredded lettuce or spinach - roll tightly and slice into rounds

School Lunch Fruit:

  • Small banana
  • Grapes
  • Blueberries strawberries or other berries
  • Fruit kabobs - click for recipe
  • Apricot apple,.. whatever your kids love
  • Applesauce
  • Peeled clementines

School Lunch Veggies:

  • Baby carrots with ranch in mini cups
  • Cucumber slices
  • Snap peas
  • Salad
  • Avocado slices

School Lunch Snacks and Treats:

  • Banana bread
  • Yogurt Pudding
  • String cheese
  • Pretzels or gold fish crackers
  • Fruit snacks or fruit leather
  • Dried fruit
  • Z-Bar
  • Muffin
  • Chocolate chip cookie
  • DIY trail mix

Instructions

Hot Lunch Ideas (with a Thermos):

  1. Pack hot thermos in the morning (5 hours before it's eaten)
  2. Heat the thermos first: add boiling water, cover and let sit 5 min then drain. Heat food until it's hot. Place into heated thermos and close tightly with lid. Food will be warm at lunchtime.

What to put in a hot lunch thermos:

  1. Soup (try: chicken noodle soup or meatball soup)
  2. Pasta (try: chicken alfredo, spaghetti with shrimp)
  3. Pilaf/rice, or stir fry (try: creamy chicken and rice, shrimp fried rice)
  4. Leftovers! You can really get creative with a thermos. Avoid foods with strong aromas (i.e. broccoli and cabbage)

 

Big Thank you to Shamrock Farms and Walmart for sponsoring this post.
Practical School Lunch Ideas-11

Can you tell by the look in his eye that I promised him candy for this photo? 😉

You'll want to pin these practical School Lunch Ideas. Cold and hot lunches your kids will actually eat! | natashaskitchen.com

natashaskitchen

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

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Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review

  • Mathur S
    May 29, 2018

    Lovely…i really struggle everyday with my school going toddler….hopefully these awesome ideas will help me a lot.Thanks for the pictures and great share. Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      May 29, 2018

      My pleasure Mathur, I really hope your little one enjoys them! Reply

  • Izzy
    May 24, 2018

    I like all the ideas…but I don’t like fruits and veggies!!!! Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      May 24, 2018

      Leave them out Lizzy 🙂 Reply

  • Melda
    January 25, 2018

    what about noodle recipes? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      January 25, 2018

      Hi Melda, noodles or just about any pasta is a great idea for the thermos. Type pasta in our search bar above to explore all of the pasta recipes we have posted. Reply

  • Becky
    October 5, 2017

    Thank you! Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      October 5, 2017

      You’re welcome Becky! Reply

  • Cory
    September 18, 2017

    Love the ideas and recipes, my only suggestion would be a Tupperware type dip container instead of the daily plastic throw-aways. 🌲 🙂 Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      September 18, 2017

      Great suggestion Cory! 🙂 Reply

    • Tiffany
      September 29, 2017

      Why can’t you wash the throwaways? 🙂 Reply

  • Oksana
    August 22, 2017

    👌👌 need this post! Also where is the plastic lunch box container from? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      August 22, 2017

      The old one was from Costco and I’m not sure if they sell it this year or not but it’s worth checking! The new one we use is a Planet Box.  Reply

  • Nicky Washida
    August 21, 2017

    Another year another lunch planning spreadsheet….! But this year I have high hopes that I will actually STICK to it! The key difference: simplicity. Thank you so much for this! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      August 21, 2017

      I think that’s the most challenging part of back to school! I hope you get some good ideas here. Make sure you check out our new school lunch post also. Reply

  • Sabrinaleigh
    August 21, 2017

    It is so hard to think of recipes on you’re own but Natasha you make life easy and a little bit confusing . Some of you’re recipes where off the hook but on others a little bit more .

    Thank You So Much ! Reply

  • Mindy Melnychuk
    August 4, 2017

    Natasha, I also want to say thank you and “molodets”! I first came to your site for your medovik recipe and have found so many other great recipes and hints. Your site is so well organized and colorful. My husband is Ukrainian, but making Ukrainian food in America can sometimes be tricky. You help decipher it a bit. Keep up the good work! Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      August 5, 2017

      You’re welcome Mindy! Thanks you for following and sharing your thoughtful comments! 😀 Reply

  • ANNA ZADEREJ
    May 8, 2017

    Natalka, I’ll call you by your Ukrainian name. Mолодець! I have to tell you how proud I am of a Ukrainian woman that is so awesome at “doing it right”! I just posted this on Facebook. Got your recipe for a salmon from my niece, a dentist in Chicago, Bohdanna. I started to check out your recipes and was very impressed with them. Most of all your presentation of your recipes. The pictures and videos are really, really good. You should be on FoodTV. Your so much better than some of those worthless food shows. If you could do more kids lunch box meals that would be great. I would totally appreciate this. Be Well. Z Bohom. BTW – My husband, Mykola, made your Creamy Broccoli Salad and it was great. I made the cheesy mashed potato pancakes. Very nice. 🙂 Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      May 8, 2017

      Thank you so much Anna! It’s so nice to hear from my fans. I will keep your request in mind! Thanks for sharing 😀 Reply

  • Michelle
    January 27, 2017

    Thank you! This is great! Helps to move away from the standard sammy and chips lunch. Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      January 27, 2017

      You’re welcome Michelle! I am glad you found it helpful! Reply

      • amina
        July 4, 2017

        plz plz plz post more lunch ideas.. specially Asian type.. for pakistani kids Reply

  • January 23, 2017

    Love these ideas! I really struggle to find easy, practical lunch ideas for my three kids. I especially like the tortilla pinwheels – they are going on my list! Thank you, Natasha! Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      January 23, 2017

      You’re welcome Carolyn! I am so glad you found it helpful! Reply

  • Olivia
    January 16, 2017

    I have scoured the internet trying to find kid lunch ideas that are actually reasonable. There are so many websites listing ridiculous recipes that I do not have the time to make…nor would my children eat them!

    Then I found this post! Thanks for helping me get my kids out of their lunch rut! These ideas were all very useful and work with my time sensitive schedule! Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      January 16, 2017

      I am so glad you find them helpful Olivia! 🙂 Reply

  • Janell
    January 8, 2017

    Thanks for these- I like them all but I would warn not to pack “kabobs” for little ones. I work in a kindergarten class and I am in the lunchroom with them. Hazardous to kids at that age and probably at least the next several grades up. Kids get so wild and silly at lunch :). Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      January 8, 2017

      Thanks for the tip! 🙂 Reply

  • Anna
    January 7, 2017

    I am surprised by the amount of sugar in the milk products (yogurt & milk) that you would recommend. There is more sugar in these products than a candy bar. Kids really need to drink water in their lunchbox. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      January 7, 2017

      Hi Anna, I agree and my son always takes a bottle of water to school. He still loves plain whole milk when he comes home though and yes even that has naturally occurring sugar in it but not so much that it’s concerning to me. I do wish the yo-kids yogurts had less sugar though. I haven’t found a better alternative with less sugar though – their baby yogurt line has has the sugar that the toddler/big kids line does. Do you have any yogurt suggestions? Reply

      • Rachel
        July 9, 2017

        I am getting ready to start packing lunches (thanks for the great list!).

        Not sure if this would help you, but I am buying reusable food pouches to cut down on cost and fill with whatever I want. I can make a batch of pudding and fill, or buy a big jar of applesauce for a few dollars. My son wastes a lot of yogurt, so I stopped buying it for him – but I’m sure you could buy low/no sugar yogurt in a bigger container and put them in a reusable squeeze pouch. Reply

        • Natasha's Kitchen
          July 10, 2017

          That’s a great suggestion Rachel! Thanks for sharing your tip with other readers! Reply

      • Ashley Simien
        August 2, 2017

        You could buy Greek Yogurt and add fresh fruit to cut down on the sugar products! Or the already prepackaged Greek yogurt with fruit on the bottom. We only eat that type of yogurt in our home and my daughter (5 years) loves it and it is the only type of yogurt she knows! Hope this helps! Reply

        • Natasha's Kitchen
          August 2, 2017

          Great suggestions Ashley, thanks for sharing! Reply

  • olga
    November 18, 2016

    Heyyy

    Can you do a post for ADULT lunches?
    Im out of ideas of what to put in my husbands lunch box 🙁 Please include both hot and cold and recommendations for thermoses and such. Thanks a bunch! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 18, 2016

      That’s a great suggestion! It may not be until after the holidays but I will definitely keep it in mind! 🙂 Has you check out the sandwiches I have posted? Reply

  • Katrina
    September 14, 2016

    Hello Natasha! Thank you for the lunch ideas! My daughter strated school and I was anxious what should I pack for lunch for her and now I have a good source to rely on 🙂 Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      September 14, 2016

      You’re welcome Katrina! I’m so happy you find the post beneficial 😀. Reply

  • Simona
    September 3, 2016

    Hello there. I love it your ideas with kids lunch. It’s fantastic.
    I just try to find some plastic box for lunch, with 2 or 3 section (like yours)
    Maybe you can give me link where did you buying them?
    Big thanks. . Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      September 3, 2016

      Hi Simona, It came in a lunch box that I purchased at Costco. They usually have them before school starts. It’s called the “Arctic Zone Ultra Lunch Pack” They also sell it on Amazon but I’m not sure why it’s so expensive on Amazon. The one we use currently is really nice and I think a good investment. Check it out here. Reply

  • Val Kiselev
    August 21, 2016

    Natasha you have the cutest kids. Your boy is so handsome and baby girl is just a doll. What a beautiful family you have. How do u find the time to run a family, cook, post, etc? Blessings to you on this motherhood journey. “Hello!” from souther California. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      August 21, 2016

      Hi Val, thank you so much for your sweet words 🙂 It’s not easy and without an amazing husband and God’s blessings, I don’t think I would be able to do it 🙂 Reply

  • Trina
    August 20, 2016

    When using the thermos for hot food, will the contents stay warm on the inside if using an ice pack for juice/milk/fruit? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      August 20, 2016

      Hi Trina, it is recommended not to place it in a cool lunch box. I always pack it outside of his lunchbox (there is a strap or pocket that I loop it through), but I don’t put it next to an ice pack. Reply

      • Trina
        August 21, 2016

        Thanks for the tip. Reply

  • August 16, 2016

    Thank you so much for this post finally a realistic approach to lunch and snack time. God Bless! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      August 16, 2016

      Thank you Yuri, blessings to you as well 😀. Reply

  • Evelyn Chamberlain
    August 13, 2016

    I had squarely put a thermos in the liquid/soup box and never considered it for leftovers. Thanks, this opens up a lot of options. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      August 14, 2016

      You are welcome Evelyn 😀. Reply

  • Stefanie
    August 9, 2016

    How do you pack the milk to make sure it stays cold until lunch time? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      August 9, 2016

      His lunch box came with the ice pack so it keeps the milk cold for the entire time he is at school 😄. Reply

    • Fiona
      August 22, 2016

      I make milk ice cubes and put several in the drink container before I fill it with milk. The frozen milk cubes melt during morning classes and the milk is cold at lunch. Reply

      • Natasha
        natashaskitchen
        August 22, 2016

        That is so smart!! Thank you for sharing that great tip! 🙂 Reply

  • Erin Heins
    August 4, 2016

    Thankfully my kids aren’t picky eaters! They love whatever they get typically but a favorite is a wrap vs a sandwich Reply

  • Nichole lawrence
    July 29, 2016

    My son’s favorite is a good old PB&J. Reply

  • Angela Obidiegwu
    July 27, 2016

    This really works. Reply

  • Ange
    June 19, 2016

    This is the best school lunch prep post I have ever read. SO Helpful! the lunches are things my son will actually eat, he’s a bit picky, and the step by step, choose a drink, choose a main, choose a snack, Takes the stress right out of making lunches! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      June 19, 2016

      Ange, thank you for such a nice review 😀. Reply

  • Oksana
    April 9, 2016

    Ok, Natasha. Now you had me in complete crocodile tears when I read this post. My firstborn will be going to Kindergarten this Fall and the thought of him not being home with me is heartwrenching. But thinking about what to give him to eat everyday for lunch is also a struggle. This is such a fantastic post that I cannot thank you enough. I know you are super busy with your schedule but if you could do more of these posts – wow, that would be so helpful for us mommies! You are truly a blessing. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      April 9, 2016

      Thank you so much for sharing that with me. It is bittersweet when they start Kindergarten. I’m so happy you enjoyed this post. 🙂 Reply

  • Nazgol
    January 31, 2016

    Hey Natasha,
    Can you tell me where you bought the blue sectioned tupperware from? Thank you! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      January 31, 2016

      Hi 🙂 It came in a lunch box that I purchased at Costco. They usually have them before school starts. It’s called the “Arctic Zone Ultra Lunch Pack” They also sell it on Amazon Reply

      • Nazgol
        February 1, 2016

        Thank you so much : ) I’ll keep an eye out for it. I’ve really enjoyed the recipes on your blog, thank you! Reply

  • Jesica
    October 12, 2015

    i really enjoy your recipes.
    my tweens go to a peanut-free school 🙁
    Are there any other lunches you recommend? I usually pack extra for their friends who don’t like the school lunches.
    Thank you very much…. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      October 12, 2015

      Jesica, we usually pack these lunches or leftovers in the thermos :). Reply

  • Margaret
    September 11, 2015

    Here is Australia kids are discouraged in taking sugary drinks to school so the kids generally only take water… Our canteen set up is different too so although kids can order lunch the food on the menu needs to fit certain guidelines… But these lunches look great and I will be using some of these 🙂 Reply

  • mita
    September 5, 2015

    I live to pack Veggie sandwich and fresh fruit. Reply

  • Tina m
    September 4, 2015

    I love to pack sandwich, fruit and yogurt. Reply

  • Claudia Davis
    September 4, 2015

    P Band J cut up in quarters, grapes, pretzels, and rice crispies treats. Reply

  • Stephanie Phelps
    September 4, 2015
  • Stephanie Phelps
    September 4, 2015

    I love to pack turkey rollups and apples with peanut butter! Reply

  • amanda sakovitz
    September 4, 2015
  • amanda sakovitz
    September 4, 2015

    My kids like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Reply

  • Tabathia B
    September 4, 2015
  • Tabathia B
    September 4, 2015

    So far, no sandwiches, it’s been muffins with fruit or goldfish, wraps with deli meat and cheese or my version of luncables

    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com Reply

  • Lorelai Jahn
    September 3, 2015

    My daughter just started kindergarten last week. Inspired by your post, I tried packing her favorite pasta dish in a cute thermos. She came home super happy saying her lunch was yummy and the container was empty. Thanks for the ideas! I’m one happy mama. 🙂 She also loves Persian cucumber slices in her lunchbox. Reply

  • Thomas Murphy
    September 3, 2015

    My son likes turkey and cheese sandwiches. Reply

  • Cindy M.
    September 3, 2015

    When I pack a lunch, I prefer (& seem to need) lots of protein. I like “snacky” things like beef jerky, Baby Bell cheese and a nut mixture & pair it with a sweet,crisp apple…and of course, something sweet, like dark chocolate with sea salt 😍 Reply

  • Ellie Wright
    September 3, 2015

    My boys like yogurt and fruit salad as part of their lunches. Reply

  • Megan
    September 1, 2015

    My husband packs my daughters lunch, and he likes to make sure that she always has a nice healthy snack, and a sweet treat. I love all these ideas, and might take over her lunch prep now. Reply

  • Diana
    August 31, 2015

    I like a sandwich sliced in half so I can eat half of it before lunch as a snack, an apple, and tea that I just bring in the bag and add hot water to during lunch. So filling! Typical Ukrainian lunch, even at home lol Reply

  • Megan
    August 29, 2015

    In general, our school lunches are very good so sometimes my first grader packs and sometimes eats at school. One quick note about school lunches before I go on to our pack lunch ideas – schools are now required to provide salad bar with fresh fruits and veggies so often they aren’t listed on the menu that is in the school newsletter because they are there daily. Before completely dismissing your school lunch program, try it with your child a time or two. I’ve been a K12 teacher and had other jobs that allowed me to visit lots of schools. School lunches have made great strides in the last few years increasing whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies and eliminating fatty, empty-calorie foods.

    On to how it works at our house …
    I don’t pack drinks. She can buy a milk for $.35 that comes from a local dairy that happens to be the same brand we buy at home. My first grader will eat nearly everything that is supposed to be hot at room temperature or colder so at this point, she gets leftovers like the rest of us generally eat for lunch. In addition to the items on your list, we’ve had success with the following:

    – Cold pasta tossed with a little shredded or cubed cheese and some cubed cold cut or salami;

    – Bell peppers either the minis or sliced bigs;

    – Chicken strips or nuggets with barbecue sauce or pizza sauce;

    – A variety of whole grain crackers;

    – Make your own pizza (also a Lunchable copy-cat) with tortilla rounds, sauce, pepperoni and shredded cheese;

    – Nachos with whole grain chips, homemade fajita strips or taco meat, copped fresh veg and a little cheese;

    – PB&J roll-up using the crustless bread or a tortilla;

    – When I send sandwiches of any kind, I cut them with sandwich cutters to make them more fun (and take off those pesky crusts);

    – Quesadillas;

    – Steak and veggie strips with dipping sauce;

    – Cherry or grape tomatoes;

    – Last night’s chicken and rice (I don’t make mine with a creamy sauce) as a cold salad.

    The list is pretty endless. Rarely do I buy special foods for lunches. I plan for leftovers when I make dinner, and we adapt them (or eat them as-is) for lunch. Reply

  • Norma
    August 28, 2015

    I liked putting something unexpected in my daughter’s lunchbox. Reply

  • LAMusing
    August 28, 2015

    I don’t have kids, but when I was a kid myself I loved getting fresh fruit in my lunch. Reply

  • yuliya
    August 28, 2015

    My son started kindergarden, and just like yours, those fancy sandwiches came back home untouched. so, yest I took deli meat with cheese and rolled it up, he actually ate it. I also put grapes and baby carrots with ranch, milk the kind you posted and granola bar. Reply

  • Lena
    August 27, 2015

    I love this so much! Im probably going to do this for myself. Always have to put so much time into meal planning for things that are easy on the go between work and college. Thank you! Reply

  • Jenny
    August 27, 2015

    My favorite thing is to put little notes in my daughter’s lunch box! Reply

  • Jen
    August 26, 2015

    we love homemade corn dog muffins and homemade chicken nuggets! Reply

  • Sarah D
    August 26, 2015

    Right now my kids are packing cucumber slices in their lunch every day because we have so many from our garden! During the rest of the schoolyear, applesauce cups are our quick go-to for fruit. Reply

  • stacey grantham
    August 26, 2015

    My 8 yr old son is kind of picky, but he will eat a peanut butter sandwich, grapes or a banana, yogurt, OJ, and maybe a treat like fruit snacks. Reply

  • Maggie Smith
    August 25, 2015

    I always pack some fresh fruit/veggies and a sandwich of some sort. Reply

  • Dominique
    August 25, 2015

    I love packing variety, homemade lunchables! With a little treat and notes! Reply

  • meagan bs
    August 25, 2015

    I typically pack a sandwich with one or two of the following: fruit, yogurt, chips, cheese, granola bar, trail mix, carrots, etc. Reply

  • cheryl
    August 25, 2015

    How do you keep food safe for 5 hrs?

    Hi Cheryl,
    The container says up to 5 hours, but be sure to follow the preparation instructions in this post for best results. You have to make sure your thermos and food are hot when you seal it. – Natasha
     Reply

  • olessa
    August 24, 2015

    I usually pack a sandwich, a fruit such as an apple or a banana, something from the vegetable category – either carrot sticks or grape tomatoes and something sweet – a cookie or a candy. Reply

  • Beth Hansen
    August 23, 2015

    My kids love anything they can dip in their lunches. Reply

  • Rebecca
    August 23, 2015

    I pack a sandwich, apple, chips, and a cookie. Reply

  • marina
    August 23, 2015

    Luckily, I only need to pack a snack for my child- the favorites are yogurt, fruits, and cereal. Reply

  • August 23, 2015

    I love these ideas! My kids are out of school (college, even!), but I still try to pack healthy lunches for my Handsome Hubby and me. This is definitely getting Pinned and Shared. 🙂 Reply

  • Aislinn
    August 23, 2015

    Hi, was just wondering where you got the lunch box from? The one that’s in all the pictures?

    Hi Aislinn, it’s from Costco. They usually have them this time of year and it’s the best price for this same lunch box at Costco. – Natasha Reply

  • Sarah
    August 23, 2015

    Great ideas! My little guy loves lentils and beans. I also freeze little homemade fruit or fruit and veg pouches. They lunch cool and defrost by lunchtime. Reply

  • Alla
    August 22, 2015

    My kids love cheese, fruits, any kind of sandwiches….vegetables with ranch…. Reply

  • Vita
    August 22, 2015

    This is my first year packing lunch for my kid, at work I am known to bring the weirdest lunch :), it’s either leftovers, soup, hearty bread with vegetables especially the once in season Reply

  • Luba
    August 22, 2015

    My kid loves pull-apart cheese sticks. And mostly finger food! Anything that doesn’t require a fork or a spoon. Reply

  • August 22, 2015

    Thank you for some ideas. I know I get stuck in a rut with my kids’ lunches. They don’t complain much yet, but I fear it’s coming.

    Have you found the thermos containers fit well into most lunch boxes/bags?

    Hi Julie, it depends on what you’re packing. If I’m packing things in the lunch box that need an ice pack then I don’t include the thermos in there. The thermos is about the size of a mug (maybe slightly wider). – Natasha Reply

  • Katie
    August 22, 2015

    My oldest is not in school yet. For my husbands I pack left overs from dinner plus fruits. Some times sandwich or garden salad with meat and fruits. Fruits is a must for him. Reply

  • Susan Smith
    August 22, 2015

    My son loves yogurt, cheese sticks, fruit snacks or apple sauce in his lunches. Reply

  • August 22, 2015

    Homemade bread with anything that you can think of. Home made bread goes great with anything. Add salad, fried cabbage, sandwich meats, cheese, and so on… perfect snack/lunch for work or school. Reply

  • Anzhelika Varvalyuk
    August 22, 2015

    I don’t have any children but if I need to pack a lunch than it would be sandwiches either with regular white bread or with bagels and something to drink: a juice or a can of soda. Reply

  • Linda G
    August 22, 2015

    Ham Sandwich, cheese curds, baby carrots, iced tea! Mmmm Reply

  • Vesna Ilnitski
    August 22, 2015

    I love to make every lunchbox with the following must haves:

    -Something Filling (usually dinner leftover or soup)
    -Something Sweet
    -Something Fruit Reply

  • Asia Grishchuk
    August 22, 2015

    I don’t have any children, but pack lunch for my husband and myself during the week to save money! I try to pack veggies and hummus and some easy wraps are always a good staple for our lunches. Reply

  • Anna
    August 22, 2015

    Would you know the brand of the gold storage container you used in the photo?

    Hi Anna, I don’t see a gold storage container. Which picture are you referring to? The thermoses maybe? – Natasha Reply

  • Debbie B
    August 21, 2015
  • Debbie B
    August 21, 2015

    When i pack my lunch i usually like a sandwich and chips Reply

  • Inna
    August 19, 2015

    I have a 13 month old so i dont pack school lunches yet, but whenever we go somewhere i pack peperjacks or havarti cheese, bananas, stacys pita chips, cottage cheese, or avocado. Reply

  • Stephanie Coldwell
    August 19, 2015

    I like to pack lunch meat/cheese roll-ups and veggies and fruit. He usually gets a treat too. Reply

  • Sis
    August 17, 2015

    I love the idea of the sandwich on a skewer! My daughter (who is 6) refuses to eat “meat” sandwiches, but she LOVES kabobs!!! I am definitely going to try this. I also like the idea of the mini bagels with cream cheese (for her lunch and for mine!). Hopefully, this year she won’t be stuck with peanut butter and honey/jelly sandwiches for 4 out of 5 school days. Thanks Natasha! Reply

  • inna
    August 16, 2015

    I like to pack granola bars, fruits Reply

  • Zina P
    August 16, 2015

    This year I will be using your suggestions to pack a healthy lunch for my grandson. Thank you for some great ideas and the pictures make it even more appealing. Reply

  • Exacerbated Cheptene
    August 16, 2015

    Enjoy your blog a lot! Good Job!

    I have a 10 year old…uhhhh…
    Packing a school lunch looks almost like a fight sometimes:)
    Yogurt (Denimals works ALWAYS)
    String cheese
    Crackers
    Baby carrots
    Apple
    Blackberries

    These are the foods she’ll eat for sure! Reply

  • Anastasia onishchenko
    August 16, 2015

    Something homemade and healthy but tasty Reply

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