A parent is preparing a school lunch.

How to Pack School Lunches

It is that time of year again. If your kids are going to school for the first time or they are veterans of the annual trek back into the classroom, packing the proper lunch will not only refuel your student, but it can also make or break their attitude for the rest of the day. How to pack school lunches can be a daunting question, but the most important thing to remember is to pack what you know your kids will eat. If it needs to stay hot, keep it hot and if it tastes best cold, pack them cold. Pack the kind of lunch that does not get traded, trashed or tossed to the bottom of a locker with these great tips today! We will describe some different containers you can use and how to prep meals in advance.

Simple Tips

Do your kids suffer from any allergies to foods? Most modern day classrooms forbid peanut products as peanut allergies can be very serious. If your kids have gluten issues or food allergies, tell the school. As you prepare your kiddos for the classroom the teacher will alert you to any special dietary restrictions that could affect what you send.

If your child is on a restricted diet, designate a lunch box for them that does not get used for anything else. Most lunchboxes are made with porous plastic that can still harbor allergens. Easy Lunch Boxes makes dozens of divided containers with lids that are secure. Show your kids the value of protecting the environment and avoid using disposable plastic utensils if you can.

Are your kids ravenous at lunchtime or simply nibblers? Knowing your child’s particular eating habits can save you time, money and a lot of headache, especially in the mornings! Give your kid a grown up sense of ownership in the process by encouraging them to help select and pack their own lunches. This way they know what to look forward to and will not be disappointed.

Let us check out some of these kid friendly lunch ideas for school. These back to school lunch ideas can be altered for even the youngest preschooler or the pickiest eater.

The Coolest Lunch Ideas


Make your own style of lunchables by cutting regular slices of cheese into quarters, slicing pepperoni or ham roll into medallions and adding a few black olives (pitted, of course) or pickle slices. Add healthy whole wheat crackers to make it a mini picnic! Do not forget a small dipping container of mustard or ranch dressing. Add a juice box or a bottle of water, a few grapes or sliced apples and you have got the perfect lunch for nibblers.

BYOS or Build Your Own Sandwich

The same things above can be slipped between two pieces of bread or even an English muffin. Let your little diner assemble it at lunchtime so it does not get soggy or assemble it dry and let them spread on mayo or mustard. Make sure the bread stays on top of everything else so it does not get mushed. Never add bananas. Bananas never survive a lunch box, locker or backpack.

Add Some Colour

A fruit salad made with canned and drained fruit sealed in a container makes a fun and tasty cold lunch. Even mixed greens with little baggies of cherry tomatoes, sunflower seeds, raisins and croutons is a fun lunch for even the pickiest eaters. It is like a DIY salad bar! Do not forget the dressing in a separate container and piece of fruit for dessert.

Wrap it up

Some people say wraps, others say roll ups. Whatever you want to call them, they make a healthy, filling and fun way to enjoy a cold lunch. Assemble in advance and wrap tightly in plastic or let your kiddo assemble in the cafeteria. Ham and cheese or tuna salad, or even peanut butter and jelly make wraps that are trade worthy.

The Hottest Lunch Ideas


Nothing beats soup on a cold day, especially filling tomato soup. It is creamy and a favorite among kids all over. Pack it hot and by the time the lunch bell rings, it will be cool enough to pour out. Get a thermos that has a built in bowl for a lid. Some thermos’ even have a slot on the side that fit a spoon and come in a variety of sizes and colors. Do not forget the saltines and a bottle of water or juice box!

Easy as pie

Leftover pizza can be sliced into strips and popped into a thermos and it will still be hot by lunchtime. Leftovers in general are great for next day lunches. They are easy to pack and can really stretch your food budget. Chili, meatloaf and mashed potatoes all hold well and will stay hot or are easily reheated.

Oodles of Noodles

Spaghetti, mac and cheese or leftover pasta are great lunches for colder days. Packaged ramen noodle soups are fun for a treat once in a while but are loaded with additives and sodium. These are best for emergencies when the morning is just too crazy.


Let your little student build their own burrito! Rice and beans make a perfect protein. When wrapped in a tortilla with a little shredded cheese and some olives, it makes for a super fun lunch. Show your kiddo how to fold a burrito properly to keep all the good stuff in.

Sending you on Your way

Finally, after the backpacks, supplies, shot records, clothes, shoes and haircuts are all checked off the list, just remember these may be hectic days, but they are blessed days. Adjustments will be made when it comes to the daily lunch routine, but with these helpful tips and tasty lunch ideas you are one step closer to winning the back to school battle.