ideas for school lunches

Mega List of Lunch Ideas For School Kids

This post will give you so many lunch ideas for school kids. Packing lunches just got a bit easier with this long list of foods to choose from. 

Finding Lunch Ideas for School Kids

Finding healthy lunch ideas for school kids can be hard especially for a picky eater or a child that cannot have certain ingredients such as dairy and/or gluten.

Worry no more as I’m about to give you a massive list of lunch ideas for school that are healthy and fun to make. I hope this list gives you hope and you find something that your kid will actually eat. Allelujah!

Packing Healthy Lunch Ideas for School Kids with Dietary Restrictions

Almost a year ago we started seeing an integrative pediatrician who has literally changed our lives, for the better.

After going to multiple doctors and realizing that no one was going to dig deeper to actually find the root of our issues we found our integrative doctor who worked hard to help us find the answers.

You can check out Dr. Kilbane’s site right HERE. She is based out of Charlotte, NC but sees children from all over the country. She is such as passionate, caring, determined, supporting physician. Plus she really listens!

Let’s be honest though, this has been no easy road to travel especially since we have removed dairy and gluten.

I feel like a pro at it now, and I am more than happy to share how we made it possible. It was hard at the beginning, because when you take an already somewhat picky eater, then remove even more foods and it can be overwhelming.

We got through it though and I can say that the benefits of removing these foods far outweighs the symptoms our child was experiencing. That’s why I’m here to help share how I did it.

After a lot of hard work I have decided to give you a list of healthy ideas for school lunches for kids that I think will help you.

I have listed a variety of options so that you will find something that fits your specific dietary needs.

Even if your child may not eat a specific item (yet) on the list don’t turn your nose up at it, but think about a similar food that they do like or you think they would like and give it a try.

Sometimes we need a list to help us think of other foods that our own children will like and try. So here you go my friend.

Affiliate links are used below, which means we may earn a small portion of the sale. There is no additional cost for you to use the links, but they do help support this blog.

Best Lunchboxes For School Lunches

If you have a lunchbox like this one OR this one (that I love because you can keep everything separate) then go ahead and put all of the toppings right in their own little spot.

HERE is one that keeps your food warm. I love this one because it allows you to pack warm food every once in awhile.

Taco Lunch Ideas for School 

  • tortilla chips/scoops
  • gluten free soft tortilla wraps
  • organic hard taco shells
  • shredded lettuce
  • cherry tomatoes
  • olives
  • matchstick carrots
  • salsa, avocado or guacamole
  • diced baby bell peppers
  • shredded cheese (our favorite dairy free is So Delicious Cheddar cheese).
  • If you are pinched for time and didn’t make tacos the night before then throw some beans such as black or kidney beans in there.

Breakfast Lunch Ideas for School 

Everyone loves a waffle, right? Well make Wednesday Waffle Wednesday! We love Vans dairy/gluten free waffles and Enjoy life brand.

Some toppings on the side can include:

  • pure maple syrup (no aunt jemima please)
  • any natural peanut/almond/cashew/sun butter
  • banana slices, strawberry slices, blueberries, raspberries, apple slices
  • top fruit with or without cinnamon sprinkles
  • mini chocolate chips (we love Enjoy Life dairy free)
  • cream cheese (we love Kite Hill dairy free).
  • This would be great with some nuts, boiled egg, or egg muffin.
  • You can even throw a piece of Applegate sausage in there or Hillary’s vegan and gluten free sausage patty which is my favorite.

Noodles Bowl Lunch Ideas For School

My kids are liking the chickpea noodles right now. I think because they have a firmer texture and are super easy to pick up.

You could also use macaroni noodles, spiral noodles, spaghetti noodles (break in half or leave long).

  • black bean noodles
  • lentil noodles
  • ABC or fun shaped pasta
  • I have been known to buy the box of ABC macaroni (Before we were gluten free) just for noodles alone when I was trying to work towards my son eating noodles. Ain’t no shame in my game!
  • Add a little Italian dressing, ranch, honey mustard, olive oil, earth balance butter, or leave plain.
  • Toppings could be nutritional yeast, edamame, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, shredded cheese, carrot strips, steamed broccoli, feta, corn, peas.
  • Mix chosen ingredients together or leave in compartments for them to construct.
  • Serve with unsweetened applesauce, celery with nut butter and raisins/craisins/ or mini dairy free chocolate chips.

No Sandwich Lunch Ideas For School

If your child is not a sandwich kind of kid that’s okay because you can still find ways to pack nutritious lunches.

My oldest is not a sandwich kind of kid (except for a sub sandwich now) and I will admit some days I want to just throw a peanut butter and jelly in the box and call it a day. So to spare you the frustration of what to pack I’ve got a list of ideas below.

  • GF soft tortilla wrap with Applegate organic and nitrate free turkey, ham, or pepperoni rolled up and cut in half.
  • Spread DF cream cheese, sliced cucumbers and sprinkle some dill, roll up and cut.
  • Spread peanut butter or nut butter of choice, sliced apples or banana, sprinkles of cinnamon, roll up, and cut like sushi.
  • Crackers like triscuits/nut thins/simple mills brand/toast points, wheat thins
  • Bagels, english muffins, naan bread, pita pockets with marinara sauce, shredded cheese, pepperoni or sliced baby bell peppers to make their own little pizza.
  • Naan bread or whole wheat pita slices served with hummus or nut butter, apple slices, nuts, strawberries, and whatever veggies your child is into at the time.
  • Throw in an energy ball for dessert.

Snack Plate Lunch Ideas For School

Who doesn’t love a good plate of snacks and especially when it consists of whole food ingredients. A snack plate lunch box could look something like this:

  • granola bar or prepackaged allergy friendly like this one with raspberries, celery with ranch (we like Tesse Maes DF ranch)
  • skinny pop popcorn with nuts, orange slices, and edamame with sea salt
  • Boiled egg, grapes, crackers with nut butter, blueberries.
  • Whole wheat or corn tortilla chips/scoops or plantain chips, guacamole, corn, sliced bell peppers, shredded cheese, black beans.
  • Applesauce, celery with nut butter or ranch, sugar snap peas or snow peas, yogurt (we like Kite kill tubes, Silk or So Delicious DF yogurts), crispy chick peas (roasted ranch or rockin ranch).
  • Dry cereal made from beans (my kids love Love Grown brand), almond milk, muffin, and banana.
  • Sweet potato (baked cut in half or as toast with nut butter, toppings like pumpkin seeds, strawberries, banana slices and apple cinnamon crunchy sticks.
  • Rice cake with nut butter or chocolate or vanilla bean hummus
  • Toppings for rice cake can be: mini chocolate chips, banana slices, blueberries, raspberries, sliced strawberries, chia seeds, hemp seeds.
  • Rice cake with toppings like DF cream cheese, honey, raisins, craisins, pumpkin seeds, chocolate chips, strawberries.
  • Yogurt parfait: DF or regular yogurt, granola, toppings to include ground flax, chia, hemp seeds, fruit of choice and served with muffin, energy balls, and/or veggie of choice.

Why Share This List With Others

This list should help you and your lil one expand the variety of foods in your diet and when we eat better we begin to feel better. 

Please share this post with a friend or family member. Many parents are out there struggling to make healthy school lunches for kids.

These ideas could help another parent find inspiration and encouragement when they need it the most.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by packing your child healthy school lunches my hope is that this blog will be a place you can come to find inspiration, ideas, and resources.

If you liked this list then click here to receive my free mega list for healthy snacks for kids.

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  1. […] Meal Prep: Go ahead and prep some snack bags for the kids so in the middle of the day you can just steer them to the fridge or pantry for a snack rather than having to stop and make it right then. For pantry items, buy individual bags of skinny pop popcorn or made good granola bars. I have a big bowl in the pantry and place granola bars and popcorn in the bowl so they can just grab and go. For items in the fridge, cut up fruit or veggies and place in little snack bags. Then when they want one they can just grab them. For apple sauce or yogurt place on the lower shelves so they can help themselves. If you have any lunch box containers/tupperware you can even place some yummy items in those for lunch. For lunch ideas check out my mega list HERE. […]

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