21 answers

Lunch Box Ideas-other than Sandwiches

I have two elementary age children. They get really tired of PB&J sandwiches. I prefer not to give them Lunchables. Does anybody have any ideas for different lunch ideas, other than sandwiches. There is no way for them to heat food at school so I am finding this difficult. Any help would be appreciated

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Wow!!! What a bunch of GREAT ideas. Thank you all so much. I feel more prepared this school year and it hasn't even begun yet. I found thermos' for the kids that are the perfect size and shape. I have also prepared a shopping list so I can get everything I need to make my kids some new, not-so-boring, healthy lunches. Thanks tons!

Featured Answers

I always use www.kraftfoods.com. You can search the site for new ideas for kids lunches. You can also sign up for food ideas that they send through email....good quick meals!!
Good luck!!

More Answers

Kind of new at this but I've sent hot foods (like soup, mac n cheese) in a thermos and been sucessful - probably any kind of leftover would work in there as well - I've also done rices and casseroles. I know you want ideas beyone sandwiches but do think that switching up "bread" can help - i.e. pockets, tortillas - you could even do a quesadilla. what about an occasional small pizza made ahead and put in their lunches cold - they'd be room temp for lunch. and, of course, varying veggies, fruits, yogurt, pudding, ... they have so many snacks to accompany lunches today. good luck - I can't wait to see what everybody writes! and if you find any really creative ideas please let us all know! oops - almost forgot - what about breakfast items? a quick toast of pancakes, waffles, breakfast sandwiches, pancake wrapped sausage sticks, french toast sticks, a sandwich of PB and bananas, maybe w/ some honey - or one w/ flavored cream cheeses and meat - these could be good depending on what your little ones eat for breakfast. take care!

1 mom found this helpful

how about roll-ups? they are always fun and they are simple. You can put tons of different things in them and they are great.

Hi D.,
Try mixing it up a little. For a fun change take a piece of cheese, string or otherwise, and wrap a piece or a few of thier favorite meat around it. Also try tortilla wraps to mix it up. They make an interesting change to bread.

I have not read the other responses yet to know if anyone suggested this so far, but buy a good thermos and pack mac-n-cheese, leftovers, soup,... . My sister has done this with my finicky nephew and it seems to work like a charm! Good luck. T.

How about some turkey rollups with crackers? Heating soup in a Thermos contaniner? Cream cheese on bread?

I went to Wal Mart and bought a Thermos container that is about 6 inches tall that fits in their lunch bag perfectly. It can be used for hot or cold items so I have been able to send for lunch raviolies, chili, mac & chesse, soup and even one day cold milk with dry cereal in a bag. It really gives my children and I lots of options.

My kids are too young for bagged lunch, but one idea I used when I worked retail and brought a lunch was small tupperware container of hummus with individual bags of cut veggies and other "dippables". Hard boiled egg quarters, chuncks of lunch meats, carrots, celery, peppers, cheeses etc. Hummus is really healthy and comes in lots of flavors, but you can always make up some other kind of dip, like cheese or something.

I give my kids muffins, tuna salad sandwiches, and egg salad also lunchmeat. I use a insulated lunchbag and an icepack to keep things cold.

Hi D.,
My mom used to send me with a thermos. www.thermos.com She would give me soup, pasta with sauce or anything hot that would fit inside. You can even do cold things. It was always the perfect temp by lunch time. Put a little note in every now and then. It will make there day!
Good Luck with the new school year!

This is kinda weird bc I never seen anyone eles to it but my mom used to ocasionally pack us a hard boiled egg.

My sil bought a soft-sided, insulated lunch box for my niece. It has two compartments which has enabled her to provide warm and cold items for lunch - warm in one compartment, cold in the other.

Some lunch ideas - bagel pizza, bagels topped with cream cheese and chopped veggies, mac and cheese, taco salad, sandwich wraps, chicken nuggets.

My kids are still young, but my niece takes what she calls sushi in her lunch some days. Basically, it's a tortilla topped with lunch meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato, what ever she's in the mood for and then sliced into pieces like sushi. My sister found that if she lets my niece pick what to put on it and help make it then she is more likely to eat it, Good luck!

My kids like crescent dogs. I make them ahead of time and freeze them and by the time lunch period comes around, they will be at room temp. My kids also like soft pretzels. Pair this with fruit salad or veggies and ranch dip.

Food network.com has some great ideas for revamping the lunchbox... I'm not sure if they let links go through on here but here is the link: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/entertaining/article/0,19...

Also, I bought large cookie cutters and cut my daughters sandwichs into fun shapes... your kids might be a bit old for that (she was just in k & 1st), but you never know!!


If you go on www.allrecipes.com right now there is a section about Back-to-School. Once in there there is a link for Lunch Boxes. Check it out and see what your kids will eat. I also have this recipe I got from Parents magazine for a pasta dish that can be served cold. If you would like it just let me know, it is super easy and makes a ton!!

Check what time lunch will be... the food might stay hotter than you think. If I microwave the thermos at 8, right before my son gets on the bus, the food is still plenty warm at 11:20 when he has lunch.

He likes leftover pasta, soup, etc. He also likes to bring our version of lunchables. I use this container from tupperware (link didn't work...go to www.tupperware.com and do a search for Lunch'n Things Container) and put in cheese, crackers, grapes and a couple of cookies.

Otherwise he buys or brings cold-cut sandwiches with fruit, string-cheese, chips, etc. With a cold juice box in a thermal bag, the sandwich stays cool until lunchtime.


Hi D.,

My daughter is only 4 mos., but I have some thoughts from what my mom packed in my lunches.

My mom would cook up large packages of chicken, individually wrap the pieces and freeze them. She'd drop of frozen piece in my lunch bag (not a thermal one) in the morning, and by lunch time it would be defrosted. She would include a little fast food packets of salt and pepper. You could do the same thing with chicken wings, which kids usually like.

Also among my favorite lunches were soup or Spaghetti-Os in a thermos - they were still reasonably hot when lunchtime rolled around.

If your kids like fish, you could do some tuna or salmon with a little oil and red wine vinegar and crackers. Chicken of the Sea has great little cups of salmon - perfect small serving size.

You could also do wraps with leftover steak or chicken, some greens and a slice of cheese.

Hope this helps.


I was also going to suggest tortilla roll-ups. My son loves them. We get ham or turkey from the deli and all of his favorite veggies (and occasionally some ranch dressing). Then, we can make it the night before. He loves to help with the preparation.

with my 9 and 6 year old i pack, PB&J, PB & Marshmellow, Bologna & Cheese, Chicken Sandwiches (leftovers from the grill), my 9 year old likes to take spaghetti even though she can't heat it up, she has also requested cold hot dogs (that were left over), I do a lot of other stuff, I just cant' think of it all off hand...If you need more suggestions, feel free to email me at ____@____.com I hope my suggestions helped!

Do you have a thermos for the kids? You can make hot things, like maybe eggs or leftover pizza or something, put them in the thermos, and they'll still be hot come lunchtime! I just saw this in a magazine, either Parents or Parenting. Hope to help!

I always use www.kraftfoods.com. You can search the site for new ideas for kids lunches. You can also sign up for food ideas that they send through email....good quick meals!!
Good luck!!

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