20+ easy back-to-school lunch ideas for kids to make that morning rush a little easier!!
In this post, I'm sharing easy, nut-free, healthy, kid-friendly, and delicious lunchbox ideas that include Indian, Global, and vegetarian recipes with lunchbox packing tips and tricks!!
It's August month which means back-to-school time for many of us. It also means kids' lunchboxes from Monday to Friday for the new school year.
Coming up with new school lunch ideas every day can be overwhelming and I feel we all need help and inspiration in this department. Here is my share!!
In this post, I'm sharing a few of our favorite school lunch ideas that are easy, healthy, nutritious yet fun, and delicious.
From Pasta, Pizza to Paratha, sandwiches, and rice, from Indian to Global recipes like Mexican, Italian with vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. You will find a variety of recipes to choose from to pack a healthy school lunch and snack for your children.
I've included a few tips and tricks to help you pack meals and make this lunchbox journey easy and less stressful.
Check out my other post, School Lunch Ideas for Kids where I've documented our Kindergarten lunch box and snack box ideas in more detail.
- Kids Lunch Box Ideas
- 1. Creamy Vegetable Sandwich
- 2. Veggie Pita Bread Pizza
- 3. Creamy Garlic Pasta With Veggies
- 4. Leftover Dal Paratha
- 5. Veg Fried Rice with Spring Rolls
- 6. Aloo Paratha
- 7. Paneer Bhurji Sandwich
- 8. Beetroot Paratha
- 9. Veg Quesadilla
- 10. Beetroot Burger
- 11. Phodnicha Bhaat (Stir Fried Rice)
- 12. Rava Upma
- 13. Veg Pulao and Carrot halwa
- 14. Idli Chutney
- 15. Bagel Pizza
- 16. Red Kidney Beans and Cheese Burrito
- 17. Bread Pizza Roll-Ups
- 18. Poha
- 19. Mexican Rice with Black Beans and Corn
- 20. Egg Salad Sandwich
- 21. Bread Upma
- 22. Chili Cheese Toast
- 22. Tomato Cucumber Sandwich
- Tips for packing school lunches
- More recipes for Kids Lunchbox
- More recipes for kids Snackbox
- Recipe Card
Kids Lunch Box Ideas
Here are some easy, kid-friendly school lunch recipes that are nutritious, healthy yet balanced, fun, and colorful that will keep the kids full and satisfied through school!
1. Creamy Vegetable Sandwich
Creamy vegetable sandwich with veggie sticks and fruits (strawberries and blueberries).
2. Veggie Pita Bread Pizza
Veggie Pita Bread Pizza (used onion and green bell pepper) with red grapes, mini cucumber, strawberries, and blueberries.
3. Creamy Garlic Pasta With Veggies
Creamy Garlic Pasta With Veggies (used onion, corn, green peas, and red bell pepper) with red grapes and cantaloupe, Blueberry skewers.
4. Leftover Dal Paratha
5. Veg Fried Rice with Spring Rolls
6. Aloo Paratha
Aloo paratha with yogurt to dip in, red grapes, and Kaju katli (cut in shapes using cutter). Kaju Katli is made from cashews so avoid and replace it with another sweet treat for a nut-free option.
7. Paneer Bhurji Sandwich
Delicious Paneer bhurji stuffed in white buttered bread and cut-in finger sandwiches with a side of ketchup to dip in and chocolate-coated sunflower seeds (from trader joes).
8. Beetroot Paratha
Beetroot Paratha with ketchup for dipping and strawberry. Vegan lunch option.
9. Veg Quesadilla
10. Beetroot Burger
Beetroot Burger is made using air-fried beetroot patties. Served with dye-free Valentine gummies from Trader joes and raspberries.
11. Phodnicha Bhaat (Stir Fried Rice)
Phodnicha Bhaat is a quick rice stir fry using leftover rice. You need just a few basic ingredients and spices. Packed with mini cucumber, a sweet treat, and some yogurt on the side (not in pic).
12. Rava Upma
Rava Upma with green peas and potato, lemon slice (in case she wants her Upma tangier), strawberries, m&m's for dessert
13. Veg Pulao and Carrot halwa
14. Idli Chutney
Pillowy soft mini idlis (rice cakes) with coconut coriander chutney to dunk in. Vegan and gluten-free lunch options.
Paired it with a sweet treat to complete this easy and delicious lunch box.
15. Bagel Pizza
Bagel pizza with cucumber and carrot sticks, and red grapes
This 3 ingredient Bagel Pizza is our favorite and we love it for the lunchbox as well as an after-school snack too. All you need is bagels, your favorite marinara sauce, and mozzarella cheese.
To make the Bagel Pizza, toast the bagel, spread your favorite marinara or pizza sauce, top it with shredded mozzarella and Parmesan and broil it in the oven or air-fry it at 370°F for 3-4 mins until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.
16. Red Kidney Beans and Cheese Burrito
Bean and Cheese Burrito inspired Rajma chawal (red kidney beans curry and rice) and cheese rolled in homemade chapati (whole wheat flatbread). Lightly toast it till the cheese melts. Packed with chocolate-flavored coconut rolls from sprouts and cucumber and cherry tomatoes.
17. Bread Pizza Roll-Ups
Bread pizza roll-ups packed with oranges and strawberries for snacking and Smores mix for dessert (chocolate chips, marshmallows, and cinnamon-flavored cereals).
Recipe for bread pizza roll-ups - cut the sides of bread slices, and roll them thinly using a rolling pin. Apply butter, marinara, sprinkle some cheese, veggies (red onion, red bell pepper, and corn), salt pepper, and oregano. Roll it tight.
Cut each roll into 4 equal rounds. Air fry at 400°F for 3-4 mins or until the cheese melts and the outside is crispy.
Transfer it onto a cooling rack and let it come to room temp before packing.
Kanda batata Poha (flattened rice with onion, green peas, and potatoes) packed with a lemon wedge on the side, raspberries, blueberries, and dye-free chocolate drops from Trader joes as a sweet treat.
19. Mexican Rice with Black Beans and Corn
One-pot Mexican rice made with black beans and corn made in Instant Pot with avocado, sour cream, mango pieces, red grapes, and blueberries.
20. Egg Salad Sandwich
Creamy egg salad loaded made with perfect hard-boiled eggs (in Instant Pot), mixed with mayonnaise, dijon mustard, salt, and pepper stuffed in white buttered bread and cut-in finger sandwiches. Packed with veggie sticks, sweet treats, and fruits (strawberries and blueberries).
21. Bread Upma
Bread Upma with strawberries, clementines, mini cucumber sliced, and pomegranate pearls.
22. Chili Cheese Toast
22. Tomato Cucumber Sandwich
Tips for packing school lunches
Below are some tips and tricks to make things easier when packing back-to-school lunches and snacks.
Plan your lunchbox: It helps make mornings easier for packing school lunches. If you meal plan, plan your kid's lunchbox alongside and make it an extension of your meal that way you are not making completely two different things.
Prep in advance: Prep as much as possible the night before or over the weekend to make it less stressful in the mornings.
For example - make the quesadilla filling or paratha filling the night before, cool it completely, and refrigerate it.
Likewise, portion any dry snacks/chips or sweet treats the night before or over the weekend for the entire week.
Wash dry the fruits on the weekend that way they are ready to be packed.
Prevent food from getting soggy: This is applicable for lunch boxes not meant to keep food warm. Hot food when packed in the lunchbox causes condensation which makes the food soggy. In order to prevent that, allow the food to cool completely before packing.
For food like pizza, quesadillas, and parathas, remove them onto a wire rack to cool so air circulates from the bottom too.
Bento Box - I love using lunchboxes with compartments or dividers as that keeps the food separate and prevents mixing. It also allows packing a variety of food like a main meal, snacks, and sides and provides a more balanced meal.
Switch things up: Variety is the key to keeping kids interested and intrigued about their lunchbox. Repetition and monotonous lunches will make it boring so always switch things up be it snacks, fruits, or main lunch. For example, It is Ok to pack breakfast food at times for lunch as long as your kid loves it.
School lunch for kindergarteners or picky eaters: Pack a combination of familiar and new food, smaller portions, and variety. That way they are sure to find some things they like and then explore some new ones too.
Involve kids in lunchbox planning - It helps them learn about new foods as well always resulting in them eating their lunch better.
More recipes for Kids Lunchbox
More recipes for kids Snackbox
Back To School Lunch Ideas
- Kids Lunchbox
Update Notes: This post was originally published on Aug 2, 2019, but was republished with, more details, new photos, and tips, in Aug of 2021.