Lunch Box Ideas

Stay out of a lunch box rut this school year with these easy Lunch Box Ideas! With a variety of meats, grains, fruits, vegetables, and snacks the possibilities are endless!

After packing your kids’ lunch boxes, slip one of these FREE printable lunch box notes and jokes into their lunch box for a fun surprise that will brighten their day!

Four different Lunch Box Ideas for back to school

It’s That Time of Year!

Summertime is officially winding down. That means the kids are back to school and I’m back on lunch box duty. Our kids are old enough that we usually have them pack their own lunches, but I still have to provide the ingredients and fixings of course!

I like to change it up so the kids don’t get bored, as well as make sure there are tons of healthy items to keep them energized and happy through out the day. To ensure their meals are well rounded, I typically include at least one item from each category:

  • meats
  • grains
  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • and sometimes a treat 😉

I compiled a list of ideas from each of those categories. As you can see, there are tons of ideas and hopefully even your pickiest eaters will like at least some of them!

School Lunch Ideas

Ideas For Healthy School Lunches

Like I said, I usually try to include at least one item from each category to make sure the kids’ school lunches are well rounded and provide healthy nutrients. You can easily mix and match by pairing different items together! But here is our list of healthy lunch box ideas:

A printable list of kids school lunch ideas

Try These Lunch Box Examples!

Here are 4 examples of lunch boxes made from mixing and matching items on the list! You can see there’s so much variety and you can make so many different lunches from similar ingredients. It’s simpler than you think to cater to each kid’s preferences!


  • Ranch Dip Snack Pack
  • Carrot slices
  • Cucumber slices
  • Sliced apple
  • String cheese
  • Peanut butter pretzels

Lunch box idea with pretzels, cheese, apples, cucumber, and carrots


  • Ranch Dip Snack Pack
  • Carrots
  • Raisins
  • Cubed Colby Jack cheese
  • Peanut butter banana roll ups

Healthy lunch box idea with peanut butter bananas, cheese, raisins, and carrots


  • Ranch Dip Snack Pack
  • Carrot sticks
  • Celery sticks
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Ham and swiss cheese sandwich

school lunch box idea with sandwich, berries, carrots, and celery


  • Ranch Dip Snack Pack
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Bell pepper sticks
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • 1 mini bagel pizza

easy lunch box idea with mini pizza bagels, berries, carrots, and tomatoes

Tips for Packing Lunch Boxes

When you’re like me and have 6 kids, any tips, tricks and hacks for making lunch box packing easier are widely accepted!

Food Safety

  • Use an insulated lunch box to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold!
  • Pack food while it’s cold.
  • Use an ice pack inside your insulated lunch box to keep food cold. (Extra hack: freeze items like juice boxes, grapes, or yogurt packs – they will thaw by lunch time but double as an ice pack!)
  • Make sure your kids empty any leftovers in their lunch boxes at the end of the day so spoiled items don’t find their way back.

Simplifying the Packing Process

  • Prep any items you can at the beginning of the week—wash and cut fruits and veggies and keep them in storage containers in the fridge for easy grabbing throughout the entire week.
  • Pack the night before. This is great to do if there are leftover dinner items that can be thrown into the lunch boxes. Plus, this will ensure you’re not packing in a rush the following morning.
  • Have your kids get involved! My kids are mostly old enough that they can pack their own lunches. I’ll provide all the items and keep bins in the pantry stocked with snacks and other items prepared in the fridge so they just have to grab what they like.

Once my kids’ lunches are packed, I usually like to slip a note or joke into their lunch box. I have a whole bunch of FREE printable lunch box notes and jokes that you can use, too!

Lunch Box Ideas for kids

Happy lunch box packing!!

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About Natalie

I'm the food photographer and blogger behind Life Made Simple. I'm passionate about creating from scratch family-friendly recipes ranging from healthy to decadent.

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  1. My daughter enjoys a healthy snack and so do I with her so we enjoy carrots and Ranch and she also enjoys mini pizzas and so do I.

  2. I’m wondering as a Canadian mom! We’re not allowed peanut products or buts of any kind at school? And no but butter substitute? So my ideas run thin! Could you give me some inspiration?

    1. You could do lots of fruits & veggies, ham & cheese sandwiches/rolls, cheese sticks. Hopefully, those help. It can get tricky, trying to come up with different things, but I just rotate different things.

    2. My kids like honey and cream cheese or strawberry cream cheese in their banana roll ups. We also use Flatout bread and granola in with the bananas.

    1. I like to keep the apples together, once sliced…keeping it whole looking. Bananas will turn brown, but if you add a little lemon or lime juice on them, that helps 🙂

    1. Yes! So most important thing I’d say is to keep the sliced apples in an air-tight container. Then there are actually a handful of methods to try to keep them from browning, including – water and salt, lemon juice, pineapple juice, etc. There are lots of methods on how to do it.

  3. I am a grandma and I love love love all your ideas. I pass them on to my daughters so that they can use them when packing my grandkids’ lunch’s. Keep up the good work. You have a special talent.

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