Quick System For Packing Healthy School Lunches

So many parents dread packing school lunches because (by November) they feel that it takes too much effort to pack healthy school lunches. That all changes now with this super EASY system to keep school lunches healthy and interesting. 

Healthy school lunches Pinterest Pin

Whoop Whoop! It’s back to school time!

Related: 15 upbeat songs to start the day off right

I’m super excited (and only a tiny bit sad) for the kids to go back to school. They have had so much time together over the summer that they need a break from each other in a big way.

And yet, I have no idea where the summer went- wow, did it fly by.

In the past, I have organized everything in sight right up to the first day of school. And I always had a goal of packing healthy (creative) lunches all year long. Oh, and healthy, filling breakfasts too.

Unfortunately, by the time November comes around, I’m starting to pack them the same thing every day.

Then when May arrives, their lunches hardly resemble anything healthy – or creative. By then it’s pretty much all prepackaged stuff accompanying bagels with cream cheese on them.

But at least I start off strong!

But this year IS different. I’ve got a different (simple) system in place and have already meal planned all the way through September.

Mom packing healthy school lunch

Seriously, meal planning is the majority of the battle. If I can just get a game plan on paper, I can follow through on it!

**The key to success is in the planning**



I’m banning the daily request of bagels with cream cheese. Instead, I came up with a huge list of ideas and have my kids choose from the different options to keep lunch interesting.

I am sharing my list of some healthy school lunch ideas for kids with you! ❤️️

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Healthy Main Meal School Lunch Ideas

  • Sub sandwich
  • Bagel + Cream Cheese
  • Veggie +Hummus Wrap
  • Pita Bread + Hummus
  • Cheese + Crackers
  • Turkey + Cheese Roll-ups
  • Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Pasta Salad
  • Meat + Cheese Kabob
  • Chips + Guacamole
  • Ham + Cheese Sandwich
  • Almond Butter + Jam Sandwich
  • Quesadilla
  • Pizza
  • DIY “lunchables”: crackers, deli turkey or salami, sliced cheese
  • Sandwich or sandwich kabobs: disguise their sandwich by threading turkey, cubed string cheese, and squares of bread on skewers.
  • Tuna salad sliders
  • Tortilla pinwheels (cream cheese, sliced cheese, deli turkey, thinly sliced tomatoes, shredded lettuce or spinach – roll tightly and slice into rounds).

Get the print-friendly freebie of for pinwheel recipes here.

Fruit and Veggie School Lunch Ideas

  • Oranges
  • Apples
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
  • Peaches
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Natural Applesauce
  • Mangoes
  • Melon
  • Baby Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Grape Tomatoes
  • Edamame
  • Snap Peas

School Lunch Sides and Snack Ideas

  • Chips
  • Granola Bars
  • Pretzels
  • String Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Trail Mix
  • Lara Bar or Cliff Bar
  • Nut Butter (of your choice) & Crackers
  • Fruit Leather
  • Popcorn
  • Crackers
  • Chips + Salsa
  • Fruit Cup
  • Pudding Cup
  • Graham Crackers

Drink Ideas for Healthy School Lunches

  • Water Bottle
  • 100% Juice Boxes
  • Milk — Plain, Strawberry, or Chocolate


Healthy School Lunch Treats:

  • Homemade muffins (Try: Banana Protein, Zucchini, or Pumpkin)
  • Yogurt
  • Pudding
  • String cheese
  • Pretzels or Goldfish crackers
  • Fruit snacks or fruit leather
  • Dried fruit (raisins, craisins, banana or apple chips)
  • Z-Bar or fruit bars
  • PB and Oat protein bites
  • Rice Krispie Treats
  • Granola bars
Healthy school lunch with sandwich apple and water bottle

Healthy Hot Lunch Ideas (with a Thermos):

Thermos Use Pro Tip: Pack hot thermos in the morning (5 hours before it’s eaten). Heat the thermos first: add boiling water, cover and let sit 5 min then drain. Heat food until it’s hot. Place into a heated thermos and close tightly with lid. Food will be warm at lunchtime.


Best Thermos:

What to put in a hot lunch thermos:

Combination Ideas for Healthy School Lunches

Just in case you’re saying “Heather, this list is great and all, but it’s so hard for me to put combinations together to make a lunch out of it”…stress no more!

In addition to giving you this list of food ideas, I’m also giving you a week’s worth of combination ideas to make it even easier to rock at making school lunches.

Turkey + Cheddar Roll-up
Fresh Berries
Trail Mix 

Pita Bread
Grape Tomatoes
Sliced Oranges

Cheese Quesadilla
Tortilla Chips

Deli Meat + Cheese Kabobs
Red Pepper Slices
Fruit Leather or Snacks

Pasta Salad
Granola Bar

Grab our FREE Healthy School Lunches Mega List printable with even more healthy food ideas and more lunch combinations!

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Little boy holding a lunch box packed with a healthy school lunch

Our Favorite School Lunch Box Supplies

With so many options out there, it can be overwhelming to pick a lunch box and hard to know which ones are worth the money.

That doesn’t even include everything else you put inside the lunch box!

That’s where we come in! We have tried so many different products, it’s embarrassing.

But the benefit, I guess, is that we know which ones are worth the money and which ones are worthless.

Related: 5 Lunch packing tools you need and 3 you don’t


Best Lunch Bag:

My Favorite Lunch Containers:

Best Thermos:

Leakproof Condiments Containers: 

Best Accessories:


Make packing healthy school lunches full of variety a breeze with this simple system for planning ahead of time. Want even more variety and ideas? Download our free Mega List of Healthy School Lunch Ideas!

Healthy school lunches Pinterest Pin

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