30 Back-to-School Lunchbox Ideas

Back-to-School Lunch Ideas | Very Culinary

by Amy on August 7, 2013 · 42 comments

When I was a kid, we returned to school after Labor Day. Now my kids go back August 21st. It seems to get earlier and earlier every year…pretty soon all they’ll get is a 2 week break.

Part of me relishes in the idea of them going back. But then, of course, there’s the part that wouldn’t mind summer going on endlessly. I love not having to wake them up and scream to get ready, no schedules, no homework battles, and no agonizing over what to pack for lunch. 

Let’s face it, while these lunchbox ideas are crazy adorable, who the hell has time to prep them? I mean, really? DO YOU? ‘Cause if you do, I want to trade lives. Right now.

And if I could draw worth a lick, I might be able to pull off this awesome sandwich bag art. But I can’t. So I don’t.

Let’s keep it real, shall we?

Here are a few simple ideas – maybe you’ve thought of, maybe you haven’t – that Haley will be getting this year (or for the first month until I get the inevitable eye-roll and heavy sigh), along with some other favorites that my fellow bloggers sent my way!

Back-To-School Lunch Ideas | Very Culinary

1. Plain or chocolate chip waffles (made in advance), with blueberries, and a mixture of chocolate chips and pistachios – I already know this one’s going to be popular.
2. Salami, Ritz crackers, and cheese (sliced or string), and cherry tomatoes – basically a homemade lunchable. Kids love to build and play with their food, so let them!
3. Puzzle sandwich, chips, and grapes – I bought the puzzle cutter on Amazon for $3. Totally fun.

And check out these other ideas!

Back-to-School Lunch Ideas #lunchbox #backtoschool #kidslunch

and these!

Lunch Box Ideas!


Back-to-School Breakfast Ideas | Very Culinary

1. Breakfast Cookies (Very Culinary)
2. Sweet Chocolate Flecked Muffins and Savory Tomato and Olive Muffins (The Spiced Life)
3. Gluten-Free Almond Blueberry Mini Muffins with Maple Cream Cheese Drizzle (Cupcakes & Kale Chips)
4. Sunbutter Waffles (Alida’s Kitchen)


Back-to-School Sandwich and Wrap Ideas | Very Culinary

1.  DIY Uncrustables Frozen Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches (Unsophisticook)
2. Hummus and Veggie Turkey Wrap (Very Culinary)
3. Tortilla Pinwheel Lollipops (Home Cooking Memories)
4. Maple Teriyaki Salmon Sushi Rolls w/ Apple and Carrot (Farm Fresh Feasts)
5. ABCLT Wraps (Very Culinary)


Back-to-School Snack Ideas | Very Culinary

1. Cinnamon Apple Fruit Leather (Savory Simple)
2. Peanut Butter & Jelly Cookie Dough Dip (Cupcakes & Kale Chips)
3. Pastry Jam Twists (Very Culinary)
4. Chili-Lime Roasted Chickpeas (Willow Bird Baking)


Back-to-School Granola Bar Ideas | Very Culinary

1. Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars (Very Culinary)
2. S’mores Granola Bars (I Heart Eating)
3. Banana Nut Bread Granola Bars (Cupcakes & Kale Chips)
4. Biscoff Granola Bars (Dinners Dishes & Desserts)


Back-to-School Cookie and Cracker Ideas | Very Culinary

1. Buttery Toffee Walnut Cookies (Simply Southern Baking)
2. Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (The Lemon Bowl)
3. Basil & Sun-Dried Tomato Crackers (Oh My Veggies)
4. Healthy Banana Cookies (Alida’s Kitchen)
5. Triple Chocolate Oreo Cookies (Crazy For Crust)


Back-to-School Bar and Krispie Treats Ideas | Very Culinary

1. Peanut Butter Krispie Treats with Peanut Butter Fudge and Ganache (Liv Life)
2. Chocolate Raisin Crunch Bars ( All Day I Dream About Food)
3. Butter Pecan Caramel Rice Krispies Treats (Simply Southern Baking)
4. Peanut Butter Marshmallow Popcorn Bars (Diethood)
5. Whoppers Snack Bars (Inside BruCrew Life)

Whew. That should keep you busy for a while! Well, this and clothes shopping. HA.

Leave a Comment

{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

Staci Davis August 10, 2015 at 7:33 am

Where did you get these bowls from???? I’ve been looking for some!


Amy @VeryCulinary August 10, 2015 at 7:44 am

I got them at Target a couple years ago. They’re perfect! Not sure if they still carry them. Good luck!


Valerie August 23, 2014 at 8:47 am

My son’s school no longer allows them to take anything with nuts due to other kid’s allergies. Any ideas on alternatives for peanut butter sandwiches? He doesn’t like turkey, tuna or ham so I’m at a loss for what kind of sandwiches to make him. Thnx!


Amy @Very Culinary August 23, 2014 at 4:35 pm

Hi Valerie – personally, I think that’s awesome of your school. I would absolutely love it if my school did that, seeing as how BOTH my kids have a peanut allergy :( Luckily, they can eat other nuts, so we do sunflower butter/jelly sandwiches. Since you can’t do any nuts, obviously that’s not an option. How about salami? Pepperoni pizza skewers? Or a hot dog?


Marcy August 22, 2014 at 11:31 am

Can you share your waffle recipie?


Amy @Very Culinary August 22, 2014 at 12:31 pm

Hi Marcy I use a lot of different waffle recipes, but I usually use this one as a base: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/simple-waffles-from-scratch-recipe.html (this particular post, I tossed in some mini chocolate chips.)


Jami August 7, 2014 at 6:19 am

Thank You for the terrific lunch ideas and recipes.


Amy @Very Culinary August 7, 2014 at 7:13 am

Thanks, Jami…glad you like them!


Adrianna August 4, 2014 at 5:19 pm

I am going back to school and this is great because I hate school lunches. They are so unhealthy.


Michele July 26, 2014 at 8:48 am

These are great ideas! My son is just 4 but look forward to using these when he goes to school. Plus, I think I’ll use some of these for myself. Thanks for sharing!


Amy @Very Culinary July 26, 2014 at 5:39 pm

Thanks, Michele!


M. Viner July 25, 2014 at 10:05 am

I have to say that I looked at this little meal idea, and as a teacher, I think that I might do some of these lunches for myself. While our school does make good food, it is nice to take your own from home. I know I like the “lunchable” thing!


Amy @Very Culinary July 26, 2014 at 5:38 pm

Yes! Grown-ups deserve to have a fun lunch, too!


R. Sjoberg July 23, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Here in Scandinavia a mother would never make a lunch box to a groving child that contains salami, crackers, potato chips and white bread. That is fat, salt, white flour, only empty calories. That is not food, that is snacks. Dentists here wanted all soda machines away from schools and they succeeded, parents were reliefed. Kids should drink milk and water, sometimes fruit juices without sugar.


Amy @Very Culinary July 23, 2014 at 1:12 pm

I respectfully disagree. Salami, crackers, and cherry tomatoes is essentially a deconstructed sandwich and is quite healthy, in my opinion. I also believe there’s nothing wrong with potato chips, if in moderation and complimented with fruit or something else that is healthy. Same with other snacks. It’s all about balance. Further, I don’t see my approval or even mention of soda anywhere in this post, so not quite sure why you brought that up.

These are merely ideas, and not for everyone. I’m okay with that.


R.Sjoberg July 24, 2014 at 6:40 am

I’m sorry for the soda comment. I tried to give that as an example how important it is to take care of children’s daily habits. I think it is necessary to ensure that the children do not get used to unhealthy nutrition when they are small. It is difficult to change wrong habits as an adult if you learned to eat wrong in your childhood. It’s not good for children to learn to like potato chips. Potato chips likely contain several grams of unhealthy saturated fat and also trans fats in potato chips are the worst and most dangerous fats you can consume because they raise your bad cholesterol while lowering your good cholesterol. They contain partially hydrogenated oils, so called trans fats. Also saturated fats raise your cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes when you are grown up. Potato chips contain added salt to enhance the taste and they do not contain vitamins and minerals to help compensate for the high fat and salt content. As we all very well know salt lead to several negative health problems, including high blood pressure and kidney disease.


chrisstina August 8, 2014 at 7:13 am

I have to disagree with your generalized judgemental view. We ate chips and salami as a kid, and I’m not fat. We also ate chips occasionally. My mom always cooked nutritious food for breakfast(oatmeal or wheat cereal) and dinners with veggies. My whole family eats veggies.
I cook good foods for dinner. My son enjoys lean meats and a balanced meal. When I prepare his kindergarten lunch, I’m comfortable with these ideas. They are fairly balanced. And he will be drinking milk. White. He loves milk and wheat bread. I like the variety here, but our staple is pb&j on wheat.


Miss Rondi August 12, 2014 at 2:43 pm

If you don’t like chips, don’t put them in a lunch for your kid. Different people prefer different foods, colors, clothing, TV shows, people, etc. We don’t have to be the same. Don’t tell other people what they can or cannot feed their own children, no matter what your opinion is. It is not your concern. Everyone knows chips are not health food, some people choose to eat them anyway.


Heather August 18, 2014 at 10:16 am

I absolutely love these ideas! A lot of the time I feel as though my brain shorts out after a long summer break, and I need a few ideas of what to put in my child’s lunchbox. Miss Rondi, I completely agree with you. Well said!

Debs July 22, 2014 at 7:31 am

I’ve just bookmarked this as our kids (uk) break up end of july (this week in my case) and go back early september but you have shared some great ideas here that my son would love! Thank you for sharing :)


Amy @Very Culinary July 22, 2014 at 2:48 pm

That’s great, Debs! I’m so glad you’ve found it useful.


Candice September 23, 2013 at 6:46 pm

I’ve been running out of good lunch ideas so this post is very helpful, thanks! I hope it’s fine that I linked to this from my blog.


Carissa Bonham August 19, 2013 at 1:55 am

thanks for the great ideas! I linked to you in my post on “Tips for Packing Better School Lunches” on Creative Green Living (http://www.creativegreenliving.com/2013/08/tips-for-packing-better-school-lunches.html)


Kristie Lee August 17, 2013 at 7:34 pm

Love your ideas! Where did you find your divided tupperware?


Amy August 17, 2013 at 7:35 pm



Kristin August 18, 2013 at 1:26 pm

Ziplock makes a divided “lunch able” type of container. Check your grocery store, Target or Wal-mart.


Alida August 16, 2013 at 9:00 pm

These are such great ideas! And I love that puzzle cookie cutter. So fun!


Ashley Smith August 16, 2013 at 9:23 am

You had me cracking up! Seriously though…aint no body got time fo’ dat! I work full time and have 0 desire to draw a mural on my kids sandwhich bag. Your idea’s looks super yummy and extremely do able! Thanks for the tips.

(btw email address is not the one i normally use, it wouldnt let me enter my current one. )


Sara August 14, 2013 at 11:33 pm

I’m starring my first day of college tomorrow and for the first time I have to pack a lunch for school (I always ate school-provided lunch) I had no idea what to bring. Thanks for all the great ideas! Even college students get excited for fun-shaped sandwiches :)


Amy August 15, 2013 at 4:53 am

Yes, yes they do! That’s awesome, Sara. Thanks for stopping by and good luck. College is great.


Lesley August 13, 2013 at 6:49 am

There are a few nut recipes there, i’d check your school policy on bringing nuts to school . I worked in a nut free school and we confiscated any nut items .. But there are so many other great choices here too


Robin @ Simply Southern Baking August 9, 2013 at 7:11 am

Thanks for including my Buttery Toffee Walnut Cookies and Butter Pecan Caramel Rice Krispies Treats in this great collection! :)


Christine Ann Keith Easton August 9, 2013 at 6:15 am

Dear LunchMakers-in-arms,
My solution was to play “The Color Game”!
On “RED DAY” it was small gouda cheese wrapped in red wax with crackers;
a red apple; any cookies packaged in red, a “RED” drink [tomato juice or cranberry juice [e.g.]; cherries; & a red candy treat.

On “Yellow Day” it was a banana….Let UR imagination go wild…

On “Orange Day” it was an orange plus Cheddar Cheese Sandwich; Carrots; Apricot cookies, etc..

Then there is “Green Day”; “Purple Day”…etc…

See the kids book, “Mr. Rabbit & the Lovely Present” for further ideas.. That’s where I got mine {;0)



Amy August 9, 2013 at 6:21 am

Clever and fun!


Tara @ Unsophisticook August 8, 2013 at 5:53 am

Great roundup of ideas here! My kids start the 21st, so I really need to start thinking about this stuff. Thanks for including my Homemade Uncrustables, Amy!


Kate August 7, 2013 at 9:21 pm

Even though my kids aren’t in school yet, I have to get creative when it comes to feeding my three year-old. There are some really great ideas here! Thanks for sharing these and for including my granola bars!!


Joanne August 7, 2013 at 4:13 pm

It’s still the week after labor day in NYC…but your lunch boxes are so cute I might have to start bringing some of them to work! Especially the jigsaw puzzle sandwiches….too adorable.


carrie@bakeaholicmama August 7, 2013 at 1:49 pm

Summer should go through Labor Day Weekend. I always hate sending them for a couple of days then having a long weekend. It makes the first two weeks of school kind of pointless. We start on the 27th and it’s sneaking up on me! I will need some of these fun lunch ideas because Owen is quite picky ;)


Dana August 7, 2013 at 1:38 pm

I’m going to have my picky eater check out your pics so he can pick out what he likes to give me ideas for lunches this year. I’m stressing out about it already. Two more weeks…


Kirsten@FarmFreshFeasts August 7, 2013 at 10:57 am

Thanks a bunch for using my sushi! I too started back after Labor Day and after we moved to Ohio the kids have to start in August. On the plus side, they get an hour long lunch break and my daughter walks home for lunch!


Cher August 7, 2013 at 8:34 am

My kids LOVE and beg for the chewy chocolate chip granola bars often. I can’t keep enough made before they eat them all. Best thing about them, I can put them in their lunchboxes and they don’t have peanut products in them like other granola bars. Plus, they are healthier, I’m sure!


sandra August 7, 2013 at 8:21 am

Ugh! Lunches are the bane of my existence. Thanks for these tips – I have the puzzle sandwich cutter and love it. Heart shapes are a good idea.


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