Back-to-School Lunch Ideas

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

by Amy on August 2, 2014 · 48 comments

Disclaimer: objects may appear larger than they actually are. These are meant for ideas, not portion sizes <<<< and yes, this disclaimer is necessary because last year, people were stunned I would give my kids so. much. cheese.

I want 3 things in life.

1. a pool in my backyard.
2. to eat whatever I want and never gain weight.
3. for my kids to not be in such a hurry for recess and actually eat their lunch.

Are these things too much to ask for?! *shakes fists*

Summer is flying by as always and it’s time to start thinking about the dreaded school lunch boxes again.*groan*

I’m always seeing super cute kid bento boxes on Pinterest, and I think “Wow, those are awesome!”, which is immediately followed by me laughing out loud. Because, come on. Who has the time to make those??? Not parents. Well, not parents who don’t have a maid or nanny.

But every year, I do try and come up with some creative, yet realistic, lunch box ideas that will keep my kids seated in the cafeteria five extra minutes, so they don’t come home starving and cranky. 

Here’s this year’s creations!

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

1. Alright. PB&J (or in our case, sun butter and jelly) isn’t a tough sell, I know. So why not just make a regular sandwich? Well, I still think it entices your kid to eat, when you make it fun. Try these – cut crusts off the bread (or don’t), use a rolling pin to make them thin, spread some nut butter and jam of your choice, and roll up. Serve with pretzels and chocolate covered blueberries

2. I’ve said this a million times, and I’ll say it again, kids love food on a stick. Hell, I love food on a stick! Cut up cubes of bread, spread some mayo and/or mustard on one side, thread on skewers with deli ham and colby jack cheese. Serve with crackers and dill pickles.

3. This one is for the slightly more ambitious eater, like my Haley. My popular Greek Summer Pasta Salad…deconstructed. Cooked pasta with some Greek dressing and feta. Serve with summer sausage, cucumbers, and red bell pepper.

Here are last year’s ideas that I’ll still be using.

Back-To-School Lunch Ideas | Very Culinary

And the year before!

Back-to-School Lunch Ideas on

Now, if only I could figure out a way to make homework more fun!


Leave a Comment

{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

Billie July 29, 2015 at 7:10 pm

The best food always comes on stick!! and also…homework IS more fun when they’re brains have had enough fuel to not stop functioning for the day! So way to keep them going!!


AnnE July 10, 2015 at 6:57 am

Thank you for these. Can’t wait to see if my kids will take time to eat them. **my wish lunch after recess** have a great day and thank you.


Lisa October 18, 2014 at 12:02 pm

I just found boxes just like these at Costco, they come with three boxes w/lids, several small containers for dressing etc. & ice packs!


Randy August 22, 2014 at 12:14 pm

Where can i find boxes like yours? Also do they have tops or are they disposable with No tops


Amy @Very Culinary August 22, 2014 at 12:25 pm

Hi Randy – I bought them from Target a few years ago, and yes, they do have lids.


Johanna August 22, 2014 at 11:18 am

I love the lunch ideas for kids. Thank You.


Janine @minkandmanure August 21, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Love these ideas! Where did you get the portioned containers? I think having everything in the same container, but separated, is better than multiple containers.


Amy @Very Culinary August 21, 2014 at 4:05 pm

Hi Janine – I got them at Target a few years ago. I *think* they still carry them.


Nona August 19, 2014 at 12:09 pm

I loved your ideas in American Profile magazine this week! The skewer idea was such a good one…where do you get cute skewers, other than bamboo?


Amy @Very Culinary August 19, 2014 at 1:55 pm

Thanks Nona! I had no idea I was featured in AP Mag. Huh. As for the skewers…I just buy regular ones and cut them down :)


laura August 19, 2014 at 10:36 am

This is so great. What awesome ideas I know have to change things up a bit. Thank you


Breanne S August 18, 2014 at 6:39 am

Such great ideas! Just a question… Where did you get the containers? Or what brand are they?


Amy @Very Culinary August 18, 2014 at 7:29 am

Hi Breanne – thanks! I got them at Target a couple of years ago, where the Tupperware is. Not sure the brand.


Jennifer August 16, 2014 at 2:59 pm

There is a better solution to the eating your lunch before recess thing… besides crafting prize winning bento box lunches, fun though that may be.

At my son’s school they initiated the simplest solution of all time: Lunch AFTER recess. The kids go out for 20-30 minutes of recess BEFORE lunch. Then EVERYONE comes in and eats lunch for 20 minutes AFTER recess.

Issue resolved. But good ideas for packing lunch here.


Amy @Very Culinary August 16, 2014 at 6:06 pm

Well, sure. That’s a really great idea. Too bad most school’s that I’m aware of don’t operate that way :/


Brian Drake August 14, 2014 at 2:50 pm

You’re a blessing! I’m a single dad and NEED creative ideas like these. THANK YOU! Keep posting your fantastic recipes/ideas.


Amy @Very Culinary August 14, 2014 at 3:16 pm

I feel ya Brian! Parenting is hard enough – anything to help, albeit small!


Elizabeth August 14, 2014 at 7:52 am

I love using cookie cutters for sandwiches too! I used a cupcake shape on my daughters birthday and during the holidays I’ll use my holiday shapes (Christmas tree, gingerbread, pumpkin, leaves for fall). I think if it looks fun they’ll eat.


Amy @Very Culinary August 14, 2014 at 10:15 am

Yes! How fun to change it up with the different seasons!


laura August 19, 2014 at 10:38 am

Thats awesome too. I need to find the puzzle piece cutter. That is the bomb, but I used hearts, never thought of the other shapes. thanks.


Kristin August 10, 2014 at 8:32 pm

These are great ideas! May I ask where you found your bento boxes?


Amy @Very Culinary August 10, 2014 at 10:10 pm

Hi Kristin – I found got them at Target a couple of years ago, where the Tupperware is.


Stacey September 15, 2014 at 11:05 am
Sherry August 10, 2014 at 7:55 pm

These are so great! Thanks!


Amy @Very Culinary August 10, 2014 at 10:11 pm

Thanks, Sherry!


Lisa August 9, 2014 at 11:54 am

Too much cheese? Never! Love the ideas. I think recess should be before lunch. Then, I know it is a better chance that he will eat instead of making plans for whatever game they want to play.


Amy C August 9, 2014 at 10:20 am

Love these ideas! I, too, have laughed a good, deep laugh when looking at the elaborate bento box lunches. Panda faces on radishes? Open face peanut butter sandwiches with jelly stenciled into lovely designs? hahahahaha. These look like something that will actually fit into our schedule of packing 4 lunches (2 adults, 2 kids) at the last minute as the bus is rolling up the street, the hubby’s office is calling, and the 2 year old is swinging from the light fixture as I am trying to put on eyeliner! Thank you for the suggestions.


Amy @Very Culinary August 10, 2014 at 10:07 am

Haha. I know, right? Life with kids is so crazy! The easier, the better!


Dani H August 8, 2014 at 2:40 am

Will you adopt me? You can make me school lunches and pie, okay?


Amy @Very Culinary August 8, 2014 at 8:10 am



Marla August 6, 2014 at 4:20 pm

I love these ideas! My daughter is a type 1 diabetic and cheese is almost no carbs, it’s perfect for her. I think she’d eat meat and cheese cubes on a stick. She’s SO fussy! People complained about cheese? It’s good for you. Natural fats like cheese create a feeling of satiation and help your body utilize vitamins better! (We’re all cheese weasels in my house!) Thanks for posting this!


Amy @Very Culinary August 7, 2014 at 7:12 am

Marla, one of my dear friends has a 6YO with type 1. So tough! I’m glad you found these helpful. Here’s to another school year! I <3 cheese.


Carla August 5, 2014 at 6:38 pm

People complained about too much cheese?! Blasphemy :D


Joanne August 5, 2014 at 9:03 am

Remember when we used to be too excited about other things to eat?! What were we thinking, especially since back then our metabolisms were so awesome. It’s like a cruel trick of the universe.


Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies August 5, 2014 at 7:44 am

My kids never used to finish their lunches! Darn recess!
Now that they are older, the food is all they think about. They say, “lunch was good, but I need twice as much.” They’re going to put me in the poor house. Love these ideas, by the way! Maybe I can adapt them for my picky eaters.


Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust August 4, 2014 at 4:52 pm

Such great ideas Amy! And your disclaimer, lol. :)


Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen August 4, 2014 at 8:50 am

So. Much. Cheese. Lol! Hilarious :) These look like fun lunch ideas to me. I wish someone would pack my lunch.


Nikki @Seeded at the Table August 4, 2014 at 7:42 am

I love these lunch ideas!! But, man, that heart sandwich looks like it might be a little too big for a kid… lol! Just kidding! That’s ridiculous you had to deal with people commenting like that!! ha!


Rachel Cooks August 3, 2014 at 7:02 pm

Great ideas! And I don’t really see a problem with the cheese portion sizes :-P


Meghan August 3, 2014 at 2:03 pm

Where did u get the boxes from?


Amy @Very Culinary August 3, 2014 at 3:09 pm

Hi Meghan! I got them at Target where the Tupperware is.


Heather @ Sugar Dish Me August 3, 2014 at 8:13 am

Your disclaimer made me laugh! I am DREADING packing school lunches again. And my boys are big! Also the smaller one would totally eat that much cheese. Love these ideas Amy!


Carol at Wild Goose Tea August 2, 2014 at 6:33 pm

I will sign the petition for wish # 2. I think you are zeroed in on some great lunches. I work everything and eat at my desk. So these work for me too. I get bored with my own food.


Amy @Very Culinary August 2, 2014 at 8:29 pm

I don’t know anyone that wouldn’t support #2! Good food, is good food…whether you’re a kid or adult, so enjoy!


Julie August 2, 2014 at 5:03 pm

Yay Amy!! I was just thinking about (dreading) school starting and having to pack lunches! These look great!


Amy Flanigan August 2, 2014 at 8:28 pm

Thanks, Julie! I hope some of them work out for you!


Dad August 2, 2014 at 9:29 am

I wouldn’t mind going back to school with lunches like these. Yes, I would. But I’d go just to get heart and puzzle (how’d you do that?) shaped sandwiches!


Amy @Very Culinary August 2, 2014 at 9:38 am

I have a special puzzle sandwich cutter, of course. Doesn’t everyone have one of those? ;-)


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