We all want our kids to eat as healthy as possible, and while a school cafeteria or some store-bought meal can satisfy their hunger, it is not always the healthiest option.
In this article, we have 33 school lunch meal ideas you can make at home and pack for your kid’s lunchtime at school.
They are all delicious and nutritious, so keep reading below and start making that weekly meal plan of yours!
1. BLT Sandwich
An all-time favorite for many kids, a homemade BLT sandwich is not only easy to make, but can also offer a great combination of fat, protein, and carbs.
Try using lean cuts of bacon and whole-wheat bread to make your BLT sandwich healthier. Here’s a recipe you can use for inspiration: Natasha’s Kitchen BLT Sandwich
When preparing lunch meals for your kid, you should opt for things that can be eaten cold or at least at room temperature. A tuna salad sandwich is a perfect example of such a meal, as its ingredients are best enjoyed cold.
It is another one of those sandwiches that are very easy to make and can cover the needs of your kid. Tuna, mayonnaise, and some slices of bread are all you need to make one.
Eggs are one of the most filling foods thanks to the protein and good fats they contain. An egg salad sandwich is, therefore, a great idea if you want your kid to eat something that will keep them full for many hours.
With simple ingredients and no hustle, you can prepare the egg salad sandwich in 5 minutes and pack it for your kid before they leave off to school.
If your kid is tired of eating sandwiches, swap the bread for some tortilla wraps and try a chicken filling. Tortilla Wraps are very versatile; you can enjoy them toasted or as they are, hot or cold, with all kinds of fillings.
For a lunch meal your kid can have at school, we suggest you offer them a chicken tortilla wrap that has a lot of protein and will offer them the energy they need.
5. Falafel Wrap
Chickpeas are very nutritious, but many kids are not big fans of them. At the same time, packing chickpea soup for school is not the best of ideas.
Enter the falafel wrap. Turning the chickpeas into falafel is a great way to sneak in those ADD in your kid’s meal, and some yogurt sauce and roasted eggplants can make this Middle eastern tortilla a meal that all kids will be jealous of!
6. Omelet Wrap
You have probably seen many videos on social media of the viral omelet wrap. If you haven’t, then let us tell you that it’s a tortilla wrapped inside an omelet!
First, you fry the omelet and then you add the tortilla on top while the egg is still raw from the top side so that they will stick together. Then, add ham and cheese to the tortilla and once the omelet is cooked, wrap it up and pack it.
7. Falafel Bowl
You might have made a big batch of falafels, and while you can eat them yourself, you can also use them to make a falafel bowl for your kid to take with for their school lunch.
Falafel bowls are delicious and if you want to keep the greens in the salad from getting too soggy from the sauce, keep them separate in a small container and have your kid pour it into the salad when it’s time to eat.
8. Buddha Bowl
Buddha bowls are wholesome and versatile as you can add or skip any ingredient you want. Check out this recipe to get an idea of how to make a wholesome Buddha Bowl.
Slice a fresh baguette, add some hummus, feta cheese, olives, tomatoes and you’ve got the most delicious Mediterranean baguette sandwich ever!
Chicken is one of the best ingredients you can use in a lunch meal for your kid to eat while in school. It has a lot of protein and can be eaten both cold and hot.
Cooking your chicken with a teriyaki sauce makes it even better.
The sweet and sour sauce makes it easier to enjoy the chicken, and the rice on the side is a great simple carb source that will instantly give them the energy they need for their next courses.
11. Pad Thai
You might consider Pad Thai as a restaurant meal, but a homemade Pad Thai is so easy to make and will blow your and your kid’s mind.
Here is an easy Pad Thai recipe for inspiration.
A little crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside, calzones are perfect for lunch as they pack so many flavors that will make your kid anticipate their lunchtime with great excitement.
We bet they will love it, so consider making some extra dough that you can put in the freezer and defrost when your kid asks you for another calzone during the weekend!
13. Pizza Bread
Busy parents do not have the time to cook every single day for their kid’s meals, but that doesn’t mean that you should go for the ready-made options that are out there.
Even when it comes to pizzas, you can always use smart recipes like this pizza bread and save time by making dough from scratch.
Top some bread slices with mozzarella and pepperoni and bake them until they’re ready.
Everyone loves a simple ham and cheese quiche, and the great thing about it is that you can make a big tray and freeze the rest of the slices for another day.
We’re pretty sure they won’t object to having this delicious meal twice a week!
Kids love pies, and this Greek spinach and feta cheese pie are bound to become their favorite.
Nutritious, healthy, and flavorful, it is a great lunch idea they can easily eat even as they walk down the school corridor.
This recipe yields a big spanakopita tray, so save some for the next day or have some for yourself. You deserve it!
16. Cheese Pie
If your kid is still not a fan of anything green, they might say no to a spanakopita (we highly doubt that, but there are always exceptions).
In that case, make a simple cheese pie and accompany it with a bottle of fresh orange juice.
17. Chicken Pie
Speaking of pies, we could not but recommend you make a chicken pie. The combination of peas and chicken inside a crispy crust is unbeatable.
If you want to make it easier for your kid to eat their pie, make some mini chicken pies they can hold in their hands and eat instead of having to sit and use a fork.
18. Tuna Salad
As we said, it’s best to prepare lunch meals that can be eaten cold, and salads are perfect examples of that.
Tuna is a great source of protein and tuna salads are preferred by many parents who want to make sure their kids are eating healthy at school.
With some canned tuna, this salad can be ready in 10 minutes.
19. Potato Salad
Potatoes, mayonnaise – or yogurt for a healthier alternative -, olive oil, vinegar, and parsley are all you need to make this easy potato salad (see our favorite ‘Parsley and Potato’ recipes here).
To add some protein to this meal as potatoes are a complex carb source, add some eggs. They go great with potatoes and make this meal even more wholesome.
20. Caesar’s Salad
We don’t need to convince you about the greatness of a caesar’s salad. For most of us, it was one of the first salads we ever had in a restaurant and one that we always asked our parents to make for dinner.
Even though we order it as a side for our main course in a restaurant, don’t let that trick you into believing that it can’t be a meal by itself.
Mix some cooked bow-tie pasta in a bowl with tomatoes, cucumber, olives, corn, feta cheese, and a salad dressing, and what you’ll get is a tasty and filling Greek pasta salad.
Extremely versatile and best enjoyed cold, you can make this pasta salad with any kind of ingredients. However, if you want some inspiration, check out this recipe by ADD.
22. Quinoa Salad
It’s no coincidence that quinoa is one of those ‘superfoods’ athletes include in their weekly meal plans. Quinoa is full of nutrients and is a great main ingredient for a cold salad.
There are plenty of recipes you can try and numerous ingredients you can add, but this is one the best quinoa salads on the internet.
Bulgur becomes the star of this refreshing Middle Eastern salad that is packed with flavor and aromas.
Thinly chopped tomatoes, cucumber, and parsley are combined with cooked bulgur in a bowl that is then mixed with lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper.
You can make a big bowl of tabbouleh and keep it in the fridge for 3-4 days. That way you can always have some ready when your kid asks for more after school!
24. Chicken Fritters
Chicken skewers are great, but chicken fritters are even better when it comes to lunch meals you can pack for your kid to take to school.
Whether you pack them on their own or with some rice on the side, make sure to put some ketchup or brown sauce on the side as they are best enjoyed when dipped in it.
If you want to make a healthier, homemade sauce, try making this creamy yogurt and mustard one.
25. Spanish Tortilla
Potatoes are the most filling food, and a Spanish tortilla uses them as the main ingredient.
This means that your kid will stay full for hours after enjoying a big Spanish tortilla slice during his/her lunch break at school!
A creamy chicken filling rolled up in a tortilla and cut into bite-sized portions is what these Tuscan chicken pinwheels are all about.
For some fiber sources, cut some vegetable sticks on the side and pack them in a container for your kid to enjoy for lunch.
You woke up late and didn’t have the time to prepare your kid’s lunch the night before. Don’t stress; run to get a fresh croissant from your local bakery and fill it with some cheese and ham.
It’s best to make the croissants on your own using this low-fat croissant recipe, but don’t feel bad if you go for a ready-made option. Make time to prepare some nice dinner and you’re good for the day.
Spinach and egg muffins have become a staple snack in many households. Not only are they easy to make, but they are also great to pack for school.
While you can make a spinach and egg omelet for breakfast, packing one for school is not very practical (plus, a cold omelet doesn’t taste great), so use this spinach and egg muffins recipe instead.
There is more than one way to use tortillas, and when it comes to school lunch meals, quesadillas are another great option next to the tortilla wraps we’ve already mentioned.
These cheese quesadillas only need a handful of ingredients, so you can make them in the morning and pack them once they’re ready.
30. Mac N Cheese
Classic, delicious, and mouthwatering. Mac n cheese was, is, and will always be a kid’s favorite, so don’t think twice about making some for their lunch meal at school.
If you want to keep it healthier, use low-fat ingredients like low-fat butter to make the bechamel sauce and low-fat cheese.
31. Protein Boxes
There are plenty of combinations you can make to prepare some protein boxes. Hummus and carrots with some nuts and cheese on the side or cheese sticks and eggs with some sliced apple and peanut butter cups.
These are only some ideas, but you can add anything you want to a protein box. Just make sure there’s enough protein and a good combination of healthy fats and carbs too like in this protein box idea.
You have most probably tried making some overnight oats or enjoy eating oatmeal daily and have gotten your kid to love it too.
Oatmeal in a cup is a great way to make sure that your kid is having a healthy, nutritious, and filling meal at school.
Rich in fiber and a good source of carbs, oatmeal can be combined with nuts and seeds and make up for a wholesome, sweet lunch meal.
33. Banana Bread
While this list is all about savory lunch meals, your kid might ask for something sweet now and then. If oatmeal is not something they are fond of, a slice of banana bread is something they won’t say no to!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Usually In A School Lunch?
When people talk about balanced meals, they mean meals that include a mix of food groups: some grains, some fruits, some vegetables, some meat or protein foods, and some dairy foods such as milk and cheese.
Try to do this with your lunch. If you don’t have a variety of foods on your plate, it’s probably not balanced.
The Bottom Line
These 33 recipes are great and can make your kid’s school lunch their favorite meal of the day (see also ‘27 Easy Recipes For Kids‘). Give them a try and we bet you will make some for yourself too!