10 Idea’s for Kids Lunches and Lunch Boxes

10 Ideas for Kids Lunches and Lunch Boxes by

Making lunch for my kids has always been the harder meal for me to make.  I don’t know why it is hard for me to come up with ideas, but every month I search and search for things to make. I have managed to put together a small list of items that I rotate through each week and thought I would share them with you today 🙂

I try to give my kids a variety of foods each day while making sure they have a fruit, veggie and protein. One of the things that has worked really well for us is to have a lunch buffet. I spread a few things out on the table and they pick and choose what they want.  Here are some buffets we have tried:

(1) Sandwich buffet

sandwich maker – turkey, ham, chicken, roast beef, peanut butter and jelly, egg salad, chicken salad

fixings – lettuce, tomato, mayo, mustard, oil & vinegar dressing, cheese

breads – hoagie rolls, sliced bread, pita pockets and sometime bagels

(2) Mexican Buffet

Tortilla chips, taco meat, lettuce, tomato, nacho cheese, taco shells, tortillas, taco sauce, refried beans, sour cream, guacamole 

(3) Hamburgers and Hot Dogs

I cook 10-15 hamburger patties during my monthly freezer meals day and store them in the fridge. The kids can make themselves a quick burger or I can put them out in a buffet of hamburger patties, beef hot dogs, cheese, lettuce, tomato, diced onions, ketchup, mustard, mayo, chili.

 If I have any leftovers from these lunch buffets, I put them in their lunch boxes and store in the fridge.

I really do love having a lunch buffet or breakfast buffet. It’s easy for mom, the kids can learn to be independent by fixing their own meal and they can explore different ways to eat things. It also makes for easy clean-up.

AND you can be so creative with a lunch buffet! These are the ones my boys like, but I plan on trying new ideas in the future, so if you have any ideas, leave them in the comments 🙂

(4) Lunch Boxes

This is another thing I do that the kids like. I put items in a “lunch box” and the kids can grab them and go. No waiting on mommy to prepare it! My lunch boxes are those plastic containers with a blue lid and 3 sections. I bought my first few sets at Kroger for less than $2 for a 3-pack. Not a bad deal.

Lunch Box Ideas

Chicken Fingers  (My favorite recipe from Planner Perfect Meals)

Fried Chicken pieces – make your own or buy them (we prefer the 8pc fried chicken from Publix, yummy!)

Hot Wings and Homemade Fries

Mini-Muffin Tin Pies

Sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs, burritos, tacos, nachos

soups, chili, fruit salad, broccoli salad, mac & cheese, Quesadilla’s

pizza slices or pizza pockets, small salads, homemade spaghetti & meatballs

I will also add things from our dinner leftovers

For the sides I add fruit, veggie sticks & ranch or peanut butter dip, crackers & cheese cubes, applesauce, fruit cups, small bags of chips, trail mix, goldfish, yogurt, frozen yogurt chips, cookies, Oreos, popcorn – you can get creative here and add things your kids like. I let mine choose their sides as long as it includes a fruit or veggie on one side.

Here are some links for more great ideas

Easy Lunch Boxes Photo Gallery – tons of ideas here!!

Make-Ahead Lunches

More great ideas from Mamabelly’s

Great ideas for real food, healthy organic options

(5) Burritos 

I make several batches and keep in the freezer 

Southwest Roll-ups

Brown Bag Burritos

(6) Tortilla Wraps

Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps

Buffalo Chicken Wraps

Avocado Veggie Wrap with Chipolte Lime Sauce

20 Ideas for Wrap Fillings

(7) Mason Jars

Mason jar meals are crazy popular right now and for good reason. Once you add something to a mason jar, it seals up tight and the contents stay super fresh for longer than normal. I make mason jar salads for my daughter when she is in town. She loves throwing together unique salad toppings.

Mason Jar Salads

 Mason Jar Meals

(8) Freezer Pizza Dough 

I make several batches of pizza dough and freeze them. When I am ready to make a pizza, it takes about an hour to thaw and its ready to go!

Other things I make with pizza dough and freeze:

pizza pockets

 mini-pizzas (to fit in the lunch box)

hot pockets

mini Mexican muffin tin pizzas

 pepperoni rolls

(9) Easy Pasta Dishes

Buttery Noodles

Pasta Salad

Pesto Bowtie Pasta

Creamy Pasta with Peas & Carrots

Homemade Meatballs & spaghetti (you can make the meatballs ahead of time and freeze them)

(10) Smoothies

Smoothies are super easy to make, really healthy, can be frozen in large batches and are easy for the kids to grab and go.  There are tons of recipes on Pinterest but here are few to get you started.

Smoothies 101

Make a months worth of green smoothies to freeze

protein boost smoothies for kids

list of healthy smoothie recipes

I hope this list will help you with planning some healthy and tasteful lunches for the kids! Be sure to subscribe and watch for my Breakfast Ideas post!


I have tons more lunch ideas on my Pinterest board, check it out!!

Follow Janeen @ Sprouting Tadpoles’s board Lunch Recipes on Pinterest.


  1. Amanda Seymour says

    I love love LOVE your clog Janeen!
    Hey why don’t you’d check out this website called
    They have amazing options (healthy/non-processed) for school lunches just click this link below

    All regards
    Mandy Seymour

  2. Hi Janeen – thank you so much for sharing my Smoothies post with your readers. It’s always good to get new lunch ideas. I’m going to check out a few of the others right now.

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