As adults, it can be tough to figure out what to eat for lunch. Some of us might be very organized and pack healthy, nutrient-packed salads with us when we head to the office, or maybe we're at home, so we have the luxury to make anything we want. Of course, life gets busy, so we tend to eat the same things again and again (this includes leftovers from the night before!).
Now, if a parent's not sure what to eat for this midday meal, what about the lunches that they make for their kids? Every parent knows that kids want lunches that are delicious, but at the same time, they have to be nutritious enough to actually eat them. Making sure our children eat the right things is part of our jobs, after all! Thankfully, there are a bunch of ideas that are good for our children along with being incredibly yummy.
These 20 school lunch ideas are ones that children will definitely love. They range from creative sandwich and wrap ideas to pasta and even a few surprises. I'm sure that kids will ask for these lunches time and time again (and we might want to eat them, too).
20 Almost Five Ingredient Pizza Spaghetti Pie
Yes, this pizza-inspired meal is actually healthy. Pizza that's healthy? What's not to like! Parents can definitely make a huge batch of this Almost 5 Ingredient Pizza Pie from Paleomg and enjoy it for lunch as well as cutting slices up for their kid's lunch.
You'll start with spaghetti squash as the base (a popular pasta substitute in the Paleo and clean eating world) and add Italian sausage, pizza sauce, basil, onion, and eggs.
Okay so it's not exactly pizza, but it gets the job done.
19 Spinach, Roasted Red Pepper, and Feta Turkey Wrap
Sandwiches and wraps are lunchtime staples since they are so simple to put together. You can essentially use anything you have in your fridge and wrap it all together. Kids love eating with their hands, so sandwiches are a good way to go. Plus, wraps are a more fun version of a sandwich.
Some kids might be pickier than others, but most kids like turkey wraps, and this wrap from NeighborFood sounds awesome.
You'll need tortillas, spinach, feta, roasted red peppers, turkey, and pesto to make this yummy wrap. It's going to make your kid's lunch hour much more exciting since it's a nice way to upgrade a regular turkey wrap.
18 Vegan Creamy Tomato Pasta
Pasta is one of those foods that children are always happy to eat. Many kids are thrilled to chow down on a plate of comforting noodles, but in this case, the sauce is homemade, vegan, and a much healthier option that the jarred kind.
All you'll need for this recipe from Healthy Happy Life is (of course) pasta, along with some simple ingredients for the vegan tomato sauce (walnuts, Italian seasoning nutritional yeast, plum tomatoes, and garlic).
This is another recipe where you'll most likely want to save some for yourself, too. Doesn't it sound so good?
17 Chicken Salad Croissant Sandwiches
There are certain sandwich fillings that many of us love and make on a regular basis (ham & cheese, tuna salad, etc...). And one of these is definitely chicken salad, and this recipe from Life In The Lofthouse would make a great school lunch for kids.
The best part of this recipe? You'll use croissants for the breading! (Yes. Croissants.) They're so flakey and delicious — a much more entertaining staple for a sandwich. Kids will go crazy for croissants!
With dill, sour cream, mayo, red grapes, and celery, this is one sandwich recipe to remember and to make on the fly.
16 Almond Butter, Banana, And Strawberry Chia Jam Sandwich
Peanut butter and jelly is a classic combination that will never not sound good. Even if we're all grown up! But since we're kids at heart, we can still enjoy a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every once in a while (and these are great toppings for toast or oatmeal as well).
How good does this Almond Butter, Banana, and Strawberry Chia Jam sandwich sound? This recipe from A Sunshine Mission is guaranteed to be something that kids will ask for again and again (and again) when it comes to packing their school lunches.
Besides ingredients like bananas and almond butter, you can make your own jam from chia seeds, date syrup, and strawberries. Yum.
15 Best Easy Italian Pasta Salad
Pasta salad is a popular side for summertime barbecues or family get-togethers. It also makes a great lunch because it can be made ahead of time. It's also going to be great for kids since pasta is always something that children are more than happy to eat.
This recipe from Pinch of Yum uses olives, tomatoes, cheese, and your choice of salami or sausage. You could also add feta cheese if that's something that your kid loves. It's also got a recipe for Italian salad dressing that uses olive oil and spices and herbs to create something delicious.
14 Taylor's Best Tuna Salad Sandwich
Tuna sandwiches are kid-friendly and lunchtime classics. This recipe from Love and Olive Oil will create a stand-out, epic sandwich that children will love (and we'll enjoy making since this is easy).
Start with two cans of tuna and add mustard, parsley, mayo, and relish to it. The recipe suggests serving the tuna mixture on marble rye bread with tomato and lettuce.
Rye bread is, hands down, one of my favorites, and it's possible that your kids will love this bread, too (but, of course, you can serve this tuna salad mixture on the bread that they love the most).
13 Apple Cheddar Turkey Wraps
Your kid will be happy to have these Apple Cheddar Turkey Wraps in their lunchbox. This recipe from Emily Bites uses the ingredients mentioned, along with flatbread, coleslaw, apple, and apple cider vinegar and honey.
This flatbread sounds great and seems like something that kids would be big fans of since the flavors of apple, cheddar, and turkey are familiar to them. These are also easy to put together in the morning or the night before if you're super organized. Or just save it in the fridge for later!
12 Sweet Potato And Almond Butter Sandwiches With Green Apples
What an interesting combination, right?
When you want to pack your kids a more exciting school lunch than the same sandwich that they've been loving for a while now, maybe it's time to try something like this?
These Sweet Potato and Almond Butter Sandwiches With Green Apples from Joy Of Kosher sound sweet, savory, and comforting.
You'll make a sweet potato butter out of some simple ingredients (like apple juice, honey, cinnamon, and sweet potato), and then assemble the sandwiches with almond butter, green apple, and whole grain bread.
11 Paleo Piggies
Pigs in a Blanket (aka mini hot dogs in a rolled dough) are a staple of parties. They're also a food that children absolutely love. Don't we all have happy memories of eating them during our own childhoods?
These Paleo Piggies from Predominantly Paleo are—as we can tell from the "Paleo" part—a healthier way to give our kids this awesome food.
You just need a few things like cashew flour and some kind of fat (you can use vegan butter or olive oil) and arrowroot flour to make the dough, and then you'll buy some mini hot dogs. It's safe to say that your kids will be over the moon.
10 Turkey Roll-Ups With Cranberry Cream Cheese
Thanks to Culinary Hill, we have this recipe for Turkey Roll-Ups With Cranberry Cream Cheese, and these would make a great school lunch for kids.
You'll need turkey, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and tortillas, along with cranberry sauce and cream cheese. All you have to do is combine the cranberry sauce and cream cheese to create a delicious new kind of cream cheese that is going to make your kid very happy.
You'll have to test it out first, of course. You know, just to make sure it's good enough for the whole family!
9 BLT Macaroni Salad
Many people love a good BLT sandwich. What's not to love about bacon and macaroni?This little pasta is almost too much fun to eat and that's true for big and little people.
It's clear that this BLT Macaroni Salad recipe from She Wears Many Hats would make some very happy campers if we packed this as a school lunch for our kids. Besides the traditional BLT ingredients like bacon, lettuce, and tomato, along with macaroni, we'll need garlic powder, sour cream, mayo, and spinach.
8 Zucchini Frittata Cups Recipe
Frittatas are delicious! They're also easy to meal prep since we can make a pie and leave it in the fridge for a few days. So these smaller Zucchini Frittata Cups are the perfect lunch option.
The recipe from Joyous Health has eggs, zucchini, goat cheese, herbs, garlic, and green onions. Kiddos will be thrilled to have some of these as their packed lunch for their school days, and I bet they'll love them so much they'll ask you to make them on the weekends, too.
7 Sweet Potato Pesto Gnocchi
This Sweet Potato Pesto Gnocchi recipe from Charley's Health will have our kids eating in style. And, hey, they totally should, because boring sandwiches or salads have no place at lunchtime and it's fun to switch things up and make something more interesting (and delicious).
Sweet potatoes are, well, sweet, so generally speaking, it seems like kids would like them (and they're healthy, too, so that's a nice bonus). Plus, gnocchi is pretty much pasta, and kids are really into pasta. Along with garlic and herbs, you'll just need gluten-free flour and mashed sweet potato. Talk about a gourmet lunchtime meal.
6 Mediterranean Pasta Salad
Pasta, veggies, olives, feta cheese... It doesn't sound like lunchtime could get much better than this. And it doesn't sound like we could send our kids to school with a better packed lunch than this, either! This Mediterranean Pasta Salad from Gimme Some Oven is a very simple recipe to make and as long as you have vegetables (like tomato and cucumbers) and pasta on hand, you're already halfway there. Thankfully, tomatoes and cucumbers are kid-friendly veggies for sure, so you know that your kids will love this meal.
5 Green Goddess Tuna Salad with Everything Bagel
This recipe from Climbing Grier Mountain for Green Goddess Tuna Salad with Everything Bagel sounds amazing. Tuna salad is a popular sandwich, so it makes sense that kids would love to have tuna salad on a bagel for lunch.
First, you'll make the tuna salad, which calls for sour cream, lemon zest and juice, mayo, and some herbs. You'll add the tuna and some other ingredients and add that along with arugula to an everything bagel for an absolutely delicious sandwich.
If your kid isn't a big fan of arugula, which is possible since that's a super strong green, you could for sure sub lettuce or mixed greens.
4 Egg Muffin Cups
Muffins and eggs are both equally delicious and can be made many different ways. So why not push the lengths and try combining the two? It's like a math equation but there's food involved (and food is more exciting than math).
This recipe for Egg Muffin Cups from Together As A Family is going to make a kid-pleasing lunch. You just need eggs, spinach, cheese, red pepper, milk, along with some salt and pepper, and there you go! The best part is that the recipe makes a whole bunch so we'll have school lunches for a few days.
3 Bolognese Pasta Muffins
Muffins are the best, and it's hard to imagine that our kids wouldn't love to go to school with a few muffins for lunch.
This recipe from Woolworths for Bolognese Pasta Muffins is so easy and delicious. All you'll need are pasta and Bolognese sauce that you've made ahead of time and you'll combine those with cheese, eggs, and some veggies. (You'll probably want to try one before packing them for lunch... you know, just to make sure they taste good...)
2 Vegetable Tortilla Roll Ups With Cream Cheese
Kids tend to love food that is smaller than normal, are on toothpicks, or little roll-ups like this recipe. It's just fun to eat and also very accessible for them.
This recipe for Vegetable Tortilla Roll Ups with Cream Cheese from Culinary Hill would be school lunchtime perfection. You'll just need cheese and vegetables—which you most likely have in your fridge at all times—along with tortillas, cream cheese, and mayo.
What's also great about this recipe is you can have your children make it with you, and they'll love getting involved in their own lunch prep. The recipe also suggests making it ahead of time, which would be helpful if you have a busy schedule (which you do, of course).
1 Smoked Salmon Bagel Sandwich
If sandwiches are good and wraps are super fun, then bagel sandwiches are even better.
Sending this Smoked Salmon Bagel Sandwich from EatWell101 for our kid's school lunch would definitely be a slam dunk.
Start with a bagel and add smoked salmon and cream cheese. If you want, you can also add the capers and red onion (if your kids have more adventurous palates and are open to that). The recipe includes a homemade bagel recipe, which would give us major bonus points in the kitchen and would be a fun weekend project with our children.
We might have to start rethinking our own boring lunches and make these recipes for ourselves, too.