One Week of School Lunch Box Ideas

We are two weeks in to kindergarten, Harper is absolutely loving it & pops out of bed every day excited to go. The transition has been pretty good, her little sisters miss her more than anything, but they will be starting preschool next week and I think everything will start to fall into place as we get a good routine going. One of the things that I thought was most overwhelming last year (and was not excited to start doing again this year) is packing lunches. Especially since we have three kids bringing lunch this year, and one of them for the full five days of the week. Our schools are nut-free, but the girls don’t love the sun butter or other alternatives, so I felt like I was packing deli turkey almost every day last year. I think pinterest just overwhelmed me more with 100 different options for lunches (most of which my kids probably wouldn’t even eat) when in reality, I think the girls just need five different combinations that we can rotate throughout the week. So I am sharing the five bento box lunches that will be on rotation for the next few weeks, I hope they give you some ideas & inspiration for fun ways to pack your kids’ lunches while still keeping it super easy!

Main Dish // Turkey or Ham with Avocado on Croissant, Turkey or Ham Roll Up, Chicken or Tuna Salad on Croissant or Toast, Turkey or Ham with Cheese & Crackers, Jelly (with Sun Butter if your kids like it) on Toast

Sides // Blueberries, Strawberries, Sliced Grapes, Sliced Apples (with lemon juice so they don’t brown), Halos or Orange Slices, Banana (cut in half for easy peeling & to fit in box), Crackers or Pretzels, Carrots, Sliced Bell Peppers, and/or Cucumbers with Hummus, Greek Yogurt with Granola, Applesauce Pouch

Dessert // I always love to add something sweet, mini chocolate chips, chocolate & pretzel goldfish or yogurt covered raisins πŸ™‚

I vividly remember one Friday at the end of last school year when we were out of groceries for the week and I was running late packing lunches, I think Harper & Ellie each took a yogurt packet, half a banana and a bag of pirates booty. It’s possible lunches will look like that again by the end of the year but two weeks in? We are going strong. πŸ˜‰Β What are your go-to lunch box meals, do your kids have certain things they could eat every day or do you switch it up? Β Would love to hear your faves! XO

PS. This is the lunchbox we are using, I love it so far! I wanted a bento style box that wasn’t $30+ but also not with five different containers to wash each day. We put it inside the Moana zipper lunchbox Harper picked out with an ice pack or two! πŸ™‚

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34 Comments

  • Reply
    Sarah
    August 15, 2017 at 10:03 am

    Great ideas!! I will definitely be using some of these! Sandwiches on croissants are always a win πŸ™‚

    My girls (I have three as well!) always get an applesauce pack, and their “main” item is either a pb&j, sliced deli meat or a Nutrigrain bar. Sides include bananas, sliced cheese, fresh fruit, yogurt raisins or regular raisins, Goldfish, etc. I’ve also found that packing LESS food ensures they will eat everything in their lunch even if it’s not a “favorite” haha!

    -Sarah http://www.thefrugalmillionaireblog.com

  • Reply
    Kitty
    August 15, 2017 at 10:54 am

    We don’t need to pick lunches for school yet because her preschool serves healthy breakfast and lunch. We do, however, have to pack lunch for our day trips and outings during the summer. We all know how expensive and unhealthy food is at amusement parks and zoos! My daughter loves turkey sandwiches but I do try and switch it up a bit. I sometimes make pasta salad at night so my husband can take it for lunch and we have it for our day trips. Green peppers, tomatoes, chick peas, rotelle pasta, mozzarella balls, and drizzle olive oil…add salt, pepper, basil, and oregano. Voila! Sometimes I’ll grill chicken and slice it up to add into it! We also loooove lettuce wraps! SautΓ©ed ground chicken or turkey with teriyaki sauce, add chestnuts or chick peas for texture, and wrap in lettuce. She LOVES it. Always also pack fruit and carrots as snacks.

  • Reply
    Ashley
    August 15, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    We just got a bentgo for my son who started pre-k this year and I’m so excited to pack it each day. I’m sure it’ll get old though! Love these ideas! Have you tried Sneaky Chef No Nut Butter? We don’t really like Sunbutter in our house but love the No Nut Butter. Target and Amazon sell it. Just thought I’d share in case you haven’t tried it yet πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Amy
    August 15, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    Skinny Pop popcorn mini cakes (we like sharp cheddar), hard boiled eggs, salami, sliced chicken breast, organic fruit snacks… nut free is hard! I rely on pb & j a lot!

  • Reply
    Niki
    August 15, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    Thanks for all of the great lunch ideas. How do you keep the apple slices from turning all brown by lunch time? I have a little one with no front teeth and he can’t bite into a whole apple πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      Jessica
      August 18, 2017 at 7:37 am

      Try a bit of lemon juice!

    • Reply
      Dar
      August 20, 2017 at 11:30 pm

      Rinse slices or chunks briefly in a small bowl of cold water with a dash or two of salt. Have done it for years. Works perfect πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Mary
    August 15, 2017 at 6:52 pm

    My oldest is in Kindergarten this year, too! She likes variety so we switch it up. We do many of the same things but also use hard boiled egg whites and a black bean/quinoa salad for extra protein and variety. I’ve been looking at that bento box. We bought the PlanetBox but it was too big for her lunchbox, and she was IN LOVE with her lunchbox, so we returned it. LOL!

  • Reply
    Candice
    August 15, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    These ideas are perfect! When I scroll pinterest and see people recommending salad and cold pasta, I’m so confused because my kids would never eat that!! We have the same lunchbox too. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Kristin
    August 16, 2017 at 4:24 am

    My daughter has but allergies so we’ve tried several PB substitutes. We didn’t care for sunbutter either. The best we’ve had is Wow Butter. They sell it at target and Walmart etc. It’s thicker than sunbutter and less oily. Thanks for the lunch ideas!

    • Reply
      Annie
      August 22, 2017 at 7:36 pm

      Wow butter is my peanut allergic daughter’s fave too!

  • Reply
    Kristin
    August 16, 2017 at 4:25 am

    Nut! Stupid auto correct! 😊

  • Reply
    Katie
    August 16, 2017 at 8:10 am

    I seriously want these for MY lunch!

  • Reply
    Mary
    August 16, 2017 at 8:25 am

    My son’s class was peanut, sea food, and egg free. So no PB & J, tuna, or egg salad. I found that he loved cream cheese and jelly bagels. We got the Bentgo Boxes this summer as well and I can’t wait to start filling them!

  • Reply
    Lindsey
    August 16, 2017 at 8:42 am

    The school my boys go to require us to pack a meat, a grain, a veggie, a fruit. Apple sauce pouches and veggie straws are a huge life saver for me! I also make “lunchables” with deli meat, cheese and ritz crackers alot too. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Evelyn
    August 16, 2017 at 10:05 am

    My Kindergartener isn’t much of a sanwhich person, so we got her a hot/cold container from Pottery Barn, which they also have at Target. And she gets dinner leftovers with an extra snack or 2. Chicken/rice or spaghetti or chili, let’s say. Then some fruit and crackers, or cookies or fruit snacks, etc.

  • Reply
    Brittany
    August 16, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    I wanted to add some other ideas! Savory muffins, like eggs and cheese and sausage, could be good in the lunch… or pasta! Like rotini noodles with meat spaghetti sauce. I LOVE your ideas!!

  • Reply
    Laurie
    August 16, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    So perfect! Our kids have the same restrictions at school, we have the same bento boxes… I’ll just hop on the copy cat wagon and done! ;). Keep posting!

  • Reply
    Brittany
    August 17, 2017 at 6:37 am

    Love this post! Great ideas. As a mother of a severely peanut allergic child, I appreciate your effort to be nut free. Allergy families know it’s hard but we appreciate you helping to keep our children in school safe!

    • Reply
      Jessica Garvin
      August 19, 2017 at 11:36 am

      We have good friends whose son has a severe allergy, it is so scary, you are a warrior mama!! We are so happy that schools take such precaution over it!

  • Reply
    Amanda
    August 17, 2017 at 8:47 am

    Do you find that things like yogurt become a mess when the lunch box is up on its side? I was going to purchase one, but this has always been a question in the back of my mind.
    Thanks so much for all the great ideas! We’ll be starting this venture very soon as well!

    • Reply
      Jessica Garvin
      August 19, 2017 at 11:35 am

      Nope, the lid is super secure for each individual compartment, nothing typically leaks or gets too out of order.

  • Reply
    Mbell
    August 17, 2017 at 9:34 pm

    We love chicken rolls at our house. One large can of chicken breast (drained), one box of cream cheese, one packet of dry ranch mix (we use hidden valley original DRESSING mix). Thoroughly Knead this together in a large bowl then spread on a Hawaiian roll or wheat thins. My picky girl will eat this and if your kids love ranch flavor, they will love it. This makes enough to last a few days.

  • Reply
    Gina
    August 18, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    What about drinks? The lunch box is cute, but there’s no compartment for a juice or milk box. Or does she just keep her dink in her back pack?

    • Reply
      Gina
      August 18, 2017 at 2:14 pm

      Drink* not dink haha

    • Reply
      Jessica Garvin
      August 19, 2017 at 11:34 am

      This box goes inside her bigger lunch box, with a drink & ice pack.

  • Reply
    Jenna
    August 18, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    What’s the diffuser blend for when you can’t find the baby’s shoe and have checked the whole house twice. And some lady rolled down her car window to yell at you “your clothes don’t match”?!? One of those days…

  • Reply
    Amy
    August 18, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    These lunches are awesome. I kind of want to take one of these to work for lunch! Is it weird if a woman my age pack star shaped cheese for herself? (don’t answer that)

  • Reply
    Jen
    August 21, 2017 at 5:30 am

    Nice! Love new lunch ideas – thanks! I hadn’t thought of the crescent roll! My kids rotate through pb&j, ham or turkey & cheese, quesadilla, crackers & cheese, and of course…fruit. πŸ˜‰

  • Reply
    Blair
    August 21, 2017 at 10:10 am

    So we are gluten free and nut free for everyone in our house as well as lactose free for my middle (talk about meal planning craziness) however some of our go-to lunches, pepperoni and cheese cubes, gluten free crackers, ham and cheese roll ups, freeze dried or dried fruit, yogurt (always), fresh fruit, pickles (my oldest LOVES pickles), make yourself pizza on a gluten free wrap cut out into rounds (This is her favorite meal every week), a handful of chocolate covered raisins, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, mini carrots are all on rotation as well. We do all the fruit as well cantaloupe, grapes and blueberries are the favorites. Occasionally I’ll pack a sliced apple with a little side of caramel (another favorite). In the winder I send a thermos of soup (tomato, only on a day she isn’t wearing something really nice), chicken and rice. She loves soup too. My middle daughter can’t have dairy so she gets extra meat, more fruit, cereal with a little thermos of soymilk, a little green salad with spinach and croutons, lots of soup, BBQ chicken with crackers, hummus, guacamole with veggies and hardboiled eggs.

  • Reply
    annie eagle
    August 21, 2017 at 6:41 pm

    Is Harper able to get the lid off herself? We have a different box and my 4 year old struggles to open it herself. Looking for something she can manage on her own.

    • Reply
      Jessica Garvin
      August 22, 2017 at 9:12 am

      Yes she can! We practiced a few times, I actually bought them for Eloise & Claire too but I know their teachers will have to help them. They also get easier to open after a few uses. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Brenda
    September 4, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    I just bought this bento box for my daughter as well. She doesn’t eat a lot but likes to pick at a whole bunch of little things so this is the perfect lunch box for her. We’ll do goldfish crackers, cheese and pickle sandwiches, hot rods, kolbassa and ritz crackers, strawberries, raspberries, little rice cakes, mushies, dried fruit, and in the little circle in the middle we’ll put thicker ranch dip for carrots and broccoli, yoghurt to eat by itself or for a fruit dip, cheese whiz to go with little breadsticks, and applesauce.

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