Packing school lunches for the kids can be stressful, but it does not have to be! I have selected my top 25 ideas for easy, no fuss, kid-approved lunch ideas. Here you will find a selection of sandwiches and wraps, soups and substantial salads that will satisfy both hunger, and taste!
The key to packing lunches is to provide something healthy, that they will enjoyed, and therefore eaten! You want to empty a lunchbox when kids come home and find it empty! At the same time, you likely don’t want to spend hours preparing it. To help you ease back into back-to-school routine, I have compiled 25 easy lunch ideas. Add some fruit, a granola bar, or some veggies and dip and you will score an A+ for lunch.
Although these easy back to school lunch ideas will make packing a meal for your children easy, they are also wonderful adult work lunch ideas! If you are like me, you hate spending money for lunch at work, so packing a delicious, nutritious and easy lunch is a great and economical idea!
Sandwiches and wraps
Sandwiches and wraps are popular for lunch with good reason. They are easy to eat, require no utensils, and don’t need to be warmed up to be enjoyed. Whether your child is eating in the school cafeteria, in their classroom or in the playground, they can eat their sandwich or wrap easily.
My easy tuna salad recipe is a cinch to make, and is mild in flavour – perfect for simple taste buds. Everyone loves it. I love it especially because I can make a batch of the tuna salad filling and keep it in the refrigerator for easy sandwich assembly.
The ingredients are very straightforward, and you probably already have everything you need in the refrigerator. You will appreciate that there is very little chopping involved – the only thing to chop up are the green onions, so this is a very quick recipe to make.
You can change up your tuna salad sandwiches by using different breads or buns. You can even serve it in a container along with some pita bread. You can purchase it or make your own using our pita bread recipe. Alternatively, you can add a scoop of this easy tuna salad to some greens for a lighter lunch.
I love this pressed sandwich for a number of reasons. The first reason is, of course, the taste. This sandwich is packed with flavourful ingredients from deli meats, to cheeses, to vegetables and condiments. Every bite is amazing!
The other reason why I love this pressed sandwich is that I can make it ahead of time, avoiding the morning rush. In fact, this pressed sandwich tastes better if it is made a day or two before it is served. This is because all of the flavours really meld together, and get into the bread.
Finally, I love this pressed sandwich recipe because I can use an entire baguette to make it. From that I can make several sandwiches, enough for many lunches – including mine!
This is a Greek twist to a classic sandwich! I make my egg salad with feta and dill, which is absolutely incredible. Don’t worry about this being “too much” for kids tastebuds – they typically love it! The flavours are not overpowering, and the fresh herbs and cheese are really tasty!
Of course, if you prefer to omit the dill and feta you can. You will end up with a plain egg salad filling and that can be okay too. I generally add tomato and lettuce to my salad and spread some extra mayonnaise on the bread.
Like the easy tuna salad, these egg sandwiches can be made with a variety of breads, can be turned into wraps and can even be used on top of salad.
If you are looking for a vegan (or lenten / nistisimo) option, you should definitely give this chickpea wrap recipe a try. It is so easy, and you will be amazed by how delicious it is. If using chickpeas in a sandwich seems weird, remember that chickpeas are actually the basis of hummus.
In this recipe the chickpeas are smashed, so they still retain a bit of their texture. Then, they are mixed in with tahini and chopped parsley. The wraps are then assembled with the chickpea mixture, some fresh spinach, white onion, and thinly sliced cucumber.
These chickpea wraps are simple to prepare and economical. You can always switch things up to use what you have on hand. So, if you don’t have spinach for example, you can use lettuce. You can also get creative and add things like grated carrot or thinly sliced radishes to your wraps.
This is a copycat recipe of the red lentil and bulgur wrap found at Trader Joe’s. To be honest, I think this version is better! Making this red lentil and bulgur wraps with a tahini slaw recipe takes a bit of time, but the good news is that you can make all of the components in advance. In fact, you can even freeze the red lentil and bulgur filling so that making the wraps is even easier. Simply thaw it in the refrigerator the day before you plan to use it.
This is really a very nutritious and filling recipe. You can make it as spicy as you like by adjusting the chili flakes. You can also use a variety of different wraps and if you prefer you can even assemble it as a sandwich between two slices of bread.
Halloumi is a very salty Cypriot / Greek cheese that holds up really well to being grilled or fried. In this vegetarian version of a classic sandwich, the halloumi is combined with lettuce and tomato for a unique and delicious sandwich. Aside from being salty, halloumi has a mild flavour. It also tends to squeak when you bite into it!
Although the halloumi will not be warm by the time lunch rolls around, it will still taste wonderful from having been fried. The surface will be toasty and flavourful. Making the H.L.T. or Halloumi, lettuce and tomato sandwich is really easy and kids really love the salty and squeaky cheese!
Although this was originally meant to be a breakfast idea, there is no reason why you can’t make this easy sheet pans eggs sandwich recipe for lunch. This is a perfect vegetarian recipe idea if you are packing more than one lunch because you can make several sandwiches out of this recipe.
I like to top the sheet pan eggs with tomato, lettuce, avocado and some cheese. You can use whatever your family will enjoy. Other ideas could be slivered white onions, thinly sliced cucumber, or even some salsa.
You can also leave it plain, and simply serve the sheet pan eggs between two slices of bread. The eggs themselves are prepared with plenty of chopped up vegetables, so they are very tasty on their own.
Another recipe that makes a great breakfast, and lunch! To make these easy breakfast tortilla wraps, each quadrant (fourth) of the tortilla holds one of the following ingredients: mayonnaise, sliced ham, baked egg with vegetables and cheese. The tortilla is then folded over to create a triangular wrap that is perfect for easy eating.
The eggs used in this recipe are baked after they are combined with grated zucchini and finely diced red pepper. There is also grated mozzarella and Greek yogourt in the eggs, so although this is a light meal, it is still packed with protein. This is perfect for giving students the energy to carry through with the rest of their afternoon!
Soups for lunch are a great idea! I have soup options for everyone’s tastes, from the most amazing chicken noodle soup recipe, to the classic Greek soup, avgolemono. Making a big batch of soup for take along lunches is great because you can feed many people, or fewer people over the course of a few days!
A good thermos will keep soup warm all day. The trick to using a thermos is to fill it with boiling water and seal it for approximately 5 minutes. Then, warm up the soup. Empty the water from the thermos and replace it with the warmed up soup – it will stay hot all day!
This is honestly the only easy chicken noodle soup recipe you will ever need. I love this soup because it is loaded with flavour. In part this is because the homemade chicken stock is augmented with the flavour of purchased chicken broth. It also starts of with some onion, celery, garlic and mushrooms sautéed in herb-infused butter and olive oil, which adds a great richness and taste.
You can either use an entire chicken to make this soup, or you can use a package of chicken thighs or even breast. I have made this soup with many different parts of the chicken and it always works out well. The noodles as well can be changed. I like to use the traditional broken up vermicelli noodles, but you can use any small noodle shape you like.
Another classic and favourite soup is minestrone. I make this minestrone soup recipe often because it is so good, easy and economical. It contains no meat and the protein comes from canned beans. You can also use dried beans, but using canned makes this soup so much easier.
One of the reasons why this minestrone soup will be the best you every have is because it includes sweet potato which offers a creaminess and sweetness to this soup. Also, there is a liberal use of spices, including paprika and cumin. Finally, near the end there is some chopped kale or spinach added to the soup which adds flavour, texture and colour. It also adds nutrition of course!
My pasta of choice when making minestrone soup is elbow macaroni. I love the heartiness of it, and the fact that is is almost the same size as the beans. You can however use any pasta you like.
I love anything with red lentils, including this soup! Lentils are so nutritious and economical. Red lentils are particularly appealing because they cook up so quickly. They also break apart when cooked, making them the perfect legume to use as a creamy soup.
You will love the ease with which this red lentil soup recipe comes together. There are actually only a few ingredients, including sweet potato, onion, carrot and spices. Red chili flakes are added to this soup to give it a spicy kick – you can adjust the heat so that it is to your liking.
The soup is pureed using either a blender or an immersion blender. It becomes so creamy and rich that you would assume there is milk or cream in the soup, but there isn’t. This is a completely dairy-free (vegan and lenten) soup that is well suited for everyone!
Never buy cream of tomato soup in a can again! Once you realize how easy and superior this cream of tomato soup recipe is, you will be making homemade moving forward.
To make this amazing soup all you need are some basic ingredients that you likely already have. The tomatoes that you use can be ones that are a bit soft. You may not want to use these overly ripe tomatoes for something like a Greek village salad, but they are perfect in this soup because they will be cooked, and then pureed.
I love to serve this soup with a perfect grilled cheese sandwich when at home. Grilled cheese does not really do well as a take along lunch because it does not stay hot and melty, but you can serve this cream of tomato soup with a side of cheese and crackers.
Introduce your child to something that they may not have had before! Mung bean soup is a traditional, but lesser known, Greek soup called psilofasola. This is a really easy soup to make and the flavour is mild and delicious. It is flavoured with some lemon and the broth is really simple, with some sautéed onions and dry oregano.
Mung beans are a powerhouse of nutrition. I love to make a double or even a triple batch of this recipe and freeze individual portions of it. An easy way to freeze soup is to place it in freezer safe bags. Lay them flat to freeze and then arrange them upright in the freezer. This saves space and makes it easier to find what you are looking for.
I make this Greek lentil soup recipe at least once every two weeks, and sometimes even more frequently. It is a great way to introduce young palates to lentils. This soup is so delicious, even though it contains only a few simple ingredients.
I like to soak my lentils before making this soup – this is the way my parents taught me. They say that it helps reduce the bloating that can be caused by eating legumes and beans. Not sure if that is true, but I do it anyways! You can certainly choose not to soak the lentils if you prefer not to, or if you are pressed for time.
This lentil soup freezes really well. You can defrost it in the refrigerator overnight. I like to serve it with a bit of vinegar – most kids like that too, but it is not necessary.
Sometimes you can pack these following ideas for lunch if you have had leftovers from the night before. Or you can choose to make these recipes specifically for school lunches. Either way you approach it, your kids are sure to enjoy things like pizza, spanakopita, pasta and biftekia (meat patties) with potatoes for lunch!
Is there anything better for a back to school lunch than pizza!!?? Pizza is great because it is as delicious cold as it is at room temperature or warm. When you make your own pizza you can choose the toppings that you put on the pie, and you can even make one pizza with two different halves.
This pizza recipe teaches you how to make a perfect pizza dough from scratch. Get the kids involved in making their own lunch by choosing what toppings they want to add. Older kids can also help roll out the pizza dough – lunch always tastes better when you had a hand in making it!
Spanakopita is a wonderful lunch to pack for your family. It is delicious served warm, at room temperature, or even cold! This particular spanakopita recipe is made with spinach and rice, with a homemade phyllo dough. Although it does take some effort to make, you will end up with several servings of spanakopita.
Spanakopita is really easy to eat because it is a handheld meal. Be sure to pack an extra piece or two in case your child wants to share with a friend – everyone loves spanakopita!
Pasta is a great school lunch idea. I love that in this pasta with tomato and red pepper sauce recipe the vegetables are all pureed in the sauce, making it a much easier meal to eat.
Kids love pasta and with this recipe you can use their favourite pasta shape. I find that the short pastas are easier to eat, and make less of a mess than spaghetti would!
This recipe can be a little spicy. You can adjust the amounts of red chili flakes that are used, or omit them entirely.
What a gorgeous school lunch this would be! This biftekia and roasted lemon potatoes recipe is actually quite easy – it just takes a bit of time to bake. It does taste best when warmed up so this is ideally made when your child has access to a microwave.
Biftekia are essentially like hamburger patties that are shaped as ovals and served without bread. The roasted potatoes are full of delicious flavour from the lemon, and from roasting in the same pan as the biftekia. You can serve this with a small container of tzatziki or Greek yogourt.
This is a hearty meal and would be perfect for a child who tends to get hungry during the school lunch hour.
You may not think of packing a salad for a child’s school lunch, but these salad recipes will have you rethinking that! These delicious salads are easy to pack, require no warming up, and will fill up hungry bellies.
A potato salad without mayonnaise is my idea of a good lunch idea! You don’t have to worry about keeping the salad cold enough so that the mayonnaise does not spoil. This Greek potato salad recipe is loaded with herbs and is dressed with an olive oil based vinaigrette. You can use any potatoes that you like (except sweet potatoes of course!).
I once served this salad to a child that had never eaten kale before. His mother was sure that he would not like it. Not only did he like it, but he asked for a second helping and his mom asked for this kale, quinoa and apple salad recipe.
I love to make salad with kale because they hold up so well. The kale does not get soggy, even if you have added the dressing the day before. In fact, the salad tastes better because the kale becomes more tender the longer it sits in the vinaigrette.
The combination of kale, quinoa and green apple is so good. To make this salad easier to eat, be sure to chop the kale up into small pieces.
Talk about meal prepping! Have you used mason jars to prepare your salads ahead of time? I sometimes do, and when I do, I am always happy. Opening the refrigerator and seeing a gorgeous salad already prepared is a game changer!
To pack this chickpea and quinoa salad for your child’s lunch, transfer the contents of the mason jar into a container. Of course, you can make this salad without storing it in mason jars if that makes life easier for you!
This Greek-style Cobb salad recipe is a great one to make for packed lunches. Kids especially will love it because the ingredients are cut into bit size pieces. There are so many great textures and flavours in this salad, and you can change it up to accommodate the tastes of your family.
Because this is a Greek-style Cobb salad I use Kalamata olives (that have been pitted) and feta cheese. If you prefer you can use a different type of cheese, and you can omit the olives if your child does not like them.
There is a bed of lettuce under the chopped ingredients. When you pack this salad for lunch, you will be mixing all of the ingredients together to ensure that the dressing coats everything.
This is a powerhouse of a salad! Grilled chicken, cheese, diced cucumber, grilled zucchini, tomatoes, olives all served over brown rice. The dressing is made with lemon juice, white wine vinegar and olive oil and it really ties all of the flavours together.
When I make this grilled chicken bowl recipe I like to serve it with some pita bread. For children you can omit the red onions if you think that the flavour will be too strong, and be sure to pit the olives.
This is a great salad to make for school lunches. It is full of protein, whole grains, and veggies. The flavour is really great, and kids love it. The chicken is tender from the marinade and grilled to perfection. This is the type of recipe that you can make and everyone can enjoy some for lunch!
To make the Greek chicken and quinoa salad recipe you need to plan ahead and marinade your chicken for at least one hour (but longer is better).
There are many flavours in this salad. From the moist chicken marinated in all sorts of Greek goodness, to the variety of fresh vegetables and the nuttiness of the quinoa. All of these tastes and textures combine to create a salad that is a little bit different with every delicious bite.
Your kids will love this salad! It is so pretty to look at with the vibrant colours of the kale and butternut squash. This salad is sweet, and every bite is a delicious taste. I love using the pearl couscous as opposed to the regular smaller couscous because the pearl couscous holds the dressing well.
To make this squash and pearl couscous salad recipe you will have to roast your butternut squash. You can use another type of squash if you prefer, like an acorn squash. Also, if you don’t have pearl couscous you can use cooked orzo or even rice.
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