Let’s face it; school lunches can get boring, both for the kids who eat them, and the moms who make them. Surprise them with these sandwich-free school lunch ideas for kids (and adults) that taste as good as they look. Pizza lovers – check. Avocado aficionados – check. Paleo and Keto followers – check. Every taste and diet choice is catered for, so for delicious lunchbox dishes they’ll obsess over, take a look at this incredible list.
Kids Lunchbox Tuna Salad (Dairy-Free)
Incredibly healthy and super quick to make, this tuna salad takes minutes to throw together, and has just the right amount of crunch, flavor, and protein to keep kids feeling satisfied for longer.
Using grass-fed beef for a higher level of Omega-3 fatty acids, this meatball lunch includes a healthy portion of zucchini noodles and is perfect for those following a paleo diet.
Sandwich-Free Keto Lunch Bento Box for Kids
Suitable for keto followers and anyone who appreciates a delicious lunch, this Bento Box lunch incorporates free range eggs and power-packed spinach into muffins which go superbly with cucumber, cheese, and tasty meats.
Healthy Chicken Salad
Free range chicken contains a much lower estrogen profile; that makes it a far healthier addition to this salad, which also includes a rainbow of organic vegetables and wholegrain or wholewheat pasta.
Nutritionally-Balanced Vegetarian Lunch for Kids
Whether they’re vegetarian or just want to limit their meat intake, these whole wheat tortilla rolls are packed with spinach and bell peppers, and finished off with creamy feta and protein-packed hummus.
Protein-Packed Lunch for Kids with Nut Allergies
Nuts are a great source of protein, but what about those who are allergic? This lunch is packed with proteins such as organic chicken and quinoa, along with chickpeas, tomatoes, and lemon.
Spaghetti Pie Muffin
These spaghetti pie muffins are a fun way to use up leftovers and make a fun school lunch idea for kids, especially when they’re served with a crisp green salad on the side.
Mini Taco Hand Pies
Now your kids can enjoy taco Tuesday in school with these adorable hand pies, which are made using readymade pastry and filled with a simple beef and black bean taco filling.
Make a batch of these pizza buns and freeze them to slip into the kids’ lunch bags when they fancy a change from the usual sandwiches or questionable school lunches.
Dinosaur Bento Lunch
For a tasty lunch they’ll really enjoy, try making cheese and apple dinosaurs and sending them to school in a landscape made of celery, peanut butter, and pretzel and spinach ‘trees’.
Make school lunch a totally tropical affair with a Bento Box full of Caribbean bites, including roasted plantain, coconut chips and mango chunks, black bean brownies, and baked sweet potato fries.
Mini Pancake Kabobs
Make these teeny tiny pancakes and skewer them with pieces of fruit, or spread them with any kind of topping you think they’ll like for a fun alternative to sandwiches or salads.
Pizzadillas are a cross between a pizza and a quesadilla, and are just as delicious as they sound. Let the kids choose their own toppings and box them up with a nice healthy salad.
Savory Waffle Sticks
There can’t be many people who don’t like waffles, but now you can send the kids to school with these fun foods in finger form, with the addition of some other tasty ingredients.
These mini burritos are super cute, and the kids won’t even realize they’re eating healthy foods! Fill a Bento Box with tasty toppings and let them build their own.
Baked Pancake Muffins
When they can’t choose between pancakes and muffins, why not give them both in one handy and very tasty package? Mix them with fruit, veg, or herbs for a handy and healthy snack.
Corn Tortilla Cheese Dogs
Corn dogs just got even better with this fun version of the classic dish. Wrap hotdogs and melted cheese in corn tortillas and bake, for a fresh school lunch idea for kids.
Banana Cereal Snack
Cereal bars are handy but they’re often packed with sugar. Try making this version which uses fresh bananas which have been coated in peanut butter and then rolled in yummy Crispy Rice.
Ham and Cheese Pockets
Pack puff pastry (use frozen for ease) with cheese and ham and a smear of mustard, and then bake in the oven til golden brown, or switch up the fillings for variety.
Perfectly suited to a salad, these delicious fruity chicken balls are made with minced chicken and are mixed with apple and pear for a touch of sweetness without any added sugar.
Taco Pasta Salad
The golden orange of this taco pasta salad just makes you think of summer, so make a big bowl of it and pop some in a lunch box for the kids to enjoy at school.
Chicken Avocado Burritos
You’ll have no problems getting the kids to eat these chicken avocado burritos for their school lunch, because this healthy green pear is SO in at the moment (and incredibly healthy, too).
Vegetarian Taco Wraps
Go green with their lunch by making these delicious vegetarian taco wraps – wholegrain tortillas wrapped around a filling of black bean, cheese, sour cream, salsa, and carefully chosen spices.
These mini calzones are too cute, and can be made with pepperoni and cheese, or for a vegetarian option just add cheese, as well as a variety of other pizza-related fillings.
If you thought pizzas could only be made with dough, you’re seriously missing out, because the bases for these delicious stackers are crispy Ritz Crackers, piled high with sauce, cheese, and pepperoni.
Raw vegetables retain all of their goodness, but other than crudités, how do you serve them? This pizza appetizer is topped with cream cheese and a rainbow of delicious crunchy veg.
Summer Pasta Salad
Pasta salads combine all the goodness of fresh leaves, tomatoes, olives and more with the filling satisfaction of al dente pasta, and this one is finished off with a delicious Italian dressing.
Grilled Cheese Roll-ups
Grilled cheese doesn’t sound like something you could pack in a lunch bag for school, but this recipe shows you how to turn them into decadent roll-ups using flattened bread.
Mac and Cheese Lunchbox Muffins
Mac and cheese is the ultimate in comfort food, but now they can take it to school in the form of these little ham and mac and cheese muffins which are perfect for lunch.
If they insist on sandwiches, this recipe will make sure they’re not only healthy but infinitely more interesting, as they’re made with bagels which have been stuffed with a whipped cream cheese filling.
Pizza pancakes are an easy way to make a filling lunch as all the pizza ingredients are mixed in with the batter before cooking, and can be served with a pizza dipping sauce.
Crockpot Pulled Pork Sliders
A crock pot is a busy mom’s best friend, and once again it comes to the rescue in this mouth-watering pulled pork slider which is cooked with a homemade BBQ sauce.
Mini Corn Dog Muffins
Imagine your kid’s delight when they open their lunchbox to find a couple (or more) of these delicious mini corn dog muffins which are made with a golden cornmeal batter.
Freezer Bean Burritos
You can make these bean burritos way in advance and freeze them, so your kids (and you) will always have a healthy and tasty lunch to take to work or school.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Mini Pancake Stacks
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches might be a family favorite, but even these classics can get boring. Mix things up a bit by making these PB&J pancake stacks for their school lunches, instead.
Pinwheels always look more interesting than normal sandwiches, and with the vibrant red tomatoes and green lettuce peeking through the layers, these are a feast for the eyes and the tummy.
Make these baked ravioli for dinner for the whole family, and save the leftovers for the kids’ school lunches the next day – they’re delicious served cold with a healthy green salad.
Loaded Apple Nachos
Loaded apple nachos not only look good but are delicious, too, and with the sprinkling of chocolate chips, coconut, and raisins, they feel like a decadent (but still healthy) treat.
Whether they prefer sweet or savory, these pretzel bites will hit the right spot, because you can make them with parmesan and a cheese dip, or cinnamon and sugar with a vanilla glaze.
Homemade Spaghetti Os
Canned pasta is handy when you’re in a hurry, but the ingredients label can make for frightening reading. Solve that dilemma by making these homemade and infinitely more delicious ‘Spaghetti O’s’.
Homemade Hot Pockets
These homemade hot pockets can really contain any filling you like, so are perfect for fussy eaters or kids following different diets – they can be frozen for up to 6 months, too.
Pepperoni Pizza Sticks
Pizzas are one of the ultimate grab-and-go foods, but a huge slice just isn’t a practical school lunch idea for kids. Make these garlicky pizza fingers instead, which are tasty and easy to eat.
Healthy Avocado Chicken Salad
Full of color and healthy omega-3s, this creamy avocado chicken mix is made with mayo and Greek yogurt for a healthier pitta bread filler or on top of a bed of lettuce.
Crescent Roll Hot Dog Pockets
If you have a sandwich toaster, you can make a batch of these tasty crescent roll hot dog pockets – add any relish or accompaniment you like, and make enough for tomorrow’s lunches!
The keyword when it comes to school lunches is ‘simple’. Check out some of the ideas in this blog – including the Arugula Pesto – for no-hassle lunch ideas to keep them going all afternoon.
3-ingredient Cheesy Crescent Dogs
Equally good hot or cold, these cheesy crescent dogs use just 3 ingredients, which makes them super simple to make but incredibly tasty to eat – a win for you AND the kids!
Apple Cheese Wraps
Apples and cheese is a match made in Heaven, and when you add in a slice of turkey and a stack of oat cookies, you have the perfect healthy school lunch idea.
4 Cheese Pepperoni Pizza Bites
Ring the changes on pizza night (and lunch the next day), with these 4 cheese pepperoni pizza bites, which use Italian seasoning and a 4 cheese blend to make little morsels of joy.
Granola Bar Poppers
Granola bars can be quite the chore to eat, especially when you’re pushed for time. Make these granola bar poppers using ice cube trays for tinier versions with maximum satisfaction.
5-ingredient Pizza Skewers
This is a fun way to get all the flavors of a pizza, without ending up with a smile like the Joker; simply thread all the separate components onto a wooden stick!
Healthy Taco Salad
Whip up a batch of this healthy taco salad as a delicious school lunch idea for kids and adults alike, and serve it with a helping of protein-packed peanut butter mousse.
Chicken and Rice Patties
Rice is great as a cold lunch dish, but it can be tricky to eat on the go. Solve that problem by making these ingenious rice patties with chicken, rice, and mozzarella cheese.
Rainbow Veggie Pinwheels
The colors in this rainbow veggie pinwheel make it almost too pretty to eat – we say ‘almost’ because the fresh veg and cream cheese filling are impossible to resist.
Mini Biscuit Pizzas
You can use pretty much anything as a pizza base, but this recipe uses Grands Homestyle Biscuits which gives it a delicious crust for sauce, cheese, and of course, the pepperoni.
Ham, Cheese And Spinach Muffins
This recipe is so simple that even the kids can help with it, but don’t let that simplicity fool you – these ham, cheese, and spinach muffins are an absolute delight to eat.
Chicken Ranch Wraps
Pre-cook some seasoned chicken breast, then chop it and mix with cilantro, grated mozzarella, and their favorite ranch dressing for a lunch wrap that is packed with flavor and tastes divine.
Cinnamon French Toast Bites
If you want to add a little sweet something into their lunch bag, try these scrummy cinnamon French toast bites, which taste just like cinnamon donuts with a fraction of the calories.
(You may also like: Healthy Dessert Ideas for Kids)