Wanna know something weird about me? Making school lunches was one of the things I was SO looking forward to about my daughter starting kindergarten. I love making school lunches so much. Maybe it’s because my mom always made my lunch and I LOVED that she did that for me.
You might think because I love making school lunches, I’d be one of those Bento Moms*. And I do love looking at pictures of Bento lunches. But that’s all just too complicated for me. I need simple.
(*Bento boxes are traditional single-serving packed meals in Japanese cuisine. But the trend has exploded to the packed school lunch arena where moms basically make an art form out of a packed lunch. Just search #bento on Instagram and you’ll see why they’re so fun to look at!)
Simple, however, does not mean boring! I like coming up with ‘out of the box’ lunch ideas to pack for my girl.
To be honest, she doesn’t care if her lunches are boring or not. She’d happily take a sandwich. But I like changing it up for her. (So I came up with a bunch of easy packed lunch ideas to please myself. Ha!)
If you’re looking for other ideas to add some fun to your kids’ lunchbox, check out my simple ways to make school lunches fun!
About Our Lunch Boxes
If you’re wondering about our lunchboxes, we like the 3-compartment containers and leak-resistant dip cups by Easy Lunch Boxes, and the Bentgo Leak Proof Lunch Boxes. They all fit nicely with a cold pack in our Embark brand lunch satchels from Target.
The lunchboxes by Easy Lunch Boxes are more economical, but not leakproof. For dips, dressings, and sauces, you can get the Mini Dippers small dip containers that have an easy-to-open leak resistant lid.
Bentgo lunchboxes are pricey, but totally leakproof and super easy for kids to open. The Bentgo Kids lunchbox (available at both Amazon and Target) is smaller and has more sections. It’s really the perfect size for my 6 year old. The large section holds a half-sandwich perfectly.
The Bentgo Fresh is slightly larger than the kids lunchbox and has 3 sections (plus a divider that can be added to create a fourth section). The large section holds a full sandwich, but it’s also nice for a salad with a small container of dressing.
I also use silicone baking cups to separate larger lunchbox sections.
A Month’s Worth of Packed School Lunches
- Ham & Cheese Spirals, Bagel Chips, Baby Carrots, Banana, Fruit Snacks (to make ham & cheese spirals, layer 1 slice of cheese over 2-3 slices of ham, roll them together, then slice into rounds)
- Cottage Cheese, Pita Chips, Grape Tomatoes, Mandarins, Trail Mix
- Chicken Salad, Wheat Crackers, String Cheese, Zucchini Slices, Apples, Fruit Snacks
- Hummus, Flatbread, Tomato & Cucumber Salad, Cubed Cantelope
- Nut Butter & Jelly Roll-ups, Colby Jack Cubes, Sugar Snap Pea Pods, Peaches, Banana (to make roll-ups, spread nut butter and jelly on a burrito size tortilla, carefully roll up, then gently slice into rounds using a serrated knife.)
- Kebab of Roast Beef (sliced from the deli), Mozzarella, and Grape Tomatoes, Wheat Crackers, Banana, Trail Mix
- Greek Yogurt, Granola, Graham Crackers, Cucumber Melon Salad, Fruit Snacks
- Italian Pasta Salad with Cucumber, Mozzarella, and Salami, Peaches, Zucchini, Marshmallows
- Cream Cheese and Turkey Roll-ups, Banana, Cheddar Cubes, Pea Pods, Mandarins
- Pita Bread Triangles, Nut Butter & Honey Dip, Apples, Baby Carrots, Fruit Snacks
- Salami & Cheese Slices, Wheat Crackers, Banana, Zucchini & Grape Tomatoes, Trail Mix
- Cottage Cheese, Peaches, Bagel Chips, Sugar Snap Pea Pods, Trail Mix, Fruit Snacks
- Chicken Salad, Flatbread Triangles, Mandarins, Grape Tomatoes, Cheddar Cubes, Fruit Snacks
- Corn Chips, Black Beans, Salsa, Shredded Cheddar, Cubed Melon
- Ham & Cheese Pinwheels, Banana, Apple Slices, Baby Carrots, Graham Crackers
- Roast Beef & Cream Cheese Roll-ups, Clementine, Cucumber Slices, Trail Mix
- Bagel Chips with Greek Yogurt Nut Butter Dip, Apples, Banana, Pea Pods, Fruit Snacks
- Ranch Pasta Salad with Ham & Cheddar, Peas & Carrots, Cubed Cantaloupe, Marshmallows
- Kebab with Chicken Cubes (leftover baked or grilled chicken works well) and Grape Tomatoes, Caesar Salad w/dressing on the side, Flatbread Triangles, Strawberries
- Turkey Cheddar Spirals, Wheat Crackers, Zucchini Slices, Peaches, Trail Mix