Getting Smart with School Lunches: Work Smarter Not Harder

This post contains affiliate links designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees.

I will admit, I go into every school year thinking I am going to be that mom. You know, the one that makes all her kids’ lunches and sends them off with some really awesome and healthy meals.

easy school lunch ideas

That mom.

And I actually do want to be that mom because I worry about the foods my kids eat, but then somewhere along the line life happens and time slips away and I realize I didn’t even go grocery shopping this week let alone plan out some meal options…

… and I’m back to sending my kids off to eat the school’s version of a healthy meal.

To be fair, they do offer some decent and healthy choices at our school (veggies). They even participate in a “Harvest of the Month” program where they use locally grown foods in a farm-to-school program. But really, most of the food at the school is hit or miss.

So what does a semi-obsessive mom who is trying to eat organic and locally produced foods do?

I’m not sure what everyone else would do, but I started planning out some easy school lunch ideas.

All of these options are really easy to whip up in no time, and most utilize left-overs so there is hardly any pre-planning required. In most cases, if you know what you are having for dinner, you can plan an easy lunch as long as you make extra at each meal – remember, work smarter not harder!

Seven Healthy and Easy School Lunch Ideas

Toasted Ham & Cheese, Fresh Carrots, Fresh Berries, Organic Milk

Luckily my kids love fresh veggies so packing them either whole (yes they love to eat them that way) or chopped up is a no-brainer. Fruit can be hit or miss but blackberries and blueberries seemed like a fun option. Organic, ready to drink milk and a toasted ham and cheese sandwich round out this meal option.

roman meal2

Grilled Chicken, Fresh Strawberries, Fresh Cucumbers, Whole Wheat Crackers and Hummus

This lunch is so super easy. If we are having chicken the night before I can just throw an extra breast on the grill or in the pan and have a ready-made lunch for the next day!

bento2


 

Salami or Pepperoni, Fresh Grapes, Organic Crackers, Cute Cheese Cutouts

On a day where I’m not in a huge prepping mood, this simple lunch idea can be assembled in no-time. You don’t have to do the fancy cheese cut-outs, but it sure is fun.

bento4

Chicken Wrap (shredded or cubed, with a dollop of dressing, cheese, and lettuce), Fresh Grapes, Pistachios, and a side of Crackers. 

Another simple meal that uses some leftover chicken or pork. Decide to make it cutesy with the cheese cut-outs and figurines, or skip that step if pressed for time. I have one kid that loves wraps with lettuce, and one who doesn’t care for it that way so I may add in a side of broccoli or carrots instead.

bento3


 

Turkey Sandwich Cutouts, Fresh Berries, Fresh Cukes, Simple Buttered Pasta with fresh Parm.

Grab your whole grain bread once again and jazz up a sandwich with some cutouts. You don’t need anything fancy, just grab a cookie cutter and go at it! Round out this lunch with some fresh veggies and fruits, and a side of simple pasta with fresh Parmesan cheese that is leftover from the night before and you are set.

bento5

Ham and Cheese rolls, Nuts, Fresh Fruit, Veggie Chips, and a Chocolate Square

This meal couldn’t be any easier. Simply grab some ham, roll it up with some cheese and stick with a toothpick. The other items are so simple to place that there is barely any prep involved and this is one of my favorite options!

bento1


 

Leftover Chicken Pizza with Olive Oil Sauce, Fresh Fruit, Cucumber cutouts

Who says you can’t use leftovers? One of my favorite pizza options is a healthier chicken and cheese pizza that simply uses a drizzle of fresh olive oil and herbs for the sauce. It is super delicious and makes a really easy lunch for the next day.

bento6


 

If you have some awesome lunch ideas I’d love to hear them, share in the comments below!

Ingredient Choices

There are several factors that play into my food choices but it really boils down to choosing things that have low/no sugar, healthy fats, and are foods that are not processed (limited). 

We tend to buy a lot of local foods, grow some of our own as we can, and purchase things that have a pretty short ingredient list (nothing added unnecessarily). 

When I’m coming up with school lunch ideas I try to stick to things that are whole foods like nuts, fruits, veggies, and limit anything that is processed as much as possible. 

Lunchbox Supplies

Looking to jazz up your kids’ lunchboxes, or simply grab some bento boxes to make packing easier? Check out some great options below!


If these easy school lunch ideas aren’t enough, check out my Lunch Box Ideas category for even more inspiration!

Jesica H

My name is Jesica and I'm happy to 'meet' you! I'm just living life and loving every minute of it! I try to not let things hold me down or hold me back, I just live! Here at The Mommy Bunch, I offer solid advice on all things parenting, household, and living life as a working mom.

jesicaj1 has 1686 posts and counting.See all posts by jesicaj1

8 thoughts on “Getting Smart with School Lunches: Work Smarter Not Harder

  • September 16, 2014 at 5:18 pm
    Permalink
    My son likes when I make meat and cheese Kabobs.. super easy but appealing to the eye and fun! Reply
    • August 22, 2018 at 2:50 pm
      Permalink
      I just made some of those with a fun little craft as well! https://mommybunch.com/fun-after-school-snack-for-kids/ :) Reply
  • September 18, 2014 at 10:32 am
    Permalink
    Not only do your meals look delicious but I love the lunch containers, forks and fun cheese cut outs! Reply
    • September 18, 2014 at 12:45 pm
      Permalink
      Thanks Trisha, my kids really like those little forks. My daughter specifically requested lunch from home once I got them. :-) Reply
    • August 22, 2018 at 2:49 pm
      Permalink
      I found some great options for the Hello Kitty cutters here: https://amzn.to/2LlhJxL :) Reply
  • September 18, 2014 at 6:14 pm
    Permalink
    These lunches are so cute! I love all your lunchbox and cutters....what a creative way to make lunch fun. Your kids are really lucky! Reply
  • September 20, 2014 at 10:18 am
    Permalink
    I am not very imaginative - sandwiches mostly, and fruit. Reply

Let us have it.....

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.