Getting Smart with School Lunches: Work Smarter Not Harder

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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!



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.


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.



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.


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!



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.



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

When she isn’t drowning in a pile of never-ending laundry or picking up Legos, Jesica is busy helping other parents make their lives a little less stressful with homemaking hacks, easy recipes, fun DIY projects, and more. On her successful blog, The Mommy Bunch, her Cricut crafting tutorials are the most popular articles and are what sparked her passion for helping others build a business of their own. Jesica started where you can find loads more craft tutorials and business advice. In her FREE Facebook group, Rock Your Craft Business, Jesica teaches other entrepreneurs how to take their craft business to the next level by building their brand, targeting the right customers, and utilizing smart social media strategies. Join us!

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

  • September 16, 2014 at 5:18 pm
    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
      I just made some of those with a fun little craft as well! :) Reply
  • September 18, 2014 at 10:32 am
    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
      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
      I found some great options for the Hello Kitty cutters here: :) Reply
  • September 18, 2014 at 6:14 pm
    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
    I am not very imaginative - sandwiches mostly, and fruit. Reply

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