5 Sandwich-Free Lunches Your Kids WILL Eat

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My kids have some dietary restrictions which prevent them from being able to eat the lunch provided by the school cafeteria. Which means every morning, I’m scrounging for foods to give them for lunch. I know if I pack the same thing each day, my kids won’t eat it (no matter how hungry they are, ::sigh:: )

My oldest is in 4th grade now, which means for the better part of the last 5 years, I have had to pack daily lunches. I think that makes me something of an expert, so I thought I’d share some of my recent lunches to help you out of your lunch rut.

#1 Fiesta lunch

bento box school lunch
Cut grapes, tortilla chips, and [gluten-free] oreos make up the snacky portion of this lunch, accompanying a simple salad of black beans, steamed corn, avocado, cilantro, a little lime juice and a pinch of taco seasoning.

#2 Fruit Salad and Chicken Salad

school lunch ideas parenting mom
The big compartment in this lunch is fruit and vegetables, teaching healthy lessons for life. The protein comes from this simple shredded chicken salad (my kids like it super boring) and the [gluten free] pretzels sometimes serve as an ineffective utensil. Yes, those are peanut m&ms in the middle, because who doesn’t like peanut m&ms?

#3 Salami Snowmen

school lunch ideas for kids
When I am low on ideas, I will stack up whatever cold cuts I have and cut them into shapes with cookie cutters. A slice of salami will often go uneaten, but a salami snowman gets eaten every time! Strawberries and carrot slices are also in this lunch (can you tell what we had in stock this week?). The veggie chips act as a cracker of sorts to go with the cold cuts.

#4 Tuna Noodle Salad

noodle salad school lunch yumbox bento
My kids flip for tuna noodles! I mash the tuna with mayo and toss with noodles and diced celery. The pickles and raspberries also go over big (these are the baby dill pickles from Aldi – delicious!) Fruit snacks in the tiny compartment give a sweet bite to end the meal.

#5 Meatless Friday

healthy lunch for kids school
The energy sources in this lunch are the avocado and the hummus. Pretzels make the perfect dunking tool for eating either one. A rice krispie treat and a handful of grapes provide a little sweetness to make this lunch extra enjoyable.

Every one of these lunches was fangoriously devoured by my hungry kids (shuddup, fangoriously is totally a word!) I take that feedback like a grade – and I think each of these lunches gets a solid A. 😉

I hope this list of lunches helps your family. Teaching your kids to eat healthy, balanced meals is one of the more important jobs of a parent – and we could all use new ideas!

Did you try one of these lunches? Comment with a picture, or tell me if your child liked it!

Hot tip: these lunch boxes last for YEARS (provided you hand wash them as often as possible – we give them a careful rinse each night.) They are called Yumbox, and I bought each of my kids one. Our oldest Yumbox is 4 years old and still going strong. Check it out on Amazon: