It’s that time of year again, kids are heading back to school! Sometimes I wish I could send mine! (Oh did I say that out loud?)
I’ve been meaning to do a back to school lunch ideas video for years now and finally got around to recording some of my boys (and my boys friends and cousins) most requested lunches. All of these lunches are AMAZINGLY easy and downright DELICOUS!!!! You just wait and see, I’m almost certain that a few, if not ALL of them will become favorites at your house too.
There is no way I could pick a favorite and this line-up features a little bit for everyone. They travel well and keep a good texture whether you eat them immediately or later. Super important because soggy sandwiches are so not cool!
We’ve got a lot to cover in this post but first let me give you a few of my favorite tips for making lunches for kiddies!
A Few Lunch Making Tips For Ya
- Make your kids lunch that morning. I know it’s super convenient to make lunch the night before, but it will taste much better if you make it that morning, well depending on what it is I guess. You can prep as many of the ingredients as possible the night before to make it quicker for you as well as adding the side items and drinks to the lunch box.
- Throw it on a stick and/or add a dipping sauce. I’ve discovered most younger kids love food on a stick as well as dipping foods. My boys LOVE when I put fruit and vegetables on a skewer and add a dipping sauce with it. I’ve also found that they actually eat all or most of their fruits and vegetables when it’s on a stick. Skewered broccoli with a cheese sauce goes over really well with my bunch. Crazy, but effective. Whatever works!
- Stack it. If your lunch sandwiches are starting to look a little boring, simple add another layer or two. Ever had a 5 layer peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Taste just like a regular peanut butter and jelly sandwich but looks much cooler. Kids love when foods are BIGGER than normal! Sometimes that’s all it takes to get them interested.
- Use cookie cutters. Cookie cutters are amazing lunch-making tools! They really can make lunchtime more exciting. Make a sandwich and then use a cookie cookie to cut out different shapes or characters. The same can be done with slices of fruit.
- Always, always ALWAYS add a message. Don’t forget to add some kind of message to go in your kids lunches. This doesn’t just go for younger kids, be sure to add a note in your high schoolers lunches too. It goes a long way, even if they think it’s corny. Deep down, they will love it. It can be as simple as “I love you!”, “Have a fun day!” or keep them excited and curious throughout the day with my favorite, “Guess what? I’ve got a cool surprise waiting for you when I pick you up!” Isaac likes it when I put jokes in his lunch box.
- Hey, don’t feel guilty. If you can’t make your kids lunch every morning don’t feel guilty! Aim for once a week or once a month and make it extra special with a card inside or an invitation to something that the two of you will do together.
Ok let’s go!
Here are 5 TRIED & TRUE school lunch recipe ideas to get you from Monday-Friday!!
Helpful Lunch Making Items
You can watch me prepare all of these easy school lunches on the video below and skip down to get the printable recipes.
Kids School Lunch Idea #1: Easy Buffalo Chicken Roll-Ups
First up, Easy Buffalo Chicken Rolls w/Ranch Dipping Sauce! You aren’t going to believe how good these are to be so doggone easy! My boys aren’t big fans of spicy foods so these buffalo chicken roll-up are pretty mild but they still have a slight kick which is cooled down with the ranch dipping sauce and mozzarella cheese.
The mozzarella cheese adds a nice touch to these buffalo chicken rolls and acts as a great glue to hold in all that spicy chicken yumminess so you don’t want to skip it. Throw on a side of ranch or blue cheese dressing for dipping and you’re all set. And of course don’t forget the celery sticks. For this lunch I also made some strawberry cantaloupe fruit kabobs using toothpicks and threw in a peanut butter Z Bar and and Honest Kids watermelon juice.
Buffalo Chicken Roll-Ups (Kid Lunch Ideas)
- 1 cup shredded chicken cooked
- 1 tablespoon butter melted
- 2 tablespoon buffalo sauce I used Franks
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1.2 teaspoon parsley
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup mozzerella cheese can use more
- 3 flour tortillas 8 inch
- Ranch or blue cheese dressing of dipping
- In a small bowl stir together butter, buffalo sauce, garlic powder, parsley and black pepper.
- Place shredded chicken in a large bowl and pour buffalo sauce mixture over chicken.
- Stir to combine. (add more seasonings if desired)
- Heat 1 tablespoon of butter or oil in a large skillet over medium.
- Prepare the rolls by placing a line of mozzarella cheese toward the end of the tortillas.
- Top the cheese with a line of the buffalo chicken.
- Roll each tortilla tightly.
- Place rolls into the hot skillet, seam side down and cook until golden and toasted. (Be sure to turn so that each side gets crisp).
- Place rolls on a plate and slice at a diagonal.
- Serve with ranch or blue cheese dressing for dipping.
Kids School Lunch Idea #2: Triple PB Nutella Banana Sandwich
Moving right along to one of my favorite sandwiches of all times. Triple Peanut Butter Nutella Banana Sandwich!!! What’s better than a sandwich with two slices of bread? A sandwich with 3 slices of bread of course! My little Ethan LOVES this triple pb nutella banana sandwich so much!
I think he thinks it’s a dessert. It’s almost as good as a dessert with it’s crisp, buttery outside, that gooey peanut butter and nutella and those sweet bananas! These flavors should be illegal. It’s an amazing sandwich that stays on repeat around here. And to be honest, I’m kinda wanting one right now with a sprinkling of powdered sugar and a tall glass of almond milk. Talk about comfort food!
Triple PB Banana Nutella Sandwich (serve 1)
3 slices of soft bread
Cut the edges off of the bread.
Spread peanut butter on one slice of bread.
Spread nutella on the other slice of bread.
Spread butter on the last slice of bread.
Slice banana in half and then slice each half into thirds.
Place three slices of banana on top of the peanut butter bread and three slices of banana on the Nutella bread.
Heat a buttered skillet over medium heat.
Place the bread on the skillet, being sure to place the buttered bread butter side down.
When the bread is golden on the bottom, use a spatula to carefully stack the nutella bread on top of the peanut butter bread and then place the buttered bread on top (toasted side up).
Press down on the sandwich gently with a spatula and place on a place.
Let sandwich cool slightly and then slice at a diagonal.
Kids School Lunch Idea #3: Cheeseburger Quesadillas
I don’t know to many kids who don’t like cheeseburgers! These cheeseburger quesadillas are Isaac’s favorite! He says they taste just like Wendy’s cheeseburgers (which may or may not be a good thing to you) We all love them!
These little guys do a great job at packing in all the juicy flavors of a cheeseburger!!! With that buttery golden tortilla I almost prefer these cheeseburger quesadillas over a regular cheeseburger. Serve with some ketchup and mustard for dipping is a must for the full cheeseburger effect.
Cheeseburger Quesadilla (serve 2)
Ingredients:8 oz ground turkey sausage, cooked & crumbled ( I cooked mine with diced onions)
2 flour tortillas (8 inch)
1/2 cup cheese, shredded (can use more)
1/4 cup lettuce, shredded
1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, diced
Mustard & ketchup
Directions;Heat a buttered skillet over medium heat.
Place a tortilla into the pan and cover tortilla with cheese.
On one side of the tortilla, top with some of the turkey sausage, tomatoes and lettuce.
When cheese begins to melt, fold the tortilla in half and cook until golden.
Plate, slice and serve.
Serve with mustard and ketchup for dipping.
Kids School Lunch Idea #4 Mexican Fiesta Chicken Salad
You can’t go wrong with this super quick and easy Mexican chicken salad. My husband and Ethan LOVES this stuff. Isaac isn’t much of fan. He’s a visual eater and he says this “looks like slop”. Even after trying to convince him that it has some of favorite ingredients; chicken, cheese, mayo, he still wouldn’t budge. It’s not the prettiest dish, but I don’t know many chicken salads that are. It’s full of flavor, easy and makes a filling lunch!
Eat it with Ritz crackers (my preference), wrapped up in a tortilla, or between bread. Either way it’s delicious and only gets better the next day. Ethan and I had this for lunch today while watching Bubble Guppies and I be doggone if we didn’t nearly eat the entire bowl. It’s really easy to do with this fiesta chicken salad.
Mexican Chicken Salad (serves 2)
1 1/2 cups chicken, cooked and shredded
2 tablespoons red onions, finely diced
1/3 cup Rotel tomatoes (I used Lime & Cilantro flavor)
2 tablespoons mayonaise (may need more or less)
1 tablespoon Spicy Ranch dressing (may need more or less)
1/4 cup Monterey jack cheese (may need more or less)
2 teaspoons sour cream (optional)
pinch of chili powder
pinch of garlic powder
pinch of oregano
Salt and Pepper to taste.
Ritz Crackers for dipping
DIRECTIONS:In a large bowl add chicken, red onions and rotel tomatoes.
Add in enough mayo, spicy ranch and sour cream to reach a creamy consistency. (I add them a little at a time)
Season with chili powder, garlic powder and oregano.
Stir in cheese.
Add salt and pepper to bring out the flavors.
Serve with crackers
Kids School Lunch Idea #5: Taco Salad To-Go (Walking Taco Salad)
Finally we have the epic Walking Tacos! I love this idea so much and I’ve been seeing it everywhere lately. Even saw a lady selling these at the park last week. A walking taco salad is simply your favorite taco ingredients thrown into a bag of corn chips. Like magic youinstantly have an amazing, portable taco salad. Genius to whoever thought of this!
Another reason why I love it is because it’s so versatile and customizable. Instead of using ground turkey like I’m using, you could use chicken, beef, tofu or leave out the meat all together.
Walking Tacos (serves 1)
1-2 tablespoons cup cooked ground turkey ( I used crumbled turkey breakfast sausage)
1 snack-size bag corn chips
Possible Toppings; lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, sour cream, salsa, taco sauce, avocado, black olives, etc
DIRECTIONS:To eat a walking taco, first open the bag of chips.
Add in your favorite taco toppings and stir together.
And that completes my week of fast, easy and delicious school lunches! I hope I gave you some great ideas to try with your kiddos!
What are some of your favorite school lunches to make for your kids, spouse or yourself?