Forget the PB&J and turkey on rye — this school year is all about fresh new flavors your kids’ peers will dying to swap food for. These 10 delicious lunch ideas will keep every meal exciting and fresh while keeping the sandwich-fatigue at bay.
If there’s anything we’ve learned from lollipops and Fudgesicles, it’s that everything tastes better on a stick! Plus, recipes like chicken satay or these oven-roasted Greek chicken kebabs by Layers of Happiness are easy to prepare in advance to enjoy all week. Just be sure to use blunt kebab sticks for younger kids.
2. Spring rolls
Fresh, colorful, and crunchy spring rolls are a welcome alternative to a traditional wrap. You can follow this recipe by Sally’s Baking Addiction or slice up whatever veggies and protein you have on hand. Just be sure to check your child’s school policy on peanuts before you send along the dipping sauce. You may want to omit it in the case of allergies or use an allergy-free peanut butter alternative like Sunbutter.
3. Vegetable sushi
Breathe new life into last night’s leftover rice by rolling it up into sushi. This recipe from Minimalist Baker shows you how to make the perfect roll without one of those fancy sushi mats your favorite Japanese restaurant uses. Just don’t forget the soy sauce!
4. Hummus and pita
Give your kids the green light to play with their food with a hummus and pita platter they can dip, dunk, and munch. Inspired Taste shows you how to make your own hummus to pack alongside sliced pita, carrots, cucumbers, and grape tomatoes.
5. Cold Noodle Salad
A sesame noodle salad, such as this one from Epicurious, provides a fresh, new take on traditional pasta salad. It’s an easy recipe to make ahead and portion out for the week, and your child will have fun twirling up the noodles at lunch.
6. Silver Dollar Pancakes
Who says pancakes are only for breakfast? These mini flapjacks by Dinner then Dessert are the perfect size for a lunch box. Include a hardboiled egg and orange juice box for the ultimate diner-inspired lunchbox.
7. Lasagna rolls
Send your kid to school with a taste of home. Cooking Classy shows you how to make lasagna roll-ups that are easy to portion but have all the same flavor of a family-favorite meal.
8. Mini quiches
These highly-customizable egg muffins are a fun way to get kids involved in making lunch. They can get creative filling the muffin tins with a variety of mix-ins, like these suggestions by A Sassy Spoon.
9. Stuffed sweet potato
Who doesn’t love to find a little something sweet in their lunch box? Stuffed sweet potatoes like these by Happy Healthy Mama are a nutrient-packed way to satisfy the craving.
Yet another take on breakfast for lunch, overnight oats can be made in advance in separate jars for easy packing throughout the week. Plus, as Hello Little Home shows, there’s no shortage on flavor ideas.
More Goodies to Fill Your Lunchbox: