Lunch Ideas for Kids

  • 01 of 10

    9 New Ideas for Kids' School Lunches

    creative school lunch ideas
    Creative Lunch Ideas. Stephanie Gallagher

    These creative lunch ideas will not only liven up the kids' school lunches, they'll ensure they don't trade what you worked so hard to make. These recipes go beyond the standard peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. You'll find new ideas for sandwich wraps, salads, soups, leftovers and more -- all designed to tempt even the pickiest eaters. Even better: Many of these kids' school lunch ideas can be made in advance.

    If you're looking for lunch boxes that will keep kids' lunches hot, try the Rachael Ray insulated lunch bag. It doesn't have any animated characters on it, but it has two compartments, so you can pack hot and cold foods in one convenient lunch box.

  • 02 of 10

    Turkey Wrap Sandwiches with Apricot Jam and Bacon

    Turkey Wrap Sandwiches
    Turkey Wrap Sandwiches. Stephanie Gallagher

    Everybody likes the combination of sweet and salty flavors together. These turkey wrap sandwiches bring those tastes together in one satisfying lunch recipe the kids will go crazy for. Deli turkey breast is wrapped in a tortilla with pepper jack cheese (you can substitute cheddar cheese if you prefer), cooked bacon and apricot jelly in these turkey wraps that are sure to become one of those school lunch recipes you'll turn to again and again.

  • 03 of 10

    Tuna Macaroni Salad

    Kids Lunch Ideas - Tuna Pasta Salad
    Tuna Pasta Salad. Stephanie Gallagher

    This tuna macaroni salad recipe makes a great, easy kids' lunch idea for busy school days. You can make this tuna pasta salad in advance and just spoon it into an airtight container for the kids lunches. Pack with an ice pack, and they're good to go.

    Feeling adventurous? Try replacing the tuna with sardines. The kids will get a powerful boost of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, and they probably won't even taste the difference!

  • 04 of 10

    Hot Dog Chili Recipe

    Hot Dog Chili
    Hot Dog Chili. Stephanie Gallagher

    Leftovers and last night's dinner make some of the best school lunch recipes. Take this hot dog chili recipe. It tastes like a chili dog that you can eat with a spoon, so the kids will love it. But because you're making this chili yourself, you can use all-natural hot dogs and good-for-them beans and tomatoes. Even better: This is one of those lunch recipes you can make in advance. It even freezes well, so make a big batch on Sunday, and let the kids have half this week and freeze half for later.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Chicken Panini Recipe

    chicken panini sandwich
    Chicken Panini Sandwich. Stephanie Gallagher

    This chicken panini recipe is one of my most successful school lunch ideas for the kids. Whenever I pack these chicken paninis in my kids lunches, their friends beg them for a taste. You wouldn't think kids would like the pesto, but I think there's something about a grilled sandwich that appeals to everyone (and you can always leave off the pesto if your kids object to it).

    To pack these chicken paninis for school lunches, wrap in foil and put in an insulated lunch box, like the Rachael Ray lunch bag (compare prices).

  • 06 of 10

    Bologna and Cheese Rollups

    lunch ideas - bologna and cheese rollups
    Bologna and Cheese Rollups. Stephanie Gallagher

    These bologna and cheese rollups are a great example of a creative school lunch idea for kids -- one that they'll actually want to eat. Because kids are already familiar with bologna and cheese sandwiches, as well as cheese sticks, they will be more likely to try those same flavors in a different form - in this case, as a rollup. Plus, you can add a toothpick. And what kid doesn't like food on a stick?

  • 07 of 10

    Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

    Macaroni and Cheese
    Macaroni and Cheese. Getty Images/Maryellen Baker

    What collection of kids lunch ideas would be complete without at least one macaroni and cheese recipe? And this one is a classic. Creamy, cheesy and made with only natural ingredients (that's the benefit of making it yourself), this mac and cheese hits the spot any time of day. I make this macaroni and cheese in advance and pack the leftovers in an insulated container in the kids' lunches the next day. They love it!

  • 08 of 10

    Mini Frittatas Recipe

    Mini Frittatas
    Mini Frittatas. Stephanie Gallagher

    This is one of those versatile kids lunch ideas that works as well for breakfast as it does for lunch. I like to make these mini frittatas in mini muffin pans, because the small, bite-sized frittatas seem to really appeal to the kids. But this recipe can be easily adapted to suit your needs. If you don't have a mini muffin pan, just make these hand-held frittatas in a standard muffin tin and increase the baking time. You can also vary the fillings of these mini frittatas to suit your tastes.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Broccoli Soup Recipe

    Broccoli Soup Recipe
    Broccoli Soup Recipe. Stephanie Gallagher

    This broccoli soup recipe was the way I introduced broccoli to my oldest child. Creamy and satisfying, this broccoli soup is one of those hearty school lunches the kids ask for when the weather turns cold. And parents will appreciate the fact that this soup gets the kids to eat vegetables.

  • 10 of 10

    Pizza Wraps

    Pizza Wrap Sandwiches
    Pizza Wrap Sandwiches. Stephanie Gallagher

    What's kids' favorite school lunch? Pizza! That's why these simple pizza wraps are one of the most popular kids' lunch ideas ever. You can send these wraps to school warm, wrapped in foil and an insulated lunch bag, or let them cool and pack them in a regular lunch box with an ice pack, so the kids can eat them cold. Either way, kids consistently vote these pizza wraps as one of the best school lunch ideas ever!