Lunch Ideas for Kids

School Dinners
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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.

  • 01 of 06

    Tuna Macaroni Salad

    Tuna Macaroni Salad
    Photo: Diana Rattray

    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 kid's 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!

  • 02 of 06

    Chicken Panini Recipe

    Chicken Panini Sandwich
    Stephanie Gallagher

    This chicken panini recipe is one of my most successful school lunch ideas for the kids. Whenever we pack these chicken paninis in our kid's lunches, their friends beg them for a taste. You wouldn't think kids would like the pesto, but we 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).

  • 03 of 06

    Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

    Homemade macaroni and cheese
    Carrie Anne Castillo / Getty Images

    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 hit the spot any time of day. We 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!

  • 04 of 06

    Mini Frittatas Recipe

    Mini Sausage Frittatas
    Diana Rattray

    This is one of those versatile kids lunch ideas that works as well for breakfast as it does for lunch. We 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 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Broccoli Soup Recipe

    Healthy Broccoli Cheese Soup

    This broccoli soup recipe was the way we introduced broccoli to our own kids. 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.

  • 06 of 06

    Pizza Wraps

    Pizza Wrap Sandwiches

    Paul Poplis/Getty Images

    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!