17 Kids Lunch Ideas That Are Delicious and Easy

Your kids won't trade these away

meatball bombs

 Leah Maroney

Brown bag lunches can start getting routine and boring. You may send the same peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day, rounded out with packages of chips and cookies. If you need inspiration,  these brown bag lunch ideas give you creative ways to fill the kids' lunch boxes.

  • 01 of 17

    Mini Frittatas

    Mini frittatas with smoked ham and peas

     Rua Castilho/Getty Images

    Bite-sized frittatas made in mini muffin tins (regular muffin tins work for a larger size) are irresistible hot or cold. Try adding chopped ham or sauteed veggies to up the healthy factor.

  • 02 of 17

    Crispy Rice Balls

    Leah Maroney 

    Kids will surely love these crispy rice balls (which can be baked or fried), but the surprise is they're filled with vegetables. There is no need to tell your picky eaters if you don't want to. These rice balls can be made in advance and eaten hot, warm, or cold.

  • 03 of 17

    Tuna Macaroni Salad

    Pasta and tuna salad

    StockFood/Getty Images 

    Tuna macaroni salad is a favorite with the kids and you'll love the fact that it can be made in advance. Try swapping the canned tuna with sardines—they're full of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and little ones won't be able to taste the difference.

  • 04 of 17


    Leah Maroney

    Once thought to be anything but healthy, guacamole has earned its rightful place as a health food once again. Packed with heart-healthy avocados, guacamole makes an excellent dip for school lunches. Just add some whole grain tortilla chips or include veggie dippers.

    Continue to 5 of 17 below.
  • 05 of 17

    Seven Layer Salad

    Seven Layer Salad
    James Baigrie/The Image Bank/Getty Images

    Even people who don't like peas will want seconds of this salad filled with bacon, peas, cheese, and egg in a sweet, creamy dressing. It's a refreshing lunch that has plenty of protein and vegetables.

  • 06 of 17

    Cheesy Meatball Bombs

    meatball bombs

     Leah Maroney

    Cheesy meatball "bombs"—basically a meat and sauce-filled bun—can easily replace frozen pizza rolls. You can bake the meatballs from scratch or use pre-cooked meatballs.

  • 07 of 17

    Tomato Soup

    Basil in bowl of tomato soup

    Aleksandr Kuzmin/Getty Images 

    Tomato soup is a classic meal for kids. Making your own ensures you know what goes in it and this recipe boosts the vitamin count by secretly including a carrot. Add a cheese sandwich or hard-boiled egg to the brown bag for a complete lunch the kids wouldn't dare trade.

  • 08 of 17

    Homemade Kit Kat Bars

    Kitty Cat Bars - Homemade Kit Kat Bars
    (c) 2015 Elizabeth LaBau

    Homemade Kit Kat bars are just like the candy bar of the same name, but you control the ingredients. The kids won't be able to taste the difference.

    Continue to 9 of 17 below.
  • 09 of 17

    Chinese Chicken Salad

    Chinese chicken salad

     Jupiterimages/Getty Images

    Chinese chicken salad is made with lettuce, leftover rotisserie chicken, mandarin oranges, and chow mein noodles. Use a store-bought Asian dressing or make the one included with the recipe, depending on how much time you have.

  • 10 of 17

    Hard-Boiled Eggs

    Hard-boiled brown eggs

    Adam Gault/Getty Images 

    Hard-boiled eggs are a great source of protein, vitamin A, riboflavin, and folate. Plus, they're cheap and you can easily boil a half dozen on Sunday and pack them in the kids' lunches all week long.

  • 11 of 17

    Hummus Sandwich

    Healthy Vegetarian Vegan Pita with Hummus and Veggies, Red Plate

     NightAndDayImages/Getty Images

    Hummus is a wonderful vegetarian and protein-packed filling for a pita sandwich. It goes great with cucumbers, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes and whatever fillings your kids fancy. 

  • 12 of 17

    Carrots With Peanut Butter

    Close-up of peanut butter

     Glow Cuisine/Getty Images

    Simple, healthy, and crunchy, these are a great snack that requires no refrigeration. You can include the peanut butter as a dip or smear it on the carrots directly. If your kids prefer celery, consider making ants on a log, which stuffs the crispy veggie with peanut butter (or cream cheese) and raisins.

    Continue to 13 of 17 below.
  • 13 of 17

    Cucumber Sandwiches

    Cucumber sandwiches

     James Petts/Flickr

    Cucumber sandwiches aren't just for high tea. Kids will enjoy these even more when you use cutters to make fun shapes out of them.

  • 14 of 17

    Homemade Hummus

    Chickpea hummus with black sesame seeds on top

     istetiana/Getty Images

    It's easy to make classic hummus with a can of chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini (sesame paste) and garlic. You can also toast pita bread to make pita chips to go with it​ or send carrots, celery, and bell pepper strips as dippers.

  • 15 of 17

    Nutella Rice Crispy Treats

    Nutella Crispy Treats

    Elizabeth LaBau

    Something sweet is always nice in a brown bag lunch. Improve your dessert game by mixing Nutella, chopped nuts, and miniature chocolate chips into homemade crispy treats.

  • 16 of 17

    Pizza Wrap Sandwiches

    Pizza wrap
    Paul Poplis/Getty Images

    Pizza wrap sandwiches need only three ingredients and are a snap to put together. But you can easily add your favorite pizza toppings such as green peppers, black olives, and pepperoni. They are enjoyable either cold or hot.

    Continue to 17 of 17 below.
  • 17 of 17

    Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Chocolate Chip Cookies

     Esther Chou/Getty Images

    This recipe calls for heart-healthy oats, bran flakes, and nuts. It has just the right texture for a perfectly soft, wholesome chocolate chip cookie. Kids will love this lunchbox treat.