This article on easy school lunch ideas is sponsored by Fetch Rewards. Thank you for using my links to support Pennies Into Pearls at no additional cost to you.
Tell me I’m not the only one who hates figuring out lunches for the kids! Well, that’s how I used to feel.
It felt like packing school lunches every morning was like asking me in the midst of the morning chaos to also solve a complex physics equation. Too much!
That’s when I knew I needed to create a system to make this daily task a no brainer and help our family have a more peaceful morning. I’m going to teach you all about it!
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School Lunch Ideas
Create a Recurring Weekly Menu
Start with the main course.
Tired of sandwiches? Yeah we are too! That is why I have created a five day recurring menu for the kids lunches. Every day is a different option of NON-SANDWICH easy school lunch ideas. This is a simple system I use to keep lunches NOT BORING!
Here is what goes into our kids lunches on rotation. Feel free to copy!
- Bagel and cream cheese
- Chicken nuggets
- Rolled tacos
- DIY lunchables
It’s that simple. These are all foods I know all three of my kids will like, for the most part…
Give it a try. I know you can think of five lunch ideas that yourkids will happily eat. Here are a few more suggestions that I might occasionally swap out with our regulars.
- Hot dog or sausage bites
- Homemade mini pizza (flat bread or english muffin)
- Salad (Don’t write it off! My daughter now LOVES a salad for lunch!)
- Lunch meat wrapped around string cheese
- Mac & cheese
- Waffle or pancakes (me kids LOVE this as a special treat!)
Mix Up The Sides
To help avoid whining about having the same thing all the time, use the side items as a way to mix it up week to week.
Here are some examples of side items to keep on hand to add new school lunch ideas for your kids.
- Veggies w/ranch
- Hard boiled egg
- Fruit snacks
- Cereal trail mix
- Chips and salsa or guacamole cups
This is where Fetch Rewards comes in to save the day! Fetch Rewards is a FREE app that allows you to easily earn rewards for buying your groceries.
My favorite part about this app is that there is no planning required and it is super fast to use. It’s so easy and quick that as soon as we leave the store and are in the car, I open up Fetch and snap a quick pic of my receipt and immediately earn points! Then you use those points to redeem some pretty awesome rewards!
I don’t have to worry about taking up the extremely limited amount of time I have before my kids start melting down in the backseat.
Ready to see how easy this is?
It’s only three steps! Once you have downloaded the app and created an account, this is all you have to do after you go shopping:
- Scan your receipt.
- Earn points.
- Get rewards right away!
When it comes to items for lunches, Fetch has your savings covered! You can take a look at their Special Offers tab to see where you can really earn points. In addition to those opportunities there are hundreds of brands that will earn you points and help you save on your kids school lunches.
On a regular basis I earn points on baking ingredients I use to make homemade treats for lunches.
Take advantage of opportunities to try something new! I love using Fetch to try out new products for lunches. When you stack a great deal with a product that you think your family might love, then what’s stopping you! That’s the opportunity I’m talking about!
Then it’s time to treat yo’ self! Use your points to get yourself something! Yes you can be responsible and redeem your points for a gift card to somewhere useful for back to school or for next month’s groceries. BUT you could also get yourself a mom-back-to-school treat! You work hard mama!
Fetch has a huge selection of different stores, restaurants, and entertainment to choose from for their rewards!
I am getting close to be able to claim my next $10 gift card! Whoop whoop! I’m thinking about using it towards a restaurant gift card to surprise hubby on a little date night!
Download Fetch Rewards here and see how easy and fast you can start earning rewards! Use my referral code: PEARLS when you sign up!
Prep The Night Before
One simple thing you can do to make your lunch making process a lot less stressful is to prep as much as you can the night before.
That means fill up those snack baggies, portion out the crackers, or cut up the DIY lunchable meat all the night before. Don’t fool yourself into thinking “It will just take a sec in the morning.” Cuz every little thing on your plate in the morning adds stress!
Lunch Packing Supplies
There are a few lunch packing supplies that we started using over the last couple years that have made life a lot easier!
When packing hot lunches, depending on what the food is, I will put a little foil in the Bento Box around the hot food item. For things like soups or pastas I will use the Thermos Jar.
When packing cold lunches I make sure to include an ice pack right next to Bento Box.
Now what can you do about your picky eater? Keep it simple. If they want the same thing every day, why not? But also don’t give them an option.
A lot of times my boys won’t like what I am serving them. I don’t give them an option. Sometimes they go hungry till the next meal, because our house rule is if you don’t eat your meal then you don’t get a snack.
Sounds harsh, but it works! They won’t starve to death!
Yes you want to make sure they are eating a well balanced meal. There are ways to sneak the healthy stuff in. Have you seen this book, “Deceptively Delicious” by Jessice Seinfeld? This book will be a huge help for you!
But one piece of advice my kids pediatrician has given me for the last eight years, is to keep offering fruits and veggies. About 99% of the time by boys won’t eat the fruit or veggies I put in their lunches, but I keep doing it every day.
My eight year old daughter used to be the same way. But now she is pretty good about eating different fruits and salad is one of her favorite meals!
Don’t give up!
You got this mama! I know these tips will help you make lunch packing a less stressful morning chore! Let me know if there are any questions you have down in the comments!
Talk to you soon! Xoxo