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School Lunch Ideas for Picky Eaters

It takes a lot of brain power for us parents to come up with school lunch ideas for picky eaters!

I had forgotten the pain involved in the lunch packing undertaking until I started looking for kindergarten lunch ideas for picky eaters. Heading into kindergarten our Eleanor likes pb&j, but only if it’s cut into the “right” shape.

One day it’s supposed to be a circle and the next, four triangles, so you never know what the “right” shape is…

It’s like sandwich making roulette!!

So you better believe I’ve used a lot of patience and creativity the past several months! Today I’m sharing kid friendly lunch ideas for school.

School Lunch Ideas for Picky Eaters

DIY For School Lunches

Pack your own pretzels, Chips, Goldfish in individual bags. You’ll save money on the prepackaged items, and you’ll only make the effort 2-3 times per month instead of 20. It’s a no brainer!

If saving time and money is important to you, try to pre-make sandwiches and freeze them. You can make your own nut butter and jam “Uncrustables” like in my video here, or you can make good old fashioned cold meat sandwiches and freeze them.

Just pull them out in the morning to thaw. Major timesaver!

Add cute lunchbox notes cards or print these for your little ones lunch boxes. It’ll give them (and you) a pick me up on gray days!

Roll It Up – Instead of a traditional sandwich, make a roll-up out of Flat Outs or tortillas.

Packed Lunch in a Thermos

Use your creativity! We’ve love a small insulated thermos to keep things warm on those days when “cold lunch” just won’t do.

Then, your child can take alternative lunch dishes like…

  • Chicken Noodle Soup
  • Tortilla Soup
  • Leftover Chili
  • Tomato Soup
  • Hot Dogs
  • Mac & Cheese
  • Mac & Cheese Bites
  • Meatballs
  • Chicken Nuggets
  • Oatmeal
  • Broccoli Cheese Bites
  • Corn Dogs

Try Bento Box Lunchkits

Use a “bento-box” or compartmentalized box in their lunchbox. I’ve had good luck with this type for our kids. Use them to make their own lunchables!

Get Creative

  • Pig in a Blanket
  • Roll Ups
  • Pizza
  • Pasta Salad with Salami and Cheese
  • Mini Bagel Sandwiches (Ham and Cheese, Cream Cheese & Jam, anyone?)
  • Muffins of any kind, like my banana muffins. Make them ahead and freeze them – let’s be honest the cheap ones in the grocery store taste gross.
  • Mini Corn Dog Nuggets 
  • Leftovers from dinner – hey, it’s worth a try! 

Let’s do lunch!

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More School Lunch Ideas for Picky Eaters

Breakfast for Lunch Boxes

If breakfast for dinner works, why not try breakfast for lunch?

Have your kiddo help create or come up with ideas for their own school lunch. Chances are, they’ll be more likely to eat it, too!

Other posts you may like:

Know a friend in need of ideas?? Be sure to share this post!

school lunch ideas for kids

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Alyssa Salz

Thursday 8th of November 2018

I love sending all the fixings for a yogurt parfait, so easy and they love that they can make their own. Granola/dry cereal, dried fruit, chopped nuts, mini chocolate chips. Place all the add-in's in a bento box then add a cup of yogurt and BOOM...lunch is ready! :)


Friday 15th of March 2019

Sorry I'm so late in responding but can I just say this is genius!!!!!??!

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