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7 Packed Lunch Ideas Your Kids Will Actually Love

The kids are headed to school, and it’s time to get back in the lunch packing game. I’m always trying to come up with creative ideas for lunches for my littles that they’ll actually be interested in—which if you’re a fellow mom, you know is easier said than done! Here are some of my best tips for making sure your little learners are eating nutritious lunches even when you’re not around: 

Turkey and cheese pinwheels and Fruit

Place a slice of Kraft cheese (of your choice!) and slice of Hillshire Farm Oven Roasted Turkey on a tortilla. Roll tightly, and cut into sixths. (Add hummus before the cheese and turkey if you’d like!) Lay pinwheels out flat in a Ziploc bag, seal it up, and you’re good to go! 

Alternate ideas: Make pinwheels with peanut butter and jelly, or swap out turkey for ham! 

Peanut butter and banana quesadilla, mini pretzel twists, yogurt tube

Spread JIF peanut butter on a quesadilla, then lay thinly sliced banana on top. Cook in a pan until tortilla is lightly browned. Once it cools, cut into triangles and place in a Ziploc bag. Add an Annie’s full fat yogurt tube and a small bag of mini pretzel twists, and you’re all set!

Lunchables with Capri Sun and a side of fruit

Lunchables are a life saver on those mornings when you’re trying to make it out the door on time and you realize you didn’t pack any lunches! Keep a few in stock for those on-the-go mornings and toss them in a lunchbox with a Cutie or a side of fruit!

Refried bean and cheese quesadilla, grapes, chips and salsa

Spread refried beans on a tortilla, cover beans with cheese, and place a second tortilla on top. Cook in a pan until cheese is melty. Let the quesadilla cool, cut into triangles, and place in a Ziploc bag. Add grapes and chips each to their own bag, and put a bit of salsa into a small container with a lid.

Mini pizza, apple slices, and trail mix

Spread pizza sauce on an English muffin, add cheese and any other toppings, and cook in the toaster oven until cheese is melted. Let it cool, then store it in a Ziploc bag. Add apple slices and trail mix to the lunchbox for a variety of flavors and textures to finish off the meal.

Dino-nuggets, clementine, and yogurt tube

Cook Tyson’s Fun Nuggets according to package instructions, let cool, then cut into halves or quarters. Include a side of ketchup or other dipping sauce. Peel a clementine and put it in a Ziploc bag, and add an Annie’s full fat yogurt tube to the lunchbox, too.

PB&J, raspberries, carrot sticks, and cheese cubes

We couldn’t make a lunch roundup without including this classic! I mean, there’s a reason it’s survived the test of time. This one is pretty straightforward – make a PB&J and add a handful of sides to round out the meal. Other side options include cucumber slices, sliced yellow pepper, strawberries, and yogurt. If you’re feeling extra creative, use a cookie cutter to cut out the sandwich into fun shapes! 

Here are some of my final tips for making packing those lunches a little easier:

  1. Pack the lunchbox the night before! This saves time and stress in the morning, even if you’re making the simplest of lunches.
  2. If your child’s school is peanut-free, or if your child has a peanut allergy, substitute any peanut butter for sunbutter or almond butter.
  3. Involve your child in the process. Depending on their age, they might be able to help put things in Ziploc bags and place them in the lunchbox, or perhaps they can even help cut fruits or veggies. Let them see the process it takes to prep their lunch, and give them some responsibility to help put it together.

Happy back-to-school season to you and your littles!