School Lunch Ideas for the Busy Mom

Posted September 1, 2016 by Thirty-Something Angie in Clean Living, Lifestyle / 0 Comments

Have kids in school? Here are some of my favorite healthy school lunch ideas that are even fast enough for busy moms!

Need some healthy school lunch ideas that don’t take forever to prep? This list will give you some ideas your kids will actually enjoy!

It’s that time of year again!  All over the country, busy moms are now stressing about packing a school lunch for their kids.  How do we pack a healthy lunch our kids will eat? How do we keep it interesting? What will make their faces light up with joy?  It all sounds so complicated, but I can tell you from experience that fun, healthy school lunches don’t have to take a ton of time and energy.  I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorites below.  These may help you pack lunches that will excite your kids!

School Lunch Formula

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First, it’s good to have a “lunch time formula” that you aim to stick with every day.  This keeps a lot of the guesswork out of packing a school lunch, and ensures that you pack a balanced meal with plenty of options.

My formula is pretty simple.  I aim to pack a protein, fruit, veggie, and snack in every lunch.  Since we rarely do the basic sandwich, I decided to grab a Bento Box. These make it so much easier to pack a lunch with options, and help me stick to my lunch formula! This one has lasted us 5 years, so I personally vouch for it, but there are so many popular options.

Other than that, my motto is to keep it simple.  Let’s be honest here.  We are the ones that want to make the school lunches interesting.  We are the ones that want to change it up all the time so it doesn’t get boring.  When I really started to pay attention to my kids reactions to lunch, I noticed that she was pretty happy eating the same thing (or close to it) just about every single day.  Unlike adults, kids like consistency.

So, with that said, here are some of my favorite school lunch ideas to take you into the new school year.

Related: My January Whole 30 Experience


What is better than food on a stick?!  Seriously, it almost doesn’t matter what you put in your kabob, because they are so fun.  Still, here are some ideas that are kid-tested and delicious.

  • Ham & Pineapple Kabobs
  • Fruit Kabobs
  • Pizza Kabobs
    • ex: pepperoni, cheese, and black olives

tip: if your kid is really young or rambunctious, you can cut the sharp ends off the kabobs to eliminate the worry over injury.


We don’t eat pasta regularly, since we try to limit processed carbs, but it’s great as a special treat.  My kids love pasta, so it’s a lunch I know they’ll eat without complaint.  I like to make it fun, and switch it up from normal spaghetti and meat sauce.  A couple of kid favorites are tortellini pasta or mac n cheese.  I like to pack a few sides to go with it, so the kids get a balanced meal.

Turkey and Cream Cheese Roll-Ups
Turkey and Cream Cheese Roll-Ups


Soups are so easy to pack for school lunches.  During the cooler months, I love to make a pot of soup just for lunches.  It stays hot in a thermos, and is really easy to pack in veggies this way.  Some of my go-to soups are below.

  • Pizza Soup
  • Minestrone Soup
  • Chili
  • Chicken Noodle Soup

Related: How I’m Prepping for Back to School with Essential Oils

Homemade Luncheables

Homemade luncheables are a really popular option found on Pinterest, so I’m sure you’ve seen them.  Those versions seem full of cute shapes and perfectly cut cheese and meat, though.  If I’m being totally honest, I think the shapes are a waste of my time.  I keep mine pretty simple and just cut cubes of cheese and squares of meat similar to these.  Usually, I go even simpler, and opt for pepperoni slices with crackers and cheese.  My kids love pepperoni, and it’s already the perfect shape!  If your kids don’t like pepperoni, you can do this with any lunch meat that they like by cutting it into squares.  I find that the thicker deli cuts work the best.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to keep your kid’s school lunch fun and interesting without taking a lot of time.  In fact, I think most of these options take about as much time as a sandwich lunch to put together!  Pick a few of your favorites and rotate them out every now and then.  Your kids will thank you for it!

What are some of your favorite simple school lunch ideas?  I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!


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