Fast and Easy School Lunch Ideas

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Quick and Simple Lunchbox Ideas

Sometimes it’s so hard to come up with new things to put in a lunchbox! Whether it is for the kids at school, the husband at work, or even for yourself when heading out to a playdate with the littles.

It can be hard to come up with new ideas and most of all, easy and fast ideas!

We all want to bring creativity to our school lunchbox ideas for the kids.

“A peanut butter and jelly sandwich again!? Are you serious!?”

But beyond creativity we need easy. We need easy, fast, healthy ideas that are also creative. Wow that’s asking a lot, isn’t it? 

But it isn’t impossible to tick off all those boxes with a great list of school lunch ideas like this. Plus some great tips to help you save time when putting those lunches together.

Because even the easiest meal to throw together, can take way too long if you don’t have an efficient lunch box making setup.

fast and easy school lunchbox ideas

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How to make school lunches faster

There are lots of tricks and tips that I’ve found through the years that can make putting together school lunches so much easier, faster, and even more enjoyable!

  1. Get the kids involved in the shopping process. When kids have more of a say on what they eat (well on anything really) within a reasonable amount, they are more likely to eat it!
  2. Let the kids help pack lunches. You don’t always have to go it alone mama. Just like tip #1, if they help put that lunch together, it’s a lot more likely it gets eaten! That doesn’t mean give the kids free range of the meal. But you can give them options like, which fruit would you like? Or, which cracker do you want today?
  3. Get organized with your lunch prep! If you don’thave convenient and logic organization for lunch prep you’ll repeatedly go to the same place to get “one more thing.” After opening the fridge 7 different times to pack one set of lunches, I knew I needed something better.


How to Get Your Lunchbox Prep Really Organized… and Fast

By picking up a few affordable organization tools, your lunchbox prep time can be easily quartered! And gasp, you might actually begin enjoying lunch preparation!

Here are a few simple but life-changin tools that I use to organize my kitchen, pantry, and overall lunchbox making process.


1. Add color-coded bins to your pantry

color coded organizing bins for the pantry

When attempting to involve the kids in lunch packing (which realistically doesn’t happen every single day, but when it does it’s always nice) it is WAY easier to say, “Ok, now go pick a snack from the green bin.” than it is just pointing them toward the shelf. 

By having colored bins set up for different types of snacks it’s very easy for kids, AND FOR YOU, to go grab a snack cracker or fruit from it’s designated bin. (We also use them in the fridge for a bit more organization.)


2. While we’re at it, color-code your lunch boxes.

color coded bento box lunchboxes

There are a lot of really nice and affordable BPA free bento-style lunchboxes available on amazon. I like having color-coded lunchboxes for two reasons.

  1. It makes for a lot less confusion when you hit that rushed time of the morning and I can just holler out, “Jade grab the green box!”
  2. Once again, giving kids options makes them feel happy, involved, and important. So the days they are helping they get to pick their lid color.


3. Organize the rest of your pantry in clear plastic containers.

clear pantry bins for fast lunchbox packing

I like having my pantry crazy organized. We go through a lot of food in my house, and when I say a lot I’m sure if you saw the amount of food the 4 of us alone purchase and consume every month you’d be astounded!

With all that food quickly coming in and out everything needs to have a place or it gets lost in the shuffle. Behind my color-coded bins of snacks that the kids can pick, there are clear plastic bins that hold the staples in an easy to see and access place.

Having an organized pantry makes the whole cooking and preparation process exponentially easier.


Now that you have a more organized pantry, fridge, and an idea of how to put these lunches together more quickly, let’s dive into the fast and easy school lunch ideas!

But quickly before we jump into the new ideas, I have LOTS of lunchbox roundups from previous school years. Between these 4 posts you will never need to hunt for school lunch ideas again.

  1. Healthy Bentobox Style School Lunch Ideas
  2. The Best School Lunch Ideas for Even Picky Eaters
  3. The Ultimate School Lunch Roundup


Quick and Easy Lunchbox Ideas for 2019

1. Gluten-free Allergy-free Uncrustables

gluten free allergy free uncrustables for school lunches

Gluten free Uncrustables from Strength and Sunshine

This recipe is perfect, easy, healthy, and can be made in batches! It calls for sunflower butter, my absolute favorite! Plus here’s the big peanut butter and jelly secret and makes this the fastest and easiest recipe of all: you can make these in batches and freeze them in ziplock baggies for up to 6 weeks! Talk about a time-saver!


2. Paleo Corn Dog Muffins

easy fast paleo lunchbox idea corn dog muffins

Corn Dog Muffins from Mom Eats Paleo


Awesome, easy batch cooking recipe! That’s what this post is all about, fast, easy, fun, delicious, kid approved school lunch ideas! This recipes hits a home run with the kids. This Paleo recipe will have any child delighted when they open up their lunchbox!


3. Vegetarian Taco Wraps

vegetarian taco wraps for your lunchbox

Vegetarian Taco Wraps from Living Lou

Wraps are perfect for fast and easy school lunches. They mix up the sandwich monotony and virtually everyone likes wraps. It’s one lunch recipe that I know every member of the family will eat (husband and kids included!). These wraps take only minutes to put together and are perfect for a light, filling, and satisfying meal.


4. Italian Pinwheel Wrap

fast school lulnch idea ilatian pinwheel wrap

Italian Pinwheel from Vigor it Out

So now we’ve established that wraps are a perfect fast and easy lunchbox staple. This post features our family favorite, Italian Pinwheels! Not to mention 6 other creative wrap recipes for those busy mornings so that you are sure to be able to please every palate.


5. Zucchini Tots

shredded zucchini tater tots for toddler lunch

Zucchini Tots from Brooklyn Farm Girl

These are are beautiful nad sneaky way to get your kids to love their vegetables! These tots are made with zucchini and are meat-free but SO delicious! Dip in red sauce, ranch, or just eat them plain! Even picky toddlers and turn their nose up at this easy lunch idea.


6. Pepperoni Rolls

pepperoni rolls school lunch idea

Pepperoni Rolls by Dancing in the Rain

This recipe is far to easy and creative to not have in your school lunchbox arsenal! They’re like tiny little pizza sandwiches that are easy to make and irresistable. This is a really fun one to get the kids involoved in putting together before you give them a quick fry.


7. Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

air fryer chicken tenders

Air Fryer Chicken Tenders from Recipes from a Pantry

This recipe makes me want an air fryer so bad! I see something going on my Christmas list now, I have a bit of a kitchen appliance addiction, but I digress.

These tasty chicken tenders are totally healthy, take about 15 minutes, and are definately kid approved! Any type of chicken nugget is really, but when you make them healthy in an air fryer with a kick of parnesean?! To die for!


8. Low-carb Egg Muffins

low carb breakfast or lunch egg muffins

Paleo Breakfast Muffins from Wholesome Yum

Eggs are not nearly only for breakfast, at least in my book!  Eggs are a staple food item rich in choline and one of the few non-fish foods naturally with omega-3’s! This recipe is easy to make in large batches, delicious beyond compare, and super nutritious!


9. Turkey Club Wraps

Ranch Turkey club wrap

Turkey Club Wraps from Kylee Cooks

An easy delicious classic with a twist. Wraps are easier to handle than sandwiches for little hands so the perfect pick for your school lunch ideas! This easy wrap is like a blt a turkey sandwich had a baby. Yum!


Wrapping Up Fasy and Easy School Lunch Ideas

I hope you love each of these tasty and creative lunchbox ideas and that they last you weeks or more! 

Most of these recipes can be made in batches or frozen to make preparing lunches even easier for a busy mama. Which is every mama!

Are there any more easy nutritious recipes you’d love to see? Vegetarian lunchbox ideas? More grown-up lunchbox ideas?

I had such an overwhelming response of bloggers wanting to be included in this roundup it’s going to be a two-part series! So keep an eye out later this month for another delicious lunchbox roundup!


More School Lunch Ideas from Vigor it Out


Quick and Simple Lunchbox Ideas

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