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School Lunch Ideas to Fill Your Kid’s Lunchbox

I’ll trade you!
Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/DigitalVision via Getty Images

As some students return to the classrooms this fall under social distancing guidelines, it’s time to dust off those lunchboxes and prep the sandwich bags. These 20 kid-friendly lunch recipes are sure to brighten your child’s day.

Avocado Toast Grilled Cheese

Avocado Toast Grilled Cheese

This franken-avocado grilled cheese toast is made for Mondays. Counted among other  brain-boosting foods, avocados are packed with healthy monounsaturated fats that support healthy blood flow and information-carrying nerves in the brain.

For the Avocado Toast Grilled Cheese recipe, click here.

Frushi

Frushi

Courtesy of Dole

Fruit and sushi collide in another lunchtime franken-food: frushi. This fun recipe calls for sweet rice and coconut milk and is one of the best desserts to make with frozen fruit

For the Frushi recipe, click here.

Homemade Gummy Bears

Homemade Gummy Bears
© RuPhoto | Dreamstime.com

Turns out popular candies can be made healthier at home. Flavored gelatin, unflavored gelatin and water are all you need to bring these homemade gummy bears to life. If you and your child enjoy a bit of a sour candy kick, add a teaspoon of lemon juice before refrigerating. 

For the Homemade Gummy Bears recipe, click here.

Mixed Berry Jam

Mixed Berry Jam
baibaz/Shutterstock

Heart-healthy berries star in this jam perfect for PB&Js. While strawberries, raspberries and blackberries are what’s called for, make the recipe your jam by substituting in your favorite berries.

For the Mixed Berry Jam recipe, click here.

Fresh Cut Betties

Fresh Cut Betties

Courtesy of Michigan Potatoes

Ditch the store-bought potato chips for these fresh-cut Michigan potato betties. Made of three potato varieties, these homemade chips require some at-home frying, so get the cast-iron skillet ready. 

For the Fresh Cut Betties recipe, click here.

No-Bake Cherry Granola Bars

No-Bake Cherry Granola Bars
Courtesy of Choose Cherries

Cheer up your child with these chocolate-drizzled cherry granola bars. This easy no-bake recipe can be whatever you need it to be: breakfast, lunch, dessert or an after-school snack.

For the No-Bake Cherry Granola Bars recipe, click here.

Gooey, Creamy Mac and Cheese

Gooey, Creamy Mac and Cheese
Jacqui Wedewer/The Daily Meal

Warning: Having the world’s gooiest, creamiest mac and cheese waiting in their lunch box thermos may momentarily distract some children from pressing school day matters. When preparing this spell-binding mac, toss in your favorite add-ins like bacon or other unexpected ingredients that go great with mac and cheese.

For the Gooey, Creamy Mac and Cheese recipe, click here.

Cinnamon Apple Rounds

Cinnamon Apple Rounds

Courtesy of McCormick

An apple a day keeps the doctor (and school nurse) away. Should your child attend a nut-free school, consider topping these nutritious treats with nut-free peanut butter alternatives like granola butter or sesame butter.

For the Cinnamon Apple Rounds recipe, click here.

Strawberry Hand Pies

Strawberry Hand Pies
Courtesy of Barbara Dawson

In schools, hand pies are the best pies. They are pocket-sized, easy to eat and less likely to result in fruit-stained clothes. 

For the Strawberry Hand Pies recipe, click here.

Salted Caramel Dipped Grapes

Salted Caramel Dipped Grapes

Courtesy of McCormick

Take inspiration from the best state fair foods, and serve your fruit on a stick. Dip healthy green grapes into smooth caramel and sprinkle with sea salt. Serve it all up on a miniature toothpick.

For the Salted Caramel Dipped Grapes recipe, click here.

Penne Pasta Salad

Penne Pasta Salad

Courtesy of McCormick

Before assuming your picky child will turn in disgust at the sight of this penne pasta salad, have them try it out. Packed with immune system-boosting ingredients like garlic and spinach, this dish might just be the refreshing lunch they’ve been craving. 

For the Penne Pasta Salad with Spinach and Tomatoes recipe, click here.

Very Vanilla Fruit Salad

Very Vanilla Fruit Salad

Courtesy of McCormick

Mix your child’s favorite fruits with two teaspoons of vanilla extract and — voila — very vanilla fruit salad is ready to serve. Just beware — some foods you thought were fruit are really veggies.

For the Very Vanilla Fruit Salad recipe, click here.

Flaky Deli Slices

Flaky Deli Slices

Courtesy of Pillsbury

One of many recipes you can make out of refrigerated pie crust, these flaky deli slices are an upgrade on a classic ham and cheese. Pepperoni, ham and cheddar are all baked into these golden brown pockets.

For the Flaky Deli Slices recipe, click here.

White Chocolate Rainbow Popcorn

White Chocolate Rainbow Popcorn
Courtesy of Jason Goldstein

Add an envy-worthy pop of color to your kid’s school lunch with this fun popcorn mix. Melted white chocolate and rainbow sprinkles add a sugary touch to a traditionally savory treat. 

For the White Chocolate Rainbow Popcorn recipe, click here.

Ants on a Log

Ants on a Log
Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

You cannot get more retro than good old-fashioned ants on a log. These old-school snacks are primed for a comeback.

For the Ants on a Log recipe, click here.

Turkey Cuban Slider Sandwiches

Turkey Cuban Slider Sandwiches
Courtesy of Ready Set Eat

Put last night’s leftovers to use with this all-star sandwich. Grab mini sandwich buns or unused dinner rolls, tuck in leftover turkey, honey ham, yellow mustard and Swiss cheese, and there you have it, tomorrow’s lunch.

For the Turkey Cuban Slider Sandwiches recipe, click here.

Apple Pie Energy Bars

Apple Pie Energy Bars

Courtesy of McCormick

These apple pie energy bars might not be the best apple pie in America, but they do the trick. This snack gets bonus points for taking under 25 minutes to prepare and bake. 

For the Apple Pie Energy Bars recipe, click here.

Rice Krispies Treats

Rice Krispies Treats
© L Hill | Dreamstime.com

While Dino Pebbles and other nostalgic cereals you grew up on may be long gone, Rice Krispies are still around. All these years later, Rice Krispies Treats are still a lunch room hero. 

For the Rice Krispies Treat recipe, click here.

Taco Snack Mix

Taco Snack Mix

Courtesy of McCormick

This taco snack mix is made for munching. All you have got to do is toss taco seasoning over Chex cereal and goldfish. If in need of more school snack ideas, discover the best cookie recipes to pack for dessert.

For the Taco Snack Mix recipe, click here.

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