Ten Fresh Ideas to Break That Lunch Rut


Halfway through the school year my lunch packing skills get stuck in a repeat of things I know my kids will eat. I get bored, they get bored. Here are some easy, kid tested and approved ideas that can get everyone enjoying lunch again!

Hot Dogs

My kids really enjoy having this one in the rotation. I cook the hot dogs and cut them in half to help them fit in our thermos. Then I halve the bun to match and throw in a couple of ketchup packets saved from fast food meals.


This one is new for us and my kids deemed it a winner. Wrap a bean and cheese (or whatever filling they like) in foil and then stuff it the thermos. It stays warm and comes out without being too squished.

Bean Dip

Beans and cheese hot in a thermos with a side of chips always goes over well. I add a spoon in case they run out of chips.

Cold Quesadillas

This one seems weird to me but one of my kids asks for it often. We make a quesadilla and cut it into wedges and put it into a container with an ice pack. I try to think of it as a cheese sandwich just on a tortilla!


This one is fun to play with the flavors. Cream cheese can be paired with lunchmeat, veggies or even jam. Roll it up and slice into swirls of deliciousness.

Pizza Kit

This one is fun. You can use mini pitas or a flour tortilla cut in wedges as your “crust.” Add a container of sauce, and a container of cheese and whatever toppings you like. Making the pizza is half the fun!

French Toast Sticks

This lunch is fun! I put some syrup in the bottom of the thermos and then add French toast cut into sticks vertically on top of the syrup for easy dipping. For bonus points, add a sausage link in with the French toast.

Pancake Sandwich

A peanut butter and jelly sandwich tastes better on pancakes. Trust me if you have never tried it, you really should! If peanut butter is a problem at your school, swap it for cream cheese or sunbutter.

Yogurt Parfait

Layer any flavor yogurt, jam or fruit, and granola in a thermos to keep it cold. It has protein to keep them going all afternoon.

Snack Tray

This one is an easy one for those days when the grocery trip is overdue. Fill a bento box or use a container with muffin cups inside to hold the items. Make sure to include items with protein, a veggie, fruit and some sort of grain. Some of the things we enjoy: meat sticks cut in small pieces, salami, breadsticks, cheese cubes, dried cherries, popcorn, grapes, olives, pickles.