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Simple Back-to-School Lunches Your Kids Will Love

Learn how to create a week's worth of easy, delicious back-to-school lunch recipes for kids using the same affordable ingredients.

Simple Back-to-School Lunches Your Kids Will Love

With back-to-school season quickly approaching, it's time to start thinking about what you're going to pack your kids for lunch because they can't have PB&J every day (or can they??). 

To help you ace your lunch game, we're serving up some creative — and super easy — lunch combos that are great for busy routines and your wallet. Based on only 15 total ingredients, many of these recipes use overlapping items for efficient, waste-free lunch planning and shopping. 

Your Shopping List

Deli counter:

  • Honey roasted turkey
  • American or mozzarella cheese
  • Thinly-sliced salami or pepperoni

Refrigerated section:

  • Cheese (or veggie) ravioli
  • Plain hummus

Pantry items:

  • Mixed nuts
  • Trail mix (something a little sweet!)
  • Pretzel sticks or twists
  • Whole-grain pita bread
  • Peanut butter

Fresh produce:

  • Celery sticks
  • Baby carrots
  • Red or green grapes
  • Mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries ... whatever looks fresh and good!)
  • Bananas

1. Turkey Roll-Up Box

Here's a twist to make ho-hum turkey sandwiches a little more exciting. Skip the bread, and instead roll-up sliced deli turkey and your kiddo's favorite cheese and their favorite condiments. Serve with trail mix, pretzels, and grapes for a well-rounded lunch. 

2. Snack-y Bento Box

Create a charcuterie-inspired lunch box with salami or pepperoni, sliced cheese, pretzels, mixed nuts, grapes, and a sliced banana. Bonus points if you can arrange it in a showoff-worthy bento box. 

3. Pizza Party For One

Re-use the cold cuts from yesterday's lunch and build a DIY pizza box (kids love building their own pies!). Just add a loaf of pita bread (or cut it into a few small round pieces) and some jarred tomato sauce, and let them get creative. Serve with mixed berries and veggie sticks to balance it out. Throw in some Ranch dressing for dipping the crust, too. 

4. Pasta Bowl

Upcycle your accouterments from yesterday and pack a pasta bowl with cheese ravioli and tomato sauce. For younger ones, make it fun by letting them pick out their favorite fork and knife. 

5. Make It Meze

Kids love to dip, right? So, pack hummus with all sorts of yummy dipping treats like pita bread triangles, baby carrots, celery sticks, and pretzels. Give their meal a sweet finish with trail mix and some fruit (grapes or berries, whatever's left in the fridge!).

6. Easy & Cheesy

After all that creative flair, it's back to basics with a quick pita pocket sandwich stuffed with hummus and cheese. Serve it with baby carrots and celery sticks (and some peanut butter for that dipping!), grapes, and trail mix. 

7. Keep It Classic

We'd never forget you, PB&J! But let's shake it up a bit. Stuff a pita pocket with peanut butter and a handful of banana slices for a fun, sweet take on the classic sandwich. Serve it with berries (even better than jelly!), pretzels, and mixed nuts for a complete meal.