Quick and Easy School Lunch Ideas

You have our permission not to use cookie cutters, bento boxes, or edible markers. Just mix and match the healthy ingredients to create more than a dozen trade-proof lunches. Round them out with fruit and a drink.

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Egg Muffins

Avery Powell

Egg Muffins

Make a batch of these red pepper- and cheese-filled muffins, and you'll have plenty for few days.

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Fiesta Pasta Salad

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Fiesta Pasta Salad

This Mexican-inspired salad has corn, black beans, and cheese.

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Roasted-Tomato Soup

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Roasted-Tomato Soup

Pasta shells and a sprinkle of cheese make this classic soup even more kid-friendly.

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Turkey and Cheese Quesadilla

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Turkey and Cheese Quesadilla

This kid-fave is a great alternative to a sandwich.

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Chicken, Avocado, and Roasted Red Pepper Sandwich

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Chicken, Avocado, and Roasted Red Pepper Sandwich

A twist on chicken salad, this delicious mixture tastes great stuffed into a pita half.

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Lunch Monitor: What Are Kids Throwing Away?

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Mexican Wrap

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Mexican Wrap

It's a healthier version of Mexican takeout.

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Italian Pasta Salad

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Italian Pasta Salad

Make this salad the night before so it's ready to pop in the lunchbox in the morning.

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PB&C Sandwich

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PB&C Sandwich

This fun version of PB&J swaps jelly for dried cherries. If your child goes to a nut-free school or is allergic to peanut butter, use sunflower butter instead.

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Peanutty Noodles

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Peanutty Noodles

Cook extra noodles at dinner to use in this dish.

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Salsa With Tortilla Chips

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Salsa With Tortilla Chips

It's so simple to make your own tortilla chips.

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Carrot Salad

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Carrot Salad

Apples and raisins add sweetness to this dish.

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White Bean Dip With Pita Crackers

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White Bean Dip With Pita Crackers

Our recipe makes enough for three servings.

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Creamy Banana Sammie

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Creamy Banana Sammie

The cinnamon-topped bananas will make this sandwich feel like dessert.

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Chicken Vegetable Noodle Soup

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Chicken Vegetable Noodle Soup

It's perfect for a chilly day.

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Apple Raisin Sandwich

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Apple Raisin Sandwich

Who needs bread when you have crunchy, sweet apple slices?

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Cheddar and Apple Sandwich

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Cheddar and Apple Sandwich

Keep the skin on your child's apple slices -- they're packed with antioxidants.

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Chicken Salad Sub

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Chicken Salad Sub

Make classic chicken salad way more interesting by spooning it into a sub roll.

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Nutty Yogurt Dip

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Nutty Yogurt Dip

Move over, salad dressing. This delicious dip delivers protein.

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Egg Salad with Pita Crackers

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Egg Salad with Pita Crackers

Make a batch of pita crackers on Sunday night, and have them ready for the week's lunches.

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Southwest Soup

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Southwest Soup

Pack a little piece of baguette or small roll on the side.

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Red Pepper & White Bean Soup

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Red Pepper & White Bean Soup

Pureed beans add extra fiber, and your kid won't notice them one bit!

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Carrot Soup

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Carrot Soup

Pack a little Greek yogurt for your child to swirl inside.

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Yogurt Parfait

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Yogurt Parfait

Let your child assemble the ingredients at school.

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Your Shopping List

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Your Shopping List

To make these lunches, you'll need the following ingredients:

  • Apples
  • Avocado
  • Bananas
  • Beans
  • Bread (sandwich and pita)
  • Carrots
  • Cheese (various kinds)
  • Chicken or Turkey
  • Corn (frozen)
  • Dried fruit
  • Eggs
  • Garlic
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Nut butters (or sunflower butter)
  • Pasta
  • Peppers (sweet)
  • From the pantry: Olive oil, lemon, honey, chicken or vegetable stock, soy sauce, rice vinegar, cooking spray, vanilla extract, and your family's favorite herbs and spices.

Originally published in the September 2014 issue of Parents magazine.