School Lunch Roundup II

Our first “School Lunch Roundup” post quickly became one of the most popular pages on the blog so I thought I’d put together another one for you (2018 update: there are so many of these now that I’ve put together a School Lunch Roundup Series page where you can see them all)! For those who are newer to our site be sure to check out “My Favorite School Lunch Supplies” to see the details on all our containers, lunch boxes, thermos cups, etc. Also, if you see a recipe below that you may be interested in (like quesadillas, apple sandwich, refried beans, chicken noodle soup, etc.) just search for it using the search box at the top, right of the page. Most are on the blog, but unfortunately I’m not able to put a live link in photo captions.

Also, I’d like to make sure everyone knows about our meal planning sponsor, Plan to Eat. The start of school means getting back on a schedule and they can definitely help when it comes to the kitchen and grocery shopping. Plan to Eat is a web application that creates a categorized grocery list from recipes that you drag into an interactive meal planning calendar. You can easily import recipes from any website using their handy bookmark (similar to “pinning” in Pinterest), which helps to keep all of your favorite recipes in one place. They are currently offering a completely free 30-day trial, so you should definitely give it a try!

So without further ado, here is a summary of the school lunches that I’ve been sharing on my Facebook page:

Leftover whole-wheat vegetable quesadillas (with sour cream, guacamole and pico de gallo on the side), an apple/peanut butter sandwich, and a homemade cashew/pistachio/raisin trail mix
Leftover spaghetti, banana and peanut butter packet

Leftover frozen smoothies in freezie pop molds (plain yogurt/berry/milk/banana and local Swiss chard smoothies), baked whole-wheat pita chips, hummus, apples/cantaloupe and popcorn
Warm refried beans with metled cheese, cold sour cream and green tomato relish (to go on beans), oranges, AND a treat…homemade (baked) whole-wheat donuts
Cream cheese and homemade jam on whole-grain Ak-Mak crackers (one cracker had been made with sunflower butter and jam when she requested cream cheese on the rest), a hard boiled egg, and cantaloupe/kiwi mix
Oatmeal made with milk/cinnamon/vanilla/raisins/honey, whole-wheat zucchini muffin, apples & kiwi
PB&J whole-wheat pitas, mozzarella cheese stick, frozen peas, and a diced apple/cantaloupe mix
Potato/vegetable soup (premade and frozen in individual portions) topped with cheese, sour cream, bacon and a homemade whole-wheat strawberry jam pop tart on the side
Whole-wheat waffle sandwich with cream cheese and cinnamon in the middle, a cheese stick, diced papaya, some leftover crock pot chicken
A variety of sandwiches (hummus/cheese/spinach, PB&J, leftover panini), popcorn, and fruit
Leftover homemade chicken noodle soup, a whole-wheat zucchini muffin (from the freezer), and a plum
Field Day Lunch (had to be disposable): Sunflower butter & “jelly” (an organic all fruit spread) on a whole-wheat pita (from Trader Joe’s), strawberries/blueberries, grapefruit slices, Kettle baked chips and a Clif twisted fruit leather (some very rare “treats”).
Whole-wheat banana/walnut muffin, apples, deviled eggs, and a frozen smoothie pop (made with plain yogurt, berries, bananas and swiss chard leaves)
Apple/PB sandwich, leftover whole-grain cornbread, TJs raw nut/raisin packet, and fruit (mango/kiwi/strawberry)
Leftover whole-wheat cheese pizza (from dinner), a fresh organic apricot, 2 carrots, and some grapes
Triple-decker waffle/cream cheese sandwich, fruit (mango/grapes/blueberries), and a little homemade trail mix (sunflower seeds/pumpkin seeds/dried apple rings/dried mango)
Homemade tomato bisque soup (defrosted from freezer – it’s her fav), whole-grain zucchini muffin (from freezer as well), and an apple/sunflower butter sandwich
Cream cheese and strawberry jam whole-wheat waffle sandwich, oranges, and leftover spinach salad topped with cheddar cheese, sunflower seeds, and homemade ranch dressing
My lunch on a roadtrip (not a school lunch!)… caprese salad with pesto, popcorn, and a whole-wheat banana walnut muffin

Please feel free to share your lunch packing ideas in the comments below!

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154 thoughts on “School Lunch Roundup II”

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  1. This isn’t the place that I first saw it, but I don’t know which page it was, and I had to send a THANK YOU comment. My son opted to go to the local school last month, after his entire school career being in a virtual school. So, I had to start packing lunches. And then, he threw me a loop today, and reminded me of a field trip tomorrow, and oh, the lunch has to be disposable. EEP! I would have been frantic, if i hadn’t read some of your ideas on that recently! Instead, I shrugged, said “ok”, and proceeded to pack the exact same planned lunch in disposable plastic containers (That I pulled out of my recycling from yesterday’s lunch and washed). I even refilled a cheap plastic water bottle that I had in the car, and turned it into lemonade. Real food, and everything from the plastic fork to the water bottle can go in the trash (if it has to… I wish they had the option to recycle).

    Thanks, Lisa, for making my panic not appear. :)

  2. Hey there! I’m in my first year of dental school and trying to find healthy lunches to bring with me to school (instead of getting on the bus back to my apartment every day) — I absolutely love your ideas, and plan on using many of them.. thank you for sharing. I wanted to know what brand/type of whole wheat pitas you are using? I’d love to find a healthy option! Thank you!

  3. Angelique Mansell

    Sabrina, I hear ya! My son is 14 months old and would devour this yummy lunches and expect 3 more. Boys really eat a lot. My question is, how do you keep sliced apples from turning brown?

  4. Those all look good. But here’s the thing, not a one of them actually looks like enough food to keep my sons full til school’s over. THAT is the biggest issue I have when packing lunches is they’re hungry in another few hours… Lunch is at 11am, they don’t come home til 4. Ideas?

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Sabrina. Just pump up the serving sizes for lunch and see if you can sneak in a hearty afternoon snack. :)

  5. Thank you so much for these ideas!!! I LOVE the smoothie pops and I know my kiddos will too!! Just curiously, do the smoothie pops stay frozen, become slushy, or what by lunchtime??? Do you have to send a cooler pack?? Can’t wait to try some of these ideas??

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Sandra. Lisa packs them with ice packs but they do not stay frozen and are like a slushy yogurt tube. ~Amy

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Trista. Lisa uses a traditional deviled egg recipe but replaces the mayo with sourcream. ~Amy

  6. I love your site – thank you!

    I have a question about the apple peanut butter sandwich you show several times in the kids lunches section. How do you keep the apples from browning during the day (or do you)?

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hello Beth. Lisa doesn’t do anything. Her girls don’t mind the browning. Many readers use lemon or another acidic citrus to keep the brown away. ~Amy

  7. Hi! This site is awesome. I’m trying to move my family towards whole foods, non gmo, organic and all that good stuff. Slowly but surely we are getting there. I see that you use whole wheat pitas from TJs. I’ve recently learned that we don’t know if the TJ products are non gmo as they are a private label. Do you have any thoughts on that? Is it best to just then get organic? Thanks again!!!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi there. I know it can be a difficult and confusing when trying to navigate this subject. I think it has to be a personal decision about how far to trust a store’s claims when they aren’t willing to be fully transparent. I shop TJ’s a lot and enjoy it but not without a little reservation because Con Agra does own one of there big suppliers. I do look for organic their products whenever possible. ~Amy

  8. I just wanted to say thank you! I recently have become vegan due to the fact that I have Crohns disease and this seems to help me. I also eat mostly raw unprocessed foods as this helps too. I don’t make my kids eat this way, but I still didn’t want them to eat all processed foods either. I was overwhelmed about what to feed everyone. So your blog has helped me so much!! Now packing lunch isn’t a chore, it’s really fun! My girls are excited to help me at night. They were so excited about the freezer pops and the thermos for soup, thank you!!

  9. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

    Hello Stacy. Lisa doesn’t use anything. Her girls don’t mind the color. :) However, several readers have said that pineapple juice work well while others say a salt/water bath. Good luck. ~Amy

    1. I like the apple rings idea for a sandwich. When I do apple wedges, I sprinkle them with cinnamon, which adds a flavor my daughter likes. I tell her that’s why the apples are brown, and she eats it all up.

  10. Question about the apple/peanut butter sandwich: do you put lemon juice on the slices of apples or do you have a better hint to prevent them browning? I don’t think that my son likes apples once I’ve added the lemon juice or maybe I put too much? Any help would be appreciated.


  11. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

    Hello Sarah. I usually wrap my muffins individually and put them in an airtight container or bag. Be sure they are cooled before you wrap and freeze them. I typically thaw in the fridge overnight and use them the next day. Often they are gone by breakfast time. :) ~Amy

  12. I’m wondering how the muffins are frozen. Do you wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze them individually or freeze them all in one container? How do you de-thaw them? Do you put them in the refrigerator the night before and then pop in the lunch box in the morning? Thanks for any tips!!

  13. I love this blog! I have based some of my own lunches at work on the school lunches you have posted, if you could post suggestions for adults packing lunches for work that would be really great!

  14. All well and good, but do your kids ACTUALLY finish their lunches? You never mention this point in all your posts. . .

  15. I was looking for the potato/vegetable soup recipe. I made your tomato bisque soup for my family and it was a huge hit!
    Thanks for sharing your recipes and ideas!! I love your website! I think I visit it a few times a day. I’m also going to try the apple peanut butter sandwich.

  16. WAFFLES for sandwich bread! I LOVE this! I always use the 100cal sandwich rounds, but I want to get my kids eating less wheat flour, so I can make almond flour waffles for the bread!

  17. I came across your blog while searching for a crock pot whole chicken recipe (which is cooking right now). I am going to try this out with my husband and kids. However, some of the lunch suggestions I know for a fact my kids will not eat. My daughter has a peanut allergy and my son is a rapidly growing 12-year-old. These lunches will be a mini snack for him. Any suggestions on filling lunches for preteens as well as a substitute for the nuts and peanuts?

  18. Wow! This blog is truly inspiring and educational! I absolutely adore the recipes and creative ideas for picky eaters. It has really been a tremendous help!

  19. How do you keep the fruit fresh until lunchtime? It seems like so much of this stuff would get mushy and “yucky” by the time they got to eat it.

    On a seperate note, I think you are doing a great job and am so thankful for your blog. My daughter just started preschool and I have just started reading up on clean eating. I’m so disgusted by what is in our food and so motivated to make a change. Thank you for your work and for making it seem like such an attainable goal.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Amber. I cut all of my fruit right before they walk out the door so that it stays fresh. For apples, I squirt a little lemon juice on them. We are so glad you are enjoying the blog…thank you for reading. Jill

  20. Hey there! I just wanted to say that I am really happy that there are moms like you taking the time to help show other moms ways to help their families, but especially their kids, eat healthier and with portion control in mind. I am in high school and I think this is a really great site because it is so accessible! Also, I would like to let you know that I found your blog through a college’s pinterest page that thought you were doing a great job too! Keep up the great work Jill :)

  21. These ideas are so wonderful! I have slowly been eating clean and my kids lunches and snacks not so much…..I want to incorporate less processed snacks for them and stumbled on this site!

  22. Is there a safe version of tofu? I know edamame is ok, but are there brands that arent overy processed? Im still new and worried about getting the wrong kind. Thanks!

    1. Choose organic tofu, to avoid GMO soy. Tofu is made from the whole bean, unlike fake meats that use soy protein isolate.

  23. Thank you for all your thoughtful posts. It has blessed me and my family as we work to eat healthy in tasty and creative ways. I’m so glad I found your blog!