Find non-sandwich lunch ideas for adults and kids to help break out of that lunch rut—and still have really easy, yummy ideas for that midday meal. Each idea takes minutes to make or can be made entirely ahead of time.
Non-Sandwich Lunches for Adults and Kids
As someone who has shared a ton of lunch content and packed a lot of lunches for me and my kids over the years, I can safely say that there are days when we need something other than a sandwich for lunch.
I mean, they are easy, but it can be great to mix things up with other easy options. And the ideas below are just that: Quick lunch ideas that can work for adults or kids and use all sorts of variety.
Each idea can be made ahead of time whenever you have a spare moment or right before packing lunches. I love how versatile these are—you can enjoy them at work or home and your kiddo can have them at daycare or school—and that there are a load of flavors and textures.
Chicken Meatballs with Carrots
With just four simple and affordable ingredients, you can make tender Baked Chicken Meatballs to share with the kids. We like them with carrots and fresh fruit.
Quinoa Salad and Drinkable Yogurt
With a handful of simple, nutritious ingredients, you can mix up this fresh Mediterranean Quinoa Salad to have on hand for lunches for yourself—or to serve deconstructed for the kids. It even stores well in the fridge for up to 5 days. Enjoy with some crackers.
Hummus and Pita
Pair any kind of hummus you like with triangles of pita bread, add in some fresh veggies, and call it good. Add milk or cheese for extra protein if you’d like. (Here are some tips on how to serve veggies for lunch that are easy for the kids to chew.)
Chicken Salad with Crackers
Crunchy lettuce, grilled chicken (or chicken tenders), served with fruit and crackers is an easy salad that can appeal to a range of ages. Add sunflower seeds for crunch and cheese for creaminess, if you’d like.
These Pizza Bites warm nicely and are great leftovers to send or serve for lunch. Plus, you can customize the filling to please your kids. We like these with a little side of warmed marinara sauce for dipping, but that’s optional.
Roll up just a few ingredients for satisfying (and really versatile) Vegetarian Hummus Wraps. This no-cook meal is an easy lunch for school—or for work or home for you. And you can make it in less than 5 minutes!
Have more fun with lunch with this super quick and easy Pizza Lunchable idea. It’s one of our favorite copycat recipes that makes it less expensive to recreate Lunchables at home to pack for lunch. Plus, you can even customize them for everyone’s preferences.
Bake a batch of easy Pizza Muffins for the flavor kids love, in an easy to eat (and reheat!) format. These healthy muffins have a dose of shredded carrots for extra nutrition and are an easy lunch option to pack in a thermos or serve at home.
Muffins are a great lunch option—just consider them the main dish and surround them with easy sides as you like.
Sweet Potato Chicken Bowls
Make quick work of lunch meal prep with this sheet pan lunch idea that works well to make ahead and pack for lunch
Best Tips for Success
- Do your best to include some protein and/or fat in each meal to help satisfy hunger.
- Do your best with portions and adjust if uneaten food comes home or the kids say they’re still hungry.
- Pack food in an insulated bag with an ice pack.
- Invest in a quality thermos to last for years of packed lunches—so you’ll have the flexibility to pack warm foods, too.
I’d love to hear your feedback on this post, so please comment below!
Favorite Non-Sandwich Lunch Ideas
- 1-2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
- ¼-½ cup thinly sliced grilled or rotisserie chicken
- ¼-½ cup sliced strawberries
- Shredded almonds, shredded cheese, diced avocado drizzled with lemon, and/or croutons (optional)
- 2-3 tablespoons Caesar dressing
- Add the lettuce, chicken, strawberries, and desired toppings in a container. (Or on a plate.) Be sure to very finely shred the lettuce for kids under age 3.
- Place the dressing into a small dip container or add it to the salad, either on the side or drizzled on top.