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10 Easy No-Cook School Lunch Ideas

Use these specific ideas for packed lunches or consider them inspiration for packing ones unique to your child. Nutrition info will vary based on the specific ingredients you use.
Course lunch
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1
Calories 475kcal

Ingredients

Cheese and Crackers Lunch

  • 1/2 cup whole grain crackers
  • 1 ounce cheese
  • 1 ounce pepperoni
  • 1/2 cup diced mango
  • 1/2 cup snap peas

Bagel Sandwich Lunch

  • 1 mini whole grain bagel
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese, nut or seed butter, and/or jam
  • 1/2 cup fruit salad
  • 1/2 cup sliced cucumbers

Tortilla Triangles

  • 1 medium tortilla
  • 1 tbsp bean dip, nut or seed butter and jam, or 1 ounce each turkey and cheese
  • 1/2 cup grapes (halved for kids under 4)
  • 1/4 cup tomatoes and bell peppers

Yogurt and Granola Lunch

  • 1/2 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
  • 1/4 cup granola (remove whole nuts for kids under 4)
  • 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes (halved if needed)
  • 1/2 cup strawberries or kiwi

Simple Sandwich Lunch

  • 1-2 slices whole grain bread
  • 1-2 tbsp nut or seed butter
  • 1-2 tbsp jam
  • 1 clementine
  • 1/4 cup cucumber sticks

Freeze-Ahead PB&J

  • 2 slices whole grain bread
  • 2 tbsp nut or seed butter
  • 2 tbsp jam
  • 1/2 cup kiwi

Snack Box Lunch

  • 1 ounce salami
  • 1 ounce cheese
  • 1/2 cup snap pea crisps
  • 1/2 cup berries
  • 1/2 cup cucumber

Hummus and Crackers Lunch

  • 1/4-1/2 cup crackers
  • 2 tbsp hummus
  • 1 ounce cheese
  • 1/2 cup watermelon
  • 1 yogurt tube

Pancake Lunch

  • 1-2 pancakes ;
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup, jam, nut or seed butter or cream cheese
  • 1 applesauce pouch
  • 1/4 cup carrot rounds
  • 1/4 cup edamame

Instructions

  • Cheese and Crackers Lunch: Place all foods into lunch box. Pack in an insulated bag with an ice pack. 
  • Bagel Sandwich Lunch: Lightly toast the bagel if desired (it's optional). Place all foods into lunch box. Pack in an insulated bag with an ice pack. 
  • Tortilla Triangles: Lightly warm the tortilla if it's super stiff. Place all foods into lunch box. Pack in an insulated bag with an ice pack. 
  • Yogurt and Granola Lunch: Place all foods into lunch box. Use a thermos or compartment or container that seals tightly for the yogurt to avoid any spills. Pack in an insulated bag with an ice pack. 
  • Simple Sandwich Lunch: Place all foods into lunch box. Pack in an insulated bag with an ice pack. 
  • Freeze-Ahead PB&J: Cut the bread with a 3-4 inch round cookie cutter. Spread the nut or seed butter and the jam onto the bread and wrap with plastic wrap. Make as many as you want and store in the freezer in a freezer storage bag for up to 3 months. Place one directly into a lunch box in the morning and it will thaw by lunch. 
  • Snack Box Lunch: Place all foods into lunch box. Pack in an insulated bag with an ice pack. 
  • Hummus and Crackers Lunch: Place all foods into lunch box. Pack in an insulated bag with an ice pack. You can freeze the yogurt tube to be an extra ice pack and it will thaw by lunchtime. 
  • Pancake Lunch: Warm the pancakes if desired for 30 seconds in the microwave and pack in a thermos to keep warm, or send them to eat at room temperature.

Notes

  • Try to make sure the foods are easy for the kids to eat in the time they have for lunch. I'll never forget hearing that my then 6 year old couldn't eat the baby carrots I sent with her because she didn't have enough time to chew them!
  • Talk to your child about whether there was too much, not enough, or just the right amount of food so you can avoid wasting food and satisfy their hunger.
  • Let the kids help pack their lunches if they're interested.
  • Invest in a good lunch box that will last (and be easy to clean!).
  • Place the lunchbox in an insulated bag with an ice pack to keep it cool.
  • Pack water or let the kids buy milk.
  • Aim to send a source of protein, a whole grain, and 2 items of produce (a fruit and a veggie) most days to help the kids hit their nutrition needs.
  • Mix in purchased school lunches—if your kids like them!—with packed ones from home to keep the work for you light.

Nutrition

Calories: 475kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 60mg | Sodium: 943mg | Potassium: 385mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 867IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 285mg | Iron: 3mg