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School Lunch Ideas That Don’t Include Sandwiches

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One of my favorite ways to show my stepdaughter I love her is to pack her lunch for school. It takes a chore off her list, and it allows me the opportunity to pack a treat or a sweet note written on her napkin to surprise her. But I often struggle to find school lunch ideas that don’t include sandwiches.

A girl can only eat so much PB&J, am I right? And turkey or ham and cheese gets old pretty quickly too.

There’s always the option to have her eat lunch at school, which we do once a week, but have you seen the nutritional facts on those? It’s not really a solution I was excited about.

So I knew I wanted to add variety AND flavor to her lunches, and I set out on a mission!

School Lunch Purchases that will Change Your Life

I grabbed a few things off Amazon to get me started.

LunchBlox Containers

These LunchBlox containers have been absolute lifesavers! The unique design reminds me to pack a variety of healthy options with different flavors AND it comes with a freezer pack to keep everything cold throughout the day. It all fits together flawlessly and fits in her lunch box perfectly.

I usually do blueberries, grapes, raisins, or Goldfish in the small sections. The longer half-size block typically contains carrots, celery, broccoli, or a cheese stick cut in half. (There are more snack ideas at the bottom of this post!)

Sometimes I’ll even do hummus or ranch dip in a smaller section and add something to dip like carrots, cucumbers, pita chips, or pretzel crisps into a longer section.

And then I add a sandwich, uncrustable, cold pasta or pizza, or homemade lunchable to the big section.

I highly recommend these containers – plus, because they’re reusable you’ll save big time on plastic bags!


On days when you’re overdue for a grocery trip and out of bread or you’re just looking for something different, the thermos becomes your best friend.

You can heat up soup, pasta, chicken nuggets, or even leftovers, and they’ll keep warm until lunchtime!

Talk about life changing… This thing has become both mine and my stepdaughter’s favorite accessory in the entire kitchen.

There’s hardly anything off limits when we pack lunches now. This has made the single biggest impact on our school lunch packing mission!

When I want to include a hot entree, it goes in the thermos, and I pack the freezer pack and top 3 sections of the Lunchblox to add fruit and veggies or other snacks to her lunch. These two container systems are seriously #dreamteam

“I Can Pack my OWN Lunch” Cheat Sheet

Finally, we have the “I Can Pack my OWN Lunch” Cheat Sheet! I grabbed this from the Stepmomming shop, and it has been HUGE for us!

My stepdaughter can now pack her own balanced meal! No more random lunches full of unhealthy choices for us! We’re all much more organized and at peace about the entire process now.

Grab your cheat sheet here!

School Lunch Ideas that Don’t Include Sandwiches

So, after a couple of years of fine-tuning my school lunch game, here’s my ultimate list of school lunch ideas that don’t include sandwiches:

DIY Lunchables

Chicken Nuggets

Soup or Chili


Lunchmeat roll-up



Chicken and rice

Cold pizza

Hot dog



Mini corn dogs

Mini bagels


Mac and cheese

Pasta salad

Tuna Salad

School Lunch Snacks

And when you’re unsure of what to pair with your non-sandwich school lunch, here’s a great list of snacks to complete your masterpiece:



Apple slices





Cheese sticks

Cliff bars




Bell peppers

Grape tomatoes





Trail mix



Veggie straws


Fruit Crisps






Fruit Snacks

Peanut Butter Crackers

Graham Crackers


Do you feel calmer? Ready to tackle your new school lunch routine?

A process that used to cause me loads of stress is now a routine that brings me peace. Everything is in its place, it’s all organized, and I know my stepdaughter is headed to school each day with a lunch that is balanced, delicious, full of variety, and she was able to pack herself!

Have a fabulous school year, mama!

P.S. If you aren’t opposed to sandwiches in your school lunches, but you still want to spice things up, give these unicorn-shaped sandwiches a try!

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