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Best 16 School Lunchbox Ideas/Recipes

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Updated on April 29, 2024

Reviewed by Amel Magdy

Anyone who has been a parent knows that packing a lunchbox for school can be a daunting task. You want to ensure your child has something nutritious to eat, but you also don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen every morning. 

If you’re looking for easy and healthy lunchbox ideas for school or work, you’ve come to the right place. This post will share some of our favourite tips and recipes for packing a tasty and nutritious lunchbox without investing too much time or effort. So whether your child is in kindergarten or high school, we have you covered!

Keep reading for inspiration and yummy ideas!

1. Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

lunchbox ideas
PB&J Sandwich

The lunchbox staple of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches is a classic for a reason – it’s easy to make, filling, and can be tailored to your taste.

If you’re looking for a basic PB&J recipe, start with two slices of bread, add your desired amount of peanut butter and jelly, and then simply sandwich the two slices together.

However, you don’t have to stop there! There are endless ways to customise your sandwich. Get creative with different bread types, like croissants or flatbread. Or try out different combos like almond butter, honey, cashew butter, and raspberry jam. The possibilities are endless! So next time you’re stuck in a lunch rut, remember that a PB&J is always a delicious option.

2. Grilled Cheese Sandwich

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Grilled Cheese Sandwich

A grilled cheese sandwich is the perfect lunchbox option for kids and adults. It’s quick, easy to make, and can be customised to suit any taste. Best of all, it’s a delicious way to use up leftover bread and cheese.

To make the tastiest grilled cheese sandwich, spread butter on one side of each slice of bread. Then, add your favourite cheese to one slice of bread, and top it with the other. Feel free to be as generous as you want with how much cheese you’re putting in your sandwich. Place the sandwich on a preheated grill or griddle, and cook until the bread is golden brown and the cheese melts. Serve immediately with your favourite dipping sauce. Enjoy!

3. Ham and Cheese Sandwich

41807890 grilled ham and cheese sandwich on a cutting board black background top view 1
Ham and Cheese Sandwich

The ham and cheese sandwich is a lunchtime classic. This filling and satisfying sandwich is the perfect way to fuel up for the afternoon ahead. While there are endless variations on this humble sandwich, the basic recipe is simple.

Start with a piece of bread, add some sliced ham and cheese, and voila! Lunch is served. Try adding a dollop of mustard or mayo for a little extra flavour. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even experiment with different types of bread or cheese. The possibilities are endless. So next time you’re looking for a leisurely lunch option, reach for a loaf of bread and whip up a delicious ham and cheese sandwich.

4. Turkey Sandwich

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Turkey Sandwich with Cheese and Lettuce

Another lunchbox staple, the turkey sandwich is a quick and easy way to pack a nutritious meal. Start with a few slices of deli turkey, then add your favourite toppings.

Try adding mayonnaise, mustard, lettuce, and pickles for the classic version. Feeling a little bit fancier? Swap out the deli meat for roasted turkey, or add avocado or bacon for a heartier sandwich. No matter how you make it, the turkey sandwich is a lunchtime favourite.

5. Chicken Salad Sandwich

1327492 chicken salad sandwich
Chicken Salad Sandwich

Chicken salad is a delicious and easy way to use up leftovers. This recipe is perfect for busy families who want a quick, healthy lunch option that is also filling. Simply combine cooked chicken, chopped celery, and mayonnaise in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.

For a bit of sweetness, add some grapes or dried cranberries. Serve on whole wheat bread or crackers for a satisfying lunchtime meal. Chicken salad is also a great way to use up leftover rotisserie chicken. Just shred the meat and add it to the rest of the ingredients.

This recipe is so versatile that you can add any fruit or nut. Get creative and tailor it to your family’s taste!

6. Tuna Salad Sandwich

The tuna salad sandwich is a quick and easy way to include protein in your kid’s school lunchbox. Simply combine canned tuna, mayonnaise, diced onions, and celery in a bowl and mix until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then spread the mixture onto the bread and enjoy.

For a heartier lunch, add sliced cheese or diced avocado. If you’re looking for something lighter, skip the bread and enjoy your tuna salad on a bed of greens. This classic sandwich is sure to please no matter how you enjoy it.

7. Egg Salad Sandwich

4578056 egg salad sandwich

Egg salad is a lunchtime/lunchbox classic for a reason: it’s easy to make, endlessly customisable, and deliciously satisfying. This egg salad sandwich recipe hits all the right notes:

  • A creamy base of mayonnaise and mustard
  • Chopped celery for crunch
  • A touch of dill for flavour

It’s the perfect lunchbox sandwich for busy adults and growing kids alike. 

Best of all, it comes together in just minutes using ingredients you will likely already have. So next time you’re looking for a quick and tasty lunch option, give this egg salad sandwich recipe a try.

8. PB&J Wrap

13442936 peanut butter and jelly wrap

Although peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a lunchtime staple, they can be a little messy and hard to eat on the go. So, for a fun twist on the classic PB&J sandwich, try making a PB&J wrap!

This PB&J wrap recipe is the perfect solution for a quick lunchbox prep. Simply spread some peanut butter and jelly on a tortilla, roll it up, and cut it into bite-sized pieces. The wraps can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for a quick and easy lunchbox addition. Best of all, they are just as delicious as a traditional PB&J sandwich. So if you’re looking for a tasty and portable lunch option, give this PB&J Wrap recipe a try.

9. Ham & Cheese Wrap

747969 ham wrap sandwich

Another great lunchbox wrap option is the ham & cheese wrap! When looking for a quick and easy yet filling lunch option, look no further than the ham and cheese wrap. This simple and easy recipe can be made in just a few minutes and is perfect for packing in a lunchbox.

To make a ham and cheese wrap, you’ll need one flour tortilla, one ounce of sliced ham, one ounce of shredded cheese, and one teaspoon of mustard (optional).

Simply layer sliced ham and cheese on a flour tortilla, then roll it into a wrap. Cut into bite-sized pieces for easy eating on the go. You can also go a bit fancier and pop it into your toaster or sandwich maker for a toasty finish.

10. Grilled Turkey and Cheese Sandwich

43340038 sandwich

A delicious twist on the classic ham and cheese sandwich or grilled cheese sandwich is the turkey and cheese sandwich; it is a cheesy, toasty delight. This lunchbox gem is the perfect balance of savoury and sweet. Here’s how to make your own:

Start with two slices of your favourite bread. Spread a layer of mayonnaise on one piece, and top with a few thin slices of turkey breast. Add your favourite cheese (be generous!), then top with another slice of bread. Spread a layer of butter outside each slice of bread, then place the sandwich in a hot pan or skillet. Cook until the bread is golden brown and the cheese is melted, about 3-4 minutes per side. Slice in half and let your kid enjoy an easy and fun lunchbox surprise!

11. Fruit Salad

1492042 fruit salad

A healthy and refreshing option for your child’s lunchbox is fruit salad. It is also a quick and fun way to get your kids to take their daily dose of fruit. There are endless variations of the classic recipe, so you can always mix and try something new. 

The essential ingredients for fruit salad are, of course, fruit. You can use whatever fruits are in season or whatever you have on hand. A few favourites include apples, grapes, bananas, berries, and citrus fruits. Once you’ve chosen your fruit, simply chop it into bite-sized pieces and add it to a bowl. 

For a bit of sweetness and extra flavour, you can add a drizzle of honey or a sprinkle of sugar. If you’re feeling adventurous, add some chopped nuts or shredded coconut. Once the ingredients are added, give the salad a gentle stir and enjoy.

12. Vegetable Soup

224940 homemade soup

This vegetable soup recipe is the perfect lunchbox filler. It’s quick and easy to make, and it’s packed full of healthy ingredients. The best part is that it can be easily customised to suit your taste. Simply cook all your ingredients in chicken or beef broth, and your soup is ready.

You can remove any of the ingredients listed below or add to them depending on what you have in your fridge. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can even experiment with different herbs and spices. So why not give it a try today?


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (14.5 ounces) can of diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 (15 ounces) can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounces) can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

13. Tomato Soup

28891898 fresh bowl of creamy tomato soup and sandwich with basil leaves

Tomato soup is another great option for those looking for something hearty and filling. This recipe for tomato soup is the perfect lunchbox addition. It is quick and easy to whip, and it is packed with nutrients that will help your child grow and thrive. Plus, it can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for up to a week. It is also a great way to use up any leftover tomatoes.

To make the soup, simply combine canned tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken broth, and spices in a pot over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Puree the soup using an immersion or hand blender, then add salt and pepper to taste. For a heartier soup, add some cooked pasta or diced chicken. Traditional toppings include shredded cheese, croutons, and chopped green onions. Serve with grilled cheese sandwiches for a classic lunchtime meal.

14. Minestrone soup

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Thick and hearty vegetarian minestrone soup topped with basil

This minestrone soup recipe is the perfect lunchtime meal. Packed with vegetables and a variety of beans, it is both energizing and filling. Plus, it can easily be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for up to four days which is perfect for quick lunchbox prep. Simply reheat individual portions as needed.

To make the soup:

  1. Start by sautéing onion and garlic in a large pot.
  2. Add in carrots, celery, zucchini, and kale.
  3. Pour in vegetable broth and bring the soup to a simmer.
  4. Add in canned tomatoes, white kidney beans, and Great Northern beans.
  5. Season with salt, pepper, and Italian herbs.
  6. Let the soup continue to simmer until all of the vegetables are tender.
  7. Ladle into bowls and enjoy!

15. Pasta Salad

33080168 lunch box with healthy food ready to eat pasta salad on wooden table

This delicious pasta salad is perfect for lunchboxes! The hearty and filling salad is a great way to fuel your body throughout the day. The best part is that it only takes a few minutes to prepare. Simply cook the pasta according to the package directions, then add your favourite veggies. You can use red peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes; feel free to experiment with whatever you have on hand. Mix in some fresh herbs or a drizzle of olive oil for a zesty kick. Lunchtime will never be dull again!

16. Macaroni and Cheese

1413992 macaroni and cheese

Macaroni and cheese is a lunchbox classic for a reason: it’s quick, easy, and oh-so-cheesy. But with so many boxed mixes on the market, it can be hard to know which one to choose. Our Macaroni and Cheese recipe is the perfect way to make this lunchtime favourite from scratch.

We start with a simple cheese sauce made from cheddar, milk, and a bit of mustard. Then we add in elbow macaroni and bake until the sauce is bubbly and the pasta is tender. The result is a rich and creamy dish that will have your kids coming back for seconds (and thirds!). So next time you’re looking for an easy lunchbox option that your kids will love, reach for our Macaroni and Cheese recipe. It’s sure to become a family favourite.

Whether you’re packing a school lunch for the first time or are just looking for some new ideas, we hope you found something helpful in this post. Be sure to share your own personal lunchbox favourites in the comments below – we would love to hear them!

Check out one of our favourite salad recipes!


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