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Back-to-school lunch ideas


It’s not hard to quickly fall into a rut when it comes to packing school lunches — here are a few ideas to start the school year off right and to inspire creativity the whole year through.

Two-tone sandwiches
– 2 slices of bread (one white and the other whole wheat, roughly the same size)
– Cookie cutters, 1 large and 1 small

Set the 2 slices of bread on a cutting board. Cut out the centers of each with a large and  small cookie cutter. Swap the center cutouts, so the wheat bread has a white bread design and the white has the wheat, then assemble your sandwich.

Fun Chips
– 1 large flour tortilla
– Cooking spray
– Salt

Use animal-shaped (or any shaped) cookie cutters to cut shapes from a large flour tortilla. Arrange the animals on a baking sheet, lightly coat them with cooking spray, and sprinkle them with salt. Bake at 350° for 5 to 7 minutes, and your chips are ready for a dip in salsa or guacamole.

 Fruity Tootie
– Any kind of fruit of relatively the same size (apples, pears, oranges)

Slice two pieces of fruit that are relatively the same size and alternately stack the pieces, as shown above.)

Banana Dog
– 1 hot dog bun (whole wheat, if possible)
– Peanut butter (or cream cheese)
– Jam (or honey)
– 1 whole banana
–  Optional raisins, shredded coconut or chopped peanuts

Spread one inner surface of a split hot dog bun with peanut butter or cream cheese. Spread the other side with jam or honey. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in your child’s lunch bag. Also, pack a whole banana (in the peel) and a small container of toppings, such as raisins, coconut, peanuts or whatever else you can think of.

At lunchtime, your child can peel the banana and place it in the bun, sprinkle on the toppings and eat.

Cheesy Salsa Dip
– 1 package(s) (8 ounces) light cream cheese
– 3/4 cup(s) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
– 3/4 cup(s) medium-hot salsa

Don’t forget to pack a baggie of crackers or cut-up veggies.

Pizza Pockets (make the night before and refrigerate)
– 1/4 cup (50 mL) chopped pepperoni
– 1/4 cup (50 mL) shredded mozzarella cheese
– 2 tbsp. (30 mL) spaghetti sauce
– 1 6-inch (15-cm) pocket-type pita bread

In a small bowl, stir together pepperoni, mozzarella cheese and spaghetti sauce. (You can, if you want, include chopped mushrooms, onions, peppers, olives or whatever ingredients you choose instead of all or part of the pepperoni in the recipe. Just try to keep the total amount of ingredients about the same.)

With a sharp knife, cut a slit around one side of the pita pocket wide enough to spoon in the filling. Spread apart the sides of the pocket and stuff with the cheese mixture. Press closed and wrap in a layer of foil.

Bake at 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) for about 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the filling is hot. Unwrap and eat while still gooey and warm or pack in a lunch bag to eat at room temperature.

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