Back to School: Lunch Ideas

As the littles are starting back to school, new routines are being formed and our mornings are becoming even more hectic. My youngest little guy moved from a daycare to preschool recently, and we were both excited that I was going to be packing him lunch along with big brother. Well, that excitement turned into even more rushing around in the mornings to prep two lunches rather than one. I then began wondering, why can’t I meal prep for their school lunches like I do for my husband and I? The answer was….I can (and I did)!

The first week that I had lunches ready to go for my little guys, our mornings were so much more enjoyable. I could actually sit down and enjoy breakfast with them, instead of scrambling to get their lunches packed while they were eating so we could head out the door as soon as breakfast was finished. You know what was even better, the excitement on their faces when they saw all of their lunches packed in these cute little boxes. They sat down and immediately began choosing which lunch they were going to take that day.

I started by grabbing plastic bento containers at our local Dollar General store. This store is a new find for me. Of course I knew they existed, but I had no idea all of the things I could get there for only $1. These containers are sold in packs of two for $1. I also grabbed a package of 48 plastic spoons and some cupcake papers, both for only $1 each. Win! A couple other things I now love buying there are sugar free jello snack packs & raisins. They are so much cheaper there, compared to buying them at a grocery store. At Dollar General you can get a 4 pack of sugar free jello snack packs for only $1….so $0.25 each! I was amazed. 🙂

I used a combination of the following for lunches this week:
  • Sliced turkey
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Wheat Thins
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Pretzel sticks
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cucumbers
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Tortillas
  • Pesto pasta salad (noodles, mozzarella cheese, cherry tomatoes & pesto)
  • Sugar free jello snack packs
  • Sugar free applesauce cups


I think the key to getting your little ones excited about eating a healthy lunch is all in the meal prep. If it looks fun to eat, they’ll be excited to eat it. Instead of a standard PB&J sandwich, I made PB&J roll ups with whole wheat bread and a PB&J quesadilla. Other big hits with my boys were the pasta salad, the homemade Lunchable and surprisingly…..the hard boiled eggs! Who knew those would be one of their favorites?

Oh, in order to keep their lunches cool, I use these Fit & Fresh Cool Coolers. I picked up a 2-pack at Target for $3.99. I love that they are super flat so they don’t take up too much room in their lunch boxes.


I hope this post inspired you to do a little meal prepping for your littlest family members too! I love that I can spend about 30 minutes on a Sunday putting together these lunches and they are ready to go for the boys during the week. P.S. I think they enjoy it too! 🙂
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