Since the invention of sliced bread, sandwiches have been parents’ go-to staple for kids’ lunches. But if your kids are tiring of the same old PB&J or ham and cheese (and it is coming back in their lunch box half eaten), check out some of our ideas for non-sandwich lunches. Yes, it can be done without having a lunch box full of gummy bears. For each of our ideas, we included a main course with protein, a salty side, a fruit/veggie side and a sweet side.


Kids go crazy for kabobs. But parents (understandably) worry kids will use their toothpicks as lunchtime weapons. If you choose safe kabob sticks like ones from Pick Ease or these rainbow colored ones, you can add these fun treats to your kids’ lunches without the worry.

Main course: rolled up turkey with cheese cubes
Salty side: crackers
Fruity side: apple slices
Sweet side: chocolate almonds

Breakfast for Lunch

We know breakfast for dinner is a hit, so why not breakfast for lunch? You can wrap the hot items in foil or use an insulated Thermos like this one.

Main course: Mini pancakes wrapped around sausage links
Salty side: your child’s favorite cereal
Fruity side: banana
Sweet side: strawberry yogurt

Sandwich Imposters

Try a variation on the traditional sandwich with one of these options –think of them as a close cousin to the sandwich. Try taking that meat and cheese and putting it in between two bagels, rolling it into a tortilla wrap or tossing it into a pita.

Main course:  Ham and cheese wrap with tzatziki sauce
Salty side: popcorn
Veggie side: carrot sticks (ranch dipping sauce helps)
Sweet side: gummy fruit snacks

Spoon Lunches

If you use an insulated container, you suddenly open up lots of lunch possibilities that involve spoons—kid favorites like mac and cheese, soup and even fun pastas like ravioli.

Main course: mac and cheese
Salty side: pretzels
Fruity side: grapes
Sweet side: mini chocolate chip muffins


Kids love to buy their lunch when the cafeteria has pizza day. So why not include it in their lunch box? You can either wrap a slice or two in foil or you could be the best mom on the block and include ingredients for making their own pizza.

Main course: make your own pizza with a couple of round Sandwich Thins, a container of pizza sauce, container of shredded mozzarella and a container of sliced pepperonis. (Don’t forget a spoon for spreading the sauce.)

Salty side: chips
Veggie side: bell peppers (don’t forget that ranch dipping sauce)
Sweet side: yogurt covered pretzels

Pro Tip: Outsource Lunch

Kids are more likely to eat their lunch if they are in on the planning and packing. Check out  u*do*lunch, an adorable and functional wall hanger created by local Atlanta moms. Kids take cards and put them in the pockets to plan and pack their own lunches.

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