The 23 Best Packable, Back-to-School Lunches for Kids

From colorful wraps to homemade chicken noodle soup, these tasty bites are guaranteed to make your little ones smile.

July 07, 2022

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Fill Their Lunchbox

If you’ve got kids then you already know that, in order to keep them full between breakfast and dinner, you’ve got to pack their lunchbox full. And, as much as your little ones probably love a good, old-fashioned peanut butter and jelly sandwich, it never hurts to have options. That’s why we’ve rounded up lots of wholesome and filling meals they can take on the go — like cozy soups, creamy macaroni and cheese and more. (Just pack them in alongside the homemade cookies for dessert!) One of our favorites? These simple turkey wraps that get an extra-special touch from homemade sweet potato hummus — making every bite equal parts delicious and nutritious.

Get the Recipe: Power Wraps with Sweet Potato Hummus

Shark Quesadillas

Take a bite out of mid-day hunger with this shark-inspired lunch. For the perfect texture, let the quesadillas cool completely before packing them in your little one’s lunch box.

Get the Recipe: Shark Quesadillas

Broccoli and Bacon Mac and Cheese

What’s more fun than finding a container full of swirly, twirly corkscrew pasta smothered in creamy cheese sauce?

Get the Recipe: Broccoli and Bacon Mac and Cheese

Breadless Double-Decker Turkey Club

This lunch packs plenty of protein and fiber — while still being super delicious!

Get the Recipe: Breadless Double-Decker Turkey Club

Vegetarian Minestrone

Fill their Thermos with a veggie-packed lunch they’ll love: cozy, homemade minestrone soup.

Get the Recipe: Vegetarian Minestrone

Take-to-School Taco Bar

If your kids love taco night, surprise them with a taco bar that fits neatly into their lunchbox. Serve with quick, healthy versions of guacamole and salsa.

Get the Recipe: Take-to-School Taco Bar

Chocolate-Chip Sunflower-Butter Muffins

Lucky for busy parents, these muffins get better after a stay in the freezer. Make a batch on Sunday, freeze them, then pop one straight into a lunchbox for a moist, tender and delicious treat.

Get the Recipe: Chocolate-Chip Sunflower-Butter Muffins

Chicken Salad Rolls

Make this chicken salad the night before to let the flavors meld. In the morning, all you have to do is assemble.

Get the Recipe: Chicken Salad Rolls

Lasagna Rolls-Ups

This is the quick and lunch-friendly version of lasagna. Try tucking in a few pieces of pepperoni when you need to switch it up. And be sure to cook an extra noodle in case one tears!

Get the Recipe: Lasagna Roll-Ups

Fun Shaped Sandwiches

Pint-sized sandwiches in fun shapes make the perfect school lunch. These ones feature lots of kid-favorite ingredients: turkey, cheese, tomato and crisp cucumber.

Get the Recipe: Easy Kids' Lunches: Fun Shaped Sandwiches

Chicken Noodle Soup

Fill an insulated container with a good, old-fashioned favorite. No time to make the stock from scratch? Store-bought works just as well in this recipe.

Get the Recipe: Chicken Noodle Soup

Cheesy Italian Beef Quesadillas

Kids large and small are sure to love these bite-sized quesadillas. Follow Jeff Mauro's lead and use creamy Provolone cheese, juicy roast beef and bell peppers to fill them or sub in your kiddos favorite ingredients to make them your very own!

Get the Recipe: Cheesy Italian Beef Quesadillas

Berry Almond Energy Bites

Your little ones will be so excited when they open their lunchbox and find this sweet treat. Little do they know each one is packed with good-for-you ingredients like dried fruit and nuts.

Get the Recipe: Berry Almond Energy Bites

Cream Cheese and Ham Stuffed Peppers

These creamy and crunchy stuffed peppers are perfect for a packed lunch. Use scallion instead of parsley or deli turkey instead of ham for a variation.

Get the Recipe: Cream Cheese and Ham Stuffed Peppers

Wagon Wheel Pasta Salad

Your kids will love eating their veggies with this yummy salad. Fun, wheel-shaped pasta gets a colorful makeover with broccoli, corn and tomatoes.

Get the Recipe: Wagon Wheel Pasta Salad

Make-Ahead Lunch Box

Add color to your little one’s lunches with these tasty wraps. A variety of veggies and cold cuts make them fun to look at — and just as great to eat.

Get the Recipe: Make-Ahead Lunch Box

10-Minute Tomato Soup

This soup really does take only 10 minutes, and that's including cleanup! Send it with a cheese sandwich for the perfect any-season meal.

Get the Recipe: Ten-Minute Tomato Soup

Mel’s Banana Muffins

These muffins are packed with two times the wholesome goodness; wheat germ and whole-wheat flour make them a hearty and satisfying lunch for anyone with a sweet tooth!

Get the Recipe: Mel's Banana Muffins

Spiced Tomato ABCs

Molly’s tomato pasta is way better than lunch from a can. She uses harissa and crushed red pepper to add a spicy kick, but that can easily be adjusted for little eaters.

Get the Recipe: Spiced Tomato ABCs

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

Hearty pasta gives classic Caesar salad a satisfying, kid-friendly upgrade. This lunch is perfect for older kids who are starting to branch out and try new things.

Get the Recipe: Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

Veggie and Chorizo Quesadillas

In a lunch rut? Try Trisha’s foolproof technique for perfect quesadillas and switch up the toppings as you like. Be sure to let the quesadillas cool completely before wrapping them in foil! Otherwise, the steam will make them soggy by lunchtime.

Get the Recipe: Veggie and Chorizo Quesadillas

Mini Quiches with Peas and Bacon

Make their day with a breakfast-for-lunch-inspired recipe that's just as good at room temperature as it is warm from the oven: cheesy eggs baked in a mini pie crust along with crisp, salty bacon.

Get the Recipe: Mini Quiches with Peas and Bacon

Cold Peanut Soba Noodles with Chicken

Instead of leftover Chinese, send 'em to school with these soba noodles covered in a peanut butter and soy sauce glaze.

Get the Recipe: Cold Peanut Soba With Chicken