Are you already running out of lunch ideas for school? The kids complaining about eating the same ham sandwich every day? No stress, we’ll take the lead! Whether you’re packing for an adventurous foodie or a classic picky eater, we have a recipe for you. Click through the slides for 35 fun new lunch ideas to send your kids to school with.
Extra-firm tofu makes a happy home under a thick coating of panko crumbs. Kids will love these nuggets that are crispy, delicious and fun to dip. Get the recipe: Crispy Tofu NuggetsPhoto: Erik Putz
This carrot soup calls for a swirl: pack some sour cream your kids can dollop on top and then (carefully) drag a toothpick or spoon through it to create a fun design. Get the recipe: Maple Carrot Soup
There’s a lot going on in this quinoa bowl. But crispy apple, shredded carrots, beets and a hard-boiled egg all get along nicely with the herb dressing. Get the recipe: Rainbow Veggie Quinoa BowlPhoto: Erik Putz
Create your own better-than-takeout rice bowl at home. Juicy ginger beef, hardboiled eggs and all the veggies are nice and cozy atop this hearty bowl. Get the recipe: Ginger Beef Rice BowlPhoto: Erik Putz
Kick this dish up a notch by adding grilled shrimp or leftover shredded chicken or beef. Get the recipe: Cold Sesame Soba Noodle DishPhoto: Erik Putz
Minimum prep for maximum payoff: a warm, hearty bowl of chili to slurp up at lunch. Get the recipe: Make-Ahead Lentil ChiliPhoto: Roberto Caruso
This simple chickpea curry assembles quickly and results in a flavourful, inexpensive meal that provides a complete protein. Get the recipe: Chana Masala
You won’t believe how simple this creamy recipe is to pull together. Get the recipe: One-Pot Mac and CheesePhoto: Erik Putz
Protein-packed falafels are easy to make at home. Stuff them in a pita pocket for a quick lunch. Get the recipe: Red Pepper Falafel CakesPhoto: Erik Putz
Easy to make and fun to dip. We love the simplicity of this meal and its ability to use up leftovers and odds and ends. Get the recipe: Vietnamese Roast Chicken & Salad Rolls>Photo: Erik Putz
Fill them up good with this homemade rendition of instant oatmeal. Get the recipe: Homemade Apple-Cinnamon Instant OatmealPhoto: Erik Putz
This recipe is so quick and easy that you’ll want to make it as often as your family wants to eat it! Try baking it in the oven or grilled on the barbecue. Get the recipe: Quick Margherita PizzaPhoto: Erik Putz
Rushed mornings are no match for this protein-packed recipe. The quinoa cooks in the Thermos. Get the recipe: Magic QuinoaPhoto: Erik Putz
Simple and delicious, this healthy and wholesome frittata is perfect as a snack or meal. Get the recipe: Zucchini and Feta FrittataPhoto: Erik Putz
Packed with hidden veggies, these mini meatballs will keep little learners full-up until dinner. Get the recipe: Turkey and Zucchini MeatballsPhoto: Erik Putz
Easy fried latkes make a fun lunchbox companion. Add hummus and veggies on the side for protein. Get the recipe: Lacey-Edged LatkesPhoto: Erik Putz
Make extra waffles on the weekend, freeze and reheat in the toaster before sticking them in the bento box. Get the recipe: Easy Buttermilk WafflesPhoto: Erik Putz
You don’t have to feel guilty about these tender chicken fingers. They’ve got the satisfying flavour of fried, but are baked in the oven. Get the recipe: “Fried” Chicken FingersPhoto: Erik Putz
Pack along whole-wheat pita to sop up this creamy soup. Get the recipe: Curried Lentil-Coconut SoupPhoto: Erik Putz
This allergy-friendly take on beef satay uses soy nut butter in the dipping sauce, so it’s safe for those allergic to peanuts and treenuts. Get the recipe: Beef Satay with Thai Dipping SaucePhoto: Erik Putz
Cold, slurpy noodles are an easy go-to lunch. The kids will be asking for it every day. Get the recipe: Primavera Pasta SaladPhoto: Maya Visnyei
Need a quick lunch that the kids will actually eat? Try Banana Sushi—it’s healthy and yummy. Get the recipe: Banana Sushi
One of the easiest lunches you can pack, this alphabet pasta will fill them up good. Make it the night before and simply reheat for the Thermos. Get the recipe: Homemade Alphabet Pasta>Photo: Roberto Caruso
This lunch combines two of kids’ loves: waffles and bacon for one surprising sandwich. To pack, place pieces of waxed paper or foil between all layers to keep them fresh and wrap sandwich in parchment. Pack mayo separately in its own mini squirt bottle. Before eating, remove waxed paper or foil and squirt mayo onto waffle.
Get the recipe: BLT Waffle-Wich>Photo: Roberto Caruso
A warm, Thermos lunch is as comforting as it gets—especially when there are mini meatballs and saucy rice inside. Get the recipe: Sweet-and-Sour Meatballs on Rice>Photo: Roberto Caruso
A new spin on ham and cheese, these yummy pinwheels have lunch all rolled up.
Get the recipe: Ham-and-Cheese Pinwheels>Photo: Roberto Caruso
Parents of picky eaters rejoice! This smoothie is a cleaver cheat.
Get the recipe: High Protein Smoothie>Photo: Roberto Caruso
Making one sandwich that serves six is the correct answer to busy school mornings. Get the recipe: Pressed Italian Picnic Sandwich>Photo: Maya Visnyei
Make ahead and freeze for easy, homemade pizza pockets anytime. Get the recipe: Calzones with Turkey Kielbasa>Photo: Rob Caruso
Tender pulled pork is yummy hot or cold, making it a perfectly totable lunch. Get the recipe: Pulled Pork Sandwiches>Photo: Jodi Pudge
Another perfect dinner that translates well into a cold meal the next day. Get the recipe: Whole Wheat Pasta with Kale and Red Pepper Pesto>
If your little one won’t eat cold meatballs, warm them up and store them in the Thermos and let them assemble their own sub at lunch time.
Get the recipe: Mini Meatball Subs>Photo: Andrew Grinton
These tasty calzones are super yummy and super filling. If your little one doesn’t like spinach, feel free to omit. Get the recipe: Tuna Melt Calzones>Photo: Andrew Grinton
Delicious warm or cold, pack this baby in a Thermos or on ice for a yummy lunch room meal.
Get the recipe: Penne with Sautéed Sausage & Kale>Photo: Jodi Pudge
In this easy and kid-friendly recipe, storebought rotisserie chicken is transformed by sautéeing it quickly with garlic and herbs. Get the recipe: Rotisserie Chicken Gyro>Photo: Maya Visnyei
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