15 Creative Lunch Ideas for Elementary and Middle Schoolers

August 15, 2023

Creative and nutritious back-to-school lunches can make a big difference in keeping kids excited about mealtime. Here are some fun and innovative ideas for elementary and middle school students:

  1. Rainbow Wraps: Create colorful wraps using whole-grain tortillas filled with a variety of veggies like red bell peppers, shredded carrots, spinach, and cucumber. Add grilled chicken or hummus for protein. Roll them up and cut into bite-sized pinwheels.
  2. DIY Lunchables: Provide whole-grain crackers, cheese cubes, lean deli meat slices, and a selection of fruits. Kids can assemble their own mini sandwiches and enjoy mixing and matching flavors.
  3. Veggie Monsters: Make sandwiches with whole-grain bread, lean meats, and a variety of veggies. Use cucumber slices for eyes, a cherry tomato for a nose, and carrot sticks for legs to create fun veggie monsters.
  4. Bento Boxes: Pack a bento-style lunch box with a mix of bite-sized fruits, veggies, cheese cubes, mini sandwiches, and nuts. Arrange the items in separate compartments for an exciting and balanced meal.
  5. Pasta Salad Delight: Create a pasta salad with whole-grain pasta, colorful bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, broccoli florets, and a light vinaigrette. Add some grilled chicken or chickpeas for protein.
  6. Yogurt Parfait: Provide Greek yogurt, granola, and a selection of fresh berries. Kids can layer these ingredients to create their own delicious yogurt parfaits.
  7. Mini Pita Pockets: Fill mini whole-wheat pita pockets with lean protein like turkey or chicken, along with shredded lettuce, diced cucumbers, and a drizzle of low-fat dressing.
  8. Fruit Kebabs: Skewer colorful fruits like grapes, berries, melon chunks, and pineapple pieces onto small wooden skewers for a fun and easy-to-eat snack.
  9. Homemade Pizza Roll-Ups: Roll up whole-grain tortillas with tomato sauce, low-fat mozzarella cheese, and a variety of diced veggies. Bake until the cheese melts and the roll-ups are golden.
  10. Trail Mix Surprise: Create a DIY trail mix by mixing whole-grain cereal, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and a few chocolate chips or yogurt-covered raisins for a touch of sweetness.
  11. Quinoa Salad: Prepare a quinoa salad with cooked quinoa, diced veggies like bell peppers, cucumber, and cherry tomatoes, and a lemony dressing. Add some feta cheese or cubed tofu for protein.
  12. Hummus Dippers: Pack mini whole-wheat pitas, hummus, and a mix of sliced veggies like bell peppers, carrots, and snap peas for dipping.
  13. Mini Pancake Sandwiches: Make mini pancakes using whole-grain pancake mix. Sandwich together with peanut butter, almond butter, or yogurt and sliced bananas.
  14. Cheese and Apple Quesadillas: Create quesadillas with whole-grain tortillas, a mix of grated cheese, and thin apple slices. Heat until the cheese melts and the tortillas are crispy.
  15. Sushi Rolls: Make sushi-inspired rolls using whole-grain wraps, lean protein (such as cooked chicken or tofu), avocado slices, and cucumber sticks.

Remember to consider any allergies or dietary restrictions when preparing these lunches. Getting kids involved in the lunch preparation can also make the experience more enjoyable and help them develop healthy eating habits.