sandwich free lunch box ideas

Well, it is that time of year again. Lunch packing season. Admittedly, it is not my favorite job, but one that I deem important enough to do every Monday thru Friday. I think that it is important to send my kids to school with a lunch that I know that they will eat and sustain them throughout the really long school day.

Kids need brain food. Protein, healthy fats, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. And an occasional treat for good measure. Since becoming a holistic nutritionist, I am even more aware of how important it is to nourish our baby’s bodies. Their bodies and brains are asked to do a lot during the school day (and if they play sports or have after school activities even more so) and as a parent, I try my best to support them. Packing lunch is a big part of that.

I’m not saying that school lunch is a bad thing, not at all! In fact, some school lunches are superior to the ones that I may pack. School lunch programs have come a long way and we should do everything that we can to support these efforts. (Write letters and call your school district to encourage, congratulate, and ask for what you want if you don’t like what you see on the menus – they will listen!) What I like about sending a lunch to school is the control that I have over what they eat. And I get to see if they actually ate what I sent.

I (and the littles) can get tired of the same lunch day after day. How many PB&Js can one kid eat? I like to change it up a little bit and think outside of the lunch box (lunch box, instead of box, get it? Never mind, that wasn’t funny) and today I have three different lunches that don’t even include a sandwich, but are still filling, nourishing, and full of energy. And a lot of other ideas too.

These were tested on 7 children and I am happy to report that they loved them, and ate everything I packed. They liked the colors and how fun they were to eat. This was an opinionated crowd, so I am going to count that as a triumph.

Also, I had every item packed on hand. I shopped my fridge and pantry only.

This post is brought to you by Sargento Cheese. Sargento Natural Cheese Snacks are a natural source of high-quality protein offering 4-8 grams of protein per serving. 

sandwich free lunch box ideas

Box #1

Sargento Natural String Cheese Snacks (Sharp Cheddar and Mozzerella) wrapped with turkey and roast beef
Apple
Nutella
Graham Crackers for dipping

caprese lunch sticks

Box #2

Caprese Sticks with Balsamic Dressing for dipping (cherry tomatoes, cut up Mozzarella stick, and basil leaves)
Pretzels
Raspberries

hard boiled egg protein box

Box #3

Hard Boiled Eggs with salt and pepper
Goldfish Crackers
Homemade Hummus and Salsa
Baked Tortilla Chips

tips for packing lunchI have been using the same lunch packing supplies for two school years now, and I cannot find a good reason to change. I love the containers, they are durable, easy to clean, and cheap enough to replace if they get lost or banged around. I use little sticks and picks just to make the boxes fun. They are more prone to eat the fruit if there is a cute little zebra fork or apple pick to use. I buy everything on Amazon, but you can find the picks at an Asian market.

EasyLunchboxes
EasyLunchbox “Mini Dippers”
Cool Cooler Ice Packs
Silicon Slim Snacks 
Cute Little Animal Forks
Little People Picks
Silicon Cups

I also have a few books that I really like to give me some fresh ideas and tips for making lunches ahead of time and how to pack them safely.

Weelicious Lunches
Best Lunch Box Ever
The Best Homemade Kids Lunches on the Planet

lunch box ideas

Some other sandwich-free ideas and recipes:

Carrots, Peppers and Broccoli with Homemade Ranch
Mini Spinach Frittatas
Yogurt and Blueberry Pecam Granola 
White Broccoli Pizza
BLT Pasta Salad
Oven Fried Chicken
Cheese and Crackers
Ham and Cheese Skewers
White Bean Dip with Veggie Dippers

sandwich-free lunchbox ideas

Treats:

Whole Wheat Orange Chocolate Chip Muffins
Sunflower Seed Cookies
Whole Grain Chocolate Chip Cookies
Oatmeal Chip Cookies
Vegan Vanilla Berry Muffins

sargento cheese sticks

This post was brought to you by Sargento Cheese. I am a proud brand ambassador and thank you for supporting companies and brands that I partner with. Partnerships allow me to create more unique content and recipes for you. This post contains affiliate links. As always, all opinions are my 100% own.