Lunch Ideas: School/Work-repost

(This is an encore presentation, as promised for the start of school.)

Back in March, I was honored to be featured on the blog Shell in Your Pocket.  Sandy Toes does such a nice job of sharing her life in a fun and whimsical way.  I hope you will take a few minutes to check out her blog.  Featuring The Willing Cook has personal significance for Sandy Toes as she has a child with a severe peanut and egg allergy.  I am so grateful to her for sharing her website with me.

Sandy Toes left a comment on one of my recent posts asking for lunch ideas for her children.  I am pleased to accommodate this request, but I have to be honest, I’m not the best creative-lunch-making mom out there.

I have decided to break this up into a two post series: lunch for school/work and lunch for home.  While there are only a couple of months left of school, perhaps your child will enjoy some of these ideas (I will post this again when school starts back up in August).  And since summer break is just around the corner (yeah!), lunch at home will become another event to add to our daily routine.

(These lunch ideas will include both allergy-friendly ideas as well as normal lunch ideas.  I have not yet had to personally deal with sending my allergic child to school for lunch, but it’s coming next year.  I will have to post an update at that time.)

Lunch Ideas for School/Work

  • Frozen PB&J (or any allowed non-peanut butters, like sunflower butter, almond butter, cashew butter, etc):   Take an entire loaf of bread and make your child’s favorite PB&J sandwich (half or whole sandwiches), seal-up in Ziploc bag and place in the freezer.  When you pack your child’s lunch, throw in the frozen PB&J and it will thaw by lunch time.  This is such a time-saver.
  • Sliced Cucumber, Cheese & Crackers:  I have a 3-divider plastic container that separates each item and fits nicely in the lunch box.  We like sharp cheddar and Swiss cheeses on “Everything Crackers” from Trader Joe’s, but anything will work.
  • Salad: Believe it or not, my daughter loves when I send salad in her lunch.  I use the 3-divider Ziploc container with lettuce, Craisins and feta cheese.  I use a small 1/2 cup container for the salad dressing.
  • Hard-boiled Eggs:  Make at least half a dozen and they can be eaten for lunch or breakfast for several days.
  • Tuna or Chicken Salad Sandwich:  (I buy my canned tuna at Costco as it is of a good quality and contains no soy.)  My daughter says none of the girls at her table like tuna sandwiches, but she loves them.  I keep it easy and only add a bit of mayonnaise to keep it moist and a handful of Craisins (sometimes I’ll add chopped pecans).
  • Egg-Free Tuna Salad Sandwich:  My son loves this!  I usually add a touch of olive oil (about 1 Tbsp), 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar and Craisins, and put it on toasted bread. He often eats it without the bread or with crackers.
  • Egg & Wheat-Free Tuna Salad Sandwich:  My husband made up this lunch “sandwich” and was very pleased with the outcome.  To tuna, add a touch of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, as well as a handful of Craisins.  Onto a rice cake of choice, top slices of cucumber and avocado, then spoon on tuna salad (add salt/pepper as desired).

Moving along…

  • PB&J Rice Cake: Spread your favorite nut butter onto a rice cake, drizzle with honey and top with raisins or Craisins.
  • Turkey or Ham Sandwich: top with mayonnaise, a slice of cheese, cucumber and tomato.
  • Hummus Sandwich: spread on good grainy bread with slices of cucumber and tomato.
  • Hummus Crackers: (similar to the pre-packaged peanut butter or cheese crackers) another of my son’s favorite snacks.
  • A friend told me she bought a very nice thermos from LLBean to send soup or spaghetti to school with her children.
  • My friend also packs cheese quesadillas in her children’s lunch.  She quickly prepares it that morning, slices it and closes it up in aluminum foil.
  • I’ve been told by lunch-room moms that some children bring in sushi 🙂
  • Trailmix: I gather numerous items in the pantry and throw a small amount of each into a baggie.  My kids love this little “surprise.”  Some examples are cereal, oyster or goldfish crackers, nuts, dried fruit, sunflower seeds, chocolate chips, marshmallows.
  • Sides:  Carrots & Dip, Fruit, Apple Sauce, Yogurt, Hummus & Veggies or Chips/Crackers, Edamame (soybeans)

What school lunch ideas do you have? I am always looking for innovative, healthy and easy lunches, so please share.

Reader suggestions from April post:

Great ideas Michelle! We are usually home for lunch and so use leftovers (like yesterday’s homemade pasta sauce of mixed small tomatoes, onions, mushrooms & garlic tops a couple of opened pita pockets spread with another day’s leftover pesto to make today’s pizza). We do go to co-op once a week and I try to pack something fun and nutritious. sells bento lunch boxes (though I use the ziploc 3 compartment ones — cheaper and good size for lunch). They also offer lots of lunch ideas. I have purchased a few large cookie cutters I use to shape things like sandwiches or tuna salad and add a few veg slices to make a face, smaller cutters make fun shapes for veggies, cheese etc. Sprouts make great grass or leaves. It really doesn’t take long doing it just once/week and the kids love it (and their friends love to see it too).


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11 Responses to Lunch Ideas: School/Work-repost

  1. Kristen says:

    Sometimes we pack leftovers from the night before in a durable thermos. This way, leftovers get eaten, and you would know what ingredients are in it since it was prepared for the same child for dinner. (Those thermos’s are not cheap, but well-worth the investment!)

    • Cook says:


      Thanks for this great suggestion! I don’t usually pack leftovers in my kids’ lunch, but my husband almost always takes leftovers to work. But it’s definitely a frugal and allergy-safe way to have lunch.


  2. Sarabell says:

    I’ve never even thought about putting a “sandwich” on a rice cake! I’m without a doubt going to do that some time next week!

    • Cook says:

      Another rice cake “sandwich” that I don’t even have on there (I will definitely have to add it) is peanut butter (or whatever nut butter is allowed/preferred), sprinkled with raisins and drizzled with honey. Good, good, good, all the way around.

      Let me know how your “sandwich” turns out. We’re always looking for new recipes.

  3. Tiffany says:

    I HIGHLY recommend the sliced cucumber, cheese, and crackers lunch!

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