6 creative back-to-school lunch ideas

School is officially back in session, which means it’s time to start packing lunchboxes again. The reliable peanut butter and jelly or ham and cheese sandwich might do the trick for the first few weeks of school, but it gets boring as the school year goes on.

Coming up with fun lunch ideas that are nutritious, easy to make, and kid-approved can be incredibly challenging. If you’re struggling to come up with new ideas for your kids’ lunches, look no further than the Food Network. This famous cooking channel offers more than just gourmet dinner ideas; they have dozens of kid-friendly recipes too.

Here are just a few lunch box ideas from the Food Network:

  1. Rainbows and Butterflies Pasta Salad

Ellie Krieger, host of Food Network’s Healthy Appetite, created this recipe to add more color to her daughter’s school lunches. The brightly colored veggies and butterfly-shaped noodles turn a boring pasta salad into a fun, kid-friendly lunchtime meal that’s not only healthy, but also easy to make.

  1. Panko Chicken Nuggets

Chicken nuggets are arguably the most beloved, kid-friendly food of all time which makes them a great option for changing things up at lunchtime. By using panko breadcrumbs, you can make these chicken nuggets the night before without having to worry about them getting soggy by lunchtime the next day. This is a great recipe if you’re looking to save time in the morning. Just pop the chicken nuggets in your child’s lunchbox with their favorite dipping sauce and some veggies on the side and you’re good to go.

  1. English Muffin Pizzas

This recipe is a lunch-friendly take on another popular kid-pleaser: pizza. These little personal pizzas can be made ahead of time and kept in the freezer until you need them—perfect for busy families who are always on the go. Plus, the toppings can be customized to fit what your child likes to eat on his/her pizza.

  1. Shark Quesadillas

These shark quesadillas are a great way to break up the monotony of traditional sandwiches and add a little fun to your child’s lunch. They can be warmed up in the microwave or eaten at room temperature and can be served with sour cream, guacamole, or salsa on the side.

  1. Lasagna Roll-Ups

This recipe puts a fun twist on traditional lasagna, making it more lunchbox-friendly. Don’t forget to pack a side of marina, alfredo, or another one of your child’s favorite pasta sauces to dip the roll-ups in.

  1. Ryder’s Turkey Chili

Food Network Chef Guy Fieri says this recipe is one of his kids’ favorites. Guy loves making this chili for his kids’ lunches because it’s a great way to sneak in veggies and makes enough to feed his kids for most of the week. Plus, it’s also freezer-friendly which makes it a great backup option for those really busy weeks.

For more kid-friendly recipes, tune into the Food Network. Channel number varies by location, so check your local listing.

Guest Blogger: August Braun, Communications Intern at TDS Telecom and a journalism student at UW-Madison.

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