18 Different “Sack” Lunch Ideas for Kids

Get over 18 different ideas of what to pack in a sack lunch. Have some variety to your home lunch to keep things interesting and nutritious.

Brown paper bag filled with food


I remember way back to when Brayden, now 14, was 6 and about to go to school full day and start taking his own lunch to school nearly every day. While children seem to tolerate the same thing over and over again better than adults do, I knew he couldn’t have the same old lunch every day for a whole school year.

I also knew peanut products would be out (so, you know, peanut butter) since there are some students in his school allergic to peanuts.

I needed some ideas! I turned to some experienced friends and got a great list of ideas to add to my ideas for taking lunch from home.

I now have eight years under my belt having had children taking home lunch to school. And today I will share the compilation of ideas with you! You can use these ideas for picnics, your husband, your children, or yourself!

Sack Lunch Ideas for Kids

Here are over 18 different main dish ideas along with many more side dishes. 

Main Dish

  • Soup in a thermos 
  • Wraps
  • Pasta
  • English muffin pizza
  • Pita sandwiches
  • Bagels
  • Pancakes
  • Meat sandwiches
  • Egg salad sandwiches
  • Tacos
  • Tuna
  • Hot dogs, kept in a thermos to keep warm.
  • Peanut butter and jelly (out for us, but might work for you)
  • Almond butter sandwiches
  • Tortillas with a nut butter of some sort (peanut butter, Nutella, almond butter…). Peanut butter and a little brown sugar is fun!
  • Meat, Cheese, and Crackers for a homemade Lunchable
  • Jelly and honey–okay, I know, this does not sound healthy. Brayden loves his PB&J, but obviously cannot have it. So sometimes he takes a honey and jelly. It is homemade jam, local, raw honey, and on whole wheat bread that I ground the wheat for myself (well, my wheat grinder did but I turned the knob). So it gives him the sense of what he is wanting and keeps other kids safe.
  • Leftovers from dinner the night before
Sack lunch main dish ideas graphic


  • Hummus and crackers
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Yogurt
  • Granola bars or granola loose
  • Raisins (and other dried fruits like bananas)
  • Nuts
  • Muffins
  • Pasta salad
  • String cheese
  • Jello
Sack lunch ideas for kids pinnable image


  • Applesauce
  • Fruit cups
  • Sliced fruit (apples, oranges, pears, peaches)
  • Whole fruit (banana, grapes, berries)
  • Dried fruit


  • Salads
  • Spinach bites
  • Cut up raw veggies (cucumber, carrots, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, cauliflower, sliced peppers, etc.)–It can be fun to send a variety all on one day.
  • Cooked veggies in an insulated container so they stay warm

Sack Lunch Tips

  1. Get a good “sack”: An insulated lunch bag is the best thing you can get if you want more than a basic PB&J and piece of fruit that doesn’t require refrigeration. I often like to get one that has a separate compartment–so I can keep certain foods apart. This is great if you have a food you want really cold and a food you want warm (you can also buy ice packs to put in these bags). I like to use it to keep the sandwich away from heavier foods. I hate smashed sandwiches.
  2. Use re-usable containers: You can use these for sandwiches to prevent sandwich smashing. You can also buy small containers and use them for things like dips and dressings.
  3. Send a treat: School lunch often has a treat with it, and that can make it so kids will say they want to eat school lunch even if they don’t really like what the school lunch is. If you send some sort of treat every once in a while, it can make it more appealing.
  4. Organize things: Get some free printables for organizing your school lunches here: Organizing School Lunches. Prep what you can the night before if mornings are crazy at your house. 
  5. Send a Note: The lunch box is a great place to send a note to your child to brighten the day. Don’t feel like you have to do it every day at all. It can be just a fun surprise every once in a while.

Your turn! Share what you send or take with you for lunches from home! What tips do you have for sending a sack lunch?

Sack Lunch Ideas pinnable image

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Sack Lunch Ideas for school

Main Dishes

  • Soup in a thermos, 
  • Wraps,
  • Pasta,
  • English muffin pizza,
  • Pita sandwiches,
  • Bagels,
  • Pancakes,
  • Meat sandwiches,
  • Egg salad sandwiches,
  • Tacos,
  • Tuna,
  • Hot dogs, kept in a thermos to keep warm,
  • Peanut butter and jelly,
  • Almond butter sandwiches,
  • Tortillas with a nut butter of some sort (peanut butter, Nutella, almond butter...),
  • Meat, Cheese, and Crackers for a homemade Lunchable,
  • Jelly and honey, and
  • Leftovers from dinner the night before

Side Dishes

  • Hummus and crackers,
  • Cheese and crackers,
  • Yogurt,
  • Granola bars or granola loose,
  • Raisins,
  • Nuts,
  • Muffins,
  • Pasta salad,
  • String cheese, and
  • Jello


  • Applesauce,
  • Fruit cups,
  • Sliced fruit (apples, oranges, pears, peaches),
  • Whole fruit (banana, grapes, berries), and
  • Dried fruit


  • Salads,
  • Spinach bites,
  • Cut up raw veggies (cucumber, carrots, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, cauliflower, sliced peppers, etc.), and
  • Cooked veggies in an insulated container so they stay warm

9 thoughts on “18 Different “Sack” Lunch Ideas for Kids”

  1. This helps me even though all my kids are still at home. I run out of lunch ideas and end up doing the same thing each day. Thanks!

  2. My sister does the soup in a thermos thing for her daughter and my niece loves it! My sister says the trick is to heat it really hot so that it's still warm come lunch time. Also, to keep apple slices from turning brown, she puts just a little bit of lemon juice in the bag and it works like a charm.

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  4. LOL Rebekka!! i seriously am laughing in my kitchen at your post!Anyways, back to lunches.My girls BEG me to buy them the disgusting LUNCHABLES (which are packaged just to attract kids). If you've ever looked in one, they are really unhealthy. So I decided to create my own LUNCHABLE 🙂 I got divided lunch containers from Target and cut the ham/turkey/cheese in squares, add the WW or Rice crackers to one section and even pickles too. The girls love them and it's really super easy. We use the same container for a cut veggies (carrots, cucumbers) dip and cheese.


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