Lunch Box Ideas

You can never have too many lunch box ideas! Whether you are taking your lunch to work or packing school lunches for the kids, you need lots of ideas for healthy and delicious mid-day meals.

When I was a teenager and made my own school lunch, I took the same thing every single day: a peanut butter and pickle sandwich, an apple and a couple of cookies.

I wish I'd had a few more good lunch ideas!

Here are some great healthy lunch box ideas.


I always try to cook more for supper than I think we'll eat, so that there will be leftovers for lunch the next day. These foods work particularly well:

  • Caribbean Black Beans with leftover rice are great for lunch! Pack a small container of salsa to go with them.

  • Chili Macaroni Casserole is very filling and satisfying.

  • The next time you have Chinese food, save the little containers of soy sauce. Tuck a couple in the lunch box with some leftover Fried Rice.

  • Hot German Potato Salad has a delightful sweet and sour flavor. (Disclaimer: I've never actually had leftovers, because we eat all of it whenever I make it. I think that the leftovers would be good, though!

  • Sweet and Sour Meatballs are a great choice for lunch! Mix in some leftover rice for a filling meal.


Looking for something a bit lighter? Salads are great lunch box ideas! These salads are substantial enough for a meal.

Click here for even more Salad Recipes.


When in doubt, pack a sandwich! Here are a couple of new ideas, and an old standby.


Especially in the fall and winter, a Thermos of hot soup is the perfect lunch.

Other Lunch Ideas

Looking for still more lunch box ideas? Try these!

There are a number of things to keep in mind when packing lunches.

Reducing Garbage

I read recently that an average child can generate 67 pounds of trash per year simply by bringing lunch in disposable containers! That's a lot of garbage!

Here are some ideas for reducing the amount of garbage you create:

  • Use a good quality reusable lunchbox instead of brown bags.
  • Fill reusable vacuum containers with your own delicious leftovers instead of buying packaged lunch food.
  • Use a stainless steel or BPA-free plastic water bottle instead of drink boxes or canned drinks.
  • Buy some inexpensive metal or plastic forks and spoons. (The thrift store is a good place to look!) Use these instead of disposable cutlery.

Food Safety

  • Keep hot foods hot by packing them in preheated vacuum food storage containers. (Thermos is a familiar brand.)

    • Fill the container with very hot water.
    • Let it sit for a few minutes.
    • Pour out the water.
    • Put your hot food in the container.

  • Keep cold foods cold by packing them in a prechilled Thermos container:
    • Fill the container with very cold water.
    • Let it sit for a few minutes.
    • Pour out the water.
    • Put your cold food in the Thermos.

Boomerang Lunch Policy

A Boomerang Lunch policy means simply that nothing from a child's lunch can be put in the school's garbage. If a child doesn't want to eat an item, it goes back in the lunchbox and "boomerangs" back home.

The program has a number of benefits:

  • It allows you to see exactly what is getting eaten (or not!)
  • It helps you make good choices about what to send.
  • It may help reduce garbage - since parents have to deal with the garbage they create.

If your school doesn't already have such a policy, suggest that they implement one.

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