5 Easy Back to School Lunch Ideas & Tips for Picky Eaters

5 Easy Back to School Lunch Ideas & Tips for Picky Eaters

Sending our children off for another school year comes with a lot of preparation that some of us may or may not be ready for.

With fall approaching and schools ready to get back into the swing of classes, it’s time to get back on track, and what better way than to plan out some creative school lunch ideas!

Any parent of a picky eater knows the struggle of getting kids to eat what’s in their lunchbox. The list below includes a week’s worth of back-to-school lunch ideas for fussy eaters including ways to get your kids involved. Hopefully it takes some of the stress away while also providing your kids with some tasty options come lunch time. 

Read below to find school lunch ideas that can easily be altered to cater to your child’s diet including nut-free, gluten free, and dairy-free options. We’ve structured this weekly plan with a healthy, balanced meal in mind while keeping it simple:

  • Protein to keep them feeling full.
  • Healthy Carbohydrates for an extra energy boost.
  • Fruits & Veggies for wholesome nutrients.
  • Sweet Treats to keep things interesting! YumEarth’s back-to-school snack packs are not only delicious but free from the top 9 allergens, artificial dyes, and have lots of delicious options to keep things fun!

First, some tips for packing school lunches

  • Don’t be afraid to use leftovers. If you’ve made a dish that your kids have loved in the past, serve it up for them again! Freezing a big meal, a week or two in advance and then thawing a serving out the night before is one of the simplest ways to ensure your picky eater will love what’s in their lunchbox. 
  • Use a fun lunchbox. Presentation is everything when it comes to getting your picky eater to enjoy their lunch. The best kids' lunchboxes will have several compartments that keep their foods organized. Allow your kids to help choose the colors and styles they like best, so they are excited to eat from it during lunch.
  • Give them some options to choose from. While you are going to be making the bulk of the decisions when it comes to what your kids eat for lunch, allowing them to help in the process can go a long way. This could be letting them choose fillings in a sandwich or salad or giving them the option out of several snack choices for that day. 

    Second, the week’s menu!


    Monday: School Lunch Idea #1

    Gluten-Free Hummus Pinwheels

    A plate with gluten-free hummus pinwheels with some spinach leaves and peanut butter

    Photo: From My Bowl

    Hummus pinwheels are a super quick and easy lunch main idea. They can easily be substituted with a flavored hummus or whatever veggies you have on hand. The bite-sized pieces are packed with healthy ingredients and more fun than your typical sandwich. Pack these up in your kid’s lunchbox with some delicious gluten-free YumEarth gummy bears for a satisfyingly sweet finish.


    Tuesday: School Lunch Idea #2

    Roasted Broccoli Grilled Cheese

    Grilled cheese sandwich with roasted broccoli and red peppers

    Photo: Ahead of Thyme

    Level up a grilled cheese sandwich with this wholesome twist. Sneaking roasted broccoli and red peppers between melted cheddar is a sure way to get your picky eater to enjoy their vegetables. And include some YumEarth allergy friendly chewys as that sweet treat to balance it out!


    Wednesday: School Lunch Idea #3

    Sweet Potato Quesadillas

    4 pieces of sweet potato and black beans quesadillas

    Photo: Super Healthy Kids

    Use leftover mashed sweet potatoes to create this nutritious school lunch idea. Sweet potatoes and black beans are the stars of these quesadillas, providing your kids with a filling and delicious meal. Pair with yummy organic fruit snacks for a well-rounded lunchbox.


    Thursday: School lunch Idea #4

    Easy Chicken Salad

    A lunchbox with Chicken Salad sandwich with sliced cucumber and tomatoes on one side and berries with smashed chick peas on other

    Photo: Life Made Sweeter

    Try prepping this chicken salad (note recipe #13, but there are lots of great options here!) for a back-to-school lunch that is super easy to make. It comes together in minutes to build a healthy meal for your kid’s lunch and can be served alone or in your favorite flatbread. Smashed chickpeas are an easy substitute for a meatless version. Don’t forget a yummy treat including YumEarth allergy-friendly fruit snacks!


    Friday: School Lunch Idea #5

    Pizza Pasta Salad

    Pizza Pasta Salad 

     Photo: Laura Fuentes

    For a school lunch that is full of whole foods and appeals to the picky eaters in your family, try this quick pizza pasta salad. It’s simple yet delicious and makes the perfect make-ahead meal for school lunches. Add in a pack of chewy organic giggles for a sweet treat to finish up another school week!  

    Keeping school lunches simple and void of over-processed foods is key to another successful school year. Use these back-to-school lunch ideas as a starting point to make healthy and delicious meals for your kids all year long. Stock up on your kids’ favorite YumEarth candy and treats for a convenient way to add organic snacks to their lunchbox. And you’ll have one less thing to worry about this year!