10 Simple Lunch Ideas for Back to School

Posted on August 20 2019

These easy school lunch ideas will keep them full and focused all afternoon.

Lunch Box Chicken Wrap

This lunchbox-friendly wrap is a tasty way to use leftover chicken and get kids to eat more veggies. Using colorful, thin strips of vegetables adds visual interest when the wrap is cut into slices. 

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Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup hummus
  • 1 whole wheat tortilla (8 inches), room temperature
  • 1/2 cup fresh baby spinach
  • 1/3 cup shredded cooked chicken breast
  • 2 carrot sticks
  • 2 sweet red pepper strips

Directions

  • Spread hummus over tortilla; top with spinach. Place chicken, carrot and red pepper in a row near center of tortilla; roll up tightly. If desired, cut crosswise into slices. Wrap securely or pack in an airtight container; refrigerate until serving.

 

BLT Tortillas

These BLT tortillas are a healthy and easy way to quickly make your kids happy when they open their lunch for the day.

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons ranch salad dressing mix
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 8 flour tortillas (8 inches), room temperature
  • 16 cooked bacon strips
  • 2 to 3 cups shredded lettuce
  • 2 cups chopped seeded tomato
  • Green and sweet red pepper strips, optional

Directions

  • Mix first four ingredients; spread onto tortillas. Top with remaining ingredients and roll up.

 

Wheely-Good Pasta Salad

Red pepper pieces accent this yummy side dish, and the pasta wheels really drive the theme home

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Ingredients

  • 1 package (16 ounces) wagon wheel pasta
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 1 medium sweet red pepper, diced
  • 1 can (3.8 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano
  • 1 bottle (16 ounces) creamy Parmesan Romano salad dressing

Directions

  • Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and rinse in cold water. In a large serving bowl, combine the pasta, cheese, red pepper, olives and oregano. Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

 

Turkey Taco Salad

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Ingredients

  • 12 ounces ground turkey
  • 1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
  • 1 small sweet yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-1/2 cups salsa
  • 1/2 cup canned kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 8 cups torn romaine
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
  • Optional toppings: chopped tomatoes, shredded cheddar cheese and crushed tortilla chips

Directions

  • In a large skillet, cook turkey, peppers, onion and garlic over medium heat 6-8 minutes or until turkey is no longer pink and vegetables are tender, breaking up turkey into crumbles; drain.
  • Stir in salsa, beans, chili powder and cumin; heat through.
  • Divide romaine among four plates. Top with turkey mixture; sprinkle with cilantro and toppings of your choice. Serve immediately.

 

Greek Grilled Chicken Pitas

It’s delicious and perfect for warm days, with a creamy cucumber sauce that goes great with fresh, crunchy veggies to stay cool and refreshed after lunch.

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinaigrette
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • CUCUMBER SAUCE:
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cucumber
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • PITAS:
  • 8 pita pocket halves
  • 1/2 cup sliced cucumber
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Directions

  • Marinate chicken in vinaigrette, covered, in refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight. In a small bowl, combine the sauce ingredients; chill until serving.
  • Drain and discard marinade. If grilling the chicken, lightly oil the grill rack. Grill chicken, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 in. from the heat until a thermometer reads 170°, 4-7 minutes on each side.
  • Cut chicken into strips. Fill each pita half with chicken, cucumber, tomatoes, onion and cheese; drizzle with sauce.

 

Super Sloppy Joes

Upgrade a lunchtime classic into a feast with a few fancy yet simple tweaks.

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Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 celery ribs with leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 can (15 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon steak sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 10 hamburger or hoagie buns, split

Directions

  • In an oven over medium heat, cook the beef, onion, celery and green pepper until meat is no longer pink and the vegetables are tender; drain.
  • Stir in the next nine ingredients. Simmer, uncovered, for 35-40 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally. Spoon about 1/2 cup meat mixture onto each bun. 
    Freeze option: Place individual portions cooled meat mixture in freezer containers and freeze. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Microwave, covered, on high in a microwave-safe dish until heated through, gently stirring and adding a little broth / water if necessary.

Kids and adults alike will love the taste of these moist and mouthwatering mini burgers. 

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Ingredients

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 2 tablespoons dill pickle relish
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons prepared mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3 to 4 slices process American cheese
  • 10 dinner rolls, split

Directions

  • Preheat broiler. In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients. Add beef; mix lightly but thoroughly. Shape into 10 patties. Transfer to a 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Broil 3-4 in. from heat 4-6 minutes on each side or until a thermometer reads 160°.
  • Meanwhile, cut cheese slices and immediately place on burgers; serve on rolls. Freeze option: Place patties on a plastic wrap-lined baking sheet; wrap and freeze until firm. Remove from pan and transfer to a large resealable plastic bag; return to freezer. To use, broil frozen patties as directed, increasing time as necessary.

 

Turkey Gyros

Greek seasoning, feta cheese and dill-cucumber sauce give this gyro an authentic taste.Turkey-Gyros_exps20640_SD2847494D02_13_2bC_RMS-1024x1024

Ingredients

  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled
  • 2/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons dill weed
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 pound turkey breast tenderloin, cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt-free Greek seasoning
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded lettuce
  • 8 thin tomato slices
  • 4 whole pita breads, warmed
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese

Directions

  • Finely chop a third of the cucumber. For sauce, mix sour cream, onion, dill, lemon juice and chopped cucumber. Thinly slice remaining cucumber.
  • In a nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; saute turkey until no longer pink, 4-6 minutes. Stir in Greek seasoning. Serve turkey, lettuce, tomato and sliced cucumber on pitas; top with sauce and cheese.

 

Ham ‘n’ Swiss Envelopes

These clever envelopes will make people eager to look inside. The hot pockets shaped with refrigerated dough are stuffed with a delicious ham-and-cheese filling.

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Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup diced fully cooked ham
  • 4 teaspoons finely chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 3/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, cubed
  • 2 tubes (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent rolls

Directions

  • In a large skillet, saute ham and onion in oil until onion is tender. Add cheeses; cook for 3-4 minutes or until melted. Remove from the heat; set aside.
  • Unroll crescent dough and separate into four rectangles; seal perforations. Place 2 tablespoons of ham mixture in the center of each rectangle. Starting with a short side, fold a third of the dough over filling. On the other short side, bring both corners together in the center to form a point. Fold over to resemble an envelope. Pinch seams to seal.
  • Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Parmesan Chicken Nuggets

Prep once and feed the family twice when you double this chicken mac and cheese and freeze half of it.

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Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese) bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Marinara sauce, optional

Directions

  • Place butter in a shallow bowl. Combine the bread crumbs, cheese and salt in another shallow bowl. Dip chicken in butter, then roll in crumbs.
  • Place in a single layer on two 15x10x1-in. baking pans. Bake at 375° for 15-18 minutes or until no longer pink, turning once. Serve with marinara sauce if desired. 
    Freeze option: Cool chicken nuggets. Freeze in freezer containers. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Place on a baking sheet and reheat in a preheated 375° oven 7-12 minutes or until heated through.
 

Extra Tip:

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