14 Super-Easy Back-to-School Lunch Ideas

One of my personal goals for back-to-school lunches is to prep more big-batch recipes over the weekend so that packing is faster throughout the week. Sometimes it might be as elaborate as a batch of muffins, or other times it might be a two- or three-ingredient salad, but each has to last all week in the fridge or freezer and keep in a lunch box too. Here are 14 of the easy lunch recipes on my list for back to school.

1. Zucchini Pesto Pizza Rolls

Buy store-bought pizza dough and pesto and this recipe takes just 10 minutes to put together. Plus, what kid isn’t excited about pizza in their lunch box?

2. How To Make the Easiest Pasta Salad

My family has loved this pasta salad this summer and I can attest to its staying power. A big batch keeps well for up to a week, if it lasts that long.

3. Ham and Cheddar Lunch Box Muffins

An upgrade on that classic lunch box sandwich, these muffins freeze well so plan on making a double batch and throwing them into the freezer for future lunch boxes.

4. The Best Pesto Chicken Salad

I’ve never been a huge fan of classic chicken salad for lunch boxes, so this pesto version is ideal for a protein-rich sandwich or wrap filler.

5. Roasted Sweet Potato Wraps with Caramelized Onions and Pesto

My onion-averse 6-year-old is very into these wraps and I love that they are vegetable-filled. Roast a big batch of sweet potatoes and you can have these wraps all week.

6. Chickpea and Cheddar Quesadillas

One thing to love about these Crunch Wrap-inspired quesadillas is that they can do double duty as a bus-stop breakfast in the morning too. Because they are wrapped in a circle you don’t have to worry about the filling falling out either.

7. Tomato Chickpea Salad

I’ve made this salad so frequently recently that I worry my children will get tired of it, but their lunch boxes always come home with this particular salad devoured! I’ll be switching out the chickpeas with white beans soon for a new twist on this favorite.

8. Pesto Tortellini Pasta Salad

If you have a noodle-obsessed kiddo, this pasta salad is for you. Using store-bought pesto and store-bought tortellini means you only have to boil water and slice some tomatoes.

9. BBQ Ranch Chicken Bites

This chicken nugget alternative is just as tasty hot or cold, so making a big batch of lunches is a no-brainer. Bonus points if you serve them with each for dipping.

10. Loaded Breakfast Muffins

These breakfast-for-dinner muffins are the perfect sweet and savory combo for lunches. And while they might take a little more time to prep than, say, those BBQ ranch bites above, they also freeze well so you can make a big batch for future lunches.

11. How To Make DIY Instant Noodle Cups

Who doesn’t love a cup of noodles? These noodle cups can be cooked ahead and served cold or prepped and heated before packing in a thermos.

12. Chicken Waldorf Salad

This is my kids favorite chicken salad thanks to the sweet apple and crisp celery.Despite the apples, this salad keeps very well for 4 to 5 days.

13. Savory Sweet Potato & Parmesan Muffins

These muffins are studded with parmesan and sweet potato. We often partner these with meatballs and fresh veggies for lunchboxes.

14. How To Make Creamy, Vegan Chia Pudding

Chia pudding totally counts as lunch box fodder — especially if you’re packing breakfast for lunch. I like this vegan version because I don’t have to worry about keeping it chilled.

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