Today we are sharing our favorite kids lunch ideas for school which are great kid lunch ideas even for picky eaters. Coming up with creative school lunch ideas can be a challenge for picky kids. Kids of all ages can be picky making packing a school lunch, daycare lunch, summer lunches or any portable lunch a challenge. You either end up making the same thing every day or it becomes a very stressful kid lunch experience for everyone involved.

5 Back to School Lunches for Picky Eaters - Kids Activities Blog - 4 bento lunch boxes shown with different picky eater foods
Yes! We CAN fill a lunch box for a picky eater.

Portable School Lunch Ideas for Picky Eaters

Here are a bunch of picky eater school lunch ideas to decrease the stress and widen your picky eater food horizon.

Use this list of Kindergarten school lunch ideas, preschool lunch ideas and toddler lunch ideas for any grade and any lunch that is on the go. We hope these easy ideas for school lunches will help you fill their lunch boxes!  

Watch how to make these Kid Lunch Ideas for Picky Eaters!

These picky eater lunches were originally featured on Family Food Live with Holly & Chris, we shared 5 Back to School Lunch Ideas for Picky Eaters!

Here’s a look at 5 lunches we are putting together for picky eaters.

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For each of the lunches, we used these BPA free lunch containers .

Master shopping list for these 5 Lunch Ideas for Picky Eaters

Fresh produce:
Sunburst tomatoes
Cherub tomatoes
Red onion
Oranges x 2

Feta cheese crumbles
Crescent roll dough
Shredded cheese
String cheese
Slices of ham
Cheese slices
Slices of turkey

Frozen waffles

White win vinegar
olive oil
black pepper
pizza sauce
Pineapple rings
Peanut butter, Nutella or Almond butter
Applesauce or Chocolate pudding

5 Picky Eater Lunch Ideas

5 Back to School Lunch Ideas for Picky Eaters - tomato feta salad recipe shown on a white plate
Let’s make tomato feta salad for lunch!

Lunchbox Idea #1 – Tomato Feta Salad Recipe

This easy salad recipe may not be obvious for a picky eater, but you can modify it with what they like and don’t like and it works really well in a sealed container to go to school and can help inspired us all to look beyond the sandwich when it comes to lunch ideas for kids.

You can add this as a side dish inside the lunch box or if you have a cooked roast chicken or some leftover fried rice, you can make this an entire lunchbox meal.

Ingredients Needed for Lunch Idea

  • 1 cup Sunburst Tomatoes cut in half
  • 1 cup Cherub Tomatoes cut in half
  • 1 cup Red Onion chopped
  • 2 tablespoons White Wine Vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Basil chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Parsley chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoons Black Pepper
  • 1 cup Feta Cheese crumbled

Instructions to Make School Lunch

  1. Cut your tomatoes in half and add to a mixing bowl
  2. Add chopped red onions, olive oil, white wine vinegar, basil, parsley, salt & pepper — mix completely
  3. Fold in your Feta Cheese
  4. Package into a sealed container to be transported to school.
5 Back to School Lunch Ideas for Picky Eaters b - pizza rolls, oranges pineapples and cheerios shown in a lunch container
Homemade pizza rolls are easy to make and taste great in your lunchbox!

Lunch Box Idea #2 – Pizza Rolls & Pineapple

Picky eaters seem to always be OK with pizza! And this pizza roll recipe is super easy to whip up the night before and place into a lunchbox. Pizza rolls taste great cold. Add their favorite pizza toppings inside or just go with the cheese pizza choice.

Lunch Box Idea Shopping List

  • Pizza Rolls (crescent round, sauce and shredded cheese)
  • Oranges
  • Pineapples
  • Cheerios
5 Back to School Lunch Ideas for Picky Eaters c - waffles with nutella, peanut butter, or almond butter, go-gurt, string cheese, grapes and crackers
Everything is better on a waffle!

Lunch Box Idea #3 – Nutella Waffles & String Cheese

Waffles and picky eaters go hand in hand. And why not, doesn’t everything just taste better in a waffle? Even a waffle sandwich with normal sandwich insides is elevated!

Lunch Box Idea Shopping List

  • Waffles with Peanut Butter, Nutella or Almond Butter
  • Go-gurt
  • String Cheese
  • Grapes
  • Crackers
5 Back to School Lunch Ideas for Picky Eaters e - ham wraps, banana, orange and strawberries in a lunchbox
Ham and fruit!

Lunch Box Idea #4 – Ham Wraps & Fruit

This is one of the favorite school lunch idea meals for my picky eaters. Fruit seems to go over well and these ham wraps are yummy! If you picky eater likes cheese, add a little of that as well.

Lunch Box Idea Shopping List

  • Ham Wraps (Butter spread on tortilla, with slice of ham and rolled up)
  • Strawberries
  • Banana
  • Orange
5 Back to School Lunch Ideas for Picky Eaters f - turkey rolls, cheese and crackers, apple slices and applesauce
Turkey & Apples…Yum!

Lunch Box Idea #5 – Turkey Rolls and Apple Slices

This picky eater lunch idea couldn’t be any simpler! Grab a few things you likely already have on hand and make this easy lunchbox solution. This one was a big hit as a Kindergarten lunch idea for my youngest just starting school.

Lunch Box Idea Shopping List

  • Cheese & Crackers
  • Turkey rolls
  • Apple slices
  • Apple sauce or Chocolate Pudding

Kid Lunch Ideas FAQs

Why won’t my kid eat at school?

There are several reasons why a child won’t eat lunch at school. Some things to consider are:

Social: Your child might feel anxious, shy or overwhelmed in the school lunch environment. Your child may be influenced by other student’s eating habits or teased for his/her food choices.

Time: Sometimes there is not enough time provided for a meal in between classes and kids feel rushed.

Preferences: Your child may be picky and not finding anything to eat in the school lunch program or packed lunch! We hope you will use these ideas to overcome this issue.

Appetite changes: Some kids may not be hungry during lunch at school due to growth, activity level or fluctuations in appetite.

Health issues: Undiagnosed or unaddressed health concerns may be causing difficulties. Things to talk over with your doctor include allergies, GI problems and sensory issues.

What to pack for lunch for kids who don’t like sandwiches?

Everything on the list is a non-sandwich solution for picky eaters at lunch! Other non-sandwich ideas include:

Make a non-sandwich sandwich: Use unexpected bread alternatives for your sandwich or wrap like waffles, crackers, pita bread, tortillas, lettuce leaves, crepes and anything else you might have on hand.

Find the right container: You can take almost any meal for lunch if packaged for travel. If your child has a favorite food, try a thermos or suitable container to get the lunch safely to school. One of my kids took a thermos of oatmeal with toppings nearly every day for a year!

What can you use instead of peanut butter? (Nut-free schools)

Almond butter
Sunflower seed butter
Cashew butter
Soy nut butter
Pumpkin seed butter
Coconut butter
Hazelnut butter or Nutella
Macadamia nut butter
Chickpea butter or hummus

More Ideas for Kid Lunches from Kids Activities Blog

These back to school coloring pages are adorable and can help kids get excited about returning to school.

What picky eater school lunch idea is your child’s favorite? Did we miss one that you use in your lunchbox schedule?

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  1. These lunch ideas are a lifesaver, seriously! My little one has been giving me a hard time with meals lately, but I think these creative suggestions might just do the trick. Thanks a bunch for sharing! ???

  2. Your school lunch ideas are brilliant. I don’t know why I have such a hard time being creative around lunch. But I definitely get sick of eating the same thing and so do my kids.