Skip To Content

    16 Ways To Make Your Kids Actually Want To Bring A School Lunch

    The hardest part of school shouldn't be the lunches—here are some tips that'll make bringing a lunch seem so much better than buying one.

    Zoë Burnett / BuzzFeed

    We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales from the links on this page.

    1. Pack their meal in a bento container. It keeps food fresh and separated, which we know is important for the kids who refuse to eat different foods that touch.

    With four in a pack, other family members can get good use out of them, too!

    Promising Review: "Love how easy these make packing healthy school lunches. In order to encourage more fresh eating, I designate each of the two smaller portions for fruits/veggies, and have my child help pack her favorite foods." —Kindle Customer

    Get a four-pack from Amazon for $13.95.

    2. Avoid sugary drinks thanks to a Drink in the Box. Fill it with diluted juice or fruit-infused water for a beverage to satisfy their palate and your peace of mind.

    It's a reusable container that allows the kiddos to drink something more fun than water, but gives you the ability to provide them with a healthier, low-sugar alternative.

    Promising Review: "I purchased one of these for my child's lunchbox at the beginning of the school year. I love it, because I can dilute the juice with water, and it saves me a lot of money, because I no longer have to buy juice boxes at the grocery store. I wash it by hand in warm soapy water, and have never had any issues with leaking. I like this product so much that I just purchased one for my other child." —ALS

    Get it from Amazon for $11.99+ (available in five colors, and two sizes).

    3. Surprise your favorite student(s) with a lunchbox note — a small gesture can make a big difference.

    Promising Review: "My daughter loves opening her lunch every day to a new card with facts and sayings to share with her class." —JCal

    Get a 96-pack from Amazon for $23.92.

    4. Pick a fun theme for lunch! Whether it's pirates or flowers, a themed lunch is sure to spark their imagination while they re-fuel.

    What kid wouldn't want to eat a sandwich shaped like dolphins?

    Find more tips from Someday I'll Learn here.

    5. Hang a menu planner on your kitchen fridge, and watch them become the chef! They’ll have fun picking out what they’ll eat for the week, and you’ll be able to keep track of what to buy.

    And you can fill out the groceries section, so you know exactly what you'll be buying.

    Promising Review: "This board is BEAUTIFUL! It is perfect for keeping track of my week, and what meals lie ahead." —Ashton T

    Get them from Amazon for $16.90.

    6. Channel your creativity into making an adorably fun lunch they'll be excited to open. Cookie cutters can be used for more than just cookies! Use them to make shapes out of sandwiches, fruits and veggies, and snack items.

    Promising Review: "My daughter is going to kindergarten this year, and because of food allergies she can't buy her lunch at school. She is very excited about all the options she has to make her sandwich and fruit in shapes." —Amazon Customer

    Get an 18-pack from Amazon for $19.97.

    7. Spice up a plain ole' sandwich by using wraps to make pinwheels. You can even experiement with different combinations all in one lunch, to keep the kiddos excited.

    Get a six-pack Flatout flatbreads from Amazon for $9.97.

    Find more recipes from Lil' Luna here.

    8. Let your kids be in charge with the Tasty Junior Cookbook. They can choose their favorite snack and meal recipes out of a personalized book.

    Let your kids be in charge with the Tasty Junior Cookbook. They can choose their favorite snack and meal recipes out of a personalized book.

    Get it from BuzzFeed's The Tasty Shop for $19.99.

    9. Keep a Thermos on hand for days when cold cuts just don’t…cut it. Send the kiddos off to school with some pasta, soup, or last night’s leftovers. Especially good for the chilly winter months.

    Promising Review: "My son loves his Thermos Funtainer Food Jar. This container is perfect for those days when he wants something other than a sandwich. It can keep the food warm for him until it's lunch time as he does not have access to some place that he can reheat his food. His favorite is pasta, so this is perfect." —nohea16

    Get it from Amazon for $14.99 (available in 40 styles).

    10. Get inventive with some DIY Lunchables. Let’s face it, kids could eat those things every day if they had the choice, but they shouldn’t. All you need are divided containers, silicone cupcake liners, and your choice of nutritious substitutes.

    Get them from Amazon: four-pack of containers for $13.95 (available in three colors), and 24-pack of cupcake liners for $9.99.

    Find more tips from MOMables here.

    11. Opt for a peanut butter substitute if your child loves the creamy stuff, but goes to a school with strict rules about nuts. On-the-go sunflower butter cups are great for dipping and spreading, packed with nutrients, and taste good.

    Promising Review: "Great product for those of us with nut allergies. It tastes great, and the individual cups are very convenient!" —Stacy

    Get a six-pack from Amazon for $6.99.

    12. Provide them with a sweet little pick-me-up at lunchtime with silicone ice-pop molds. Fill the tubes with smoothies, yogurt and fruit, or juice, freeze, and send them off with a mess-free treat.

    Promising Review: "These are absolutely amazing! They fit perfectly in a lunch box, and are so easy to clean! I love that I can make healthy smoothies, and send them to school with my kids!" —Cassandra Pettigrew

    Get a six-pack from Amazon for $10.95.

    13. Create a spot on the kitchen counter where you can fill clear containers with healthy snacks! When it comes time to pack lunch, the little ones can see and pick which snacks they want to bring each day.

    Because, everyone knows the most exciting part of lunch is eating a snack.

    Promising Review: "This set was perfect to put out healthy snacks for my kids to eat when they come home from school. They can open these themselves, and close them to keep everything fresh. Perfect!" —SC Amazon Buyer

    Get a five-piece container set from Amazon for $16.59.

    Find more tips from Someday I'll Learn here.

    14. Think something like pasta or rice takes too long to make for a school lunch? Think again. Next time you plan on making either, prepare a slightly bigger batch, portion them into individual plastic bags, and freeze until your child wants to eat them.

    Promising Review: "These bags were a serious bargain, and I don't have to re-purchase for a while. I am always running out of these little guys, and forgetting to put them on my list." —Reading since 9

    Get a 150-pack of Ziploc bags from Amazon for $5.92.

    15. Try out an easy-to-prepare, interactive lunch like skewers. Stick meat, cheese, veggies, and fruits onto sticks for a quick change from the usual sandwich.

    Promising Review: "I got these to skewer food for school lunches. These are great — sturdy, and just the right size for a lunch box." —emmerstar

    Get a 200-pack from Amazon for $3.79.

    Find more recipes from SkinnyTaste here.

    16. Kick back, relax, and let a subscription service do the work for you. Wise Apple provides delicious and nutritious pre-packaged lunches. All you have to do is pack it in their bag for them.

    @getwiseapple / Via

    A sample lunch: Ham, swiss, and spinach wrap pinwheels, with veggie chips and apple slices.

    Order it from Wise Apple: $6.50/meal for 12 meals a week, $6.75/meal for eight meals a week, or $6.99/meal for five meals a week.

    Need A Shopping Buddy?

    Get great products - from pros in the fine art of buying stuff online - delivered to your inbox!
    Newsletter signup form