Not Your Mom’s PB&J

Make Lunches Your Kids Will Look Forward To


Sometimes, packing your kids’ school lunches can be a struggle. Ham sandwiches and PB&Js may be easy options, but they might not get your kids excited about lunch. Thankfully, with our helpful tips and some recipe inspiration, packing lunches your kids can look forward to will be a breeze. Let’s take a look.

Tips for Packing School Lunches Your Kids Will Love

When you’re planning and packing school lunches for your kids, there are a number of things you can do to make the process easier. Let’s take a look at each one.

  • Use a Formula
    One of the best ways to make packing lunches easier is to use a formula. That way, you can take most of the thought out of it and streamline the process. A good formula to follow is something like 1 protein, 1 carb, 1 fruit or vegetable, and something fun like a dessert or chips. Then you can mix and match for plenty of variety without having to overthink it.
  • Get Your Kids Involved in the Process
    Many kids love being involved in things and being given some responsibility to make their own choices. Getting them involved in packing their own lunches not only makes things easier for you, it also helps ensure a lunch they’ll love. You can make the process simpler by giving your kids a list of options to choose from. (A formula for packing lunches is a big help here).
  • Thermoses Are For More Than Just Soup
    A thermos of hot soup is always appreciated, but did you know a thermos can be used for so much more? It can keep hot foods like meatballs and eggs warm until lunchtime, or keep things like yogurt cool and fresh. 
  • Use a Bento Box
    Bento boxes are a Japanese style of lunchbox usually consisting of various stacked containers. These handy containers let you pack a variety of different foods in a way that’s exciting and fun. Plus, a good bento box can even keep food hot for hours.
  • A Hot Lunch is Always a Hit
    Speaking of hot lunches, this is another way to ensure your kids love their lunch. Cold-cut sandwiches only go so far. You can use a thermos or insulated lunchbox (or bento box!) to ensure food stays hot. Or, if your child has access to a microwave at school, you can send them with a microwave-safe container. 

Recipe Ideas for a Lunch That’s a Surefire Hit

With a bit of creativity, the sky’s the limit for packing school lunches. Let’s take a look at a few great options. 

‘Remixed’ Sandwiches

If your kid is bored with the standard ham-and-cheese sandwich, there are plenty of ways to “remix” these ingredients to create something fun and new.

One option is homemade “Lunchables.” You can recreate the fun of a Lunchable yourself by packing meat, cheese, crackers, and other items like vegetables and condiments. 

Another fun way to soup up a simple lunch is the lunch “kebab.” Take a toothpick or small wooden skewer, and pack on cubes of cheese, deli meat, and veggies for a lunch that’s tasty, fun, and quick.

Another fun option is sandwich “sushi.” Simply wrap sandwich fillings in a tortilla and cut it into bite-sized pieces. 

Upgraded PB&J

There are tons of ways you can turn a boring PB&J into an exciting treat.

One simple option is to add fruit to the sandwich. Bananas and apples are both great options. Another good trick is to swap out normal white bread for cinnamon raisin bread.

Or, make PB&J sliders using King’s Hawaiian Rolls or similar. For even more fun, mix up the fillings in each slider, such as different jellies, for an exciting lunch. 

You can also swap out the peanut butter for other butters, like sunbutter. If your child’s school doesn’t allow peanut butter at lunch, this is also a smart way to get around that restriction. 

Wraps and Bowls

Wraps and bowls are another easy way to pack a healthy lunch your kids will look forward to. Start with a base like rice or lettuce, add meat like turkey or chicken breast, and then finish it off with veggies and condiments or dressings. Then simply layer it in a bowl, or wrap it in a tortilla, and boom! You’ve got a great healthy lunch. 


If dinner was a hit last night, why not let your child eat it for lunch, too? Leftovers are a simple way to pack a lunch you know your child will enjoy. You can pack it cold or heat it up in the morning and pack it in an insulated container.

These are just a few possibilities for packing a lunch that’s sure to be a hit. With our helpful tips and a bit of inspiration, you’re sure to pack a lunch that’s a winner every time. That way, your kids will always have a healthy lunch that they look forward to every day.

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