Back to school lunch ideas from Pinterest your kids will love

Brown bag lunches have changed a lot since the days you had to worry about pop quizzes and who to sit next to in the cafeteria. While peanut butter and jelly will always do in a pinch, why not kick the new school year off with some lunches your kids will actually be excited about?

To beat those back-to-school blues, we rounded up the best of Pinterest’s top-trending school lunches. Whether you’re looking for healthy, balanced meals or creative snacks for little ones, these Pinterest-approved ideas will make the grade.

1. Kid-friendly energy bites that you can make together

You might love your chia-hemp-oat bites for an office pick-me-up, but odds are those energy-packed snacks aren’t appealing to your children. These no-bake trail mix bites with peanuts, chocolate, and raisins are a great alternative that are easy to transport. If your child has allergies, it’s easy to swap ingredients in and out.

Popularity: 7k+ repins

2. Grab-and-go salads for busy teenagers

These chopped salads can be prepared in advance and layered in cups or glassware for a quick, healthy lunch option. Try a spinach summer salad with fresh berries, nuts, and chicken breast, or a classic cobb with avocado dressing, tomatoes, bacon and steamed eggs.

Popularity: 3k+ repins

3. A bite-sized take on a classic sandwich

Italian sub sandwiches are a gameday classic, but who wants to take a hulking sub for lunch the next day? These low-carb wraps provide all the flavor and protein of a typical Italian sandwich without the bulk and messiness.

Popularity: 12k+ repins

4. Mac and cheese bites loaded with veggies

I haven’t met a kid who doesn’t love Kraft or Annie’s mac and cheese—but a bowl of cheesy pasta doesn’t make for a transportable or balanced lunch. These easy mac and cheese bites are elevated by kale, spinach, and proper cheese, giving both parents and kids something to love. If you need a new pasta strainer to help you make them, we recommend the OXO Good Grips colander.

Popularity: 2k+ repins

5. Last night’s tacos turned into salad bowls

So many kids love taco night, but tacos can make for a soggy, messy lunch. These taco salad lunch bowls are a great alternative with all the flavor and protein of the original.

Popularity: 197k+ repins

6. A fresh and flavorful pairing to replace fruit snacks

Fruit salad alone can leave kids hungrier than before they ate by spiking their blood sugar with simple carbs, but pairing that fruit with crackers and a yogurt dip makes for a sweet and balanced snack. It’s the child-friendly version of a charcuterie board!

Popularity: 2k+ repins

7. Pizza rolls that aren’t out of a freezer

Listen, we all love Totino’s and have had our mouths burned by them at some point in our lives, but they’re not practical lunch food. These homemade pizza rolls are more like savory pastries than anything you’d get in the freezer aisle, and they can be elevated with your child’s favorite pizza toppings. If you’re in need of a new baking tray, try our top pick from Nordic Ware.

Popularity: 72k+ repins

8. A handy way to eat a classic pairing

Does anything go better together than apples and peanut butter? These “applewiches” are great for little ones—they’re as good as dipping, without the mess. The trick? Briefly soaking the apple pieces in lemon water to keep them from browning. Your kids can help make them with these colorful peelers from Kuhn Rikon that won our top choice.

Popularity: 3k+ repins

9. Easy, flavorful wraps

Does your kid hate salads? These turkey, bacon, and ranch wraps take all the filling ingredients of cobb salad and wrap them up for easy transport. They have fewer carbs than BLT’s, too—throw in some avocado and tomato for extra flavor.

Popularity: 22k+ repins

10. Kid-sized sandwiches with fresh toppings

Don’t knock tuna salad as kid-friendly until you’ve made these sliders. Their mini size makes them great for little ones, and the cucumber adds some fresh texture and crunch to combat any sogginess.

Popularity: 1k+ repins

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