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20 Cold Lunch Ideas

Schools across the country are back in session. At the start of the year, I get super excited about packing fun and healthy cold lunch boxes. I have dreams of cute little sandwiches or vegetables cut out in whacky shapes using cookie cutters. Well, truth be told that lasts about two days because who has time for that ish. Not me!

Can you feel me? The cute shaped sandwiches and vegetables are fun for my girls but lucky for me they aren’t a requirement. I’ve been cranking out cold lunches for SEVEN years now. The cute shapes are reserved for holidays and birthdays thus making them EXTRA special.

When I first started packing cold lunches I was so worried about the girls getting tired of sandwiches. But you know what? Kids love sandwiches. I serve more sandwiches than I thought but they eat them and that is what is important. When I am packing a lunch I try to have a main dish, vegetable, fruit, and if they are lucky a dessert. 😉

20 Cold Lunch Ideas!

Starting left to right, top to bottom (I have linked to some recipes too)

  1. Meat, cheese, vegetable skewers. Also included: crackers, plum, and fruit snack
  2. Beef jerky and cheese. Also included: rice cake, carrot, apple, and peanut butter bar
  3. Pretzel dog. Also included: raisins, peanut butter bar, carrots & cucumbers
  4. Avocado and tortilla chips. Also included: cucumber, blackberries, chocolate chunk PB M&M cookie
  5. Chicken, black bean, and rice casserole. Also included: tortilla chips, peach, and cucumbers
  6. Meat/cheese and crackers. Also included: fruit leather, soy nuts, carrots, and cheddar popcorn
  7. Meat/cheese cut into fun shapes 🙂 and crackers. Also included: apple, fruit leather, carrots, blackberries, raisins, and brownie bites
  8. Half a provolone and ham sandwich and yogurt. Also included: cucumbers, peaches, carrots, and goldfish crackers
  9. Ham and cheese skewers. Also included: pretzel thins, gummies, peach, and carrot
  10. Cheese quesadilla. Also included: sweet corn, yogurt covered raisins, and grapes
  11. Grilled turkey sausage. Also included: pretzel thins, string cheese, raisins and grapes, and carrot
  12. Sandwich thin with salami and provolone. Also included: fruit leather, carrots and edamame, panda cookies, and goldfish
  13. Seaweed snack and string cheese. Also included pretzel thins, goldfish, and blueberries
  14. Mix lettuce salad. Also included: fruit roll-up, ranch dressing, broccoli trees, and pita chips
  15. Build your own pizza. Also included: Grahamfuls and raspberries
  16. Homemade sushi. Also included: grapes, mixed nuts, and animal crackers
  17. Meat sticks and cheese. Also included: wheat crackers, broccoli trees and carrots, grapes, and cranberry  juice
  18. Turkey/cheese and crackers. Also included: carrot, panda cookies, peach, and popcorn
  19. Meat sticks and string cheese. Also included: crackers, animal crackers, pickles and carrots, and grapes
  20. Peanut butter and Nutella sandwich. Also included: string cheese, carrots and broccoli trees, cranberry juice, and grapes

Most days my girls just prefer to drink water at school with their lunch which makes things easy not having to worry about keeping a drink cold.

I am always, always, always seeking lunch box inspiration. If you are too you can follow my Cold Lunch Pinterest board.

Let’s inspire each other! Leave me a comment with your favorite cold lunch tips, tricks, and hits. Happy packing!


  1. I love being able to see all of these ideas- I am going to show my son after school so he can pick out some more things to add to the rotation- if I am sick of making peanut butter and jelly he must be sick of eating it, right?

  2. These are so helpful!! I don’t have any kids and as of Saturday I will mostly be working from home, but I’m working hard to ensure I maintain a regular routine. I just might have to buy myself a cute lunch box and get creative with some of these! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Hey, we use the same lunch container as you! Only ours aren’t in those pretty colors. I really like your post because it inspired me to try to change up my kids’ lunch routine.

    1. Thanks Rebecca! I had to pick up all the fun colors they had since in my mind that would make lunch time a little more exciting.

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