Lunchtime blues got you down? That all changes with these 10 delicious and balanced lunch box ideas for kids in daycare or preschool. Each will add spice and variety to lunchtime with no sliced bread required!

10 Sandwich-Free Kid Lunch Ideas They’ll Devour

When I was in school, I never had the option to bring my lunch because we always ate school lunches. I was lucky: our school had pretty decent meals and there were only a few days here and there that I didn’t like. On those days, I just made an extra trip to the salad bar. 

I remember how I always envied those who got to bring their lunches. I just thought it seemed fun.

Maybe it’s because of my experience as a kid watching other kids eat delicious homemade lunches, but I knew I wanted to send lunches to school with my kids. 

Come Up With A Creative Menu Plan For Lunches

The only problem is that, like many moms, after about 3 weeks of school, I’m out of creative ideas and just start making sandwiches. I do it because they’re easy. And then, after about another 2 weeks, I wonder why my kids don’t eat their lunch.

I don’t want my kids coming home from school having only taken one bite out of their lunches.

Plus, in the summertime and during breaks, my kids definitely get tired of eating the same thing over and over. Admittedly, it’s far too easy for me to grab slices of bread and lather on the typical peanut butter & jam.

Through some trial and error (and talking with my kids) I finally realized that I needed to create variety with their lunches. If you find your child isn’t eating lunch, try changing it up and see if that helps!

Lunch Box Ideas That Ditch The Typical Sandwich

When it comes to kid lunches, they crave variety. A good old sandwich and chips might be the norm, but let’s face it, having the same thing day after day is boring for both mom and kids. There IS more to life than sandwiches (and making lunch can still be easy). ?

Unless your kid will only eat 2 things (been there, done that!), it’s not likely that sandwiches every day for lunch will remain appealing for long. Avoid sandwich burnout and keep lunchtime interesting with some winning alternatives!

With these delicious kid lunch ideas, you won’t be packing the same kid lunch ideas day in and day out. From lunch bowls to quiches to mini pizzas and much more, kids lunches will never be the same (but will always be scarfed down)! 

If you are looking for sandwich-free lunch ideas for kids, check out these amazing ideas. You can use classic healthy lunch boxes or bento box style lunch containers to create a beautiful-looking lunch that will appeal to your child’s taste buds. 

Tip: Bento box lunch containers sound complicated or more time-consuming, but they aren’t!

Related Post: Bento Lunches Your Kids Will Love

Sandwich-Free School Lunch Ideas

10 Kid-Approved Sandwich-Free Kid Lunch Ideas

Check out these mouthwatering lunches that your kids are sure to love! If you try making each one of these ideas, you already have 2 weeks of lunches planned out. That’s what I call #winning.

Chicken Taco Bento Box Lunch | Thrifty Jinxy

Create a fun experience for your kid with this chicken or turkey taco bento box. Bento boxes allow a really nice visual experience as your child eats their meal.

Many parents notice how kids devour their food quicker when it looks fun.

Make-Ahead Lunch Bowls | Super Healthy Kids

Greek chicken, cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, edamame snap peas, quinoa and vegetables is a really healthy lunch quinoa salad option for your kid. This is a great lunch idea for older kids! It helps fuel their body and gives them the energy to make it through the second part of the day.

greek chicken make ahead bowl lunches in tupperware containers

Cheesy Sausage Tarts | Frost Bite

Cheesy sausage tarts are a different way to provide protein for your kid’s lunch. They offer a flaky crust, cheese, and a little smoked sausage.

Ham and Cheese Pocket Sandwiches | Self Proclaimed Foodie

Easy ham and cheese pockets are always a great option. You use puff pastry as the shell and inside you have hearty ham and shredded cheese. As an alternative, you may use egg or tuna too!

A classic food combination that pretty much every kid loves!

easy-ham-cheese-pocket Self-Proclaimed Foodie

Pizza Muffins | Starships and Laser Beams

Cheesy goodness, pepperoni or salami, and a garlicky crust are what your kiddo will find in these pepperoni rolls. Best of all, you can take a shortcut and use canned crescent rolls to make it even easier to make them.

Add a side of marinara or pasta salad, and lunch is served.

Chicken Fajita Bowls | iHeart Naptime

Make-ahead fajita bowls are great for the whole family – even you! All you need are chicken, bell peppers, onion, spices and tortilla or tortilla chips. 

You can serve on a bed of quinoa for added protein or even brown rice. Make these the night before, pack in the lunch containers and just grab in the morning on your way out the door.


English Muffin Mini Pizzas | Simple As That

The beauty of these English muffin pizzas is you can add your favorite toppings to them. Whether your child loves having just a few veggies, plain cheese or cream cheese, or devours meat, fix these to order, and they will turn out beautifully each time.

mini pizzas on a counter

Cheese and Bacon Mini Quiches | The Organised Housewife

Cheese and bacon mini quiches are great for serving cold for lunches. Pair with some crisp veggies (e.g. carrots, cucumbers and celery), crackers, or fruit (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, banana, kiwi, watermelon, melon and apple slices). Yum!


Paleo BLT Salad | Paleo Newbie

BLT Paleo salad is a great option as well. Kids can eat it like a salad, wrap or roll-ups. Either way, it is a great healthy lunch option.

BLT salad on a plate

Sweet Potatoes and Black Bean Quesadillas | The Kids Cook Monday

Sweet and savory, these cheese quesadillas are beyond delicious.

Made with healthy ingredients, kids (and adults, alike) will gobble them up and then ask for seconds.

black bean sweet potato quesadilla

There you go! With these 10 lunch ideas for kids, your kiddo will love lunchtime again (and you’ll love the lunch box that comes home empty)!

sandwich free kid lunch ideas Pin image B

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  1. Man, this would’ve been SO helpful when my kiddo went through a phase of only wanting lunches that aren’t sandwiches! I used to switch between making her wraps, packing hummus or guacamole with cut veggies, making dairy free taco dip (so it would last longer in her bag), and salads!

  2. I love these lunch box ideas that aren’t sandwiches! Sometimes we just get bored of eating the same thing. This list will help make our lunches even more satisfying.

  3. My kids loved the ham and cheese pocket sandwiches! I love sending them with these easy lunches that aren’t sandwiches.

  4. I am saving these lunch box ideas for next year when my oldest starts school. My kids always get tired of the same things for lunch, these are great ways to switch things up!

  5. These lunches that aren’t sandwiches are a great way to encourage kids to try different foods! Especially when children are younger, they can really focus in on a few foods. Switching it up here and there is a fun way to interest them in other types of meals!

  6. Sandwiches can get a little boring after awhile. Thank you for these tasty lunch box ideas to keep the kids excited.

  7. Why is it so hard to come up with lunch box ideas every single day?! I was just talking to another mom about this yesterday. The price of meals, snack sized foods, etc. I’m looking to make a wider variety of meals for my boys that also fit my budget. There are some items on this list that are sure to do that AND satisfy my boys!

  8. You must have read my mind! I have been on the hunt for lunches that aren’t sandwiches for some time. So far, the kids have loved every one we’ve tried.

  9. I know I can be guilty of making the same things for lunch when I’m rushing for time. I think these lunch box ideas are going to keep me happy during the week. I’m especially looking forward to the lunch bowls!