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Cold Lunch Ideas for Kids

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These cold lunch ideas for kids will make lunchtime as fun as it is yummy. Fifteen different lunch ideas that can be put together ahead of time so packing your child’s lunch will be a breeze every day.

a plastic container with bagel, hot dogs, grapes next to a mug of scrambled eggs as Cold lunch ideas for kids


I have assembled some amazing cold lunch ideas for kids of all ages. There are so many delicious options that can be mixed and matched to meet your child’s likes and needs.

If you do a little prep work on Sunday you can have plenty of great lunch options for the children all week long. Kids get sick of eating the same thing every single day just like adults do!

These lunch ideas keep lunchtime fresh and exciting.

a plastic container with crescent rolls, cubed cheese, carrots & celery as Cold lunch ideas for kids


The protein box is one of my personal favorites. Packed with grab and eat proteins to keep kids powered all day long.

The protein box includes turkey, cheese, hummus and a hard-boiled egg. This is also a nut-free lunch box for kids that need to avoid nuts.

Packing Tips: Change out the protein easily by swapping the turkey for ham or salami. Cut the cheese into fun shapes with small cookie cutters.

protein lunch box with a hard boiled egg, sliced cheese, crackers and lunchmeat


Most kids adore meatballs. There is just something about the round shape that draws kids in.

The meatball box contains meatballs, cheese, a small side salad, and a breadstick. You could also include a small hoagie bun for a meatball sub if you prefer instead of a breadstick.

Packing Tip: Add a small container of marinara sauce to dip the meatballs into. YUM!

meatball lunch box with a breadstick and sauce


Who doesn’t love breakfast for other meals? I do!

The pancake box includes pancakes, sausage, and fruit salad. Silver dollar size pancakes are the perfect size for bento boxes. Sausage links or sausage patties work great and use turkey sausage for a lower fat option.

Packing Tips: Include whole wheat pancakes for some added nutrition. If you want to really treat the kids add chocolate chip pancakes to their breakfast lunch box. Don’t forget to include a pat of butter for the pancakes and some syrup.

pancakes lunch box with sausage and syrup


A comfort lunch at it’s best. Grilled Cheese is a huge hit with adults and kids. Perfect for a cool fall day.

The grilled cheese box will include grilled cheese bites. This is just a grilled cheese sandwich cut into smaller pieces. Add some tomato soup to a small lunch-sized soup container so kids can dip their sandwiches in their soup.  Add a side salad to the box for some much-needed veggies.

Packing Tips: If kids don’t care for tomato soup swap it out for chicken noodle soup instead.

grilled cheese lunch box with a salad and tomato soup


Small slider sandwiches or burgers are a great lunch idea for kids.

The slider box will include slider burgers that you made up ahead of time plus yogurt and a small loaded baked potato.

Packing Tips: Don’t forget to include some yummy toppings for the potato such as cheese, butter, sour cream and maybe even bacon pieces.

slider lunch box also with yogurt and a baked potato


Stromboli is like a pizza sandwich and kids love pizza!

The Stromboli box will include a Stromboli pocket that you make ahead of time. Just grab some premade pizza dough and fill it with ham, salami and cheese. Make this into small pockets and bake them according to the pizza dough instructions. Pack the Stromboli pocket with a side of marinara sauce and a caesar salad for a complete lunch meal.

Packing Tips: You can change the Stromboli to include any combo of meat, veggies and cheese that your child likes best.

stromboli lunch box also with a salad


Breakfast boxes are a quick and easy lunch to throw together.

The breakfast box will include scrambled eggs, sausage links, a bagel and some grapes.

Packing Tips: Be sure to add a small container of cream cheese for the bagel. If your kids prefer their eggs warm you can pack them in a funtainer and they will stay warm until lunch. My kids will eat their eggs cold without issues!

breakfast lunch box with scrambled eggs, bagel, grapes and sausage


If you can find me a kid who doesn’t like chicken nuggets, I would be very surprised. It is one of the favorite food items for most young children.

The chicken nuggets box includes nuggets that you have precooked, fruit salad, broccoli, and some cheese.

Packing Tips: Be sure to include a little packet of ketchup or barbeque sauce for dipping those nuggets.

nuggets lunch box with ketchup, broccoli and fruit


Pinwheels are a fun and versatile lunch item. There are so many ways you can make pinwheels and even picky kids love this finger food.

The hummus pinwheel box includes homemade pinwheels, applesauce, and pretzel sticks. These pinwheels are made by spreading hummus on a tortilla and adding sliced turkey then rolling the tortilla up and slicing it into pinwheels.

Packing Tips: You can use whole wheat tortillas for added nutrition.

hummus pinwheels lunch box also with yogurt, apple sauce and pretzel sticks


Pigs in a blanket are a great hand held lunch food. Make up some little pigs ahead of time by using premade crescent dough and wrap up 2 little all beef smokies. Bake these according to the dough package instructions.

The pigs in a blanket box will include a couple of little pigs in a blanket, cheese cubes, and some veggies.

Packing Tips: Be sure to include a small container of ketchup for dipping the pigs in a blanket and a small container of ranch for dipping the veggies.

pigs in a blanket lunch box with cubed cheese and carrots and celery


Cereal is always a great meal when you are short on time.

The cereal box will include cereal, string cheese, and a fruit salad. Kids can eat the cereal dry or you can send a small thermos of milk or they can get milk at school.

Packing Tips: You can buy the individual cereal packets so the cereal is already in a bowl for easy use.

cereal lunch box with a cheese sick, yogurt and fruit


You can never have too many different types of pinwheels. Club pinwheels are made by layering ham, turkey, cheese, and bacon on a tortilla. Roll it up and slice it into pinwheels. Add mayo or mustard if your child likes those condiments.

The club pinwheel box will include the pinwheels, goldfish crackers, apple slices, and some caramel sauce for the apples.

Packing Tips: You can also use cream cheese spread on the tortilla as an alternative to mayo or mustard.

pinwheel lunch box with goldfish, apple slices and caramel dip


Pizza bagels are simple to make and only take minutes. Just spoon some pizza sauce on a bagel half and top with desired pizza toppings. Bake until the cheese is hot and bubbly. These taste great later at room temperature!

The pizza bagel box will include the pizza bagel, applesauce, and some grapes.

Packing Tips: To get more veggies into this lunch add some sliced veggies to the pizza bagel!

pizza bagel lunch box also with grapes and apple sauce


I will admit not every child likes tuna, but those that do will love this tuna salad box. It is a nice change from a plain old sandwich.

The tuna salad box will include tuna salad, cheese cubes, crackers, celery sticks, and carrots. So many great finger foods for kids to dunk, grab, and munch on.

Packing Tips: Don’t forget to send a small container of ranch dressing for the veggies.

tuna salad lunch box with cubed cheese, crackers and celery


I have always been surprised by how much my kids love plain hard-boiled eggs. It is a protein-packed food too!

The hard-boiled egg box includes a hard-boiled egg, cottage cheese, applesauce, and pretzel. This cold lunch idea is so easy to pack too.

Packing Tips: Some kids love a little parmesan cheese on top of their cottage cheese!

hard boiled egg lunch box with a soft pretzel and apple sauce
If you loved these cold lunch ideas for kids be sure to check out these other school posts:

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a collage of different Cold lunch ideas for kids with title text reading Cold Lunch Ideas For Kids

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