Best Cold Lunches For School


Many parents are looking for the best cold lunches for school. As schools have a no-food policy during school hours, you don’t want your child to return home hungry or even risk being malnourished. Therefore, you need to find something that can be enjoyed at every fall season. You also want something that will not spoil by the time lunch break comes around.

Best Cold Lunches For School

Ignacio’s Super Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

Ignacio's Super Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

Take the classic PB&J sandwich up a notch with this triple-layered twist. A slice of toasted bread in the middle seems like a small addition, but it makes all the difference. For a nut-free alternative, try sunflower seed butter.

Basic Chicken Salad

a scoop of chicken salad topped with fresh ground pepper on a plate with sliced tomatoes and lettuce leaves

Use your leftover chicken to create this make-ahead sandwich filling that’ll please even the pickiest of eaters. Recipe creator Jackie M. suggests using thighs or breasts, but rotisserie chicken works well too.

Ranch, Bacon, and Parmesan Pasta Salad

Ranch, Bacon, and Parmesan Pasta Salad in a white dish

Here’s a filling meal or side dish that lovers of ranch dressing will ask for again and again. Plus, it’s an easy way to sneak in colorful veggies like peas, carrots, and onions.

California Club Turkey Sandwich

California Club Turkey Sandwich

If you can’t decide what to pack in your child’s lunch box, a simple turkey sandwich is always a safe bet. This elevated version is easy to customize with your little one’s favorite toppings and condiments.

Bento Box Turkey Roll-Ups with Caprese Salad

bento box with turkey sandwich roll ups, almonds, and snap peas with dipping sauce

This well-rounded meal (which consists of turkey roll-ups, caprese salad, almonds or an allergy-friendly alternative, and sugar snap peas served with a balsamic dressing) will fit perfectly into your kid’s bento box.

BLT Wraps

BLT Wraps

It couldn’t be easier to make this basic BLT wrap with just bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, iceberg lettuce, Cheddar cheese, and flour tortillas.

Waldorf Chicken Salad Wrap Bento Box

green bento boz with chicken salad, apples, and walnuts

This delicious lunch has “the flavor of a Waldorf salad, but as a chicken salad wrap, separated into a bento box to keep it from getting soggy,” according to recipe creator and Allrecipes Allstar fabeveryday.

PBJ ‘Sushi’ Kid’s Bento Box

PBJ 'Sushi' Kid's Bento Box

How fun is this kid-friendly “sushi” that tastes suspiciously like peanut butter and jelly? Your child will love it served with chocolate sauce and fresh fruit.

Sweet Ham Roll-Ups

Sweet Ham Roll-Ups

Apples add welcome sweetness to these ham wraps with cream cheese, Cheddar, and mustard. Reviewer Kristy Hopkins suggests adding diced red bell peppers into this mix for extra color and flavor.

Lunch Box Pita Pockets

Lunch Box Pita Pockets
Chicken Club Pasta Salad

Reviewer Elvira Silva, who added romaine lettuce and thinly sliced red onions, says this is a “delicious and easy one-dish meal.”

Kid-Approved Bento Toolbox Lunch

Kid-Approved Bento Toolbox Lunch

“Eating healthy was never more fun,” recipe creator and Allrecipes Allstar bd.weld says of this adorable packed lunch that is sure to spark creativity.

Ants on a Log

Ants on a Log

You can’t go wrong with a tried-and-true favorite like ants on a log! Pair this 3-ingredient snack with your child’s favorite sandwich for a well-rounded lunch.

Better Peanut Butter Sandwich

Better Peanut Butter Sandwich

What sets this 3-ingredient nut or seed butter sandwich apart from the rest? It’s made with applesauce instead of jelly. Kids will love this simple substitute.

Queenie’s Tomato Bagel Sandwich

bagel halves with cream cheese, tomatoes, basil

This caprese salad-inspired bagel sandwich — made with sliced tomatoes, basil, and cream cheese — is easy to prepare and “totally portable,” according to recipe creator PATTQUEEN.

Delicious Egg Salad for Sandwiches

Almost 2,000 happy home cooks have given this top-rated recipe rave reviews. “This recipe is a prime example of how the most basic ingredients can make something filling and comforting,” says reviewer Sarah Jo.

Amazingly Good and Healthy Tuna Salad

Amazingly Good and Healthy Tuna Salad served with fruit on a blue plate

“My kids hated tuna….until this,” reviewer Lisa Moose Cagle-Opre says of this healthy twist on a classic dish. “Great blend of flavors.”

More Inspiration

Soba Noodle Salad with Chicken and Sesame


This list of cold lunch ideas includes everything from homemade lunchables to chicken wraps and filling salads.

They’re easy to make and some can be made in just 5 minutes using leftovers and fresh produce.

Whether you’re low-carb, looking for something to indulge in, or just looking for unique lunch ideas, this list has something for you – even ideas that work great for the working man in your life, whether that’s your husband or you!

There are 35 ideas in this list that prep well and taste incredible when cold. That means you can just pack your lunch up with an ice pack and enjoy it hours later no matter where you are. No microwave required!

We love to make these lunch ideas for work while working at home since they’re easy to prep ahead and have ready to eat for those busy days!


35 easy and delicious cold lunch ideas that are perfect for work or packed for school.

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