Looking for easy lunch ideas not sandwiches? If you’re like most of us, you’ve probably been stuck in a rut. For years, we have relied on the same boring sandwich for that midday meal. If you’re looking for something new to spice up your meal routine, look no further. We’ve got a list of ideas and recipes that will keep you satisfied and happy during lunchtime.
Easy Lunch Ideas Not Sandwiches
When I was a kid, I used to hate sandwiches. My poor mom. Every morning, she’d go downstairs at the crack of dawn, and with the sound of flourescent lights buzzing overhead, she’d drink a cup of instant coffee and pack me (and my brother and sister) a non-sandwich lunch. That was back in the days of no internet, no Amazon, and no Walmart, so she’d have to come up with creative lunch ideas all on her own. Then she’d pack them in nothing but sandwich bags and thermoses in my super cool 1980’s denim lunch bag. (Actually, I don’t remember if I had a denim lunch bag, but it sounds very 80’s doesn’t it?)
Do you remember what you ate for lunch when you were in elementary school? I know I ate tons of crackers and cheese? And every once in awhile my mom would pack a hot dog in a thermos, and it was like I had won the lunch time lottery!
Since I still don’t love sandwiches, I tend not to pack very many in my 5 year old’s school lunches. Sandwiches are just, well.. they’re kind of boring? And these non-sandwich lunch ideas are… well, let’s just say that if someone was willing to make me any one of these recipes for lunch, I would throw down the dish towel, jump onto the coffee table, and break into song. And then they can do the dishes too while they’re at it. Any takers? No? Darn.
I know we aren’t all going to go out and try every one of the lunches on this list, but I challenge you to try just one of them. I find that when I find one idea I like, I repeat it over and over and over again (do you do that too?), and seeing that we personally only have 3 school lunch ideas on repeat in our household, a new recipe would be pretty awesome right about now!
From deep dish pizza cupcakes to silly snake dogs this list has tons of yummy ideas you need to try!
Non-Sandwich Lunch Ideas
Mini Hot Dogs
Apples and Cheese Wraps
Apple and Peanut Butter Wrap
Silly Snake Dogs
Chicken Noodle Soup
Chicken Club Quesadillas
Creative Lunch Ideas (That Aren’t Sandwiches)
Pigs in a Blanket
Psst! Your fave party hors d’oeuvre is also an awesome lunch option for kids and grownups alike. And with just two ingredients and four steps, your little chefs can even help make these irresistible bites. Want the recipe? Head here.
Turkey Spinach Pinwheels Lunch Box
More pinwheels, please! These super healthy bites—along with a hefty dose of fruits and veggies—are customizable, easy to make, and utterly delicious. Plus, you can make them ahead of time and have lunch for the whole week. Get the recipe from Damn Delicious.
Taco Salad Lunch Bowl
Turn your lunch into a fiesta with this creative idea from Kristine’s Kitchen! Filled with taco beef, lettuce, cheese, black beans, corn and salsa, these lunch bowls are bursting with flavor and healthy to boot. Score the recipe here.
Pepperoni Pizza Bites
Got thirty minutes? That’s how long it takes to make these four-ingredient bites from A Taste of Madness! Sporting some pepperoni and your fave cheese, they’ve got all the flavors of pizza and will fit just right in a lunchbox. Get the easy recipe here.
Mini Bagels with Cream Cheese
Bagels with cream cheese is a classic at any time! Let your kids pick their favorite flavor and fill a small container with cream cheese. They’ll have fun slathering their bagels, and you can throw in cheese and fruit or veggies to round out their lunch. See the details and get other ideas over at Chelseas’ Messy Apron
Fruit and Cream Cheese Wraps
For a sweet but still healthy lunch, you’ve got to try these wraps from Healthy Seasonal Recipes. Pair them with fresh veggies for a light and delicious meal. To get the recipe, click here.
Kiddie Cobb Salad
Turn veggie-averse kids into salad eaters with this genius take on cobb salad from Mom’s Kitchen Handbook. You can customize it with toppings your littles will like, but we figure avocados, turkey and hard-boiled eggs are a delicious place to start. To get the recipe, click here.
Homemade Kraft Easy Mac
Mac and cheese is a surefire win for our kids, which is why we love this take on easy mac from Food Fanatic. The best part? It’s made entirely in the microwave and comes together in a flash. Click here to grab the recipe.
Sweetie Pie Quesadilla
Sneak veggies into your kid’s diet with these delish quesadillas by Katie Sullivan. In addition to being tot-approved, they’re also easy to make ahead and quickly reheat. Click here to get the recipe.
Corn Dog Muffins
These bite-sized muffins from An Affair from the Heart are an instant kid favorite, and way better for you than the deep-fried corn dogs you find at the county fair. To find out how they’re made, click here.
Pizza Pasta Salad
Pasta salad is always a great lunch choice, and this pizza-inspired version from Veggie Quest is bound to be a hit with the little ones. With good-for-you ingredients like beans and veggies, it’s a win for health, too. Click here to get the recipe.
Don’t forget the Creative Roots to make this meal even more fun! This plant-powered coconut water beverage has a taste kids love. With one gram of sugar, you can feel good about it, too.