Moving Beyond PB&J: A Week of School Lunches

Around these parts (read that in your best Texas drawl), most kids have completed over a month of school. Shoes are less shiny, pencil erasers have already been worn down, and the excitement of “back to school” is a fading memory. We’ve all started to enter the daily routine of ordinary life.

I’ve always found it a bit odd that there are a plethora of “School Lunch Ideas” posts and articles in August and then very little mention of school lunches for the rest of the school year. The thing about lunch is that it comes every. stinking. day. One does not simply pack lunches in August (read that in your best Sean Bean a la Lord of the Rings voice).

Here is a week of sandwich-less school lunch ideas that are doable even as back-to-school enthusiasm fades. Nothing too fancy in the lineup, as I’m often one who packs lunches while making dinner (and, like most, simultaneously supervising homework, refereeing arguments, and putting in a load of laundry). These five lunches are a good mix of healthy fats, protein, and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Day 1:


I’m a huge fan of silicon muffin cups. They turn most plastic-ware containers into pseudo-Bento Boxes.

Cubed turkey + cheese cubes + crackers + grapes + veggies

Day 2:


Peanut butter dip (see recipe below) + pretzels + apples + carrots

Day 3:


Caprese pasta salad (see recipe below) + grapes
(using the New Wave Enviro lunch system from this post)

Day 4:


Boiled egg + mini muffins + fruit

Day 5:


That’s frost on the fruit, not mold! #amateurfoodphotographer

Yogurt + frozen fruit + granola + almonds

Peanut Butter Dip

  • 1 c. peanut butter
  • 1/2 c. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • Milk (as needed)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla


  1. Blend peanut butter, cream cheese, honey, and vanilla together until creamy.
  2. Add milk as needed to reach desired consistency.
  3. Keep refrigerated.

Caprese Pasta Salad

  • 2 c. cooked pasta
  • 1 c. sliced cherry tomatoes
  • 3/4 c. sliced cucumbers
  • 1 c. cubed mozzarella
  • 1/4 c. sliced basil (more or less to taste)
  • 3 Tbsp. EVOO
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Mix all ingredients and season to taste.

Readers, please chime in below. What are some lunches your kids are enjoying this month?

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5 Responses to Moving Beyond PB&J: A Week of School Lunches

  1. Kristin October 7, 2015 at 8:45 am #

    Love these ideas!! They are doable but also look tasty and nutritious! I am feeling inspired :).

  2. Kate October 5, 2015 at 10:31 pm #

    These lunches look great, although some seem too small for kids over 9. Are these geared toward a certain age range?

    • Michelle
      Michelle October 6, 2015 at 8:51 am #

      Hi Kate! My kids are 7 and 10 and have pretty decent appetites (although my 7 year old often chooses to socialize instead of eat). If a lunch seems too light, throwing in a pack of almonds, a cheese stick or maybe a granola bar can add an extra 150-200 calories easily. When we were trying to put some weight on my 10 year old, I added avocados to most of her lunches.

  3. Candy October 5, 2015 at 10:28 am #

    Thanks for the great ideas–I agree, I need inspiration all year long, not just in September! I am excited to make that peanut butter dip for my kids.

    • Michelle
      Michelle October 6, 2015 at 8:53 am #

      Thanks Candy! Glad to see our post making it to the PNW!!