800,000+ Food Combinations for School Lunches

It seems as though the post I most often see running through my social media feed right before school starts is the “what to pack for school lunches?” post. Some are humorous, some are melancholy, and some just go for broke and stock up on Lunchables. 

I really like handing over the lunch-packing power to the person actually eating the lunch, because let’s face it, whether it’s your spouse or offspring, the person packing it will only have themselves to fault if they don’t like it. To make the whole process a little easier, we made a lunch chart a few years ago…but let’s take it one step further. We’ve made you a fill-in-the-blank lunch prep chart that will work no matter what your family preferences are!

We stick to a 1-2-1 rule (one from the “main courses” category, two from the “sides,” and one “extra”), but that can be modified as needed for your family. Also, the flexibility of the fill-in-the-blank style means you can include what is in season, leftovers, etc. and coordinate your lunch options with meal-planning prep to knock out about 10 meals at one time!

Need some ideas for filling in the lunch menu? Here are some of the ACMB contributors favorite lunch options:


roasted/rotisserie chicken
chicken nuggets (grilled, dinosaurs, whatever!)
rolled-up deli meat (turkey, ham, salami, etc.)
Applegate chicken maple sausages
pigs in a blanket
honeybaked ham (you can buy just a few slices!)
cream cheese with bacon and bell peppers on a tortilla
nut butter (any kind) and banana OR Nutella and sliced strawberries on a tortilla
peanut butter and jelly/honey/jam sandwiches or roll-ups
cream cheese and jam roll-ups
ham and cheddar sliders on Hawaiian rolls
string cheese and salami wraps
mini quiches
mini corn dogs
pizza rolls
Thermos ideas:
beans and rice
leftover soup
mashed potatoes
steel cut oats (with toppings)
mac ‘n’ cheese
chicken rice soup
frozen smoothie for a smoothie bowl


baby cucumbers
cherry tomatoes
sliced jicama
snap peas
avocado halves
sliced bell peppers
whole sweet peppers
celery sticks
cherry tomatoes
applesauce (plain or with flavors: peach, blueberry, strawberry, etc.)
fruit cups
mandarin oranges
mango halves
HEB pre-sliced kiwi
HEB pre-sliced anything, really!
apple slices
hard-boiled egg
peanut butter crackers
Ritz crackers
gogurt tubes (yummy frozen, too!)
yogurt ranch
soy/Greek/plain yogurt
chia seed pudding cups
peanut butter in a cup (JIF to go)
almond butter
cheese (slices, or Babybell or Laughing Cow)


pretzel chips
tortilla chips
popcorn/Skinny Pop
fig bar
granola bar
Pirate’s Booty
Goldfish/Annie’s Bunnies
fruit gummies
Dove Dark Chocolate bites
Hershey’s Kisses
trail mix
cookie butter
toasted rice cereal treats
any fun-size candy
The beauty of this list is that you can eliminate what doesn’t work for your family and/or add to it. As it stands, there are (if you follow the 1-2-1 combo) 883,386 possible lunch combinations you or your little lunch-packers can make. And that’s a whole lot of lunches! 
The first lunch planner includes the lists of ACMB contributors’ suggestions and a place to make a plan for the week. The second is fully customizable—just fill in the choices you want to offer for lunch packing and decide how many from each column can go into the lunch box (e.g., one main, two sides, one extra). Print weekly, or print once, laminate it, and put it on the fridge to use over and over! You could even frame it and write on the glass or adhere it to the back of a clear clipboard! 
To download the printable, click on the image above. Your browser might open a new window and you can save the file there. Happy lunch-packing, y’all!
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