Because PB&J’s are so last school year.

By Annie Campbell
August 12, 2019

As your kids grow up, so do their palates, and that limp ham and cheese sandwich might not cut it like it used to back in the day. If your kids are growing tired of the foods they’ve eaten for years, it’s probably time to whip out some new and exciting recipes. While lunchbox food is mid-day fuel, it can also be something they can look forward to during a long day of classes.

If you have an adventurous eater on your hands (lucky you!), you have plenty of opportunities to make delicious meals that you and your kids can both enjoy throughout the week. With the following three recipes, we recommend making them ahead of time to give you one less meal to worry about on busy school mornings. Packing lunch boxes the night before will also ensure your cooked meats have time to properly cool before they sit out for hours. 

Read more: 21 DIY Lunchbox Snacks That Kids Will Absolutely Love

The best lunch-box mains are dishes that can be eaten cold so that they can be packed up with an ice pack. For your child’s fancy feasts, we picked out dishes that provide protein, along with other nutrients, and a whole lot of flavor. Paired with a side of fruit and a protein-rich snack, these easy mains will complete a wholesome lunch and get them through 8th period.

Our BLT Pasta starts with a quick dressing made from Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Toss this dressing with cooked pasta, bacon, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, and avocado, and your flavorful pasta salad is ready for the lunch box. Make this dish with a different pasta shape every time you prepare it, and it will feel like a unique meal every time. Complete the lunch with edamame beans for extra protein and berries with nutella for a well-deserved treat. 

Greek chicken kabobs are a simple and satisfying main to pair with their other favorite lunch box staples. With just chicken, Greek dressing, and a little char from the grill pan, these flavorful skewers are a thing of lunch-box envy. Finish them off in the oven and let them cool completely before packing in the lunchbox with an ice pack and a dollop of tzatziki sauce. Paired with pita bread, hummus, fruit, and a sweet treat, this balanced meal is worthy of your own lunchbox. Give the chicken a different marinade or dipping sauce when it’s time to shake things up again. 

Burrito bowls offer endless combinations of flavors for your child to enjoy, and a base of protein-packed beans and carb-loaded rice will keep your kiddo full and energized all afternoon. To make this dish, you’ll lightly saute green onions in a sauce pan before adding black beans, taco seasoning and pre-cooked rice. Pack this dish in a canteen that they can warm up, or let the mixture cool down completely and use an ice pack to keep it chilled. Pair the easy rice and beans with their favorite toppings, like salsa, cheese, or guacamole. Switching up these toppings every few days will give the burrito bowl a fresh take without much effort on your end. 

Read more: The 11 Best Lunch Boxes to Buy for Your Kids and Yourself This School Year

Advertisement