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7 Meal-Prep Lunch Box Ideas for “Back to School”

by Pam Silvia

With some schools opening back up and some remaining closed amid the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing is for sure: It is a stressful time. That’s why we’re here to take one thing off your plate—and add a few to your children’s. Yes, we are talking about school lunches.

Whether your kiddos are sitting at home for remote learning or are propped up at their school cafeteria, these 7 meal-prep lunch box recipes will save you time and money. And they get extra credit for being kid- and parent-approved.

1. Fruity Breakfast Parfait

Touted as the most important meal of the day, breakfast has never been more enjoyable thanks to this perfectly portable yogurt parfait. The use of mason jars makes it easy for your kid to enjoy their breakfast near their at-home work station or in the car during the morning commute.

The best part is that this recipe is infinitely adaptable! You can spring for a traditional version with Greek yogurt, blueberries, strawberries, and granola, or you can opt for some quirkiness. Our favorite take includes sliced kiwis and bananas along with shredded coconut and toasted coconut flakes.

You can certainly meal-prep these ahead of time—they keep well up to 4 days in the refrigerator.

2. Hummus Platter

Instead of greasy chips and artificially flavored fruit snacks, why not pack something healthier? This meal-prep lunch box idea is perfect for holding your kid over until lunchtime—not to mention that it constitutes some serious brain foods to keep their mind sharp.

Carrot sticks, cucumber spears, and apple slices taste even better when they are dipped in mouthwatering hummus. Carrots aid in digestion and boost immunity; cucumbers are high in nutrients and promote hydration; and apples help fight asthma and protect your brain.

For this spread, pita bread and halved hard-boiled eggs are welcome additions.

3. Sous Vide Egg Bites

Take a cue from Starbucks by adding sous vide deliciousness to the menu! If you prepare a batch of these delicacies on Sunday, you can have a full week’s worth of bite-sized omelets.

Rejoice: This savory snack can be cooked in an electric pressure cooker! (Don’t forget to purchase a silicone mold.) The shortlist of ingredients includes eggs, cottage cheese, crumbled feta, diced sun-dried tomatoes, and chopped fresh basil.

For variety, there are also recipes with sliced green chilies, sausage, mushrooms, and bacon.

4. Sliced-Turkey Wrap

If you’ve got a picky eater on your hands, we’ve got you covered there, too. For this meal-prep lunch box idea, you can fashion a deli wrap with the same ingredients as a typical homemade sandwich.

A flour tortilla wrapped around sliced turkey, smeared light mayo, a leaf of fresh romaine, and chunks of mozzarella and cheddar is guaranteed to please. If you’re feeling particularly brave, we recommend adding diced red onion and a couple of tomato slices.

5. Ham-and-Cheese Sandwich Skewers 

Instead of packing the same-old boring sandwich for lunch, put it on a stick! Yes, the same revolutionary technology that changed hot dogs forever can upgrade your kiddo’s school lunch.

For this creative back-to-school lunch, we recommend shopping for blocks of Swiss or provolone cheese and thick-sliced ham.

Put a fun spin on it! Once you’ve assembled a few sandwiches, use a cookie cutter to give your child’s lunch a cool shape. Push a steel skewer through the center, and voila! If your kiddo likes to share, this lunch is perfectly suited for that impulse.

6. Cheese Quesadillas

While our grown-up sensibilities believe that a quesadilla should be warm to be enjoyable, luckily, kids don’t necessarily think the same. And this treat is a proven crowd favorite.

Cheddar is a clear-cut contender for the filling, and parents may choose to substantiate quesadillas with shredded chicken, ground beef, and sliced avocado.

For sides, we recommend throwing in some tortilla chips, jicama sticks, or some pineapple chunks.

7. Vegetable Rolls

If your favorite student’s young palate isn’t receptive to raw fish, vegetable rolls make for a just-as-tasty alternative, and they are a great meal-prep lunch box option!

The only cooking element involved is the sticky rice, which can be easily made in a rice cooker or on your stovetop with a two to one water-and-white-rice ratio.

For the contents of the roll, tuck in some diced red pepper, cucumber, and carrot. Just because it’s a vegetable roll doesn’t mean you can’t add meat. Popular selections include cubed ham or Spam.

In the midst of another hectic school year, don’t forget to give yourself a break. Check out what our impressive selection of kitchen appliances can do for you! And if you have any questions, reach out to our experts. We are always happy to help.