12 Easy, Healthy School Lunch Ideas

Even picky eaters will love these lunches.

Spring Fried Rice

Packing a lunchbox day after day can feel tedious, especially if the literal fruits (and veggies) of your efforts come back uneaten after the bell rings. Make lunchtime more exciting and healthy with these easy recipes that can be prepared in minutes the night before, and packed easily to be in top tastiness come lunchtime. From sandwiches to bowls full of delicious and nutritious goodness, here's what to pack for lunch this school year.

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Lemony Cucumber and Herb Pasta Salad

Lemony Cucumber-and-Herb Pasta Salad
Greg DuPree

Designed to be enjoyed cold, this pasta salad is packed with freshness and stores easily. Plus, it can be even better a few days in, when the noodles soak up all the zesty vinaigrette. Keep the dressing on the side for picky kids.

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Ploughman's Sandwich

Ploughman's Sandwich
Chock full of savory onion jam, spicy mustard, crunchy apple, and creamy cheddar, this rustic sandwich translates the flavors of the iconic pub lunch into handheld form. Wash it down with iced tea—or, even better, a pint of ale. Get the recipe: Ploughman’s Sandwich. Sarah Karnasiewicz

Jam, Cheddar, and apple come together nicely in this easy-to-make sandwich. Switch up the jam flavors to keep the recipe fresh if you want it to be a weekly staple. A whole apple may not always get eaten at lunchtime, but when it's sliced this temptingly, it will vanish.

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PB&J Overnight Oats

PB&J Overnight Oats Recipe
Antonis Achilleos

Switch the classic combo from a sandwich to a lunch that packs easily in a lidded bowl or jar and is full of flavor and fiber. The oats themselves are a complete meal, or they can be a lunchbox component to a larger feast. For nut-free cafeterias, use sunflower butter instead of PB.

RELATED: This Easy Overnight Oats Recipe Will Change Your Breakfast Game

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Tomato, Bacon, and Garlic Mayo Sandwich

Tomato, Bacon, and Garlic Mayo Sandwich
Upgrade a standard BLT with a garlicky yogurt sauce and sliced avocado. Get the recipe: Tomato, Bacon, and Garlic Mayo Sandwich. Danny Kim

Upgrade your standard BLT with a simple Greek yogurt spread! The colors and crunch help ensure an empty lunchbox after school.

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Avocado Toast

Avocado Toast
Here’s a benefit to starting your day with toast topped by creamy avocado: The fruit is loaded with fiber plus cholesterol-lowering monounsaturated fats. Get the recipe.. Danny Kim

Avo toast is always a good idea! Add a little lemon or lime juice into your avocado mash to keep it from browning before lunchtime.

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Chicken, Sprouts and Provolone Sandwich

Chicken, Sprouts, and Provolone Sandwich
Warm chicken, melted cheese, and crisp sprouts in a toasted bagel makes a satisfying snack or meal. Get the recipe: Chicken, Sprouts, and Provolone Sandwich. Danny Kim

Rotisserie chicken and cheese on a bagel is a perfect combo. Get creative with the bread and even the toppings with this sandwich that can be enjoyed warm (wrap it in foil) or cold.

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Hummus and Cucumber Toast

This recipe for hummus and cucumber toast pairs Persian cucumbers with hummus and a sprinkle of za'atar spice mix.
Caitlin Bensel

A swipe of hummus on crisp bread and layered cucumbers—feel free to cut them into cute shapes—makes for an easy and refreshing lunch that's beloved for its crunch! Package and serve open faced or as a sandwich.

RELATED: 9 Ways to Use Chickpeas (That Don't Involve Hummus)

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Fried Rice

Spring Fried Rice
Jennifer Causey

Add all your kid's favorite veggies to a big pot of fried rice to reheat and package in a thermos throughout the week. If they're a condiment kid, throw in a packet of soy sauce to amp it up at lunchtime.

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Caprese Skewers With Balsamic Glaze

Getty Images

Food on a small skewer is always fun at lunch, and can be enjoyed without utensils. Serve with a salad or leftover rotisserie chicken for a complete meal.

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Beef Kofta with Toasted Couscous

Beef Koftas with Toasted Couscous
Greg DuPree

These flavorful meatballs on a stick are perfect with the side of couscous or another grain. Package them all together or wrap the kofta in foil and add small bowls of sides.

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Peanut Butter Ramen

Peanut Butter Ramen Recipe
Antonis Achilleos

These cold noodles are so fun to eat! Sneak in veggies or protein and swap out the peanut butter for tahini or almond butter depending on nut restrictions.

RELATED: How to Cook Ramen, According to Professional Chefs

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Watermelon Poke Bowls

Watermelon Poke Bowl
Victor Protasio

This completely plant-based lunch will be the envy of lunchtime. It's colorful, tasty, healthy and on-trend.

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