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10 Unique School Lunches for Kids Who Hate Sandwiches

Quick meals for when your kid hates ham and cheese.

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Cheese quesadilla

After years of PP&J, a quesadilla will seem like a novelty school lunch idea. Prepare them however your child prefers—keep in mind that adding chicken or black beans will ramp up their protein power—and wrap them into a piece of tin foil. Add a hand-warmer to the lunch box and the meal should stay warm until at least noon. Don’t forget to add a fun surprise—these ten lunch box notes will make your kid’s day.   

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Pasta salad

The best thing about pasta salad is that you can use whatever mix-ins you’ve got in the house (plus, you can make a huge batch at once!). Mozzarella, broccoli, tomatoes, olives, corn, peas, and bell peppers are great places to start. (These veggies are considered the most nutritious.) Add your child’s favorite dressing and you’re good to go.

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Bagel and cream cheese

Your child has probably been eating bagels for a while now, which makes them a great comfort food for busy days at school. Add a healthy snack to round out the meal. Now that lunch is taken care of, here’s how to beat back-to-school stress.

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Hard-boiled eggs

Two hard-boiled eggs are a great source of protein. Even better? You can hard-boil all of the eggs on Sunday. (These are the seven meal-prep rules you need to memorize.) If your child prefers egg salad, prepare a batch and serve it in a tortilla wrap.

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Banana or zucchini bread

You already know that baking bread is the best way to use up overripe bananas. But did you realize that adding it to your kid’s lunch box will make them feel like they’re eating dessert as a main course? Bake a bread that’s low in sugar and pack it along with bunches of fruits and veggies. Here are eight genius uses for overripe bananas (besides banana bread).

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Mac and cheese or pasta in a thermos

If your child prefers warm foods, you might want to invest in a quality thermos. Once you’ve got that, the options are limitless. (Don’t miss this no-fail guide to packing kid’s lunches.) Serve up mac and cheese or pasta for picky eaters, or try a stir-fry if your kid is more adventurous.

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DIY pizza lunchables

No matter how much your kid hates preparing lunch at home, we guarantee they love assembling lunchables at school. Mimic the popular brand by packing your child’s favorite crackers, a container of marinara sauce, and a small bag of cheese. Add a popsicle stick for assembly. These are the most adorable themed lunches ever.

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Hummus roll

It’s as easy as it sounds! Simply coat a tortilla with hummus, roll it up, and cut the roll into one inch pieces. Pack with a few healthy snacks, but consider the hummus your main source of protein. Here’s how nutritionists pack more protein into their diets.

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Quiche

Bake your favorite type of quiche on Sunday (or buy it and heat it up—we won’t tell) and pack a slice for your child’s lunch. The eggs serve as a great source of protein, and depending on what you mix in, the meal is also full of veggies.

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Soup

This one’s easy as pie. For lazy winter mornings, simply boil up a pot of soup and pour it into a thermos. Serve it with crackers or a piece of bread for dipping. These are our favorite soup recipes ever.