Non-sandwich School Lunch Ideas

by Katrina - The Organised Housewife

Sometimes the idea of eating another sandwich for the fourteenth school day in a row can be very off-putting to some children! Every child is different and yours may not like the standard ham sandwich, so I have compiled some easy ideas and recipes to help spark some lunchbox inspiration!

Every child is different and yours may not like the standard ham sandwich, so I have compiled some easy ideas and recipes to help spark some non-sandwich school lunch ideas.

CHEESE AND BACON MINI QUICHES – I have to put this one at the top of the list as it’s my kids favourite.  I freeze these once I have made them and put them into their lunchbox frozen.  They are usually defrosted by morning tea time.  View my recipe here.

Every child is different and yours may not like the standard ham sandwich, so I have compiled some easy ideas and recipes to help spark some non-sandwich school lunch ideas.

CRUSTLESS MINI PIZZA QUICHES – Quiche is always a fresh healthy option for a lunchbox and it is a meal that can be made in bulk, meaning that the kids can have them a couple of days in a row! Recipe can be found via Laura Fuentes.

This lunchbox pictured below is available online here.

Every child is different and yours may not like the standard ham sandwich, so I have compiled some easy ideas and recipes to help spark some non-sandwich school lunch ideas.

FRITTATA BITES – These frittata bites are perfect for using up any vegetables or meat that are lingering in the fridge. Next to the cheese and bacon quiches these are my next favourite, I actually enjoy having them for lunch too. View my recipe here.Every child is different and yours may not like the standard ham sandwich, so I have compiled some easy ideas and recipes to help spark some non-sandwich school lunch ideas.

HOMEMADE SUSHI – This idea is a bit more time consuming than others, but your kids will thank you for it when they are the envy of all their friends for having sushi at school! Sushi is a fantastic way to get carbs, protein and healthy fats such as avocado, and by making it yourself you know exactly what is going into your little ones’ lunchbox.

  • Cook the rice following sushi rice packet directions, can be found in the rice aisle at the supermarket.
  • Lay down nori roll (shiny side down) over sushi making tool.
  • Add rice (best to have damp fingers).
  • Spread a squirt of mayo.
  • and fill – my kids favourite filling is sliced chicken snitzel and avocado, you can add lettuce, cucumber, carrot, mustard, salmon.
  • Roll using sushi making tool and slice to place in lunchbox.

Every child is different and yours may not like the standard ham sandwich, so I have compiled some easy ideas and recipes to help spark some non-sandwich school lunch ideas.

TUNA AND CRACKERS – Tuna, as we all know, is so healthy for you in terms of protein and vitamins, so there is no excuse not to add it to a lunchbox! If your child does not like tuna, replace with ham, turkey or even shredded chicken for a serve of meat in the lunchbox.  My kids spoon tuna onto crispbread or salada just before they eat it at school.

2 INGREDIENT PIZZA BASES – This pizza base is super easy to make with just flour and yoghurt. A very quick and easy recipe to fill the lunchbox for the kids. Add your desired topping, another great great way to use up any left over meats or vegetables at the end of the week. View my recipe here.Every child is different and yours may not like the standard ham sandwich, so I have compiled some easy ideas and recipes to help spark some non-sandwich school lunch ideas.

PASTA – Pasta can be used in many different ways and can be accompanied by whatever the heart desires, making this a perfect substitute for bread. Pasta is great as it is inexpensive and so, so filling for lunch or dinner! Make pasta in bulk and change what you add to give your child the illusion they are having something different every day. I added some capsicum, tomato, cucumber and a boiled egg with a spoonful of mayonnaise to left over pasta and put them in the kids lunchboxes. My son also loves left over chorizo pasta. Read more about this lunchbox idea below here.

Every child is different and yours may not like the standard ham sandwich, so I have compiled some easy ideas and recipes to help spark some non-sandwich school lunch ideas.QUESADILLAS – Have you got spare wraps or tortillas lying around the house? This Mexican dish can be made in so many different ways, and it replicates a toasted sandwich. Quesadillas are easier to make than you think, can be prepared in around 10 minutes if you have chicken and tomatoes, or refried beans on hand and ready to go. Your child might be wondering what is in their lunch box but they definitely won’t be complaining after the first bite! This recipe uses 4 ingredients, tortilla, pasta sauce, cheese and pepperoni.

SAUSAGE ROLLS – I often make these up for dinner, it makes quite a big batch, enough to put in the kids lunchboxes the next day and to also freeze. I put them frozen into their lunchboxes and they have thawed by lunch time.  View my recipe here.Every child is different and yours may not like the standard ham sandwich, so I have compiled some easy ideas and recipes to help spark some non-sandwich school lunch ideas.

CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP – This soup is a perfect replacement to send your child to school with on a cold winter’s day. They will love the heartiness of the chicken and noodles while also receiving a serve of vegetables! Chicken noodle soup is a favourite in my household and I have a feeling your child would really appreciate this lunch on a cold school day. Find a few of my chicken soup recipes here and Hot School Lunch Ideas here.

CHEESE & HAM MUFFINS – These Chesse & Ham muffins are not only delicious but are a great way to smuggle some hidden veggies into your kids diet. View recipe here.

Every child is different and yours may not like the standard ham sandwich, so I have compiled some easy ideas and recipes to help spark some non-sandwich school lunch ideas.

PB & J BANANA ROLL UPS – If you struggle to find ways to incorporate fruit into the lunchbox, this recipe was designed for you! Simply replace a sandwich with a wrap, then fill with banana, peanut butter and jam of your choice, roll it up and cut into slices! Your child will think they are eating a lot more than they actually are  and the wrap is incognito among all the yummy stuff! Recipe found via Mission. 

printable list of After School Snack Ideas for you to put on your fridge or back of your pantry door to help you plan ahead to fill the fridge and pantry, ready to feed your hungry kids. And… this after-school snack idea printable is handy for those times they will say “Mum there is nothing to eat”, then get them to check the list and make up an easy snack.

HARD BOILED EGGS – If your little one is a massive fan of eggs, don’t just take advantage of this at breakfast time! Hard-boil a carton of eggs at the beginning of the week and incorporate them into the lunchbox. You could do this by placing them on their own with seasoning, or alternatively, you could add them to a salad or scliced onto a cracker with cheese. They are a  great source of protein and it will leave the wallet and child happy!

FRIED RICE – Rice is so easy to make in bulk when preparing a stir-fry dinner or other rice dish. You can make this fried rice as healthy as you please and add things like chicken, peas or leftover vegetables from the night before. A simple fried rice. Here is my super easy fried rice recipe. 

printable list of After School Snack Ideas for you to put on your fridge or back of your pantry door to help you plan ahead to fill the fridge and pantry, ready to feed your hungry kids. And… this after-school snack idea printable is handy for those times they will say “Mum there is nothing to eat”, then get them to check the list and make up an easy snack.

ZUCCHINI AND SWEET POTATO SLICE – I really love this recipe as it is so easy to make. The recipe can be doubled then frozen for school lunch boxes and it tastes delicious when served hot or cold. For the full recipe and step-by-step instructions click here.

ROLL-UPS – Roll-ups don’t always have to be sweet! This idea of a meat and salad roll-up is a fun way to use up whatever you have in the fridge. Find the recipe for these sun-dried tomato turkey roll ups here.

printable list of After School Snack Ideas for you to put on your fridge or back of your pantry door to help you plan ahead to fill the fridge and pantry, ready to feed your hungry kids. And… this after-school snack idea printable is handy for those times they will say “Mum there is nothing to eat”, then get them to check the list and make up an easy snack.

I hope this has inspired you to ditch the sandwich in tomorrow’s lunchbox and get creative with how you provide essential carbohydrates, proteins, and fats into the school lunchbox. If you have any ideas that replace sandwiches in the lunchbox please feel free to comment below.

What Non-sandwich School Lunch Ideas do your kids like?

Every child is different and yours may not like the standard ham sandwich, so I have compiled some easy ideas and recipes to help spark some non-sandwich school lunch ideas.

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27 comments

Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid July 11, 2016 - 10:17 AM

Such ace ideas – not just for school lunches but work lunches too 🙂

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Tanya King-Carmichael July 18, 2016 - 3:29 PM

I was thinking the same thing about them being great ideas for work lunches, too
Unfortunately most schools have a nut-free policy which will exclude some of these delicious sounding ideas.

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife July 20, 2016 - 9:58 AM

Yes there are great ideas for adult lunches here too! Nut and egg free policies at some schools would make it hard to pack.

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LB July 19, 2016 - 9:56 PM

When I was a kid we never had ice packs in lunch boxes and I had a wide variety of sandwich fillings. I keep my kids lunchbox in a wetsuit type cover. I get nervous about putting meat in sandwiches or adding quiche/ egg without ice. How do you pack these lunches for school?

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife July 20, 2016 - 9:56 AM

Same LB no icebricks for me too and my lunches weren’t fancy at all, not like the range my kids get in their lunchboxes, lucky little ones.

My kids take the quiches to school frozen (because I make them on weekends, then freeze them to put in lunchboxes through the week)+ an icebrick in their lunchbox. Quiches are defrosted by lunchtime, thankfully we have not had any issues of them still having frozen lunch, but I do live in QLD where it is warm 🙂

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Natalie July 20, 2016 - 7:18 AM

We are gluten free because my daughter is Coeliac and our school is nut free and egg free… so that leaves us with…. 😛 not much. I would love some ideas if anyone has some non sandwich ideas that meet y very limited criteria.. tia

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife July 20, 2016 - 9:48 AM

that does sound like it would make it very hard.

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Viviana Kneale January 19, 2018 - 7:32 AM

My family is GF also ( my husband is celiac). What I do is replace the normal flour for Gluen Free Flour I use the brand Orgran, I buy it at Coles or Woolworths. I bake lot of different recipes and the flavours don’t change using Orgran.

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Jodie June 2, 2020 - 4:57 PM

Thanks Viviana. I’m going to give that a go.

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Sarah January 21, 2018 - 1:19 PM

You could still do the sushi, you could make cold rolls with salad filling and a g/f dipping sauce, mini pizza using g/f wraps as the base, home made dip with veggie dippers and crackers, rice cakes with smashed avocado and tomato, vegetable and cheese kebabs…..

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dorothy July 21, 2016 - 4:07 PM

my grandson has just been put on a gluten free diet , he has never been a good eater,his school is also free of eggs,nuts we have trouble getting him to eat a propper breakfast hes six ,his school is also free to certain foods

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife July 28, 2016 - 9:23 AM

that would make it harder to decide what to put into lunchboxes, I hope this list helps you Dorothy 🙂

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Shell October 6, 2017 - 4:02 PM

If your child is Gluten free, you can still make the wraps etc using GF wraps. For eggless schools, use flaxseed eggs instead. Instead of nuts you could use frozen grapes which taste like sweets or chunks of cheese?
Hope that helps, love this website! ?
Shell xx

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife October 9, 2017 - 12:17 PM

Oh that’s fantastic, Thank you Shell

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PlumJane January 19, 2018 - 11:33 AM

Thanks so much, my children aren’t sandwich lovers, so this has given me a few new ideas.

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife January 22, 2018 - 9:07 AM

Oh Fantastic. Glad to help get the ideas flowing

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Janine January 19, 2018 - 3:48 PM

I tend to pack a portion of whatever we have for dinner in their lunchbox. Has worked since childcare.

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife January 22, 2018 - 9:08 AM

That’s a great habit to get into Janine. I have started cooking more dinner than needed as my teenage son also loves left overs.

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Farah Dyer-Steel January 25, 2018 - 9:26 PM

how to keep foods cold without the need to freeze? things like yoghurt or custard, or things with mayo in them. i always fear that they will be at least tepid if not downright warm come lunchtime

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife January 29, 2018 - 10:31 AM

You can add ice packs to the lunch box and these usually keep everything at a good temperature until they sit down to eat at lunch break. You can get some ice packs / Ice blocks big enough for the whole lunch box

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Jo March 2, 2018 - 7:19 AM

Hi, I am going to try making tuna sushi for my son. What mayo do you use? Is it just the normal salad mayo or a sushi mayo. Thanks

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife March 6, 2018 - 10:24 AM

If you can get the Sushi mayo it would be better, but usual mayo is also fine to use

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Tillz January 14, 2019 - 1:26 AM

For those who are gluten free n nut or egg free I just exchange or change the product n use different for eg the sushie or pinwheels I use rice paper.. for pasta I use gluten free range .. n do stuff like pesto corn carrot n peas with chicken ,
Ooo n dif use ice packs I am in QLD and no lunch could make it with out ..

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife January 14, 2019 - 2:43 PM

thanks for sharing Tillz!

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Meg April 30, 2019 - 12:50 AM

I would love to know where the lunch/bento box came from in the photo.

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife April 30, 2019 - 10:25 AM

they are Yumboxes but I have similar available in my shop – https://theorganisedhousewife.com.au/shop/product-category/physical/lunch-boxes/ 🙂

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Vivian November 13, 2021 - 3:07 PM

Thanks for sharing! What is the brand of bento box you use and does it keep the food warm (like the fried rice) by lunchtime?

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