20 Non Sandwich Lunch Ideas

by Katrina - The Organised Housewife

20 Non sandwich ideas for school lunch boxes. I’ve put together 20 ideas to inspire you for school lunches that aren’t sandwiches! It’s nice to add some variety to the school lunches, and some kids just really don’t like sandwiches.

It can be easy to fall into a routine with packing school lunches where you end up packing virtually the same thing every day. Particularly if they are items that you know will be eaten. I do like to add variety where I can, and tick both my requirements of healthy and delicious, these are great meal ideas for kids, teens and adults alike. I have shared some non-sandwich lunch ideas before, but with the new school year approaching I thought some more ideas would be helpful. Whilst some of these ideas might take a little more time to prepare than a vegemite sandwich, you have the satisfaction of knowing that your child has a really nutritious and yummy main items for lunch. My tips to help you save time in the kitchen is prepare these items while you are already in the kitchen cooking dinner, or make an extra large batch and get the recipe to do double duty for dinner and lunch the next day. Also I’m big fan of bulk preparing and freezing items so they are ready to grab and go.

My favourite divided lunchboxes work really well for non-sandwich lunches as you keep items like beetroot or tomatoes separate until you are ready to combine and eat your lunch. They are available here in a pack of five.

Non sandwich ideas for school lunches


These are a great lunchbox alternative to sandwiches, I like to make these fresh the night before, so they are soft and fluffy when eaten. You could use this recipe with lots of different filling ideas like bacon and cheese or chicken, pesto and cheese or spinach and ricotta.

  Find my Cheese and Vegemite Scrolls recipe here

cheese and vegemite scrolls

Zucchini Slice

This has to be one of my favourite items to pop into a lunchbox. You could make it into large slices or little snack bars. I have a few different zucchini slice recipes as it is so versatile a recipe, and you can tweak it include ingredients to your taste. This is a perfect lunch item to make ahead and freeze until needed.

  Find my Zucchini and Feta Slice recipe here

bento lunchboxes


This is a recipe that is a great dinner option as well. Prepare an extra big batch, and dinner one night is sorted plus you can stock your freezer for school lunches.

  Find this Beef & Vegetable Pasties recipe here

non sandwich idea for lunch pastiesFritters

There are so many variations of fritters that you could make for lunchboxes, a simple plain corn fritter is often a hit with kids, or an apple fritter if you’re looking for a sweet idea or you could use ingredients so that the fritters are a really nutritious main item like my salmon quinoa fritters.

  Find my Salmon & Quinoa Fritters recipe here

These Salmon Quinoa Fritters are perfect for either lunch or dinner, served with salad. Make a few smaller bite-size fritters to add to the kids’ lunchboxes to get some Omega-3 and protein!

Savoury Muffins

Savoury muffins are one of my favourite items for an easy lunch or breakfast item and they freeze well so you can prepare them. I have a number of savoury muffin recipes as I love them so much!

  Find my Savoury Muffin recipes here

Bacon and Vegetable Muffin. Great for Kids Lunches. Kids Lunchboxes. Savoury Muffin.

Bacon and Egg Cups

So simple to make and so delicious to make. Line a silicone muffin tray with bacon rashers, crack an egg into each cup and bake in the oven at 170 degrees until the eggs are just cooked (generally takes about half an hour).

  Find this Bacon and Egg Cup recipe here

egg and bacon cups

Rice Paper Rolls

These are such a versatile lunch item and the options are endless for what to include in them. My tip so they don’t dry out in lunchboxes is to pop on top of a large lettuce leaf.

  Find this Vietnamese Chicken Rice Paper Roll recipe here

Rice paper rolls - school lunchbox idea

Mini Pizzas

These are bound to be a lunch box hit and my two ingredient recipe for bases is so easy to make. Don’t have time to make bases? Use half an English Muffin instead.

  Find my Two Ingredient Pizza Base recipe here



Though realistically wraps are not that different from sandwiches, for some reason they just seem more fun! I love a good ham or chicken and salad wrap!

  Find these Top Five Wraps for Kids here

wrap filling ideas


Quesadillas are so yummy and easy to make. Fill with leftover chicken or grilled vegetables to make a more filling option.

  Find this Jamie Oliver Quesadilla recipe here

quesadilla lunchbox idea


Food is more appealing to kids if it is in fun shapes. While a fussy eater might not be that interested in a wrap, cut it into pinwheel slices and it’s instantly more fun!

  Find this Italian Pinwheel recipe here

pinwheel sandwiches for lunchboxes

Meatballs or Rissoles

I have always enjoyed leftover meatballs or rissoles cold the next day. You could make a big batch to keep on hand in the fridge. I have quite a few different meat ball recipes for you to try or the recipe below is a healthy one with hidden kale.

  Find this Beef & Kale meatball recipe here

meatball recipe for lunchboxes


If you have a child who happily eats salad then this is a super healthy lunchbox option. To make prep speedy keep your fridge stocked with necessary staples such as washed salad leaves, pre-cooked protein options like roast chicken or hardboiled eggs and a nice dressing.

Pita Pockets

It’s not a sandwich it’s a pocket! Stuff some fluffy pita pockets with your fillings of choice and a nice dressing and you can’t go wrong.

  Find this Greek Chicken & Salad Pita Pocket recipe here

pita pocket non sandwich idea school lunchesPasta Salad

This is a great one to use up some leftovers. Throw together some leftover cooked pasta, mayonnaise, veggie pieces and leftover meat pieces or boiled eggs and you have a delicious lunch option!


Sushi Rolls

Sushi is one of my favourite lunch choices but it can be a little pricey buying it regularly. Sushi rolls are a little fiddly to make but the more you do it the easier and quicker it gets. Make the night before.

  Find these Sushi recipes and instructions here

sushi recipe for lunchesSausage Rolls

This is a recipe it is easy to sneak some veggies into and it keeps really well in the freezer so I like to make a big batch up when I cook them.

  Find my Sausage Roll recipe here

Homemade Beef & Vegetable Sausage Rolls

Savoury Pancakes

This is a lunchbox idea that you could tailor to your family’s tastes very easily. Make a savoury plain pancake batter and add whatever fillings you’d like. You could make a couple of different batches to have a variety of fillings.

  Find this Savoury Mushroom & Cheese Pancake recipe here

non sandwich lunchbox ideas savoury pancakes

Chicken Legs

These are a great idea for lunch boxes and are really easy to prepare a batch I normally marinate the legs and oven bake them straight after dinner when the oven is already preheated. Or you could cook them in the slow cooker (just make sure to take them out before they get to falling apart stage). One big tip is to wrap the ends of the legs in foil if you are putting them in lunchboxes. This way you child has somewhere to hold without getting sticky fingers.

  Find this Slow Cooker Honey Soy Chicken Drumsticks recipe here

chicken legs - school lunch idea


If we are having skewers (or kebabs depending on what you call them!) for dinner then I like to make some extra up so that there are some for lunch the next day, saving me time in the kitchen! If you have a fussy eater then kebabs are a great way to get them happily eating meat and veggies, everything is more fun if it is presented on a stick!

  Find this Marinated Beef Kebab recipe here

beef skewers lunchbox idea

Do you still need to purchase a lunchbox for the year? Check out my 2021 Guide to Choosing the Best School lunchbox here. To help you out with your Back to School Essentials, we have made Organised HQ a one stop shop to help you get organised and prepared the new school year. We have lunchboxes, drink bottles, lunch bags, checklists, school lunch ebooks, routine charts for the kids, all to help you get ahead with your organising and so much more.

What is your favourite non-sandwich item for lunch?

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