Lunches Made Easy :: Tips and Tricks for School Lunches


Girls eating School LunchesMaking school lunches for kids seems like an easy task, right? A Lunchable here, a turkey sandwich there . . . But even with my best intentions, sometimes my tiny human still comes home and says, “I didn’t like my lunch today,” or, “My friend had this for lunch today.” Or, my personal favorite: “Mommy, I’ve been watching this lunch show on YouTube, and I would like THIS in my lunch!”

What are we moms to do? After the initial sighing, fussing because we are exhausted, and saying things like, “When I was your age . . . ,” we go to some of our favorite Birmingham Mom Collective contributors for some lunch-making tips, tricks, nutrition facts, and recipes, of course!

Making school lunches for kids may seem tedious and time-consuming at first, but it can also be fun and creative for all involved when following these tips and tricks.

School Lunch Tips and Tricks

1. Make the same lunch for each week of the month and put it on a calendar.

Not only does this tip save time and energy, it saves money, too. It simplifies things because you won’t have to worry about buying tons of food items for lunch boxes each day. And when you and your kids plan the menu together, there is no room for “I don’t like that!” because you are all in control. Additionally, the calendar helps parents plan ahead of time for field trips and even after school snacks.

Making a monthly lunch calendar is easy. Simply go to Pinterest, type in “printable calendars” or “lunch calendar,” and print it out.

2. Allow for children to get involved in the lunch-making process.

Think about how fantastic you feel, Mom, when you prepare and cook a delicious meal. Children are the same way. They will go to school and proudly eat the lunch that they made. Allowing them to help in the preparation also creates an opportunity for them to try new foods or to try old foods in new ways.

Most importantly, when children get involved making their own lunches, it takes some of the burden off you. You can totally supervise the little chefs and jump in when needed.

3. Make all lunch and snack preparations on Sunday.

Why are we spending time each school morning to make lunches when everything can be prepped ahead of time in one day? For example, make a large fruit salad, then divide it in storage bags or small lunch containers to grab, pack, and go.

Also, don’t be afraid to prep and freeze. Spending 30 to 45 minutes prepping for lunch on Sunday may seem like a lot, but the smooth weekday mornings make it all worth it.

4. Always leave a fun or encouraging note in the lunchbox.

Pretty self-explanatory, right? No matter the age, all kiddies love special notes. Of course Pinterest has some fabulous templates like these, or you can write them on index cards, sticky notes, or even packaged food items like fruit cups.

Crash Course in Nutrition Basics (ABC-123 Lunch Guide)

LaTasha Allen—mom of three, chef, author, and nutrition professional—offers advice for healthy meals using the ABC-123 approach for healthy, well-balanced school lunches. You, too, can follow the ABC-123 Lunch Guide:

  • A is for Accessible
  • B is for Balanced
  • C is for Colorful or Creative
  • 1-2-3 is for the 3 macronutrients that our bodies require in order to provide the energy we need:
    • 1. Protein (such as lean low-sodium meats, cheeses, and legumes),
    • 2. Fats (think Greek yogurt, walnuts, avocados, and olive oil),
    • 3. Complex Carbohydrates (fruits and veggies)

LaTasha’s Healthy Go-To Meals and Snacks

You, too, can incorporate these for a healthy, balanced ABC-123 lunch:

  • Himalayan Popcorn
  • Harvest snaps
  • Hummus Singles
  • Pre-packed cheese sticks
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Veggie sticks
  • Apple slices or apple chips
  • Whole wheat turkey pinwheels or turkey wraps
  • Low sugar yogurt smoothies
  • Whole wheat waffles stuffed with peanut butter and sliced bananas
  • Pre-cooked turkey bacon, sliced tomatoes, and fresh spinach on wheat bread

For more healthy meal ideas, be sure to visit, as well as try out the recipes below. Happy lunch-making, Moms!

Kid-Approved School Lunch Recipes

Are you feeling inspired now? Check out these easy recipes from fellow Birmingham Mom Collective contributor, Tawanna J. Feel free to try them, let us know how they worked out, exchange them with someone else, or even change them up to fit your child’s eating preferences.

Baked Chicken Nuggets (8-10 servings)


  • 4 pounds of boneless and skinless chicken breast
  • 1 ½ cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • ½ cup of melted butter


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut the chicken breast into 1-inch bite size pieces.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs,
    cheese, and salt.
  4. Coat the chicken chunks with melted butter, then coat
    chicken pieces with the breadcrumb mixture.
  5. Place the coated chicken in a single layer on a
    lightly greased cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, then allow to cool before serving. 

Sweet Roll Ham and Swiss Sliders


  • A package of sweet rolls
  • 1 pound of thinly sliced ham
  • 1 pound of thinly sliced Swiss cheese
  • Mustard


  1. Cut the tops from the bottoms of the rolls.
  2. Cut a slice of cheese into four squares.
  3. Fold the desired amount of ham slices in a triangle and place on the bottom of the roll
  4. Add a square of cheese.
  5. Squeeze the desired amount of mustard on top of the roll.
  6. Place the top roll on the bottom and repeat the steps above for the desired amount of sandwiches.


This post was originally published on August 23, 2019.