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6 School Lunch Ideas *Besides* Peanut Butter & Jelly!

April 26, 2015

6 School Lunch Ideas *Besides* Peanut Butter & Jelly :: Plus a PlanetBox Review!Standard review and affiliate disclosure: The PlanetBox shown in this post was given to me for the purpose of this review. Links are also affiliate links. All opinions on the product reviewed are my own. Please also know that I would never affiliate link products that I don’t stand behind or would never use with my own family.

Ok so I’m going to start out with admitting…I totally love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches 🙂

I grew up on them and to this day I thing they are *so* darn good!

My girls really love PBJ’s and I don’t mind having them in the lunch rotation here and there. It’s just really important to rotate our kid’s foods.

Having the same foods over and over again can wear on the gut – and if you already have a compromised gut lining (think food allergies or sensitivities, seasonal allergies, digestive issues whether constipation or loose stool, and even behavioral issues a lot of times point to gut distress), it just adds fuel to the fire to have the same thing over and over again.

I also like to keep different foods rotating in children’s diets because it creates kids with broad taste palates. Meaning, they will pretty much accept anything new you give them to eat. It takes some training while they are young, but it is so worth it!

But…PBJ is so easy!

Isn’t it though?! It totally is. I agree it is so easy to just pack up a quick sandwich and go.

But I have learned that lunch packing really doesn’t have to be that complicated. My kindergartener is eating the same things she had while she was at home as a toddler/preschooler, just packed up. Of course I still pack the occasional PBJ, but for the most part I’m packing up other nourishing favorites – that pack up just as fast.

If you let your kids be involved in the packing, I think it can run smoother and quicker. It takes some training at first. But at this point in the year, my now seasoned kindergartener picks her own fruit and veggie and fills her water bottle for her lunch the night before. I just fill in the odds and ends and it’s done – takes 5 minutes – tops.

Product links in this post are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family.Having great lunch gear really helps the process along and we have loved the functional simplicity of the “Launch” PlantBox. It really fits the types of nourishing lunches we pack for school, and my 5 year old loves it. The sturdy design lasts for years, so it is really an investment you make once…no more lunch gear replacing year after year when things get too worn. It washes up so nice (well my 5 year old will tell you that since she does it every day 😉 ).

SO! Whether your kids are tired of the same PBJ everyday, or you are looking to get more variety in their diets, here are 6 lunch ideas to try to finish our your school year!


1.   One of my favorite features of the Launch PlanetBox is the large side container for holding things like salad. I think most kids will be agreeable to salads at lunch so long as they have super yummy dressings to pour over them! You can make your own store bought dressings like Ranch, French, and Thousand Island right at home – takes 5 minutes to shake up in a jar!

6 School Lunch Ideas *Besides* Peanut Butter & Jelly :: Plus a PlanetBox Review!Another lunch packing tip is how to make hard boiled eggs convenient. Hard boiled eggs last around 5 days in their shell! So I hard boil around a dozen eggs once a week and I use them for quick lunchbox additions or breakfasts. The crispy nuts in the photo are part of my freezer stash – I make a big load of them at a time and pull handfuls when I need them.


2.   The Launch PlanetBox comes with a leak proof container to fit in that large side slot as well. I have been using it for yogurt. I scatter frozen fruit on the bottom and scoop about half cup or so of whole plain yogurt over top. If you have kids that are used to sweeter commercial yogurts you can drizzle some raw honey over top too. My 5 year old can manipulate the lid on the container and we haven’t had a problem with leaking at all!

6 School Lunch Ideas *Besides* Peanut Butter & Jelly :: Plus a PlanetBox Review!The tuna salad in this lunch is my quick 5 minute blender tuna salad – it is great on a sandwich or kids love to dip or make their own “sandwiches!” with crackers and veggies.


3.   About once a month I take an hour or 2 and make large batches of energy bars, apple bars, granola bars, or blueberry bars and freeze them flat in freezer bags. They pull from freezer to lunchbox faster than making a PBJ!

6 School Lunch Ideas *Besides* Peanut Butter & Jelly :: Plus a PlanetBox Review!Keep things colorful! I use purple cabbage instead of green for coleslaw a lot! If you think you need to sweeten the deal with eating coleslaw with the kids, add a drizzle of raw honey or sprinkle in a few raisins.


4.   Kids missing pizza day at school? Try pizza muffins! My daughter has pizza day *every* Thursday. These muffins freeze up so nice – so they pack up really easy right out of the freezer! We have homemade pizza every once and a while that she takes leftovers of…but I just don’t think pizza night needs to be scheduled every week.

6 School Lunch Ideas *Besides* Peanut Butter & Jelly :: Plus a PlanetBox Review!My sliced apple trick is using cinnamon or running a lemon over the tops! It will keep them from browning really well! The lemon works for avocado halves too.


5.   Don’t forget dinner leftovers! This was parmesan baked quinoa. A lot of evenings I pack up dinner leftovers right as I’m cleaning up from dinner. It takes no time at all!

6 School Lunch Ideas *Besides* Peanut Butter & Jelly :: Plus a PlanetBox Review!The Launch PlanetBox comes with a great condiment container that is leakproof. It holds everything from veggie dip, to salad dressing, or nut butters for apple dipping.


6.   If you really have “sandwich eaters” that are hesitant to give up their PBJ, try wraps instead. Or at least something different on the bread you use. I crockpot 3 whole chickens once a month and shred the meat for the freezer in handful portions. This wrap was shredded chicken from the freezer, my own 5 minute mayo, lettuce, and tomato. I like these rice wraps or the Sami’s millet wraps (I get both at our health food store in the freezer section) for my family since we are gluten free. Just be mindful of the ingredient list!

6 School Lunch Ideas *Besides* Peanut Butter & Jelly :: Plus a PlanetBox Review!Ok! So talk to me! Hit me with your best PlanetBox or lunch packing questions and let me know how the new lunch routine is going!

For more lunch ideas you can follow my Lunch Ideas board on Pintrest!

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15 Comments

  • Reply Chrissy April 26, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    This is absolutely fantastic! I’ve been desperate for lunch ideas. Thank you for this post!

  • Reply Kim April 26, 2015 at 9:51 pm

    How do you keep the frozen chicken from freezer burn in the freezer? I find I have a week or two before it starts getting icy. Do you use a food saver vacuum system?

    • Reply Renee Kohley April 27, 2015 at 8:30 pm

      Hi Kim! I use a food saver vacuum sometimes but not all the time. I squeeze the air out and flatten them down good. They might be a little icy when I pull them out but they are usually going into a pot of soup or a stir fry and I never can taste a difference. Sealing them up with the vacuum does take care of that if you are concerned though!

  • Reply Jessica May 4, 2015 at 9:18 am

    Such great ideas. Your girls are so blessed to have a mama that fills their bellies with good for them food.

  • Reply Marcy May 7, 2015 at 10:11 pm

    Great ideas! Thanks for sharing. How do you get your brown rice wraps to fold like that with out crumbling or being difficult to chew. I can’t ever manage to get them right.

  • Reply Kelly May 7, 2015 at 11:40 pm

    I need to pin this!! Where is the pin button??

    • Reply Renee Kohley May 8, 2015 at 1:44 pm

      Hi Kelly! I’m so sorry! I had to take off my share buttons because they were screwing up my site and making it really slow! I took them off on Monday and never figured out what to do next! I just added a pin it button to my images to help for now – I hate it when I want to pin and can’t! Thank you for reminding me!

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