Aug 14, 2012

Cute School Lunch Ideas for Kids



Coming up with healthy lunch ideas for young kids can be quite challenging, but here's an idea children can't resist... put their favorite food on a stick!

Trust me, it works. There is something about mini skewers that are so appealing to kids (and adults). Don't you love food on a stick!? Wouldn't your kids love to open their lunch boxes to find all their favorite foods on a stick!

My toddler isn't big on sandwiches yet, but if I give her all the elements from a sandwich and place them on a stick her face lights up and she happily eats it. In fact while photographing the food for this post, both of my kids stood by and waited for me to finish so they could eat it.

Use the foods they like, cut them into fun shapes and put it on a stick!

For teens skewers would work fine, but for younger kids I would use coffee stirrers, popsicle sticks, toothpicks or even mini straws. Here are some ideas that both my toddler and teen loved. I pack an ice pack in the lunch box so the food stays cool.


Mini Caprese Skewers


Grape tomatoes and mini mozzarella balls layered on a stick. If you cut the tomatoes in half diagonally they look like small hearts. For older kids add basil in between the tomatoes and pack a small container of balsamic vinaigrette.

Mini Shrimp, Tomato and Cucumber Skewers


My toddler recently discovered she loves shrimp. These mini skewers are made with all her favorite foods. Use a cookie cutter for the cucumbers and you won't have to even peel them! If you want to make these for adults, add some feta cheese and olives and turn them into cute Greek Salad Skewers! Buttermilk Ranch Dressing is perfect for dipping.

Mini Ham, Cheese and Tomato Skewers



It's almost like a chef's salad on a stick. You could use turkey and whatever cheese your children enjoy. Pack a roll or some crackers on the side.


Mini Fruit Kabobs  


Layer seasonal fruit on a stick and I'm sure they'll eat it. Choose fruit that doesn't brown easily such as berries and grapes. Yogurt makes the perfect fruit dip.

I would love to hear your ideas, what would you put on a stick for your kids? 



"Thank you GLAD for bringing us this post. Learn how to make your kids’ summer daze into school days by clicking here to find Mom Made recipes and tips from GLAD."

57 comments :

  1. I made fruit skewers for a family reunion 2 years ago and they flew out of the container and people RAVED about them. It was as easy as putting the pieces on a skewer so whether you're a kid or a kid at heart, skewer foods rock! :)

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  2. So cute..have to remember those hearts!

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  3. I think my husband would love these options! He'll be going to night school and will only have 30 minutes between work and school. We're packing dinners for him, so having to get creative!

    I've had the same thing happen with fruit skewers as mentioned above. This past year for mother's day I made fruit skewers as our "dessert". Everyone raved about it! I'm like, "ummm.... it's fruit..... on a stick." LOL

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    1. I know, it's all about the presentation! LOL

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  4. Love them Gi! I love the pics of Maddie throwing down even more!!

    Great job with the school lunches. I think Max & Maddie will have the best lunches/snacks in the class!! LOL

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  5. I love this idea, I am doing this for my daughter when she starts school. She doesn't like sandwiches either but she will love this! I love the idea of using coffee stirrers as sticks.

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    1. Coffee stirrers just seem safer than pointy skewers for little ones.

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  6. Such adorable ideas Gina! Love all those little shapes!

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  7. Very good idea! My 2 year old is always dropping her food...she would love to eat off the stick!
    www.ragazzabazaar.com

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  8. I love this idea but am wondering about keeping them cold (there for safe) enough in a lunch box until lunch time at school.

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    1. I have small ice packs that I keep in my lunch box. They sell really great ones that are flat.

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    2. disney makes icepacks. for my girls they have cinderella, belle and tiana. i think they make cars and toy story ones too.

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  9. I love these ideas, however the schools here won't allow skewers to be brought in. They consider them a "weapon" b/c of the pointed end. They assume children will poke/stab each other with them. But I will certainly use it for my husband and for next summers reunion. It is also a good idea for the holidays. Thanks!

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    1. This was exactly my first thought. I LOVE the idea and they're so adorable. However, as an elementary school teacher, I would ask the parents not to send them in if the school didn't ask first. I don't think all kids would poke people with them, but it's definitely a hazard.

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    2. If you use small straws, coffee stirrers (as I did with the fruit) or lollipop sticks, it wouldn't be an issue since they are not pointy.

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    3. You could also snip the pointy end off after making it.

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  10. Great idea. I will have to try this with my high school kids. They are either going to love me or hate me for it. Both of my kids don't like sandwiches so I am going to give this a try.

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  11. Gina, this is a great idea! I would make them with olives (black and green), turkey, bell peppers and cucumbers - food my kids enjoy.

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  12. this is a brilliant idea. It makes me happy seeing kiddos enjoy fresh fruits and veggies :) and i would not mind this in my lunch bag either :P

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  13. Twice now you've photographed school lunch in a tin. Is that how you send it or is that for presentation's sake? Tell me more!? (Coldness, cleanliness, ease..). Love you and all your ideas! I check my RSS feed multiple times a day to see if you've surprised me with a new brilliant recipe!

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    1. It's for the photo. I use ice packs to keep it cool (I do this for the beach too), I bought some cute animal shaped ones that are cute for kids but I also have larger ice packs.

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    2. Well actually this lunch box will be my daughter's this year! My older daughter (teen) used paper bags.

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  14. Love this idea. I'm having lots of company in a few weeks (all adults), and I'm going to try it. Do you put any kind of dressing (such as lime etc) on the fruit, or just use it plain?

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  15. Where do u find such small and cute cookie cutters. After a long search I cud only find It in Walmart but were still big in size.

    Many thanks!

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    1. Michaels, Home Goods, and Amazon.com

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  16. So, you can really send shrimp to school with the kids and have it be safe come lunch time? Because I love this idea (no soggy sandwiches!) but wasn't sure if the shrimp would actually stay good that long. (My son loves shrimp, so he would flip over this!)

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  17. These look super! Creative too!

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  18. My son is starting school this year and I was worried about what to do for his lunch and these ideas came up very helpful :) loving your web page thanks!!

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  19. I was wondering if the cucumber and pineapple would dry out being that they are cut.. or does the ice packs help that?

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    1. No, as long as you place it in a container or baggie and keep it on ice, it's fine.

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  20. I also have a non-sandwitch eater and to make it more complicated her school is vegeterian, nut free and no refined sugars. I had forgotten how much she likes food on a stick, thanks for the reminder. If you cut a hot dog or vege dog into rounds then in half, skewer them with the round sides together it makes a butterfly. Love the lunch ideas, keep em commin and don't forget us vege lunchers :)

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    1. Are kids allergic to meat now? Why all veg...just curious.

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  21. Both my kids love a grape with a piece of cheese on a toothpick. I've also done apple tossed with a little lemon juice and a piece of cheese, but the grape cheese combo is always their favorite. I like the stir stick idea too as a safety issue. Sometimes I serve my kids dinner with a toothpick too instead of silverware. Makes it more fun to eat!

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    1. So do I, my daughter will eat just about anything with a toothpick.

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  22. Love the skewers! Don't have kids, but I think my hubby will like them too :)

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  23. Very good idea--love the presentation. I've done this for a brunch and it helps to make fruit go much further when portioned out on the skewers. I'll have to try in my kids' lunches this year.

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  24. Never mind for the kids....how about for us teachers! What a great idea, can't wait to do it! (but I CAN wait to go back to school in 3 weeks!) ;)

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  25. Thanks for the great idea. I don't have kids, but love the ideas for my lunches. I'm trying to cut out bread, so this is perfect.

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  26. Oh the shapes are so adorable! This would be a hit in any kids lunchbox or even for a tea party :)

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  27. I don't have any kids yet but I love your ideas on kid friendly foods! Thanks for posting!

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  28. That is such a fun and beautiful idea, I love it!

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  29. This is super cute! I may try this (with a coffee stirrer) for my first grader. For the older two, it's all about maximizing the FOOD because they're always starving. I cram those lunch boxes FULL of nutrient dense foods. No space to waste on sticks and cuteness! :-)

    Today I packed them peanut butter and banana honey sandwiches on whole grain bread, triscuits and cheddar cheese, an apple, grapes, and fresh veggies with hummus.

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  30. After I read your post yesterday I ran straight to Hobby Lobby and bought nine mini cookie cutters. I have a toddler who won't eat anything but PB&J. I can't wait to try this. You are a life saver!

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  31. Orange Awesomesauce8/17/12, 10:50 PM

    hey gina,
    im new here....just wanted to ask about the points system.. how exactly does it work?

    btw love your kale chips recipe

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    1. Its actually "weight watchers" point system... you can find out more by googling

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  32. Hi Gina, for the ham and cheese, what kind of coldcuts did you use? I normally buy from a deli so they are really thin.

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  33. That is a cute kid!

    I have a gazillion skewers at home (don't ask why). No I can think of a new serving idea for some snacks. Great idea.

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  34. Great skewers! Linking back to this post tomorrow.

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  35. I really appreciate this work because nowadays busy mums won’t do anything like that but it is really cool thing.

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  36. where can i get mini skewers?

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    1. You can use little coffee stirrers

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  37. Thanks for the ideas! I'm scouring Pinterest for lunch ideas. Very cute and colorful, and I think dd will love it.

    Hope you can pop by for a visit at my blog, www.thewritesteph.com

    Thx!

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  38. i like the heartshaped tomatoes

    great ideas!

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  39. Please don't let your toddler eat shrimp! It is not food. They are the clean up crew of the ocean. When the ocean is tested for toxins etc. they test shellfish for a reason! The shrimps job is to clean, not to be food.

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    1. or ham! Pigs are also the clean up crew ;-) Happy eating, these are adorable regardless!

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