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Cute School Lunch Ideas for Kids

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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.

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62 comments on “Cute School Lunch Ideas for Kids”

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  5. Amazing… Love the ideas, especially the part of using coffee stirrers instead of the pointed skewers. Now if I’m making this for a party how should I display them so they stay cold in this HOT South Florida weather? Thanks for sharing these amazing ideas and photos.Β 

  6. 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.

  7. 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,


  8. Avatar photo
    Pop Up Gazebo

    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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    Clara Gonzalez

    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.

  10. 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.

  11. Avatar photo
    Orange Awesomesauce

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

    btw love your kale chips recipe

  12. 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!

  13. 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! πŸ™‚

    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.

  14. Avatar photo

    Oh the shapes are so adorable! This would be a hit in any kids lunchbox or even for a tea party πŸ™‚

  15. Avatar photo

    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.

  16. 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!) πŸ˜‰

  17. 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.

  18. Avatar photo
    Elizabeth@ Food Ramblings

    Love the skewers! Don't have kids, but I think my hubby will like them too πŸ™‚

  19. 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!

  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 πŸ™‚

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

  22. 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 πŸ™‚ loving your web page thanks!!

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    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!)

  24. 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!

  25. 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?

  26. 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!

    1. Avatar photo
      Gina @ Skinnytaste

      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.

    2. Avatar photo
      Gina @ Skinnytaste

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

  27. this is a brilliant idea. It makes me happy seeing kiddos enjoy fresh fruits and veggies πŸ™‚ and i would not mind this in my lunch bag either πŸ˜›

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

  29. Avatar photo
    Vita @ Juicer Depot

    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.

  30. 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!

    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.

    2. Avatar photo
      Gina @ Skinnytaste

      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.

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

    1. Avatar photo
      Gina @ Skinnytaste

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

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

  32. Avatar photo
    Ragazza Bazaar

    Very good idea! My 2 year old is always dropping her food…she would love to eat off the stick!

  33. 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.

  34. 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

  35. 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

  36. Avatar photo
    The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh

    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! πŸ™‚