School Lunch Ideas to End the Mid-day Blahs

10 creative kids' lunches they wouldn't dare trade

Need new school lunch ideas to jazz up kids' lunches? These creative recipes will help you step outside the PB&J or bologna and cheese rut. I've included something for everyone - vegetarians, kids who like hot meals, picky eaters and even leftovers (I think leftovers are the most under-used and undervalued brown bag lunch ideas ever). Try them all, and let me know what you think. Post reviews!

  • 01 of 09
    Beef Wrap Sandwiches
    Beef Wrap Sandwiches. Stephanie Gallagher

    Turn last night's leftover rice and flank steak into a hearty wrap for the kids' lunches. No leftover steak? No problem - use deli roast beef, leftover pot roast or even that little bit of leftover taco meat.

  • 02 of 09
    Pizza Wrap Sandwiches
    Pizza Wrap Sandwiches. Stephanie Gallagher

    Could there be a better lunch idea for kids than pizza? Kids are happy to eat cold pizza, so make these easy pizza wraps the night before, then refrigerate them until the morning. Pack in the kids' lunch boxes with an ice pack, and you're good to go.

  • 03 of 09

    Bologna and Cheese Rollups

    Bologna and Cheese Rollups
    Bologna and Cheese Rollups. Stephanie Gallagher

    Half the time, making food appealing to kids is about presentation. That's why we use cookie cutters to make shapes out of sandwiches. And that's why these rollups are always such a hit with the kids. Even better: They take only minutes to prepare. Younger kids, especially, like to find these rollups in their lunch boxes.

  • 04 of 09
    Hard Boiled Eggs
    Hard Boiled Eggs. Stephanie Gallagher

    High in protein and vitamin A, hard boiled eggs are a healthy and easy lunch, because you can make them in advance. This is my fool-proof recipe for perfect hard boiled eggs. Boil four or five eggs at once. You can keep them in the refrigerator, covered tightly, for up to 1 week.

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09
    Chocolate Pretzel Peanut Butter Stars
    Chocolate Pretzel Peanut Butter Stars. Stephanie Gallagher

    This clever twist on the classic PB&J is a fun way to switch things up for kids who like peanut butter sandwiches - and chocolate, of course.

  • 06 of 09
    Chicken Panini Sandwich
    Chicken Panini. Stephanie Gallagher

    This chicken panini sandwich is currently my kids favorite lunch recipe. I make the paninis in the morning in my George Foreman grill (compare prices) and wrap them in foil as soon as they're ready. By lunch time, the kids say the paninis are still warm.

  • 07 of 09
    Zucchini Bread Cream Cheese Sandwiches
    Zucchini Bread Cream Cheese Sandwiches. Stephanie Gallagher

    Here's an idea for kids who want sandwiches in their school lunches: Healthy zucchini bread topped with cream cheese, then cut into attractive finger sandwiches. The kids will go nuts over this sweet and creamy lunch idea.

  • 08 of 09

    Hot Dog Soup

    Hot Dog Soup
    Hot Dog Soup. Stephanie Gallagher

    It's no secret that kids love hot dogs, and this hot dog soup works great in a thermos. Make a big batch, and put it in the kids' lunches all week long.

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Cream Cheese and Jelly Sandwiches

    Cream Cheese and Jelly Sandwiches
    Cream Cheese and Jelly Sandwiches. Stephanie Gallagher

    Oftentimes, just changing the type of bread you use in kids' lunches will be enough to break the boredom cycle. This simple cream cheese and jelly sandwich, made with rice cakes, is great because it's different from typical white or wheat bread, and kids like the flavor combination. You can even try different flavors of rice cakes.