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30 Back-to-School Lunch Ideas

School season is here! It's time for fun and healthy back-to-school lunch ideas that will have your kiddos looking forward to returning to the classroom.

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Kids' Favorite Chili

This third-generation hearty chili is a family favorite. It's a sweet and easy chili that's sure to warm up the whole family on those chilly fall nights. —Terri Keeney, Greeley, Colorado
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B Is For Book Sandwich

To fix this ham-and-cheese pleaser, just take a page from our creative food editors. You also can use a cutout of your child’s initial. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Muffin-Tin Tamale Cakes

We needed snack inspiration beyond peanut butter and jelly. These muffin tamales have all of the flavor without the fuss. Pair with skewered fruit. —Suzanne Clark, Phoenix, Arizona
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Fruity Peanut Butter Pitas

My kids ask for these pita sandwiches all the time. They haven’t noticed that as good as they taste, they’re also good for them. —Kim Holmes, Emerald Park, Saskatchewan
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Pizza Meat Loaf Cups

Fix and freeze these moist little meat loaves packed with pizza flavor. They're great to reheat for an after-school snack or quick dinner on soccer night. My family likes to drizzle extra pizza sauce on top. —Susan Wollin, Marshall, Wisconsin
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Spinach and Turkey Pinwheels

Need an awesome snack for game day? My kids love these easy four-ingredient turkey pinwheels. Go ahead and make them the day before—they won’t get soggy! —Amy Van Hemert, Ottumwa, Iowa
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PBJ on a Stick

Take the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich on the go with these skewers. They also make easy snacks. —Sara Martin, Brookfield, Wisconsin
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Turkey Ranch Wraps

Here's a cool idea that's ready to gobble up in no time. It's a terrific use for deli turkey. Just add lettuce, tomato, green pepper, shredded cheese and ranch dressing for a flavorful blend. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Mini Grilled Cheese

If you're looking for a fantastic make-ahead snack, try these miniature grilled cheese sandwiches. They're nice to have in the freezer for lunch with soup or a salad. My family loves to nibble on them anytime. —Anita Curtis, Camarillo, California
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Creamy Skillet Noodles with Peas

I’ve made this creamy noodle side for years. Since kids and adults go for it, I keep the ingredients on hand at all times. —Anita Groff, Perkiomenville, Pennsylvania
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Chicken & Bacon Roll-Ups

My children like these so much that they ask for them every day for lunch during the summer. Whenever I have leftover chicken or turkey breast, this is a delicious way to use it up. —Patricia Nieh, Portola Valley, California
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Turkey Salad on Wheat Bread

When one of my favorite lunch spots closed, this recipe let me hold on to more than just good memories. The peas, bacon and cheese are such a fun and springy combo. I make big batches of the salad for parties—turns out I'm not the only fan! —Merrijane Rice, Kaysville, Utah
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Jack-o'-Lantern Sandwiches

Be prepared for happy faces when you make these eye-catching jack-o'-lanterns. We loaded the sandwiches with flavorful fillings, then easily formed fun pumpkin shapes using cookie cutters. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Cheesy Quesadillas

We serve these quesadillas as chili dippers or load them up with salsa and sour cream for a super starter. —Terri Keeney, Greeley, Colorado
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Turkey Pitas with Creamy Slaw

Pack these pockets 'o' fun for school, work or a weekend picnic—or just eat them at home. Toss in a few slices of red pepper for extra color and crunch. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Greendale, Wisconsin
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Pizza Wraps

This recipe features the flavors of your favorite pie but only takes a few minutes to make—and there’s no cooking or baking required. Perfect for when you’re rushing to get kids on the bus! —Elizabeth Dumont, Boulder, Colorado
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Turkey Guacamole Wraps

Tuck smoked turkey and creamy avocado spread into tortilla wraps and add a dash of hot sauce for a little heat. —Margee Berry, White Salmon, Washington
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Wheely-Good Pasta Salad

Red pepper pieces accent this yummy side dish, and the pasta wheels really drive the theme home. —Amber Kimmich, Powhatan, Virginia
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Lunch Box Chicken Wrap

Lunch Box Chicken Wrap

This lunchbox-friendly wrap is a tasty way to use leftover chicken and get kids to eat more veggies. Using colorful, thin strips of vegetables adds visual interest when the wrap is cut into slices. Suddenly spinach is too pretty to refuse. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Quick Taco Wraps

I was running late one night, so I shopped in my own fridge and came up with ingredients that became taco wraps. Everybody at the table was a happy camper. —Katie Mitschelen, La Porte, Indiana
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Turkey Lunch-Box Wraps

These wraps taste wonderful cold or warmed in the microwave. They make a great brown-bag treat. —Denise Marshall, Jacksonville, Florida
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Chicken Cucumber Pitas

I wanted a good recipe for pitas. Seeing the large stack of garden-fresh cucumbers on my counter, I decided to improvise and create my own filling. It was a huge hit. —Sheena Wellard, Nampa, Idaho
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Mini Mac & Cheese Bites

Young relatives were coming for a Christmas party, so I wanted something fun for them to eat. Instead, the adults devoured my mini mac and cheese. —Kate Mainiero, Elizaville, New York
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Cheeseburger Buns

My mom stuffs soft homemade yeast rolls with ground beef, tomato sauce and cheese to make these tasty sandwiches. They're great leftovers, too. My son takes them in his lunch the next day. —Nancy Holland, Morgan Hill, California
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Lunch Box Pizzas

When you have these fun-to-make mini pizzas, it's no challenge finding lunch fare that the kids enjoy. Plus they pack nicely in sandwich bags and travel well, so there's no mess. —Rhonda Cliett, Belton, Texas
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Chicken Salad Croissant Sandwiches

Parmesan cheese and dill make this the most incredible chicken salad I’ve ever tasted. For the no-cook version, use canned chicken. These sandwiches are a simple entree to serve at parties, showers or picnics.—Jaclyn Bell, Logan, Utah
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Flying Saucers

These handy pita pocket sandwiches can be filled and served ready to eat... or you can set up a make-your-own buffet with ingredients that the kids can choose to suit themselves.
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Cheeseburger Mini Muffins

I invented these cute little muffins so I could enjoy the flavor of cheeseburgers without resorting to fast food. I often freeze a batch and reheat however many I need, including as appetizers. —Teresa Kraus, Cortez, Colorado
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Better than Egg Salad

Tofu takes on the taste and texture of egg salad in this quick-fixing sandwich from Lisa Renshaw of Kansas City, Missouri.
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Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

When I was a girl, Mama used Texas longhorn cheese in this recipe. After it melted all over the macaroni, I loved to dig in and see how many strings of cheese would follow my spoonful. —Imogene Hutton, Brownwood, Texas

Jacqueline Weiss
Jacqueline is a blogger and writer, passionate about sharing the latest in helpful tips and trends in food and cooking. In her spare time, you’ll find her trying new restaurants and experimenting in the kitchen.
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