After many, many years of making school lunches, I still struggle to come up with lunchbox ideas.
I still struggle to come up with lunchbox items that are not super expensive, that don’t take loads of time to prepare, that travel well, and that are not sandwiches. Yes, I have two kids who don’t eat sandwiches.
I used to think it was unusual for kids not to like sandwiches, but I’ve discovered it’s actually quite common. There are lots of people out there like me, desperately searching for non-sandwich lunchbox ideas!
To replace the sandwich I am looking for something that will fill my kids up. It’s a bonus if it has a good hit of protein and some veggies, but many of these options need to be combined with others to make a more balanced lunch. There are a few sweetish options on this list, but in general these are savoury ideas, because it’s easy to come up with sweet treats!
You might notice there are no nuts, or nut products, on this list. Nuts are a great, healthy option if you are able to eat them and/or send them to school, but we are nut free due to allergies so they are not on our lunchbox list, but you should definitely add them if you can.
Here is our huge list of non-sandwich lunchbox ideas to make packing that lunch a little bit easier.
Quick and Easy Non-Sandwich Lunchbox Ideas
Yoghurt – freeze in the tub and it will be defrosted but still cold my lunch time, send a tub of granola to sprinkle on top.
Corn chips and salsa or guacamole
Crackers and dip
Veggie sticks with yoghurt dip
Grissini bread sticks and dip.
Green salad with cheese cubes and/or ham
Salami or ham wrapped around sticks of cheese.
flavoured tuna or tuna salad
Breakfast cereal – send some milk/yoghurt and a spoon or pick one that is good finger food to eat dry.
Salad on a stick – cherry tomato, cheese cube, cucumber, olive, capsicum, ham or chicken on skewers
Rice cakes with filling – spread and make a ‘sandwich’ or send filling separate if it will make rice cakes soggy.
Two minute noodles – hot in a thermos or cold.
Flat bread wraps – use various fillings, roll and cut into portions.
Kabana, salami, roast lamb or other cold meat.
Make Ahead Non-Sandwich Lunchbox Ideas
Homemade pizza rolls (freezes well)
Apple and Oat pancakes (freezes well)
Pinwheels – pastry swirls with your choice of fillings. (freezes well)
Cinnamon and Raisin flat bread
Easy Quesadilla – a folded tortilla with salsa and cheese melted in the middle
Savoury triangles – fill them with all kinds of leftovers. (freezes well)
Dinner Leftovers Lunchbox Ideas
Veggie Pastie (cold) – make mini ones. (freezes well)
Sausage rolls (cold) (freezes well_
Chicken drumstick or chicken wings
Veggie nuggets – with dipping sauce or yoghurt dip (freezes well)
Rice and Veggie slice (crustless quiche)
Green burgers (falafel) cold with yoghurt dip.
Burritos (cold) – made with our easy chilli recipe, wrapped in a tortilla with cheese.
Meatballs with dipping sauce (cold)
Leftover pasta – either hot in a thermos or cold. Pizza pasta is a good option.
Naan bread and dip
Fish fingers (fish sticks) – cooked and cooled with mayonnaise dipping sauce.
Pizza Pockets (Calzones) – make mini ones with favourite fillings. (freezes well)
Soup in a thermos – chicken noodle soup
Chicken patties. (cold)
I often find the hardest part of preparing food is coming up with ideas for what to make in the first place. Writing a list of ideas really helps me get over that initial ‘what on earth am I going to make’ road block. So now that you have 50+ ideas for the non-sandwich eaters in your life, go through them with the kids and write a list of all the ideas that will work for your family.
You can use our free printable lunchbox ideas list and lunchbox planner to help you get organised.
Do you have non-sandwich eaters? What do you put in their lunchboxes?
I’d love to add some more ideas to my list, especially the ‘quick and easy’ section! So leave a comment below and share all your non-sandwich lunchbox ideas!