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Party Food

10 Hot Lunch Ideas You Can Pack for School

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Sometimes a sandwich and chips just won’t cut it. Break up with the everyday school lunch routine and try these warm and satisfying hot lunch ideas you can pack.

Hot Packed School Lunch Ideas


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Especially as the days turn cooler, you’ll feel good about sending warm foods. Try homemade hot pockets, grilled cheese and tomato soup, chicken chili, pizza muffins, lunch box tacos, chicken nuggets, zoodles and meatballs, mac and cheese, hot dogs and homemade ramen.

We’ve even packed this better than take out fried rice as well — so delicious!

Grab a great thermos and check out these hot lunch recipes!

Zoodles and Meatballs

1. Zoodles and Meatballs

From Nom Nom Paleo

Replace traditional spaghetti and meatballs with zucchini. Zoodles, which is just zucchini noodles, makes a great twist on a classic recipe. Pair with meatballs and a bit sauce and you have a delicious hot and ready lunch they will love.

Grilled Cheese Dippers
2. Grilled Cheese Dippers and Tomato Soup

From Momables

Grilled cheese sandwiches is a great go-to lunch idea, especially with picky eaters. Create grilled cheese dippers by cutting a tradtional grilled cheese sandwich into four strips. Pair with a thermos of tomato soup to dip your grilled cheese into or just enjoy on its own.

Chicken Chili
3. Chicken Chili

From Today’s Parent

When it’s cold outside or if you just want something to keep their tummy’s full, pack this chicken chili for lunch. It’s filled with so many flavors and ingredients like sweet peppers, beans, and of course chicken. It will keep them long after the school day is over.

Chicken Nuggets
4. Chicken Nuggets

From Coupon Closet

Kids’ love chicken nuggets but it’s hard packing them in their lunches for school. But, when you have a picky eater, packing them may be the key to keeping them happy. Just pack them in a thermos. Who would have thought.

Mac and Cheese
5. Mac and Cheese

From Once a Month Meals

Mac and cheese is a kid favorite. They will love opening up their lunch box and digging into this classic dish. Pack in a thermos to keep warm and serve with fresh fruit and veggies for a delicious meal they will ask for over and over.

6. Pizza Muffins

From All My Great Ideas are Really From Pinterest

Now you can pack pizza in your lunch box. With these pizza muffins you can pack a lunch with their favorite food. Simply make ahead of time in a cupcake or muffin pan using pizza dough. Fill with sauce, cheese and any toppings and bake to perfection. Don’t forget to put in a thermos to keep warm.

Lunch Box Tacos
7. Lunch Box Tacos

From My Kitchen Escapades

Use leftovers from last night’s taco dinner to create a delicious lunch for your child to bring to school the next day. They will have fun building, and eating, their own tacos. Make sure you pack extra tortillas and of course, don’t forget the napkins!

Lunch Box Ramen

8. Healthy Lunch Box Ramen

From Tasty Kitchen

Ramen Noodles are an easy lunch to pack, but plain noodles aren’t the most nutritious thing you can feed your child—that’s where this healthy homemade recipe comes in. Using organic noodles, edamame and their favorite protein choice, add in some spinach for a delicious hot lunch they will love.

9. Homemade Hot Pockets

From The Allergic Kid

Homemade is always best. It’s better for you and better tasting. You can make these homemade hot pockets in big batches and just reheat when it’s time to slide them into a thermos for school lunches.

10. Lunch Box Hot Dogs

Looking for something beyond a sandwich to pack in your child’s lunch? Why not pack a hot dog! This hot dog recipe won’t take long to prepare and it can be customized to your child’s preferences.

Need help keeping their hot lunches hot? Here are some great ideas:

(Amazon Affiliate Links)

Tired of the plain, boring school lunches? Check out these great ideas for awesome school lunches:

Plus, don’t miss 10 Easy School Lunch Ideas…

Easy School lunch Ideas

Stephanie Keeping

Stephanie is in love with a boy named Sam. He has taught her that it's okay to jump first and look later, to wear a dirty shirt to the park and to decide that today is a good day to take a nap in your rubber boots. She hangs out here blogging at Spaceships and Laser Beams and at our printable party shop on Etsy.