12 Make-Ahead School Lunch Ideas to Make Mornings Less Stressful

·14 min read

It feels like summer just started yesterday but believe it or not, the back-to-school season will be here in just a few short weeks. Preparing for kids to go back to school this year will be unlike year thanks to the ongoing pandemic and the new Delta variant. It’s bound to be a more confusing, chaotic and stressful time than usual so we’re desperate for ways to cut back on the back-to-school stress. One of our favorite tricks for cutting back on stress is to plan ahead and that means having some easy, make-ahead school lunches prepped and ready to go so school mornings aren’t quite so hectic.

Ahead, you’ll find lots of easy-to-make school lunch ideas that you can make the night before or a few days ahead of time and save yourself a whole lot of stress on busy weekday mornings.

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Homemade healthy granola bars

<img class="wp-image-2473745" src="https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/No-Bake-Granola-Bars-with-Nuts-and-Oats-4.jpeg?w=682" alt="Image: Little Chef Big Appetite. " width="640" height="961" srcset="https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/No-Bake-Granola-Bars-with-Nuts-and-Oats-4.jpeg 700w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/No-Bake-Granola-Bars-with-Nuts-and-Oats-4.jpeg?resize=200,300 200w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/No-Bake-Granola-Bars-with-Nuts-and-Oats-4.jpeg?resize=682,1024 682w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/No-Bake-Granola-Bars-with-Nuts-and-Oats-4.jpeg?resize=454,682 454w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/No-Bake-Granola-Bars-with-Nuts-and-Oats-4.jpeg?resize=150,225 150w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/No-Bake-Granola-Bars-with-Nuts-and-Oats-4.jpeg?resize=110,165 110w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/No-Bake-Granola-Bars-with-Nuts-and-Oats-4.jpeg?resize=285,428 285w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/No-Bake-Granola-Bars-with-Nuts-and-Oats-4.jpeg?resize=160,240 160w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/No-Bake-Granola-Bars-with-Nuts-and-Oats-4.jpeg?resize=320,480 320w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/No-Bake-Granola-Bars-with-Nuts-and-Oats-4.jpeg?resize=640,960 640w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/No-Bake-Granola-Bars-with-Nuts-and-Oats-4.jpeg?resize=400,600 400w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/No-Bake-Granola-Bars-with-Nuts-and-Oats-4.jpeg?resize=512,768 512w" sizes="(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px" />

Store-bought granola bars are a lunch staple for kids — but they’re often loaded with high-calorie sugar and other less-than-healthy ingredients. Instead, pack a nutritious homemade whole wheat granola bar, bursting with almonds, raisins and honey, to give your child a lunch snack you can be proud of.

Click here to read the full article.

Get the recipe from Little Chef Big Appetite

Egg salad sandwich with dill

<img class="wp-image-2473749" src="https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/egg-salad-sandwich.jpg?w=1024" alt="Image: Recipe Doodle. " width="640" height="447" srcset="https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/egg-salad-sandwich.jpg 1600w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/egg-salad-sandwich.jpg?resize=300,210 300w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/egg-salad-sandwich.jpg?resize=768,537 768w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/egg-salad-sandwich.jpg?resize=1024,716 1024w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/egg-salad-sandwich.jpg?resize=1536,1073 1536w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/egg-salad-sandwich.jpg?resize=1500,1048 1500w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/egg-salad-sandwich.jpg?resize=682,477 682w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/egg-salad-sandwich.jpg?resize=150,105 150w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/egg-salad-sandwich.jpg?resize=110,77 110w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/egg-salad-sandwich.jpg?resize=285,199 285w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/egg-salad-sandwich.jpg?resize=320,224 320w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/egg-salad-sandwich.jpg?resize=640,447 640w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/egg-salad-sandwich.jpg?resize=800,559 800w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/egg-salad-sandwich.jpg?resize=1280,894 1280w" sizes="(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px" />

Many kids find egg salad sandwiches so comforting. Give this traditional recipe some added zest with green onions, Dijon mustard and tasty herbs.

Get the recipe at Recipe Doodle

Peanut butter and jelly muffins

<img class="wp-image-2473752" src="https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/pb-muffins.jpeg?w=682" alt="Image: Little Chef Big Appetite." width="640" height="961" srcset="https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/pb-muffins.jpeg 682w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/pb-muffins.jpeg?resize=200,300 200w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/pb-muffins.jpeg?resize=454,682 454w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/pb-muffins.jpeg?resize=150,225 150w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/pb-muffins.jpeg?resize=110,165 110w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/pb-muffins.jpeg?resize=285,428 285w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/pb-muffins.jpeg?resize=160,240 160w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/pb-muffins.jpeg?resize=320,480 320w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/pb-muffins.jpeg?resize=640,960 640w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/pb-muffins.jpeg?resize=400,600 400w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/pb-muffins.jpeg?resize=512,768 512w" sizes="(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px" />

PB and J sandwiches are so last year! Skip the white bread and whip up a dozen of these healthy muffins instead. They’re made with whole wheat flour and are filled with creamy peanut butter and your child’s favorite jelly.

Get the recipe from Little Chef Big Appetite

Roasted chicken and vegetables

Image: It&#x002019;s Not Complicated.
Image: It’s Not Complicated.

Take some time on a Sunday afternoon to roast a whole chicken and you’ll be left with plenty of chicken for easy lunch-making throughout the week. Refrigerate the roasted chicken until you’re ready to add it to a yummy take-to-school lunch, like chicken with vegetables, chicken and pasta or kid-approved chicken wraps.

Get the recipe from It’s Not Complicated

Rotisserie chicken and pecan salad

<img class="wp-image-2473758 size-large" src="https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Chicken-Salad-Sandwich-blog.jpeg?w=600" alt="Image: Belly Full. " width="600" height="900" srcset="https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Chicken-Salad-Sandwich-blog.jpeg 600w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Chicken-Salad-Sandwich-blog.jpeg?resize=200,300 200w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Chicken-Salad-Sandwich-blog.jpeg?resize=455,682 455w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Chicken-Salad-Sandwich-blog.jpeg?resize=150,225 150w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Chicken-Salad-Sandwich-blog.jpeg?resize=110,165 110w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Chicken-Salad-Sandwich-blog.jpeg?resize=285,428 285w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Chicken-Salad-Sandwich-blog.jpeg?resize=160,240 160w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Chicken-Salad-Sandwich-blog.jpeg?resize=320,480 320w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Chicken-Salad-Sandwich-blog.jpeg?resize=400,600 400w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Chicken-Salad-Sandwich-blog.jpeg?resize=512,768 512w" sizes="(max-width: 600px) 100vw, 600px" />

Pick up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store — or use leftover roasted chicken from above — to create this salad that kids will love by itself, on a sandwich or with a side of veggies.

Get the recipe at Belly Full

Slow cooker chicken tacos

<img class="size-large wp-image-2473760" src="https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Slow-Cooker-Shredded-Chicken-Tacos-Recipe.jpeg?w=660" alt="" width="660" height="990" srcset="https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Slow-Cooker-Shredded-Chicken-Tacos-Recipe.jpeg 660w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Slow-Cooker-Shredded-Chicken-Tacos-Recipe.jpeg?resize=200,300 200w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Slow-Cooker-Shredded-Chicken-Tacos-Recipe.jpeg?resize=455,682 455w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Slow-Cooker-Shredded-Chicken-Tacos-Recipe.jpeg?resize=150,225 150w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Slow-Cooker-Shredded-Chicken-Tacos-Recipe.jpeg?resize=110,165 110w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Slow-Cooker-Shredded-Chicken-Tacos-Recipe.jpeg?resize=285,428 285w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Slow-Cooker-Shredded-Chicken-Tacos-Recipe.jpeg?resize=160,240 160w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Slow-Cooker-Shredded-Chicken-Tacos-Recipe.jpeg?resize=320,480 320w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Slow-Cooker-Shredded-Chicken-Tacos-Recipe.jpeg?resize=640,960 640w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Slow-Cooker-Shredded-Chicken-Tacos-Recipe.jpeg?resize=400,600 400w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Slow-Cooker-Shredded-Chicken-Tacos-Recipe.jpeg?resize=512,768 512w" sizes="(max-width: 660px) 100vw, 660px" />

Tacos for lunch? Kids will love ’em! When boneless, skinless chicken cooks all night long with green chilies, salsa and seasonings, the result is tender, mouth-watering chicken that’s perfect for taco filling. In the morning, just build the taco and pack it up.

Get the recipe at Spoonful of Flavor

Make-ahead pasta salad

<img class="wp-image-2473762" src="https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Italian-Pasta-Salad-21.jpeg?w=683" alt="Image: Spend With Pennies." width="640" height="960" srcset="https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Italian-Pasta-Salad-21.jpeg 700w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Italian-Pasta-Salad-21.jpeg?resize=200,300 200w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Italian-Pasta-Salad-21.jpeg?resize=683,1024 683w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Italian-Pasta-Salad-21.jpeg?resize=455,682 455w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Italian-Pasta-Salad-21.jpeg?resize=150,225 150w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Italian-Pasta-Salad-21.jpeg?resize=110,165 110w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Italian-Pasta-Salad-21.jpeg?resize=285,428 285w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Italian-Pasta-Salad-21.jpeg?resize=160,240 160w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Italian-Pasta-Salad-21.jpeg?resize=320,480 320w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Italian-Pasta-Salad-21.jpeg?resize=640,960 640w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Italian-Pasta-Salad-21.jpeg?resize=400,600 400w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Italian-Pasta-Salad-21.jpeg?resize=512,768 512w" sizes="(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px" />

This make-ahead pasta salad is a simple, delicious solution! You can even toss in any leftover veggies you have in your fridge to add some extra nutritional value.

Get the recipe from Spend With Pennies

Chicken, broccoli and almond frittata

Image: True Agape
Image: True Agape

If you’re looking to give your child a protein-packed lunch, you’ve found it! Cassie Celestain experimented for her first frittata recipe and it’s a hit that’s sure to please even picky eaters.

Get the recipe at True Agape

Corn and tomato salad

<img class="wp-image-2473775 size-large" src="https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/corn-tomato-salad-1.jpeg?w=560" alt="Image: The Blond Cook. " width="560" height="876" srcset="https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/corn-tomato-salad-1.jpeg 560w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/corn-tomato-salad-1.jpeg?resize=192,300 192w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/corn-tomato-salad-1.jpeg?resize=436,682 436w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/corn-tomato-salad-1.jpeg?resize=150,235 150w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/corn-tomato-salad-1.jpeg?resize=144,225 144w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/corn-tomato-salad-1.jpeg?resize=105,165 105w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/corn-tomato-salad-1.jpeg?resize=274,428 274w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/corn-tomato-salad-1.jpeg?resize=153,240 153w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/corn-tomato-salad-1.jpeg?resize=307,480 307w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/corn-tomato-salad-1.jpeg?resize=384,600 384w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/corn-tomato-salad-1.jpeg?resize=491,768 491w" sizes="(max-width: 560px) 100vw, 560px" />

The beauty of this corn and tomato salad recipe is that you can make it ahead of time and there’s very little cooking involved! Make it as a side dish for your family’s evening dinner and send leftovers to school with your child for a scrumptious light lunch.

Get the recipe from The Blond Cook

Pretzel-crusted chicken

Image: SheKnows.
Image: SheKnows.

Kids love chicken nuggets and they love pretzels. Putting them together is genius! A crushed pretzel coating gives these nuggets a crunchy texture that kids can’t get enough of! Pack them in your child’s lunch with a zesty dipping mustard and your kid will be the star of the cafeteria!

Get the recipe from SheKnows

Turkey ranch club wrap

<img class="wp-image-2473849" src="https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/turkeyranch-wrap.jpeg?w=800" alt="Image: Organize Yourself Skinny. " width="640" height="762" srcset="https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/turkeyranch-wrap.jpeg 800w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/turkeyranch-wrap.jpeg?resize=252,300 252w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/turkeyranch-wrap.jpeg?resize=768,915 768w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/turkeyranch-wrap.jpeg?resize=573,682 573w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/turkeyranch-wrap.jpeg?resize=150,179 150w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/turkeyranch-wrap.jpeg?resize=110,131 110w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/turkeyranch-wrap.jpeg?resize=285,340 285w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/turkeyranch-wrap.jpeg?resize=201,240 201w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/turkeyranch-wrap.jpeg?resize=320,381 320w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/turkeyranch-wrap.jpeg?resize=403,480 403w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/turkeyranch-wrap.jpeg?resize=640,762 640w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/turkeyranch-wrap.jpeg?resize=504,600 504w, https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/turkeyranch-wrap.jpeg?resize=645,768 645w" sizes="(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px" />

You can make these delicious wraps 1-2 days ahead of time and because they only require a couple ingredients and no cooking, they come together in just a few minutes.

Get the recipe from Organize Yourself Skinny

Too busy to head to the grocery store? Get all of the fresh ingredients needed to make these recipes through Instacart.

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