Apple Chicken Salad on a Stick Recipe Honey Mustard Dressing-3538

School lunch ideas need to be on the list of things moms and dads need at back-to-school time right up there with pencils, notebooks, and backpacks. Sure there are some kids who want the same peanut butter and jelly sandwich or ham and cheese everyday, but other kids get bored of the same old thing. Or they might not like sandwiches at all. Plus you want to give them variety to ensure they are getting all their fruits, veggies, protein, and vitamins. That’s why it’s time to think outside the box (the lunch box, that is) and try 20 of the Best School Lunch Ideas that Aren’t Sandwiches.

Sandwiches are definitely the go-to when it comes to packing a lunch box. It’s easy, portable, and yes, you can even come up with quite a variety, from lunchmeat at cheese to peanut butter and jelly (or sun butter if your school is nut-free or you have a kid with an allergy), and even options like chicken salad, tuna, and more. But there are so many more school lunch ideas out there, especially if you have a kiddo who doesn’t like sandwiches or just gets bored of them.

Some sandwich-free school lunch ideas are wraps, but don’t just limit yourself to a tortilla. Lettuce wraps are versatile and tasty, and are a great way to get more leafy greens into those kiddos. Check out the Chef’s Salad Lettuce Wraps in this collection. You can even find things like rice paper spring roll wrappers or just wrap cheese and veggies right into those slices of deli meat Or you can take those tortillas, fill them, roll them up, and slice them into pinwheels for a little change from the usual wrap, like the Mediterranean Chicken Pinwheels you’ll find here.

If you can have brunch on the weekends and brinner any night of the week, why not breakfast-inspired school lunch ideas? Whether it’s muffins, yogurt parfaits, breakfast bars, and more, your usual morning food isn’t just limited to the morning. And the kids are going to love the Peanut Butter and Jelly Yogurt Parfaits and Carrot Zucchini Mini Muffins.

If your kids are old enough to handle them safely, put food on a stick. Salad on a stick, sandwich skewers, and even pizza kabobs are some recipes you’l find in this collection of school lunch ideas.

And there’s no reason you can’t just assemble some favorite healthy snacks into a bento box school lunch. From apple sandwiches to stuffed dates, there’s are a few recipes to get you started. Plus there’s more, like pasta salad, quesadillas, and even a sald with a not-so-secret ingredient that’ll have the kids gobbling their greens.

Heck, some of these recipes and ideas are so delicious that you might be packing them for yourself to bring to work!

Get inspired with 20 of the Best School Lunch Ideas that Aren’t Sandwiches. Check them all out by clicking “Launch Gallery” above.

Brianne is a Chemical-Engineer-turned-stay-at-home-mom, and is now the recipe developer, photographer, writer and publisher behind the blog Cupcakes & Kale Chips. When she is not chasing around two crazy-fun boys, she is in the kitchen whipping up everything from healthy, everyday snacks, sides, and meals to rich, indulgent treats, because it’s all about balance, you know, like ice cream & cauliflower, cookies & quinoa… Cupcakes & Kale Chips! Keep up with her favorite foodie finds along with over 1 million other followers on Facebook.