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50 Back-to-School Lunch Ideas

School season is almost 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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Cheeseburger Cups

A terrific recipe for moms with young kids and busy lives, this simple, inexpensive dish is made with handy ingredients and takes just a short time. Best of all, kids will go absolutely crazy for these darling dinner bites! —Jeri Millhouse, Ashland, Ohio

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Peanut Butter, Apple and Raisin Sandwich

Tart, sweet and crunchy, these open-faced sammies are a perfect after-school (or after-work) snack. —James Schend, Taste of Home Deputy Editor
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ABC Salad Toss

Getting kids to eat their veggies, fruit and protein is as easy as ABC—that’s apples, bananas and cheese. This is a slightly sweet salad that appeals to kids’ taste buds while still delivering lots of healthy benefits. —Christine Maddux, Council Bluffs, Iowa
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Grilled Cheese, Ham and Apple Sandwich

In this stepped-up version of a ham and cheese sandwich, melty cheeses, crispy apples and smoky ham are the ultimate combination. —Josh Rink, Taste of Home Food Stylist
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Pizza Puffs

What’s more fun than a pizza puff? Skip the kind sold in the frozen aisle and try this homemade version. You can substitute any meat or vegetable for the pepperoni and any cheese for the mozzarella. —Vivi Taylor, Middleburg, Florida
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Meatball Alphabet Soup

Bite-sized meatballs made from ground turkey perk up this fun alphabet soup. A variety of vegetables are mixed in a rich tomato broth seasoned with herbs. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Slow-Cooked Chicken Caesar Wraps

I first made these slow-cooker chicken Caesar wraps for our daughter, who loves Caesar salads, then later for our extended family on vacation. It’s such an easy meal—perfect for days when you’d rather be outside than inside cooking all day. —Christine Hadden, Whitman, Massachusetts
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Easy Chicken Strips

I came up with these crispy strips one night when I was looking for a fast new way to serve chicken. They also make delightful appetizers, especially when served with barbecue or sweet-and-sour sauce for dunking. —Crystal Sheckles-Gibson, Beespring, Kentucky
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Toasted Chicken Salad Sandwiches

I love chicken salad sandwiches. For this recipe, I use a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket and toss it with avocado oil mayonnaise, capers and dill relish, then layer it on crusty bread with sliced radishes and butter lettuce. You can vary the flavor by adding herbs or some finely diced roasted red peppers. —David Ross, Spokane Valley, Washington
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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
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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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Beefy Swiss Bundles

Kids and adults alike will devour these comforting, yet special, pockets. With creamy mashed potatoes, gooey cheese and flavorful seasonings, what’s not to love? —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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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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Turkey, Gouda & Apple Tea Sandwiches

Cut into triangles or quarters, these fun mini sandwiches are a tasty addition to an afternoon tea gathering. The cranberry mayo lends an original flavor twist, and the apples give them a sweet-tart crunch. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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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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Mini Mediterranean Pizza

I was on a mini-pizza kick and had already served up Mexican and Italian variations, so I opted to try for a Mediterranean version and came up with these. —Jenny Dubinsky, Inwood, West Virginia
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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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The Elvis Sandwich

Like the King sang himself, you’ll be “all shook up” once you taste this savory-sweet sandwich. —James Schend, Taste of Home Deputy Editor
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Club Roll-Ups

Packed with meat, cheese and olives, these roll-ups are always a hit at parties.
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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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Mini Burgers with the Works

I started preparing these mini burgers several years ago as a creative way to use up bread crusts accumulating in my freezer. They’re delicious. —Linda Lane, Bennington, Vermont
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Focaccia Sandwiches

Slices of this pretty sandwich make any casual get-together more speical. Add or change ingredients to your taste. —Peggy Woodward, Shullsburg, Wisconsin
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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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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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Chicken and Bows

I first made this chicken bow tie pasta when I was a professional nanny. It comes together quickly at dinnertime when the kids are hungry. —Danette Forbes, Overland Park, Kansas
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Turkey Guacamole Wraps

Tuck smoked turkey and a 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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PB&J Bites

These PB&J bites are fun to make and fun to eat! For a change of pace, replace the jam with Nutella and the rolled oats with sugar or crushed puffed rice cereal. —Kelly Ward, Stratford, Ontario
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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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Reuben Stromboli

I love this quick-to-fix, layered Reuben stromboli. I used another sandwich recipe as a guide but made it with Reuben fixings. Switch things up by using sliced turkey and coleslaw instead of corned beef and sauerkraut. —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas
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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. These sandwiches are a simple entree to serve at parties, showers or picnics.—Jaclyn Bell, Logan, Utah
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Tacos in a Bowl

This easy skillet dish offers a delicious use for leftover taco meat. Garnish it with sour cream and salsa for southwestern flavor. —Sue Schoening, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
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Ham and Cheese Pockets

These unique sandwich pockets are filled with ingredients most kids enjoy. —Callie Myers, Rockport, Texas
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Muffuletta

Muffuletta, which originated in New Orleans, is named after the round, crusty Sicilian loaf of bread it’s traditionally served on. While I favor my own olive salad, there are several good versions available in most supermarkets. —Lou Sansevero, Ferron, Utah
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Cheesy Pepperoni Buns

A pizza version of the sloppy joe, this hot and melty open-faced sandwich is a surefire kid pleaser. Adults love them, too! —Tanya Belt, Newcomerstown, Ohio
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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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The Best Ever Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Spreading a mixture of mayo and butter on the bread creates a delightfully crispy crust with the well-loved, wonderful flavor of butter one expects on a grilled cheese sandwich.—Josh Rink, Taste of Home Food Stylist
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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.