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School Lunch Ideas for Kids Who Won't Eat Sandwiches

author image Lori A. Selke
Lori A. Selke has been a professional writer and editor for more than 15 years, touching on topics ranging from LGBT issues to sexuality and sexual health, parenting, alternative health, travel, and food and cooking. Her work has appeared in Curve Magazine, Girlfriends, Libido, The Children's Advocate,, The SF Weekly, and
School Lunch Ideas for Kids Who Won't Eat Sandwiches
There are many options for your child's lunch. Photo Credit: liveslow/iStock/Getty Images

Kids can be notoriously picky eaters. And if your child refuses to eat the lunchbox food of choice -- sandwiches -- you may be challenged in finding healthy alternatives. Sandwiches are neat, portable and nearly a no-brainer. But there are other healthy lunchbox choices for your child.

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Wrap It

Swap out basic bread for a tortilla or lavash bread and you have a new lunchtime classic -- the wrap. Standard sandwich fillings from peanut butter and jelly to cold cuts can be stashed in a wrap. You can also try filling your wrap with hummus, leftover Spanish rice, whole beans or cold roasted vegetables, with or without a sauce.

Breakfast for Lunch

Packing breakfast foods in their brown bag adds novelty to your child's lunch hour. Try a bagel and cream cheese or other spread -- peanut butter or other nut butter, hummus or mashed avocado. Whole-grain pancakes pack well and can also be spread with fruit preserves. Or pop in a bran muffin as the main course.

Cheese and Crackers

Cheese and crackers make for a nutritious and filling school lunch entree. Use whole-wheat crackers and aim for lower-fat cheeses when possible. Consider adding other finger-friendly cracker toppings such as cubes of salami or ham. Sliced hard-boiled egg is another high-protein option worth considering.

Noodle Salad

Cold noodle salads may work for sandwich haters. They're also a way to send along a vegetable-heavy lunch. Dress spaghetti, soba or other long noodles with a sauce and pile on additions such as grated carrots and cucumbers, sliced scallions, slivers of red bell pepper and cubes of chicken or tofu. Choose whole-grain noodles for maximum nutritional value.

Tortilla Chips

Baked tortilla chips plus tomato salsa and a Southwestern-style whole-bean salad equals a healthy, kid-friendly lunch that's completely sandwich-free. Your child will be pleased by the snack-food angle of this lunch while you'll be rewarded by providing a high-fiber, high-protein meal.

On a Stick

If your child hates sandwiches, try skewering his lunch instead. You can use wooden or plastic cocktail toothpicks if you like, or for a clever alternative for younger kids, take a tip from "Parents" magazine and use pretzel sticks as skewers. Try rolled cold cuts, fruit and cheese kebabs, cherry tomatoes plus mozzarella and a basil leaf or barbecued chicken and pineapple as combinations.

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