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Back to School Lunches For Kids Who Hate Sandwiches #HormelFamily

My kids wanted to take their lunch to school, but sandwiches gave them frownies.

How’s a mom supposed to come up with a sandwich-free lunch five days a week?

Believe me, it wasn’t easy, and the truth is that sometimes I just needed to throw “something, anything, or whatever” in there so they’d survive the school day.

Brown Bag with staple

via Jeffrey Beall

But, here are a few things I fed those ‘lil stinkers.

Dried Fruit

Dried, sweetened cranberries were a favorite but they would happily eat anything!


Veggies and Dip

My kids really liked ranch dressing, and they’d happily munch away on veggies if I included that in their lunch. Nowadays we all prefer to use hummus as a dip, and although I like to make it myself, I recently found Peloponnese hummus spread and it’s fantastic. (Try their roasted red pepper spread too – I use it in paninis.)


Cereal Snack Mix

I put everything in a mixing bowl, toss it gently with a little melted butter and a few tablespoons of taco sauce and then sprinkle on and stir in a bit of shredded Parmesan cheese.


Deli Meat Roll-ups

They loved when I put a piece of cheese inside a slice of Hormel Natural Choice turkey or ham and rolled it up. (No nitrates or preservatives in that.) Had I added bread, they would have ignored it completely. *sigh*


Cheese, Cheese, Cheese!

I bought string cheese, cheese cubes, and cheese sticks in several different flavors. Sometimes I cut little geometric shapes out of cheese for them too.


 Lunch Box Notes

They’re not food, but kids love them! I used to include a page from one of the Lunch Box Library books every day. Each book contained several serial stories which were broken down into mini daily cliffhanger portions on tear-off pages. Each page also had a spot for me to write a little love note.

Now this is by no means an exhaustive list. They took their lunch all the way through high school, so the repertoire was pretty expansive, but these are a few favorites!

What are your kids’ favorite lunch box meals? Or yours?


I’m a Hormel Foods ambassador, and Hormel provided a thought starter to me, but all content is completely my own.

About Liz

Liz Mays is a lifestyle, food and travel blogger living in coastal North Carolina. If she's not in her kitchen creating recipes, she's probably off on another whirlwind travel adventure, scrapbooking her photos and memories, curled up watching a movie or sound asleep.


  1. great ideas, my kids eat sandwiches but i’m always looking for other things to pack, too!

  2. My kids hate sandwiches too! They do like bagels though, and muffins…so we do a lot of those.

  3. These ideas are fantastic! I can’t wait to try all of these, especially the cereal snack mix idea.

  4. good ideas!

  5. I love meat wrapped in cheese w/ fruit.

  6. I love this! My kids are having cold lunch this year, last year DD’s Dad refused to go along with my strict NO HOT LUNCH rule and she fell into eating hot lunch, put on a TON of weight and so this year since she is not sleeping there during school nights (at least as of right now) I put my strict NO HOT LUNCH rule back into play with her and her brother. They do eat sandwiches but I have been buying various items so they can have a fun time picking two sides with their sandwich and one snack item … a different or same thing each day if they want! SO far so good!

  7. Hey, I’ve been to Pelopponese (I thought it was spelled another way though, lol) but these are all great ideas…I love them as snacks for me too.

  8. those are great ideas! I have never tried making my own cereal mix

  9. Yum! All of these alternatives look good to me!