Think Beyond the Sandwich – Non-Sandwich School (and office) Lunch Ideas

Are you tired of packing sandwiches for lunch? I am! There are so many other things you can send for lunch that don’t focus on traditional “sandwiches” and here are a few!

non sandwich school lunch and office lunch ideas

I pack 2 adult office lunches and 3 kid school lunches, 2 morning snacks, and 4 afternoon snacks daily. That’s a lot of packing! If you are packing lunches for kids and adults, check out this quick video on how I pack an adult or “big kid” lunch with the same ingredients as the little ones. 

If I relied on a sandwich day in and day out to provide the bulk of the meal, I’m pretty sure my family would get tired pretty quickly. Maybe it’s because my family knows that I make lunches for a living so they have different expectations; either way, I like adding variety to their lunches.  

spinach, ham, and roasted red pepper hummus wraps are a perfect alternative to sandwiches

spinach, ham, and roasted red pepper hummus pinwheels

One of the easiest ways of adding variety is by switching up the “bread” portion of the meal. I like to use Toufayan pitas, their regular and gluten free wraps, pita pockets, and flatbreads. My daughter loves most of them grilled or warmed in a panini press, so even by changing up the texture the meal can be a huge success.

this turkey and pear pita is a delicious alternative to a turkey sandwich

This turkey and pear pita is a delicious alternative to a turkey sandwich

Rest assured that I’m just like you; when it comes to the actual packing routine, I often wish there was a lunch-packing-snack-packing fairy. All this meal packing and cooking means that my sink is rarely clean, there is a clean load of dishes waiting to be taken out of the dishwasher, and everything must be put away (my least favorite thing to do).

I know exactly what it means when many moms complain that kitchen duty never ends. I often tell my husband that one day I want to hire a kitchen assistant/sous chef. I’m not kidding! Between our household meals and recipe testing there is a lot of cleanup to do. In a way, I’m very lucky because he helps with a lot of the cleanup. He joked the other day that he should tell people he is a professional dishwasher.

stream line your lunch packing routine by placing all your ingredients on the counter and then filling the lunchboxes

streamline your lunch packing routine by placing all your ingredients on the counter and then filling the lunchboxes

So, back to packing. Overtime, I’ve simplified the process to once a week meal planning + shopping + prep-ahead. You can read this post on how I prep for the week in one afternoon and this post on how I feed my family real food on a budget. 

My meal planning routine goes as follows: I sit down with a cup of coffee for 10-15minutes on Sunday mornings, I print out a MOMables meal plan, I plug it in my weekly meal plan printable, and then I fill out the rest of the meals with new recipes from cookbooks and our favorites. Finally, I head to the grocery store with a shopping list in hand and shop.

grilled pita pizzas are also fun alternative to leftover pizzas and can be made super fast

grilled pita pizzas are also fun alternative to leftover pizzas and can be made super fast!

My philosophy is that making good family food should not be complicated. It’s about using the best ingredients available, switching up meal ideas from time to time, and doing our best. In the end, homemade lunches do make for happier meals. For the recipes that inspired these sandwiches, head over to MOMables.com.

olive tapanade hummus, turkey, and spinach wrap will satisfy the hungry

olive tapanade hummus, turkey, and spinach wrap will satisfy the hungry

leftover pita pizzas are also perfect for a quick to assemble school or office lunch!

leftover pita pizzas are also perfect for a quick to assemble school or office lunch! (click image for recipe)


This post was sponsored by Toufayan. The recipes and opinions are my own. 

12 thoughts on “Think Beyond the Sandwich – Non-Sandwich School (and office) Lunch Ideas”

  1. wendy vides says:

    This lunch boxes look delish. Laura I know you resently post all the flat breads pitas and bread. But i usually shop at sprouts or sam’s what products would you recommend from there?

    1. Laura Fuentes says:

      I am not sure what brands are sold at sprouts Wendy but I am sure they sell pitas and flat breads. I know Sams has wraps too!

  2. Amanda says:

    Hi Laura – where did you find your containers that the food is in? I love the three different compartments in one.

    1. Laura Fuentes says:

      Amanda, you can get the containers here.

  3. Theresa says:

    Hi Laura. I really appreciate that you respond to people when they make comments. Seems like you respond to every one or almost every one. That’s hard to do. I can’t respond to all my texts some days. I can see that you really care about helping people.
    I am a teacher aide at a high school. My niece who has special needs lives with me. She used to get free lunch at school so I only had to get my lunch. Of course when it was just me I bought the packaged frozen diet meals all the time. Now I have to pack us both a lunch. The lunch at school for my niece is $2.50 and for me $2.80. That’s a lot to spend each day. And besides it never filled us up and makes me feel gassy and bloated.
    You give us recipes that are doable. I have checked other sites and their recipes have expensive ingredients or a ton of ingredients that I can not afford. I have packed my lunch like you do for the last week. It is such a hit that the kids at school are trying to steal my niece’s lunch every day. My niece has been looking at your recipes and she is so excited. She said yesterday ” I can do some of these by myself”. And she could. Some are really easy. We are dying to try the homemade marshmallows and chick fillet nuggets and sweet tator tots.
    THANK YOU SO MUCH !!!!!!!!!!

    1. Laura Fuentes says:

      Theresa, your comment made me so happy! I am thrilled that my recipes have made you realize that real food is not as expensive as we think and that they are doable! Im sure you’ve visited MOMables.com for more ideas. I’m excited to help you in your homemade journey! Thank YOU for reading my recipes.

  4. Heidi says:

    If u panini grill the wraps and Grill the pizzas, how do u maintain the texture bc mine usually become rubbery?
    Thank u

    1. Laura Fuentes says:

      allowing them to completely cool down before packing inside a container eliminates this issue. Check out this video. I’m using a sandwich but the process is the same.

  5. Lori says:

    I have been searching all over for your Honey-orange chicken meatball recipe!!! Where can I find it?!? Thanks SO much!!!

    1. Laura Fuentes says:

      Lori, that recipe is inside the MOMables Menus.

  6. Stephanie says:

    just curious what type/brand of turkey you buy?

    1. Laura Fuentes says:

      Typically I buy Applegate if I can’t get to Whole Foods.

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