Get out of the lunchbox rut with these fun lunch ideas! Packing lunches does not have to be boring or take a long time. All of the lunch ideas below are nut free. Prepare the lunches ahead of time using a couple of divided meal boxes, a package of reusable baking cups, and salad dressing containers.

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  1. DIY Bento Box – use your pre divided meal box to create your own bento box. Bento boxes are meant to be eaten cold. Pack your favorite pasta salad, a baking cup of veggies and fruit, with a side of meat (cubed ham, sliced chicken, or tuna)

2. Soup and Grilled Cheese – So easy and often overlooked! Fill a Thermos container of their favorite soup with a pre-made grilled cheese. Slice the grilled cheese for easy dipping! Have a more bold child, spice up your grilled cheese with pepper jack cheese or a mix of cheeses, stick with cheddar for the sensitive palate (like my kids)

3. Build Your Own Pizza – Who does not enjoy making their own pizza? Steer clear of the luncables and pack either mini naan, Trader Joes crumpet or a sliced English muffin for the dough. Using the salad dressing containers pack their favorite marinara sauce. Do not forget to pack the toppings! Add mozzarella cheese, turkey pepperoni, olives, sliced peppers etc. in your baking cups. Serve with a mini salad, veggie apple sauce or baby carrots!

4. Meat and Cheese Rolls Ups– Spread a thin layer of hummus or cream cheese onto your tortilla (any flavor works), layer on your sliced deli meat and sliced cheese. Roll as tight as you can. Slice with a breadknife. My daughter loves salami and cheese. Sometimes I like to buy her the mini hard salami rounds and make a cheese and cracker sammie for her lunch, she always loves it. I just discovered these salami roll ups from Mariano’s, genius, super fast and more kid friendly than the prosciutto.

5. Salad Roll Up – for the veggie lovers, add lettuce, diced tomato, and a sliced hardboiled egg to roll up into your favorite tortilla. Pack a small container of hummus, guacamole, or salad dressing on the side for easy dipping! The mini tortillas from target or jewel are perfect.

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Enjoy Chicago,