20 kid friendly hot packed lunch ideas! Nutritious kids lunch ideas.

bean and cheese taquitos recipe

With cooler winter temps, it’s nice to have warm lunches. Okay, I’ll be honest, it’s been 80 degrees here this week, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed more rain is coming to relieve our drought stricken state. Even when it’s not so cold out, we like to swap out the sandwiches and cold bentos for hot lunch from home. The novelty of school hot lunch has not yet worn off for my littlest, but thankfully it has for my biggest little lady. And she’s requesting all sorts of fun hot lunches from home. Last week she said she had the best lunch ever EVER EVER! It was pot stickers kept warm in our LunchBots container. Isn’t it the best when the littles come up with awesome food ideas?



My girls each have a LunchBots Thermal 16 oz. Stainless Steel Insulated container. I have been using these for years now and love them. I started off using thermoses, but the opening was too small. I love that these LunchBots containers are so wide to make eating easier, and can fit more food. The only downside is that the tops can be difficult for preschoolers-kindergarteners to open, but hopefully they have an adult nearby to help anyway. *I am not affiliated with LunchBots, it’s just what I use and find works best!


Let’s take a look at some of the best hot packed lunches! Whatever you pack, it’s sure to be better than those pre-packaged ham and crackers loaded with preservatives, so please don’t be hard on yourself to make the “perfect” lunch. It is OK to heat up a box of pre-made soup, pour it in an insulated container and call it a day. I’m loving fresh soups from Trader Joe’s and Boulder Organic soups, by the way.

Soup, of course! Our kids’ favorite is minestrone with beans and pasta and I find it to be an easy way to get them to eat more veggies.


mini quiche recipe

Quiche. I love making these mini quiche cups with wonton wrappers for the crust. I haven’t posted the recipe yet because I just winged it, but will try to get a recipe up soon! Sorry about that!

Make extra on taco night and this lunch is a breeze. Rice and beans based lunches are: budget-friendly, vegetarian/vegan, gluten-free, and nutrient dense. Here’s my recipe for vegetarian Spanish Rice. Check out those purple sweet potatoes!!! Amazing, right?


Here’s my girlie’s current favorite: potstickers with gyoza dipping sauce (both from Trader Joe’s) with fruit and veggies.

veggie lasagna cups 

It doesn’t get much easier than popping some fish stick in the oven and my girls request this one all the time.


Warm oatmeal with fruit, nuts, and milk packed separately.


Aw, this photo is a few years old. Pesto pasta with peas and carrots was my daughter’s favorite when she was three and four.

  • Practically any dinner left overs
  • English muffin or bagel pizza
  • Rice & Beans (add a tortilla, tomatoes, and guac on the side for a DIY burrito!)
  • Bean and Cheese Taquitos
  • Burrito
  • Oatmeal
  • French toast sticks
  • Quiche
  • Lasagna Cupcakes 
  • Spaghetti
  • Mac & Cheese
  • Risotto (when they were just babes, my girls loved slow cooker risotto)
  • Pad Thai
  • Fried Rice
  • Pot Stickers
  • Soup
  • Chili with cornbread on the side
  • Miso soup with ramen noodles
  • Grilled cheese and tomato soup
  • Fish Sticks (we like Dr. Praegar’s brand)


How to Keep Insulated Food Containers Warm

To keep your food containers warm longer, carefully fill the empty container with hot water. Allow the water to heat and then remove water and quickly dry the container. The insulated container should now be heated and ready for filling. If you live in California and are conserving water like we are, dump the heating water into a bowl and use later.


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