Lunch Box Archives | Stephanie Dreyer

Lunch Box

October 21, 2018

It’s two months into the school year and my lunch box game is on! Although I refuse to get into a rut with the same old same old, I keep a running list of favorites to rotate into my weekly lunch menus. The kids look forward to these recipes as much as I love to make them. Pack for success with my kids’ school lunch favorites below!


Garlic Bowties

The secret to this fan favorite is Miyoko’s European Butter and a generous sprinkling of garlic powder. I’ve served my kids various shapes of pasta but bowties (aka farfalle) wins hands down every time.

Pizza Roll Ups


These are fun to make and my kids love them!


Chili Tots

Batch cook the tots on the weekend and pour a can of your kids’ favorite chili on top. (We love Trader Joe’s vegetarian chili.)


Vegetable Sushi Bowls

Vegetable Sushi Bowls

These also make an appearance on our dinner menu but the kids get even more excited when they know I’m serving them up in their lunch box.

What are your child’s school lunch favorites? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

October 23, 2017

Packing school lunches is quick and easy with these 5 easy tips, plus ideas and for what to pack.

I used to dread school lunches. I mean, dread, with a capital D! I’d get bored of packing the same thing over and over, or be at a complete loss of what to put in all those cute compartments inside my kids’ lunch boxes. With 3 kids and 3 lunches to pack every day, I would struggle with not only what to make, but how to get it all made and packed with the rest of my to-do list. If you can relate, you’re going to enjoy today’s blog post full of tips for packing school lunches!

After lots of drama and frustration (on my part) to crack the school lunch code, I came up with a plan – and it changed everything. I don’t stress about what to make anymore because I don’t have to think. It’s all planned out ahead of time. I don’t feel rushed to pack it all up because it’s scheduled naturally into my daily routine when I am already in the kitchen. And I have lots of ideas at the ready for what to put in all those cute lunch box compartments!

Ready to learn more about this plan? Read on for my list of easy tips for packing school lunches!

1. Have a formula

My kids school lunches get broken down into parts:

1 main + 2 fruits (or 1 fruit/1 veggie) + 2 crunchies

It’s crazy, but this simple formula has alleviated so much stress as to what to put in their lunches.  It also has helped me amp up the nutritional value of their lunch and snacks. If you need some ideas for what to pack for mains, I’ve got you covered in tip #5.

Packing school lunches is quick and easy with these 5 easy tips, plus ideas and for what to pack.

2. Make snacks on the weekend

I take some help from the store with 1 of the crunchies in my formula above (e.g. chips, olive packs, pretzels + hummus), but I also try to include a homemade crunchy in their box each day. This could be a muffin, snack mix, popcorn, or energy bar. I make batches of these things on Sundays when I do the rest of my batch cooking and I am set for packing school lunches the rest of the week.

3. Prep fruits and veggies when you get home from the store

It’s a major time saver to wash and store your produce as soon as you get home from the store. You can cut your veggies and store them in mason jars. Just pull out what you need throughout the week as you are filling lunch boxes. Those few extra minutes when you get home from the store add up big time when you are packing school lunches during the week.

Packing school lunches is quick and easy with these 5 easy tips, plus ideas and for what to pack.

3. Pack during breakfast or dinner the night before

I make lunches when I am already in the kitchen and making a mess! I am a good multi-tasker, so while dinner is simmering, I can prep lunches…or in the morning while I am cooking up veggie bacon or toasting sourdough slices for avocado toast, I can make sandwiches.

5. Use a meal planning template

Planning school lunches is so much easier when I use one of my meal planning templates. These pre-filled menu road maps take the thinking out of what to cook. Use my blank template to create your own or check out one of the options I have on my site.

Learn how to create a weekly meal plan for your family with these 3 easy steps, plus a preview of my NEW pre-filled meal planning templates.


August 28, 2017

I am getting in the zone. The school lunch zone! It’s back-to-school for my daughters next week. The backpacks are stocked, new school clothes are ready to be worn, and the lunch boxes are open for packing!  My kids could probably eat the same thing every day, but I go crazy without variety. Tried and true works, but I love to think outside of the (lunch)box and surprise my kids with fun and different foods. Last week, I shared some ideas for packing lunch bowls. Today, I am changing it up again to give you healthy and easy finger foods that you won’t find in your every day school lunch box.

I think food should be fun, especially when it comes to kids. It also has to be small to fit into those tiny lunch box compartments! Finger foods are a perfect meal idea. You won’t find sandwiches or wraps on this list!

Finger Foods for the School Lunch Box

1. Vegan Beef & Bean Taquitos

Taquitos are such a fun finger food for kids. These taquitos can be made ahead and frozen, which is an added bonus! To pack for lunch, reheat and wrap in foil. Be sure to include a side of guacamole and salsa.

Side snacks: Beanfields Snacks Pico de Gallo or Nacho bean chips

Finger Foods

2. Caprese Skewers

These skewers are fun on a stick! I made these Caprese style, but you could change them up, such as pizza style, (think Hawaiian pizza with meatless pepperoni, chunks of dairy free cheese, and pineapple), or Italian style (with marinated tofu, basil, and olives).


Short skewer sticks

Dairy-free Provolone (such as Follow Your Heart) or vegan mozzarella (such as Miyoko’s Kitchen VeganMozz), cubed

Cherry or grape tomatoes

Black or Kalamata olives

Artichoke hearts (optional)

Marinated mushrooms (optional)


1. Stack each skewer with a cheese cube, grape tomato, olive, artichoke, and mushroom (if using). Repeat to fill the skewer.

Side Snacks: Rosemary crackers with bruschetta

3. Crudite

Veggies and dips are the ultimate finger foods. Fill celery sticks with nut butters or hummus, or fill containers with assorted veggies such as broccoli florets, carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and snap peas. Serve hummus on the side.

Side Snacks: Cubed fruit and pretzels

4. Vegetable Sushi Rolls

These rolls are a cinch to customize based on what you have in the house or what your kids like. You can make these the night before and store in airtight lunch containers for added convenience.


1 nori sheet

¼ – ½ cup sushi rice, prepared according to package directions

¼ Persian cucumber, sliced into matchsticks

1 tablespoon shredded carrots

3 slices of avocado

2 slices baked tofu


1. Place a nori sheet on a sushi mat, and spread the rice across the nori sheet, leaving about ¼ inch border all around.

2. Lay the tofu, vegetables, and finally, the avocado in a straight line on the part of the nori sheet closest to you.

3. Using the sushi mat, roll the nori away from you, pressing the roll with the mat as you roll.

4. Slice the roll into 8 pieces and serve with shoyu or tamari.

Side Snacks: Edamame

Finger Foods

5. DIY Cracker Sandwiches

Let the kids build their meal by packing a stack of crackers, along with squares of dairy-free cheese and Tofurky slices. They can make their own mini sandwiches, just like the store-bought packages that are less healthy and more expensive.

Side Snacks: Cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, and fruit

What are you favorite finger foods to pack in your kids’ lunch box?

finger foods