Printable Weekly Lunch Menu and Back-to-School Recipe Ideas

We are taking school lunches very seriously this year, and taking the banal school lunch ‘bull by the horns’ and wrestling ‘er to the ground.

My goal this year is to never hear the words, “Lunch is boring, mom” without spending a fortune.
In order to help make that happen, I decided we needed to, as a family, create a school lunch menu in advance, very similar to the way we plan our weekly dinner menu on our menu board. To do that, I created a printable school lunch menu to use. See?

–>(Larger, 8×10 printable size found here)<–

DIY framed school lunch weekly menu

Now we can sit down as a family and decide what we want to do for the week. Cool, huh?

I printed the lunch menu printable out, cut it to fit, and placed it into a standard 8×10 picture frame. By putting it beneath glass, you can now reuse it by using wipe-off markers on the glass! And the frame makes it look pretty schnazzy if I do say so myself.

I put magnets and velcro on the back, to double reinforce it sitting on my fridge (there IS glass, after all).  If the idea of glass hanging on your fridge is too scary for you, you could choose to laminate it and place it in the frame, too, so you could still wipe it AND keep it framed and pretty looking.

printable weekly school lunch menu in frame

To help keep myself accountable, I’m going to start posting pictures what I’m making daily with the reviews from the kids on what we did. I’m calling it “Operation Awesome School Lunch” – whatcha think?

Here’s Days 1 and 2 so far for us (as seen on the menu above):

Day 1 – Barbecue Chicken Drumsticks for the older kids, with cucumbers and cut up carrots, baked sliced potatoes and frozen fruit, thawed by lunch time (not pictured). To make the potatoes, wash the potato, slicing it almost all the way through, basting it with a little butter and sprinkling seasoning and parmesan on it and baking until fully cooked. I turned them over in the toaster oven, too, to be sure the butter baked in well.

barbecue chicken school lunch bento

barbecue chicken bento school lunch

For the younger kids, they chose a little differently, especially since my kindergartner is new to school and my third grader didn’t want to get his new outfit “messy.”

nutella sandwich bento school lunch

Day 1 result: A huge success, but the older kids said it wasn’t “enough” food, so we packed them extra for today, day 2.

Day 2 – Taco Kits for the older kids, with lettuce, cheese, salsa, flour tortillas and taco chips for the extra meat (not shown). We use ground turkey instead of beef, browning it with taco seasoning, chopped olives, black beans and kernel corn. We then shredded lettuce and fresh cheese, wrapping the soft tortillas and poured some salsa on the side. Mmm!

taco kit bento school lunch

My third-grader likes cheese quesadillas, so I made him a bunch for his lunch using the soft tortillas instead of sending him tacos. (Again, he wanted to avoid making a mess. I think he has a crush at school or something.)

cheese quesadilla bento school lunch

My kindergartner opted for a DIY Uncrustable Sandwich with Nutella, her special “circle sandwich.”

homemade nutella uncrustable bento lunch

Day 2 results aren’t in yet, stay tuned for tomorrow, but the kids were VERY excited by their lunches, and that gets ME excited. Not to mention, we aren’t going out of our way to spend more on food. In fact, we’re repurposing well, and the kids are getting wonderfully healthy lunches.

What do you think so far?

Stay tuned for updates to my Operation Awesome School Lunch series. Like I mentioned previously, I want to not only chronicle what we’re doing, but what works, what doesn’t, and get input from you guys, too.

Are you doing lunches like this?

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