Oakton Outlook

Back to School Lunch Ideas

Five quick and easy lunch ideas to help you change it up this year.

Olivia Garrone, Staff Writer

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If you bring lunch to school from home, then you are all too familiar with the daily struggle: what to pack for lunch? The same old peanut butter and jelly sandwich gets old quickly, and fancy meals take too much time and energy to make, especially after a long day of school, sports, and homework. If you’re looking for some new lunch ideas to try this year, then you’ve come to the right place. Continue reading below for five quick and easy lunches to give you energy for the rest of your day.

Five Minute Burrito Bowl

For Chipotle-level deliciousness, try making a burrito bowl. Throw some leftover rice from dinner into a container. Then, drain a can of your favorite type of beans and layer about ¼ cup of beans on top of the rice. If you have any leftover protein from dinner, such as chicken, layer it on top of the beans. If you do this, feel free to add spices on top of your protein, such as cumin and red pepper flakes. If you don’t have any leftover, it’s perfectly delicious without meat. Now for the fun part: you can layer any topping you would at your favorite chain restaurant on top. Try a handful of lettuce, tomatoes, and corn, and a dollop of salsa or guacamole.

Breakfast-for-Lunch Parfait

If your favorite meal of the day is not lunch but breakfast, a yogurt parfait is a great choice! All you have to do is pack a small container of greek yogurt in the flavor of your choice, your favorite fruits, and whatever toppings you are in the mood for. Fruit such as berries are the easiest to pack; simply rinse them, dry them, and secure them in a container. Other fruits, such as bananas and strawberries, are equally delicious, and only require one extra step of slicing them into small, bite-sized pieces. For toppings, pre-made granola is great if you have it lying around, but nuts and dried fruits are equally tasty options.

Mediterranean Wrap

If you like your food portable, the Mediterranean wrap is the way to go. It couldn’t be any easier: place a tortilla on a larger piece of aluminum foil. Spread a layer of your favorite type of hummus on the tortilla. Now for the fun part, fillings! Chop up all of your favorite vegetables or proteins laying around, and place them in the center of your tortilla. Some recommended fillings include chicken, chickpeas, lettuce, and cucumber, but you can be as creative as you want. Fold the tortilla around the fillings like you would a burrito, cover it all in the aluminum foil, and your wrap is ready to go in your lunchbox.

Pasta Salad

The potluck staple can actually make a filling and delicious lunch! It’s super quick to make if you have leftover pasta from last night’s dinner. Simply take a couple of cups of leftover pasta (any variety works, but medium-sized noodles, like rotini or penne, are recommended) and toss with some bottled salad dressing. If you don’t have any salad dressing, toss in oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper instead (Try a 3:1 ratio of oil to vinegar). To make it even better, chop up vegetables like cherry tomatoes and olives to mix in as well.

Tea Party Sandwiches

If you’re feeling fancy one day, you can try packing a tea party sandwich. All you need is bread, cream cheese, and cucumber.  You can make cute individual sandwiches by using a cookie cutter to cut the bread the size of cucumber slices, or you could make a regular sized sandwich by spreading cream cheese on the bread before filling it up with as many cucumber slices as you can fit. Either way is delicious. This sandwich pairs well with grapes or berries.

Hopefully these ideas inspired you to change up your lunch routine this school year. If so, you may never have to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich again!

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About the Writer
Olivia Garrone, Staff Writer

Hi! My name is Olivia Garrone, and I'm a junior. This is my second year on the Oakton Outlook staff. I love writing, and love how journalism expands my...

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