New back to school lunches to try this year

I don’t know about you, but personally, I’m tired of seeing people hastily open up a Cliff Bar or an Uncrustables sandwich in class or in the cafeteria. It’s time for students to eat something that will fill them up and that they’ll actually enjoy for a mid-day meal.

It’s time for students to take back lunch and I’m here to help, with five new recipes for lunches to bring to school.

Spinach and turkey pinwheel

Photo by Erin Carlson
The spinach and turkey pinwheel can be left like this in one wrap, or cut into smaller, more pinwheel-like pieces.

This twist on the classic sandwich is for those days when you’re tired of bland deli meats between slices of plain old white bread and ready to branch out to something more. The mix of cream cheese, turkey, and spinach may sound strange, but it’s better than it sounds, so give it a try.


1 ounce vegetable cream cheese

1 flour tortillas

½ cup fresh baby spinach

2 slices of deli turkey


  1. Spread cream cheese over tortillas
  2. Layer on spinach and turkey
  3. Roll up tightly, cut, and enjoy

Rating: 6/10

Gourmet peanut butter and jelly

Photo by Erin Carlson
This fancy take on a classic is sure to please everybody, but let’s hope yours doesn’t come out as burnt as mine did.

So long to the old-fashioned peanut butter and jelly your mom used to make you in elementary school, because this lunch takes a sentimental childhood food and makes it better than ever. Basically, it’s peanut butter and jelly prepared in a grilled cheese fashion, but to the tastebuds, it’s so much more.


2 slices of bread, any kind that you want

2 tablespoons peanut butter

2 tablespoons jelly


  1. Butter one side of each slice of bread
  2. Put peanut butter on one slice
  3. Put jelly on the other
  4. Put them together and cook in a frying pan, flipping every once in a while, until warm and crispy

Rating: 9/10

Spicy lettuce wrap-ups

Photo by Erin Carlson
This health-conscious lunch will satisfy your taste buds and keep you full for the rest of the school day.

Another twist on sandwiches, but this one replaces the bread with lettuce. This bowl-shaped vegetable is filled with spicy turkey and can really kick lunch up a notch.


3 Bibb lettuce leaves

As many chopped up slices of deli turkey as desired

¼ cup celery

⅛ cup chopped onion

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon minced fresh gingerroot

⅛ teaspoon pepper

⅛ cup julienned carrot

⅛ cup hot mustard


  1. Crumble turkey with celery and onion
  2. Stir in soy sauce, ginger, and pepper
  3. Add carrots
  4. Spoon into lettuce leaves and enjoy

Rating: 7/10

Cranberry walnut and feta salad

Photo by Erin Carlson
Expand upon the normal, boring greens with this fruity and colorful salad.

If you’re looking to start the school year off right, this healthy and delicious lunch should be a go-to. It’s both easy to make and good for you, so throw these greens, fruits, and nuts together and hit the road.


2 cups mixed salad greens

1 cup dried unsweetened cranberries

4 ounces crumbled feta cheese

½ cup toasted walnut pieces

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil


  1. Toss greens, cranberries, cheese, and walnuts in a bowl
  2. Mix vinegar and honey, until well-blended
  3. Gradually add in oil
  4. Pour over salad
  5. Serve and enjoy

Rating: 8/10

Apples and peanut butter dressing

Photo by Erin Carlson
Though more on the snacky side, this flavorful, guilty-pleasure lunch will brighten your day and make others reach over for a bite, as well.

This unorthodox lunch is the perfect blend of sweet and salty. Make this on days when you need some variety, and you need it now.


1 cup creamy peanut butter

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons maple syrup

Pinch of salt

Optional ¼ cup of sunflower seeds or roasted peanuts

1 cut up apple


  1. Combine peanut butter, lemon juice, honey, and maple syrup in a blender
  2. Add water to get desired consistency
  3. Add other ingredients and serve with fruit
  4. Can be made and refrigerated several days in advance

Rating: 9/10

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