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Homemade Lunchables

Updated on December 23, 2010

How to Make Your Own Lunchables for Your Kids

Ahhh, Lunchables. They're fun, affordable, convenient... and not terribly nutritious. Kids love Lunchables, but they deserve better.

It's easy to make homemade Lunchables that are still fun, affordable, and convenient but much healthier than the prepackaged product. Lunchable nutrition facts show too much saturated fat and sodium and not enough fiber, and the disposable package is just plain wasteful. If you make your own Lunchables, you control the quality of the ingredients and can easily put together a much healthier alternative with reusable packaging that's just as much fun as the original.

Keep reading to find out how to make healthy, homemade Lunchables, with tips for fun presentations that will make your kids forget all about those salty, sugary, fattening cardboard-box lunches.

Homemade Lunchables with fresh fruit
Homemade Lunchables with fresh fruit

Why and How to Make Your Own Lunchables

Healthier, greener homemade Lunchables

A typical Oscar-Mayer Lunchables meal includes Ritz crackers, cracker-sized slices of turkey and cheese, a Capri Sun juice pouch, and a serving of candy. Even if you have picky eaters who won't touch a carrot stick, there's plenty of room for improvement with this meal. Simply replacing the Ritz crackers with a whole grain variety and the candy with some raisins is a great start. Take it a step further by adding fresh fruit and milk instead of juice, and you'll have a pretty healthy meal that most kids can handle. With more adventurous eaters, offer some fresh veggies with low-fat ranch for dipping.

The key to getting your kids to accept these healthful changes is to make it fun. Presenting their lunch in the style of the prepackaged Lunchables makes kids feel like it's something special. Making your own "sandwiches" with crackers and squares of meat and cheese is just more fun than eating a plain old full-size sandwich.

Make It Fun

Part of the fun of Lunchables is the licensed characters or kid-friendly puzzles you sometimes find on the packages. Send a sticker, a dessert treat, or a special note from Mom or Dad in the lunch box instead for a fun surprise.

Laptop Lunch System - Perfect for packing a healthy lunch that's fun

A Laptop Lunch system is perfect for packing your healthy homemade Lunchables. They come in several kid-friendly colors and prints and include everything you need to pack a waste-free lunch. Extra container sets are sold separately too, so you can take advantage of their being dishwasher-safe even if you don't run the dishwasher every day. See all the Laptop Lunch options here.

Laptop Lunch B630 Bento System 2.0, Blue/Lime Alien
Laptop Lunch B630 Bento System 2.0, Blue/Lime Alien

Bento-style lunch system for kids; insulated carrying case in blue with alien decorationIncludes 5 inner containers (2 large, 2 small, 1 dip), outer container, stainless steel fork and spoon, and water bottleRemovable inner containers can accommodate a variety of food sizes13-ounce water bottle with sports capContainers and lids are dishwasher safe (top rack only)


Save Money

Skip the individually packaged snacks and sides. Buy things like crackers, dried fruit, and dessert treats in bulk packages and portion out servings yourself, and you'll get much more for your money.

Reusable Lunch Accessories - Containers and utensils for a waste-free lunch

Bento Decoration - Food Picks (Animal) 15pcs by Pakopako Lunch
Bento Decoration - Food Picks (Animal) 15pcs by Pakopako Lunch

These super-cute little animal forks are reusable, unique, and tons of fun.

Laptop Lunches Bento-ware Bento Buddies, 4 BPA-free Lunchbox Containers with Leak-proof Lids, Berry (B650w-berry)
Laptop Lunches Bento-ware Bento Buddies, 4 BPA-free Lunchbox Containers with Leak-proof Lids, Berry (B650w-berry)

Dishwasher-safe and free from PVC, phthalates, bisphenol A (BPA), and lead, these containers will hold your food waste-free in a Laptop Lunch or regular insulated lunch bag.


Go Green

Make lunch from home more eco-friendly by making everything reusable. There are tons of options for sandwich boxes, small snack containers, and reusable utensils. You'll keep hundreds of little plastic bags and forks out of the landfills every year.

Mix It Up

Make sure there's lots of variety to keep things interesting. Mix and match crackers, mini pitas, cut-up toast, and sandwich wraps for stacking or dunking with deli meats and cheeses, chicken salad, egg salad, peanut butter, and hummus.

Do you make your own Lunchables for your kids? - Share your ideas, suggestions, and tips here

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    • profile image

      mooncelt 6 years ago

      I have 4 kids, ages 12 - 21, and they love mom's homemade lunchables. I bought a set of 20 square entree reusable containers with lids. We tried putting juice boxes in the box, but it took up too much space, not enough food. I use dinner rolls and lunchmeat/cheese for sandwiches, flatbread with mini containers of mozzarella cheese and pizza sauce for pizza, lil smokies and bbq sauce, crackers and cheese/lunchmeat... and top it all off with 100 calorie snack packs of cookies (or homemade brownie bites) and a disposable handwipe package. Did I mention that I travel 5 days a week and do this all on Sunday morning? Life is sweet - enjoy it!

    • profile image

      KellyLester 7 years ago

      My EasyLunchbox containers are the perfect way to make your own Lunchables. I call them 'Momables'. Here are two blog posts I've written on the subject to show you what I mean:

    • freaknoodles1 profile image

      freaknoodles1 7 years ago

      @julieannbrady: Blood tongue?!? Yikes! :o

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 7 years ago

      Oh my, answer me this riddle, did you not long that lunchables were around when you were young? Good gosh almighty, but I remember bring blood tongue to school on wonder bread and nobody wanted to share! Brrrrwaaahahaha ... I'm in the lunchables fan club!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Soem great ideas there Ms. Noodle, and loved that Goodbyn Lunch Box with all the compartments, that will definitely make it easier. Although we always seem to want to do things the quick and convenient way, by making our own lunches with healthier food and snacks would be so much more cheaper too! - Kathy

    • emmaklarkins profile image

      emmaklarkins 7 years ago

      What great ideas! I always had a packed lunch as a kid. These would have helped prevent a lot of squishing incidents...