Keeping Lunch Box Sandwiches Exciting for Kids and Easy for Parents

If you’re short on time but don’t want to pack your kids the same PB&Js every day, we’ve got the solution: a combo guide for a wide variety of easy school lunch sandwiches!

  • By Jess Dang
  • September 20, 2022

There is a reason the humble sandwich has been a go-to lunch for both adults and kids for so long. It’s simple, affordable, and so convenient to pack in a lunch box or brown bag. Yet if you don’t switch things up every now and then, a sandwich lunch can quickly become monotonous.

So to help you get out of a lunch rut while still keeping prep quick, we put together a free Guide to School Lunch Sandwich Combos! It includes some of our favorite sandwich bases and dozens of simple (but deliciously effective!) ideas for how to build on the basics to keep lunch interesting.

Go Beyond White Bread

There are so many amazing vehicles to transport your sandwich filling, so why only use the most basic (and usually least nutritious) bread?

Breads and Rolls

If you want that thick bread experience when you bite into a sandwich, here are some tasty options to rotate between:

  • Bagels
  • Baguettes
  • Burger or hot dog buns
  • Ciabattas
  • English muffins
  • Sandwich bread

And remember — if you want a slightly leaner lunch, you can always make a bagel or baguette go twice as far by using one piece for an open-face sandwich.

Flatbreads and Wraps

To really mix things up in the sandwich department with delicious new flavors and textures, we love to rotate in less conventional sandwich bases:

  • Focaccia
  • Lavash
  • Naan
  • Pita
  • Rotis
  • Tortillas

Pro Bread Tip

Breads and wraps all freeze super well, which is why you can buy several types in the frozen section of grocery stores. All you need to do to avoid pesky mold from ruining a perfectly good loaf (especially if you buy in bulk) is to freeze your breads in freezer-friendly bags. Then use the air fryer, toaster, toaster oven, broiler, or microwave to heat them up in the morning before spreading on your fillings.

Try These Sandwich Filling Ideas

The key to a really good sandwich is for the flavors to complement each other. But don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be as bougie or complicated as it sounds. Our Guide to School Lunch Sandwiches makes it oh-so-simple, with listed complimentary add-ons for each star filling. That way you can quickly pull up the PDF and know you’ll end up with a delicious sandwich.

The downloadable guide has even more options, but here are some of the ideas included:

Meat / Poultry / Fish Fillings

  • Hot dog / sausage — cheese, kimchi, pepperoncinis, relish, or sauerkraut
  • Bacon — avocado, cheese, deli meat, lettuce, or tomatoes
  • Chicken salad — cheese, curry powder, lettuce, or tomatoes
  • Turkey — cheese, lettuce, pepperoncinis, roasted red peppers, or tomatoes
  • Smoked salmon — avocado, cream cheese, cucumbers, lettuce, or tomatoes
  • Tuna fish salad — cucumbers, lettuce, pepperoncinis, pickles, or tomatoes

Vegetarian Fillings

  • Egg salad — avocado, cucumbers, curry powder, lettuce, or pickles
  • Chickpea salad — avocado, cheese, curry powder, lettuce, or roasted red peppers
  • Avocado — cheese, cucumbers, roasted red peppers, sliced olives, or tomatoes

Creamy Spread Fillings

  • Nut / seed butter — apple, banana, berries, figs, or jelly
  • Hummus — cheese, cucumbers, roasted red peppers, sliced olives, or tomatoes
  • Cream cheese — cucumbers, jelly, smoked salmon, or tomatoes

Now, for example, if that chickpea salad is sounding really good to you right now, use our guide to dream up a great sandwich combo! Do you want to stick it in a bagel with lettuce and roasted peppers? Do you want to season it with curry powder before spooning it onto naan? (Frankly, we want to do both … and then some.)

So if this combo guide seems like a morning life-saver you could use in your life, download the PDF here so you can start mixing and matching your sandwiches into endless possibilities!


Guide to School Lunch Sandwich Combos

Get out of a lunch rut while still keeping prep quick and lunch interesting.

Also, if you want to add even more variety into school lunches beyond sandwiches, see how you can make use of thermoses in our short Instagram video:

Follow us on Instagram for cooking hacks every week!

You can also check out our review of 8 lunch boxes to find the best ones and purchase our entire 100+ Mix and Match School Lunch & Snack Ideas ebook (that even includes genius lunch-packing strategies!) for just $9.99.

If these school lunch sandwich ideas are useful to you, stay tuned for more infographics and how-to articles by signing up for our weekly email below. Sign up for a free 14-day trial of our meal plan service to make every dinnertime stress-free, too!


Our Podcast: Strategies to become a smarter cook

Get our Meal Plans

The convenience of meal kits without the waste

Share the love!

Join our community

Enjoy free tips in your inbox

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

How can we help you in the kitchen?

Join our community

Enjoy free tips in your inbox

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Sign up for the Cook Smarts Newsletter

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Privacy Policy: We hate SPAM & promise to keep your email address safe.

Skip to content