41 Easy Hot School Lunch Ideas

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With back to school season right around the corner, you might be on the hunt for some hot school lunch ideas that you can easily pack and keep warm for your kids. This huge list of hot lunches is a great way to get your kids eating a filling, warm meal at school every day!

A round up image of hot school lunch box ideas.
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When preparing for the new school year, deciding what to pack for lunch every day can definitely be an overwhelming experience! Of course, cold food like sandwiches, salads, and Lunchables are probably the first thing that comes to mind when you are brainstorming lunch ideas, but have you considered sending warm food instead?

The first thing that probably comes to mind when deciding to send hot food with your child for lunch, is how the heck do you keep it warm all day? The good news is that there are several food jars and insulated lunchbox containers that will keep your new lunch ideas warm and cozy all day. 

​Once I’ve convinced you that you can keep food hot in an insulated lunchbox container, the next question you probably have is what are some easy hot lunch ideas that won’t take you several extra hours of meal prep? You’re in luck, because I’ve curated a list of some great ideas for hot school lunch that will pack perfectly in a small container and stay warm until meal time. 

Say goodbye to cold sandwiches with these 41+ easy hot lunch recipes!

Hot School Lunch Ideas

How to Pack Hot Lunch for School

​Now that you have all of the best ideas for hot school lunch, you’re probably wondering the best way to keep your child’s lunch warm.

It’s simple really! The best tip to keep your child’s lunch warm for hours is to use a stainless steel container like this one and add boiling hot water to the container to preheat the thermos as follows:

  1. Boil water in a tea kettle, pot, or microwave safe container.
  2. Fill thermos container about 3/4 of the way full and replace the lid.
  3. Allow boiling water to sit inside the container for about 5 minutes.
  4. Empty the water from the container. Be careful, it will be hot!
  5. Add your warm food to the container and replace the lid. 
  6. Enjoy your hot school lunch at meal time!

You can see a full tutorial for this process in my blog post here for how to pack hot lunch for school

A roundup image of hot school lunch ideas packed in a thermos funtainer (insulated lunch container).
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Insulated Food Containers for Packing Hot Lunch for School

The best containers for keeping school lunch warm for hours will be stainless steel and well insulated. Here are some of our favorites for packing hot school lunch for kids.

  1. Thermos Funtainer
  2. Hydroflask Food Jar
  3. Bentgo Stainless Insulated Food Container
  4. Stanley Insulated food jar
  5. OmieBox Bento Box


​There’s no need to be intimidated by thought of coming up with hot school lunch ideas! Simply keep this inclusive list as a bookmark on your computer, print it out and keep it on your fridge, or pin it on Pinterest so you can find it easily when you run out of ideas.

Ditch the sandwiches, salads, and pre made lunch items that your kids usually complain about and trade them out for these delicious and easy hot school lunch ideas this year!

If you’re looking for more easy school lunch ideas that your kids will love, make sure you check out our other lunch ideas!

Which of these hot school lunch ideas will you try? Let me know your favorite hot lunches for your kids in the comments below, and thanks for visiting the blog. 

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hi! I'm shannon

I’m a wife, mom of three, doctor, and blogger! In 2018, I decided to turn my mom blog, into a personal finance blog so others could follow along on our journey to pay off over HALF a MILLION dollars in student loan and practice start up debt. I hope you enjoy following along, and maybe even find some inspiration along the way.