Simple School Lunch Sandwiches

lunch sandwich ideas

For those with limited time in the morning or children who are picky eaters, packing food that will satisfy one’s hunger can be a challenge. That’s why many people stick with easy sandwiches for lunch. Sandwiches are delicious and satisfying midday meals enjoyed by both kids and adults. They’re generally quick to make, easy to pack and provide a variety of flavors and textures for a delightful experience.

You can prepare easy school lunch sandwiches or experiment with different ingredients between two slices of your favorite type of bread. Let’s explore a few lunch sandwich ideas and options for different tastebuds.


Classic Lunch Sandwich Ideas

Need inspiration for easy sandwich recipes? You can never go wrong with the classics. These top simple school lunch sandwiches are easy to assemble in the mornings, especially with some prep the day before.

Ham and Cheese Sandwich

Among all the simple sandwiches for school, ham and cheese is perhaps the most common. White bread makes a great base for this easy sandwich. Simply layer on the ham and cheese, whether that be American, cheddar or another favorite. For those who prefer no cheese, switch it out in favor of various additions, like a tasty mayo spread.

To make easy healthy sandwiches for school, swap mayo for healthier alternatives, like mashed avocado or hummus. Add a few leaves of iceberg lettuce for a satisfying crunch.

Turkey Sandwich

Turkey sandwiches are another simple option to consider. Swiss or cheddar cheeses are often paired with these easy sandwiches. Mix a bit of smoked paprika into mayo for a smoky, warm flavor that goes well with roasted turkey. Smear that on your choice of wheat bread or seeded Italian bread. Mix up this sandwich by keeping the cheese, turkey and bread and adding in extras like:

  • Apple slices
  • Dill or sweet pickle slices
  • Honey mustard
  • Hummus
  • Avocado
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce

Tuna With Cheese

Make a tuna with cheese sandwich as simple or delicious as you would like. Simply open and drain a can of tuna, mix it with mayo and spread it onto wheat bread. Top with slices of cheddar cheese, then add another slice of bread for a simple school sandwich. Customize the tuna and cheese sandwich in different ways to mix it up for lunchtime:

  • Add slices of apple for a sweet and crunchy twist on a classic.
  • Make this simple sandwich idea for school a hearty lunch by using a roll instead of slices of bread.
  • Spread Greek yogurt instead of mayo for a creamy, healthier swap.
  • Make it a tuna melt by grilling the sandwich.
  • Add lemon juice to the tuna mixture for a fresh flavor.
  • Chop dill or sweet pickles and add them to the tuna mixture for crunch.

Chicken Salad Sandwich

If you’ve got leftover chicken, make it part of your easy sandwich recipes for lunch. Shred or chop your leftover chicken and mix it with mayo, Dijon mustard, green onion and celery. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Instead of mayo, mash avocado with lime juice, then mix everything into that for a fresher chicken salad.

You can mix the chicken salad together the night before, then add it to wheat bread in the morning. Add lettuce or pickles for texture and flavor. Spinach is also a good addition.

Egg Salad Sandwich

Egg salad is a lunchtime favorite that everyone in the family can enjoy, including kids. Hard boil the eggs, let them cool and separate the yolks from the whites. Chop the cooked egg whites and mash the yolk with mayonnaise and mustard, then mix everything together. Season with salt and pepper. Put the mixture onto delicious and healthy whole wheat bread and add a couple of leaves of lettuce.

Make the egg salad the night before to make lunch prep simple in the morning. Swap the mayo for Greek yogurt for a tangy twist, or play around with additions like these for more flavor:

  • Thin slices of green onion
  • Finely diced celery
  • Chopped fresh dill
  • Dashes of paprika

Egg salad on whole wheat bread

Club Sandwich

A club sandwich is a filling lunch option, perfect for kids with after-school activities who need fuel for a full day. Clubs are simple sandwiches for school and taste great on a base of white bread, which you can toast to add flavor and texture. Take the white bread or your bread of choice and add layers of:

  • Ham
  • Turkey
  • Bacon
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Mayo

Leave out whatever your child isn’t a fan of to make a sandwich they’re sure to enjoy. If you include bacon, cook and refrigerate it the day before, so you don’t have to rush and fry bacon in the morning.

Grilled Cheese

Grilled cheese sandwiches are great meals for at home or away. Make a classic grilled cheese with white bread and American or cheddar cheese for a school lunch sandwich your kid is sure to love. Spread butter on the outside of two white bread slices and place the butter side of one slice down in a pan. Layer on the cheese and top with the other bread slice with the butter side up. Cook each side until golden.

Want to keep this sandwich warm until lunch? Use a shallow thermos meant for soup. Boil water, then fill the thermos as you make the sandwich to warm it. Cut the grilled cheese so it will fit in the thermos, and let it cool a bit so it’s warm, not hot. Empty the water, dry the thermos and put in the sandwich. Keep the thermos separate from snacks or drinks that need to stay cool.

Cucumber and Cream Cheese Sandwich

For a light meal or for kids who have plenty of snacks at lunchtime, make a cucumber and cream cheese sandwich. These are good sandwiches for school lunch, especially with limited prep time in the morning. Simply spread cream cheese on two slices of bread — white bread is a classic choice. Add the slices of cucumber to one slice of bread and top with the other.

Make this sandwich more flavorful with dashes of salt and pepper or a flavored cream cheese. If you only have plain cream cheese, add chopped fresh dill.

Creative and Fun Variations

Sometimes, one’s simple sandwich ideas for school need a different kind of twist. Try something new with these creative and fun sandwich ideas for lunch:

Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato

The BLT is among the tastiest simple sandwiches for school. Like you would for other sandwiches, cook and refrigerate your bacon the night before to make morning lunch prep easy. Then spread mayo on white or Italian bread and layer leaves of lettuce, tomato, bacon and more lettuce leaves. The lettuce will keep the tomato away from the bread, which could make it soggy.

You can also go light with the mayo or leave it out if preferred. Use your lettuce of choice or swap it for spinach. If you want to make easy healthy sandwiches for school, use turkey bacon or bacon alternatives.

Egg Pesto Melt

If you have time in the morning, mix one egg with a bit of pesto and cook it into an omelet. Take a slice of whole wheat bread, top the bread with shredded mozzarella and optional sundried tomatoes, then add the cooked egg. Sprinkle on more cheese and top with another slice of bread, then cook in a pan for one minute on each side or until the bread is golden.

If you don’t have that much time in the morning, make this recipe the simple way. Create an egg salad but replace the mustard with pesto. Make it a melt by layering cheese, the egg salad and more cheese on your bread and heating it in a pan. You can always make it a cold egg salad sandwich with a slice of mozzarella instead of shredded cheese.

Italian Club Sandwich

For a sandwich that’s as filling as the club sandwich with a kick of extra heat and flavor, make it an Italian club version:

  • Swap the ham, turkey and bacon for salami, soppressata and prosciutto di Parma or different Italian deli meats.
  • Keep the greens but swap lettuce for arugula if your child likes a peppery flavor. 
  • Use mozzarella instead of cheddar.
  • Layer it all on Italian bread or a mini-sub roll.

To keep with the Italian flavors, spread on a layer of olive oil-type mayo. You can even omit the mayo and swap it for Italian dressing. Leave the dressing separate to add at lunchtime so it doesn’t make the sandwich soggy.

The Sub

Hero, sub, hoagie — whatever you call a submarine sandwich, it is a filling lunchtime staple. You can layer pretty much any deli favorites together to make your sub sandwich. For some inspiration, consider the filling Cobb salad sub.

This sandwich includes layers of spinach, deli ham, finely chopped hard-boiled eggs, crumbled bacon strips, Gorgonzola cheese and chopped cherry tomatoes. Serve it on a white sub roll — if you think the layers of ingredients will be too filling, hollow out the sub roll beforehand. Cut it into two or more pieces to make it easier to eat.

Mini Fried Chicken Sliders

Sliders are good sandwiches for a school lunch because you can fill a lunchbox with a few of them. How many sliders you make will depend on how hungry your kid is by lunchtime and if they eat snacks with their sandwich. Two or three sliders is a good start, but with fried chicken sliders, your child is sure to crave a handful.

To make these simple sandwiches, start with dinner rolls or slider buns and leftover fried chicken. Cut slices of the chicken and layer them onto the bread. Top the chicken with a dill or sweet pickle slice and add the top bun. For flavorful additions, consider different spreads. Barbecue sauce makes a sweet sandwich. Mayo mixed with Sriracha or your child’s favorite hot sauce makes a spicy addition.

Chicken Parmesan Sliders

Make a heartier school meal with a dinnertime favorite transformed into a lunchtime sandwich:

  • Cook frozen chicken nuggets that are the perfect size for a slider bun. 
  • Place the nuggets on slider buns.
  • Add Parmesan cheese and a slice of mozzarella. 

For a healthier alternative, cut leftover grilled chicken into pieces that fit on your slider buns. Keep the sandwich from getting soggy by packing marinara sauce in a separate container. Your child can either dunk the sliders or spread the sauce inside the sandwich once lunchtime rolls around.

Salami, Roasted Peppers and Cheese

If your kid prefers unique school sandwich ideas, try this combination. Use a white roll as the base and layer on a bit of Dijon mustard. Add salami, roasted peppers and a cheese of your choice. Mozzarella works well with this kind of sandwich.

You can either roast peppers the day before or get a jarred variety to make this meal preparation simple. Jarred roasted peppers are often packed in water or oil, so pat them dry before adding them to the sandwich.

Cheddar and Apple Sandwich

Sweet and savory is a delicious combination, and this sandwich makes it easy. Honey wheat bread mirrors the sweet flavor of the apples and makes a great base for this sandwich, but other wheat bread varieties work well here as well.

If your child likes mustard, spread a thin layer on the bread. Add a couple of slices of cheddar cheese, then prep the apple. Thinly slice an apple of your choice — Fuji, pink lady or any sweet apple works well — and layer it onto the cheese. Top with another slice of bread, and this simple sandwich is ready to go.

Apple PB&J

Classic PB&Js on white bread are always a lunchbox favorite, but you can take these classic kid sandwiches up a notch:

  • Start with two slices of your go-to bread. 
  • Spread peanut butter on one slice and jelly on the other. 
  • Slice your favorite type of apple into thin pieces and layer them onto one side of the bread. 
  • Put the sides together.

Now you’ve got a sweet, crunchy and healthy school lunch sandwich. Customize this recipe with whatever jelly your family enjoys, or up the apple flavor with apple butter or apple jelly. You can also use nut butter alternatives.

Banana and Peanut Butter

For more fruity and classic kid sandwiches, combine banana and peanut butter. A honey wheat bread base makes this an even sweeter lunch. All you have to do is spread peanut butter on two slices of bread and layer on the sliced banana.

As you can with the PB&J, swap out the peanut butter for alternatives based on your child’s needs or school restrictions. Almond butter is a delicious alternative, but other substitutes will work as well.

banana and peanut butter

Veggie Slaw Sandwich

This vegetarian sandwich is full of tangy and flavorful vegetables. Shred carrots, cucumbers and cabbage. Then, toss in a mix of mayo and apple cider vinegar. Add a bit of salt and lemon juice for more flavor. Make this sandwich a melt by adding Swiss cheese and cooking it in a pan or panini press.

For a slaw that won’t make a soggy sandwich, keep it thick with extra mayo and less vinegar. As the slaw sits in the fridge overnight, it’ll make more liquid. While that means you’ll have a flavorful slaw for your kid’s sandwich, you’ll need to drain it a bit before layering it on wheat bread.

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Allergen-Friendly Options

If you or your child has a food allergy or intolerance, it may seem like a challenge to find alternatives for some of these easy sandwich recipes. Some of the most common food allergies include milk, eggs, peanuts and seafood. In many cases, some ingredients can be left off a sandwich or be switched with alternatives. Here are a few allergen-friendly sandwich recipes to spark some ideas.

Rainbow Veggie Sandwich

Send your child to school with a colorful and flavorful rainbow veggie sandwich. It layers veggies like tomato, roasted red and yellow pepper, avocado, lettuce and red onion. Put the vegetables on your bread of choice in rainbow order. Add your child’s favorite cheese or omit it for a delicious and healthy sandwich either way.

Sunflower Seed Butter and Jam Sandwich

Sunflower seed butter is a safe and healthy peanut butter alternative for those with nut allergies, including peanut, but still want to enjoy a form of PB&J. Add sunflower seed butter to your preferred bread and add your favorite jam. If tree nuts are not a concern, try almond butter or another nut butter.

Egg-Less Mayo Sandwich

This recipe uses tofu as a substitute for egg and dairy-free mayo for an egg-less dairy-free alternative to an egg salad sandwich:

  • Prepare the tofu according to the package instructions. 
  • Mix the mayo, mustard and nutritional yeast together with a little salt and pepper.
  • Crumble the tofu in the mix to create a chopped egg texture and stir gently.
  • Spread the mixture on a slice of bread or roll of your choosing.

use Gold Medal Bakery for school lunch sandwiches

Use Gold Medal Bakery for School Lunch Sandwiches

Create these easy school lunch box sandwiches with quality bread from Gold Medal Bakery. We’ve been baking bread for over a century, and in that time, we’ve developed the highest quality products. Whether your family prefers white, wheat, specialty bread or rolls, you’ll find the perfect foundations for your sandwiches with Gold Medal Bakery.

Find our products near you today and make school lunch sandwiches your child is sure to enjoy.

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Updated: 3/19/2024