Hot School Lunches for Kids

September 12, 2023

Is your child tired of the same cold lunches in their lunchbox? It’s time to spice things up with hot and delicious meals that bring a smile to their faces. Plus, if you’re wondering how to keep those meals warm until lunchtime, I’ve got you covered with the secret weapon: a trusty thermos! These thermos lunches for kids school lunch are a great alternative to the usual sandwich!


Thermos 101: How to Pack and Preserve Warmth

Before we get into the hot lunch recipes, we’ve got to master the art of using a thermos. It’s simpler than you think! Follow these easy steps to ensure your kid’s lunch stays warm and enjoyable:

  1. Preheat the Thermos: Fill the thermos with hot (nearly boiling) water, allowing it to sit while you heat up your meal. This quick trick maintains the warmth of your food.
  2. Heat the Food: Warm up a delightful meal like soups, stews, pasta dishes, or even reheated leftovers. Ensure it’s piping hot!
  3. Empty and Dry: Dispose of the preheating water, and dry the thermos thoroughly. Moisture is not our friend here.
  4. Pack Smart: Fill the thermos with your hot meal, leaving some space at the top for the lid. Seal it tight to lock in the heat.
  5. Seal and Keep Closed: Instruct your child to keep the thermos sealed until lunchtime. The insulation is the magic that keeps the meal warm and ready to eat.

Top Picks for Warm Thermos Lunches

Now that you’re a thermos pro, let’s explore some mouthwatering lunch ideas perfect for kid’s who prefer a hot lunch:

  1. Classic Chicken Noodle Soup: A timeless favorite that offers comfort and nutrition in every spoonful.
  2. Hearty Macaroni and Cheese: Creamy, cheesy, and utterly satisfying. A lunchbox hit!
  3. Nutritious Veggie Chili: Sneak in veggies with a flavorful chili. Add a sprinkle of cheese for extra yum.
  4. Delicious Pasta: Whether it’s spaghetti and meatballs or creamy Alfredo, pasta is a winner. Opt for smaller shapes for easy eating.
  5. Mini Meatball Subs: Keep the bread separate to preserve its texture. Let your child assemble their mini subs during lunch for interactive fun.
  6. Delicious Oatmeal: Oatmeal is a great lunch option. Add in your favorite toppings and mix-ins, or pack them on the side and let your kid create their ideal oatmeal.

*Keep reading for even more recipes that are perfect for a thermos*

More Tips for Thermos Mastery

  • Invest in Quality: A high-quality thermos with excellent insulation is your secret weapon. Opt for one with a wide mouth for easy filling and cleaning. Look for a model with double-wall insulation to keep meals warm for hours.
  • Preheat and Seal: Always preheat the thermos and seal it tightly to retain heat. This preheating step ensures your food stays hot longer.
  • Secure Containers: For sauces or toppings, use leak-proof containers to prevent spills.
  • Add a Side: Complement the main dish with fresh fruits, veggies, or yogurt for a balanced meal.
  • Safety First: Remind your child that the food will be hot. Caution is key.
  • Embrace Variety: Keep the menu diverse to keep lunch exciting. Variety adds a delightful touch!
  • Layering for Success: To ensure maximum warmth, preheat the food as well. Fill the thermos with boiling water, close it, and let it sit for a few minutes. Meanwhile, heat your meal to piping hot, then carefully discard the water from the thermos and fill it with your hot meal.

Thermoses I Love

  • 17 ounce MAXSO Thermos Set
  • 10 ounce Thermos Funtainer
  • 18 ounce Stanley Stainless Steel

The Best Recipes for Thermos Lunches

Pin Chicken Noodle Soup Soups, in general, are great to add to a thermos. Chicken Noodle Soup is one of the most comforting lunches you could send with your kid to school. View RecipePin Turkey Veggie Chili A thermos full of this hearty Turkey Veggie Chili will always be a yes! This recipe is filled with vegetables too making it a win-win. View RecipePin Chicken Meatballs with Mini Wheel Pasta Chicken Meatballs with Mini Wheel Pasta is a quick and easy weeknight dinner and perfect to toss the leftovers into a thermos to send for lunch the next day! View RecipePin Easy Chicken Nuggets There’s no recipe more kid friendly than easy chicken nuggets. These nuggets are just as good (if not better) than fast food or store bought frozen nuggets and made with ingredients you can pronounce! View RecipePin Stove Top Mac and Cheese Homemade mac and cheese doesn’t have to be difficult! This Stove Top Mac and Cheese is ready in minutes and absolutely delicious. View RecipePin Chicken Soup & Rice Chicken Soup and Rice is a classic staple when it comes to making soup. It’s hearty and delicious and the perfect thing to eat when you just want something comforting! View RecipePin Roast Vegetable Pasta Sauce This Roast Vegetable Pasta Sauce creates a delicious, vegetarian meal that only takes a few steps to make. It’s super filling and jam packed with good-for-you vegetables.  View RecipePin Cheesy Meatballs These Cheesy Meatballs are stuffed with mozzarella and delicious on their own or pack a sub roll separately and let your kid build their own meatball sub at lunch. View RecipePin Broccoli Soup This Broccoli Soup is super healthy, delicious and stays nice and warm in the thermos until lunch time. View RecipePin Ramen Noodle Stir Fry This Ramen Noodle Stir Fry takes packaged ramen to a whole other level! Add any extra vegetables you’ve got on hand and make the easiest lunch ever. View RecipePin Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal in the Crock Pot Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal is full of flavor and a great lunch to pack in a thermos if your child prefers warm oatmeal over cold. View RecipePin Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry Another great dinner turned into lunch meal is this Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry. Fill the thermos with some rice and this recipe and get ready for an empty lunch box after school. View RecipePin White Bean, Shiitake and Vegetable Bowl This Vegetable Bowl is full of so many delicious vegetables plus white beans and immune boosting shiitake mushrooms! It’s packed with flavor and will be a delicious hot lunch for school. View RecipePin Mu Shu Chicken Make this Mu Shu Chicken recipe for dinner one night and send the leftovers in a thermos to school the next day. It’s a great way to switch things up for school lunch! View Recipe

So there you have it, tons of ideas for thermos lunches for kids! With the power of a well-prepared thermos, you can serve up warm, comforting meals that will make your child’s lunch break extra special. Get creative, have fun, and watch as your kid becomes the envy of the lunchroom with their delicious and cozy hot lunches.

As always, leave a comment below if you have any questions, or tag me on social media with them!

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