Let’s face it: no matter how gung-ho you are at the start of the year with wholesome, perfectly packed home lunches, every parent everywhere gets in a rut. We’ve rounded up our favorite lunch recipes, from rainbow pizza to pasta salad, that offer an appealing alternative to your standard PB&J with carrot sticks. Scroll down for a sampling and click through the stories to get the complete list of recipes.

15 Ideas That Aren't Sandwiches

There's no reason that your kid's lunch needs to have a sandwich to be satisfying. With these alternatives, like the turkey pinwheels featured above, you'll have plenty of recipes to get you through two weeks + of lunches. Click here to read more. 

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photo: Jennifer Martine

10 Meat-Free, Protein-Packed Lunches

Protein is what will keep those little muscles going from the playground to P.E. and beyond. But there are plenty of recipes that swap out meat for plant protein, and many of them pack some extra veggie goodness, too, like the Sweetie Pie Quesadilla featured above. Click here to get more ideas. 

30 Fresh Ideas for Healthy Lunches

Healthy doesn't have to be boring, and this honey-mustard chicken wrap proves it. We gathered a month's worth of lunch ideas (including weekend fare) that are all as yummy as they are fresh. Click here to get inspired.  

10 Awww-Inspiring Rainbow Recipes

Yes, we want nutritious and we want quick. But also sometimes we want rainbows! These rainbow dishes are totally outside the lunchbox norm, but imagine their surprise when they open it. Unicorn sushi? Read more here

20 Cold Pasta Dishes Perfect for Lunch

When looking for sandwich alternatives, pasta should top your list. It's inexpensive, you can make the recipe the night before (or even the day before) and then dish it into containers when it's time to make the lunches. We've found 20 impressive recipes for pasta salad that even kids will love, like the nut-free basil pesto pasta pictured above. Click here to check out the big list of your new favorite dishes

photo: Little Big H

13 Gluten Free & Allergy Friendly Recipes

From a few lunchbox treats to some perfectly pop-able mini quiche (egg free, like the one above) we've rounded up several delicious recipes that are free of common allergens. Add these into your rotation when you just can't peel another carrot. 

See the complete list here

12 Whole30 Lunches You'll Want to Pack for Yourself, Too

Jump on (or stay on) this healthy foods trend with school lunch ideas that are suitable for grown-ups, too. We know the kiddos will love the chicken fingers (shown above) but mom and dad are going adore the chicken salad with bacon and scallions. Get more recipes here.

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featured photo: iStock

100+ Alternatives to the PB&J