by Mable Buchanan

Many things speed up in the fall—days get shorter, and so does the amount of time until school begins, children’s schedules, and the amount of time a parent has to get their child up, dressed, and out the door, and somewhere in between put together an easily packable lunch appealing enough that their child can be excited about it and healthy enough that the parent can feel good about it, and also able to keep for hours at a time.

So to save you some hassle, maybe even some money, and definitely some frazzled last minutes before racing to the car here are some quick school lunches courtesy of Pinterest,, Southern Living, and Buzzfeed.

ROLL-UPS and PINWHEELS can be made with lunchmeat, for example with ham and cheese, or with some of your kids’ favorite vegetables, in slices of a tortilla or wrap. They can be prepared beforehand and kept in the fridge, and with an ice pack they will keep in a lunchbox and keep your child full while staying varied and healthy.

HOMEMADE TRAIL MIX can also be prepared beforehand and can change to include your kids’ favorites, like cereals, granola, or small crackers or chocolate chips, while also including healthy additions like nuts and berries.

APPLES AND NUT BUTTER are a classic and simple way to introduce some filling protein and fiber into your kid’s lunch while also keeping it sweet. To mix it up, try veggies like carrots or celery in a jar with hummus, which can be kept in the fridge to be ready on-hand for busy mornings, or with remixes like Ants on a Raft, in which a cracker is used as the base.

ANTS ON A LOG are another great way to spice up vegetables and encourage your child to find fun ways to eat healthy. The classic celery, peanut butter, and raisins can be switched up depending on your kid’s tastes, and stays an easily fridge-friendly and packable way to supplement your kid’s lunch.

FROZEN FRUIT CUPS are a sweet and easy-to-make addition to lunches that can also keep in the fridge or freezer beforehand. Furthermore, they can change depending on kids’ favorite fruits or what’s in season if made at home, and are convenient to find if bought in-store.

LUNCHBOX FUN-DUE, pioneered by Rachael Ray, involves cutting meats and bread into bite-sized cubes, and carrots and celery into sticks, to be dipped into a sauce of salsa and ranch dressing, but can be altered into the also-popular homemade “Pizza Lunchable Lookalike.”

JAR SALADS are options that can keep in the fridge ahead of time. Pinterest has several options for make-ahead jar salads, in which a Mason jar is filled with all of the ingredients for a salad that then just has to be tossed before eating.