This is the next installment in my series of lunchbox roundups that features different types of lunchboxes I pack for my daughters and post almost daily on my Pinterest and Facebook pages.  Dinner, breakfast, or snack leftovers are great foods to incorporate into your child’s lunchbox. When packing lunchboxes, I always try to include three types of foods:


  1. Grow food (protein+starch)
  2. Vegetables
  3. Fruit and/or dairy

I also usually include a small serving of a sweet treat, to round out the meal. I am also a big proponent of packing a small serving of a less liked or new food into your child’s lunchbox from time to time. This way, they get one more opportunity to learn to like something new!

Here are some of the earlier lunchbox-themed posts that you may find useful:

The Art and Science of Packing a Lunchbox

Lunchbox safety

Involving kids in lunchbox preparation

Sample lunchbox menus

Grain and pasta salad recipes

Pasta and Noodle Lunchbox Roundup

Rice and Grain Lunchbox Roundup

As most busy parents know, it can be a challenge cooking a homemade dinner or breakfast from scratch and then still having to worry about what to pack the kids for lunch.  Packing leftovers in your child’s lunchbox relieves some of this stress because one meal can serve two purposes– especially if the kids loved what you made for dinner the night before!  Chicken and turkey are good leftover dinner choices because they can be eaten cold.  Serve the chicken or turkey leftovers with a side of ketchup (or other condiment like honey mustard sauce), vegetables and fruit and you’ll have a well-balanced lunchbox in minutes.  My daughters are also fans of homemade mushroom leftover pizza.  Simply pack a side of fruit and vegetables in the lunchbox to balance out the pizza.


Don’t just limit leftover ideas to dinner foods, breakfast leftovers such as pancakes or whole grain french toast are also great foods to include in a child’s lunchbox.  Other options may include whole grain homemade waffles or whole wheat muffins or bread.  Serve breakfast foods with a side of pure maple syrup, fruit, and vegetables to round out the meal.  Pita chips and hummus or smoked salmon are just a few examples of leftover snack options that can be included as part of a well-balanced lunchbox.


It’s common for adults to eat what they made for dinner for lunch the next day.  Take the guesswork out of the question, “what am I going to pack my child for lunch today?” by packing dinner or breakfast leftovers in your child’s lunchbox!


Below are several “leftovers for lunch” lunchboxes (including pictures and ingredients) I have made for my daughters in the past.

Lunchbox #1

October 1st-1

  • Lunchbox #1 Ingredients:
  • Spaghetti squash with tomato sauce
  • Whole wheat bagel with cream cheese and salmon
  • Carrots and  grapes
  • A square of dark chocolate with sea salt


Lunchbox #2


  • Lunchbox #2 Ingredients:
  • Pancakes (breakfast leftovers)
  • Smoked salmon and maple syrup
  • Grapes, celery, cheese stick and dried cranberries


Lunchbox #3


  • Lunchbox #3 Ingredients:
  • Breaded chicken stripes with ketchup
  • Broccoli with ginger miso dressing
  • Strawberries and cantaloupe
  • Apple granola and bunny cookies


Lunchbox #4

October 23

  • Lunchbox #4 Ingredients:
  • Breaded turkey breast (dinner leftovers) with ketchup
  • Steamed broccoli
  • Grapes, banana bread and crackers


Lunchbox #5

September 21

  • Lunchbox #5 Ingredients:
  • Home-made mushroom pizza leftovers
  • Cherry tomatoes and grapes
  • Ham “noodles” and a yogurt drink


Lunchbox #6

June 11

  • Lunchbox #6 Ingredients:
  • Mushroom pizza (dinner leftovers)
  • Sautéed broccoli rabe (yummy even cold)
  • Grapes and cookies
  • Dried cranberries for a dessert


Lunchbox #7

May 24

  • Lunchbox #7 Ingredients:
  • Pita chips
  • Carrots, cucumbers and hummus
  • Blueberries, pineapple and a piece of homemade choc chip cookie


Lunchbox #8

May 23

  • Lunchbox #8 Ingredients:
  • Beef and mushroom patty ( a variation of this turkey/mushroom meatballs recipe)
  • Whole wheat bread, ketchup
  • Baked sweet potato fries
  • Pineapple and dark chocolate chips


Lunchbox #9

May 10

  • Lunchbox #9 Ingredients:
  • Stir-fried tofu and broccoli dinner leftovers
  • Tortilla chips
  • Slice of croissant and watermelon/mango stars


Lunchbox #10

May 7th

  • Lunchbox #10 Ingredients:
  • Breakfast for lunch today – whole grain french toast
  • Carrot/celery sticks with hummus
  • Dark chocolate-stuffed raspberries


Lunchbox #11

April 25

  • Lunchbox #11 Ingredients:
  • Veggie-rich Shepherd’s pie leftovers
  • Steamed asparagus leftovers with a sprinkle of salt
  • Fruit salad (strawberries, clementines and pomegranate seeds)
  • A small chocolate yogurt


Lunchbox #12

April 23

  • Lunchbox #12 Ingredients:
  • Homemade mushroom pizza leftovers ( we love mushroom pizza!)
  • Hummus with carrots and red peppers
  • Banana and a treat – a small chocolate yogurt


Lunchbox #13

May 3rd

  • Lunchbox #13 Ingredients:
  • Smoked salmon franks and whole wheat hot-dog roll
  • Tomatoes, cucumbers, and hummus
  • Raspberries


Lunchbox #14

April 18

  • Lunchbox #14 Ingredients:
  • Breaded chicken with ketchup
  • Carrots and green beans
  • Clementine and yogurt
  • A small bag of crackers (in the lunchbox bag)


Lunchbox #15


  • Lunchbox #15 Ingredients:
  • Apple slices with peanut butter
  • Smoked salmon
  • Tomatoes and dark chocolate


Lunchbox #16

April 16

  • Lunchbox #16 Ingredients:
  • Stir-fried chicken leftovers with ketchup
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Fruit, celery/carrots and a mini-yogurt


Lunchbox #17

February 7_small

  • Lunchbox #17 Ingredients
  • Tortilla leftovers (potato/onion omelet)
  • Jamon (spanish ham)
  • Green beans and tomatoes
  • Cantaloupe and dark chocolate chips


Lunchbox #18


  • Lunchbox #18 Ingredients:
  • Homemade ww pita chips alongside a thermos of butternut squash soup
  • Guacamole, manchego cheese
  • Grapes and pomegranate seeds


Lunchbox #19


  • Lunchbox #19 Ingredients:
  • Ww pasta with veggie meat sauce and parmesan dinner leftovers
  • Roasted carrots and raspberries
  • Banana and dark chococolate


Lunchbox #20


  •  Lunchbox #20
  • Leftover lentil soup
  • Leftover apple crumble and yogurt
  • Grapes and leftover corn


Stay tuned for more lunchbox round-ups! 

Tell me what is your child’s favorite lunchbox item?