After a long, hot summer, we all look forward to those first crisp fall days. And with it, our menus change. Why not change the lunch you pack for your kids as well. So I wanted to give you a few hot school lunch ideas. Of course, these make great thermos lunch ideas for adults too!

Salads, wraps, and cold sandwiches are great late summer options, but when the temperatures start to drop, your little ones will appreciate a hot dish in their lunch box.

A Healthy Thermos Lunch Idea Tip

First I want to share a tip a friend gave me to help keep your lunch hot in a thermos. She said she takes boiling water and puts it in her thermos for 5 – 10 minutes before she puts her food inside of the thermos. Kind of like preheating your oven you preheat your thermos.

I thought it was a BRILLIANT idea! I should add you pour out the hot water before you add your food. 😉

Hot School Lunch Ideas


Soup And A Sandwich

Who doesn’t love soup and a hot sandwich for lunch on a cool, crisp, fall day? All it takes is a small thermos, some aluminum foil and ideally an insulated lunch box.

We really like this Best Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup and the soup pictured above, a Chicken Zoodle Soup. They make the perfect soups to go with a sandwich.

Make the soup the day before from scratch, or heat up canned soup in the morning, right before school. Preheat your thermos, from the tip above. Warm up the soup as hot as possible, pour the soup in the thermos and sit it in the insulated lunch box. Don’t forget to pack a spoon.

Lastly, make the hot sandwich. Grilled cheese or grilled ham and cheese are always a favorite around here, as are any type of Panini. Fix the sandwich as usual and then wrap it in several layers of aluminum foil.

If you’re worried about the bread getting soggy, wrap it in a paper towel first, then the foil. Keep the sandwich in the insulated lunch box and everything should be staying toasty warm for hours. Mix and match the soup and sandwich combos for endless portable lunch possibilities.

Mmmm, hot bowl of soup, my favorite!Click To Tweet

This post contains affiliate links which means I can earn a fee for people purchasing when they click the link (at no cost to you). Click here to read my full disclosure policy.


Chili and Stew

Of course, you’re not limited to just soup. A nice hearty stew or a bowl of chili with a side of fresh cornbread make a nice addition to any lunch box. Make a batch of your favorite chili or stew and put it in your kids’ lunch boxes for a few days.

Another great thermos school lunch idea is to freeze your soup, stew or chili in smaller portions and take them out as needed to add to lunch boxes. This is also a great time for you to take a thermos lunch to work or keep a bowl at home to reheat at lunchtime.

As with the soup we talked about earlier, preheat your thermos. That will keep the lunch warm until well past lunchtime.


Leftovers Galore

Last but not least and probably some of my favorite hot school lunch ideas …. don’t forget about leftovers. Thermos lunches are not limited to liquid soups anymore.

You certainly can use a traditional thermos for liquids but there are so many options now of wide-mouthed thermoses that can hold a variety of leftover foods.

I really like the brand Simple Modern. They make several different sizes so it’s nice to have small ones for kids and bigger ones for older kids or adults. Plus they work well, are good quality, inexpensive and my favorite 😀 – They come in LOTS of colors.

These make great healthy thermos lunch ideas:

Leftovers make for great lunchbox additions.


What about you? What healthy thermos lunch ideas do you have?


If you like these Hot School Lunch Ideas make sure you pin it below and share with your friends and family. Thanks!

Hot School Lunch Ideas - Turkey Stuffing Chili in a Thermos
Hot School Lunch Ideas - Chicken Zoodle Soup in a Thermos