The convenience of Lunchables is undeniably alluring, but the ingredients, cost, and waste can be a little hard to swallow given how incredibly easy it is to make DIY Lunchables.

With a handful of ingredients and a few reusable compartmentalized lunch containers (here’s a good option if you’re open to plastic; and these cute ones are on sale at Target right now), it’s pack and go. Here are 5 homemade lunches inspired by Lunchables to get you started on healthier and more budget- and eco-friendly lunches for the school year ahead.

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Related: The essential lunch box pantry list: Everything you need to pack 180 lunches quickly & easily.

5 DIY Lunchables ideas | Cool Mom Eats

Let’s talk about the classics

Do your kids have a penchant for the pizza Lunchables like ours? These DIY Pizza Lunchables from Mind Over Munch are super easy to make, and can be eaten cold (which is how our kids do it), or heated up (like civilized humans, ha).

Eating on a Dime has lots of clever ways to change up the classic lunch meat and cheese + crackers Lunchables so your kids don’t get bored. Simple changes to the kind of meat (or cheese), or even the cookie treat and it’s suddenly new and exciting!

Related: The coolest lunch bags for tweens and teens who are too big for lunchboxes 

If you’re feeling more adventurous

These DIY Taco Lunchables on one of our favorite sites, One Hungry Mama, do require a little advanced planning, unless you’re packing lunches for a tween who’s comfortable at the stove. Instead of cooking just for school lunch, just make sure to cook extra taco meat whenever you have tacos for dinner. For a vegetarian version, black beans are great!

If your kids like hummus and falafel, these boxes from Gimme Delicious look incredible, not to mention healthy. You don’t even need a salad dressing for the veggies because they can be dipped right into the hummus. If you want to add some extra protein, pack a little container of raita for dipping. Pro tip: With all these “pieces,” you might want to upgrade your box to something with more compartments. We love Bentgo.

And for your Starbucks lovers 

It’s super easy (and much more affordable) to recreate the Starbucks protein box right at home. No. 2 Pencil gives a breakdown of all the ingredients and how to pack them.

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