We all know that by the time it gets to this point in the semester, having the energy to cook fancy lunches every day is tough. But, with the help of some TikTok moms, cooking lovers and some bedazzling by me, these easy-to-make lunches will taste even better than they look.

Homemade pizza lunchables

The battle of the best lunchable to pull out at the lunch table in elementary school is intense. Some argue it was the nachos while others are loyal to the ham, cheese and cracker combo. I am loyal to the pizza lunchable. Despite my love for this premade snack, I don’t personally have the confidence to pull one out on a college campus. However, I will happily pull out a homemade version that tastes even better than the cardboard crust from my childhood dreams.

To make homemade pizza lunchables, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Mini naan bites (I purchased mine at Lidl)
  • Shredded cheese
  • Pepperoni, or other pizza toppings (optional)
  • Pizza sauce

To prepare these lunches, all you have to do is throw everything into a container! This meal is super easy to pack in bulk, and you can freeze them as well. On the day you want to eat your homemade lunchable, pull it out of the freezer and bring it with you (no ice pack needed). By the time it gets to lunch, your ingredients will have defrosted and be ready for assembling.

[Mr. Fries Man brings gourmet late night fries to College Park]

Pretty pinwheels

You might have seen a party platter of pinwheels at a meeting or event before, but they are super easy to make at home and look great packed in a lunch. I think pinwheels are also easier to handle than a heavily packed sandwich and therefore allow you the ability to pack more vegetables or typical slippery sandwich ingredients. Plus, there are endless combinations of what you can put inside them, so you can use whatever is in your fridge.

To make your pretty pinwheels, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Large flour tortillas (ideally burrito size)
  • Mayo, mustard or other sandwich sauces
  • Toothpicks 

And potential pinwheel fillings include:

  • Meat/protein (ham, turkey, chicken, tofu, chickpeas, beans, etc.)
  • Cheese
  • Vegetables (spinach, peppers, cucumbers, carrots, tomato, etc.)

First, lay down one tortilla. Then, spread any sauce you might want in your pinwheel. Layer your pinwheel fillings as evenly and flat as possible across the tortilla surface, and then roll it up into a spiral. Holding the spiral in place, put toothpicks a couple inches apart across the length of your curled-up tortilla. Then, take a knife and cut in between your toothpick placements. The toothpicks should hold together your pinwheels. Pack them in your lunch on their side so you can show off the pretty layering to your friends!

[UMD Dunkin’ fans remain loyal despite controversial rewards program update]

Mini charcuterie board

There is nothing more delicious than some quality meat, cheese, jam and/or honey on a cracker that was picked off of a beautifully organized charcuterie board. And, these ingredients also make for a super easy lunch to put together that looks nice, too. 

To make your mini charcuterie board you will need the following ingredients:

  • Crackers
  • Meat
  • Cheese
  • Jam, honey, grapes or other classic charcuterie board ingredients you have on hand

Just like the pizza lunchables, all this meal requires is putting everything together in the same container. I recommend purchasing containers with dividers in them to make everything easier to place and have it look more aesthetically pleasing. However, you can also create dividers by using smaller containers within a larger container, or you can have a more flexible layout by using something like cupcake wrappers to separate ingredients.