My lovely (bossy) friend Melissa told me to post this one as well.
Assuming you are not hitting the drive thru too many times per week, and assuming you make it to the grocery store and are prepared to actually make some lunchy and snacky foods for your kids, here's some ideas from "what we do at our house."
Annie's Mac and Cheese - yes, it's a standby. They all love it. Serve with fruit, or veggies and dip.
Frozen Pizza - I like Home Run Inn - no funk, great crust.
Sandwiches - Lunch meat (nitrate free) costs money, but is a treat sometimes. Natural peanut butter and good jelly is a standard. Toasted cheese. Tuna salad.
Cheese Tortillas - Whole wheat tortillas, grated cheese, melted and rolled up. We serve with tomato soup or salsa. Veggies and/or fruit. Chips, maybe.
Leftovers - This is our "almost all the time" lunch. I purposefully make too much dinner so we can have leftovers for lunch. Pasta, soup, chili, casserole, meat, whatever we had the night before. Heat it up and serve. If you didn't like it last night, you're going to be hungry again at lunch today :)
Snacky Lunch - The name for whatever suits your fancy. One day it might be apples, cheese and crackers. Maybe some nuts or dried fruit. Buttered toast, fruit and some leftover chicken. Try to have a grain, a fruit/veggie and a protein. Protein is KEY for kids! Apples dipped in nut butter makes a great lunch - just have plenty :)
I give my kids snacks. It's a planned thing, not an hourly thing. Because we home educate our tribe, we are all home all day, every day. We have a snack-break around 10:30 and then again around 3:30. Here's what we often have (notice, there's usually a protein and a carb):
Cheese and Crackers
Hummus and Veggies or Chips
Dried Fruit and Nuts
Cheese and Apples
Toast with Nut Butter and Honey
Fruit Smoothie (yogurt, banana, berries, ice cubes)
Raw Veggies and Homemade Ranch Dip
Cold Pizza (c'mon, you know you love it)