Lunch for Kids is quick and easy with these favorites! Healthy ideas to eat them at home, pack into lunchboxes, or picnic anywhere! Go way beyond the sandwich, apple and chips, your kids will love the variety! Get the tips and tricks to make it easy everyday!
Lunch for Kids can be a bit tricky. Mom’s lunch is usually leftovers from dinner, while Dad never tires of turkey sandwiches, but lunch for kids can be a challenge. Some days we all just have an un-fancy charcuterie board! Cut up meats and cheeses, beef sticks or salami, chopped fruits and veggies with crackers, pretzels, or nuts. It actually makes a pretty great lunch and can be packed into a lunchbox in the morning when you are short on ideas or time.
With lunch, I use my panini press a lot, I mean a lot, almost every day. I know too many small kitchen appliances can be too much clutter, but a panini press I couldn’t go without. I also count on my freezer for lunches…in a good way, more on that below. All of these lunches can be made in the morning and packed into school lunch boxes too. The hot foods are room temp by lunch time, which has never been a complaint with my kids. These are our 5 rotating go-to basics, quick, easy and at least semi-healthy!
TOP 5 LUNCHES FOR KIDS
In the Panini Press!! I always have some soft tortilla’s in the fridge and I always have cheese. From there I add in whatever I have, leftover chicken, (leftover chicken or taco meat can be frozen and used later for quesadilla’s!) black beans, avocado slices, or a few cut up veggies. I can make it extra healthy by always keeping my 5 Minute Veggie Salsa on hand. We like to dip them in plain yogurt mixed with salsa when we’re at home.
2. PIZZA THINGS
This is what my mom called them when I was a kid. Basically pizza toppings on anything – flatbread, english muffins, bagels, tortillas, naan bread, pitas, french bread, etc. This is where my freezer comes in! Whenever I make spaghetti or bolognese sauce, I freeze some of the leftover sauce in small containers or little jars, perfect for thawing for pizza sauce for lunch. Also stored in my freezer, I buy a big bag of decent quality pepperoni from the deli. I think this has to be better than the hormel version that isn’t even refrigerated. Any white cheese, shredded or broken up slices will do, maybe a veggie topping, maybe not. Bake it in the oven at 400°, put it right on the oven rack, no need to dirty a pan.
3. PANINI SANDWICHES
My kids are much more likely to eat a sandwich when it’s all glued together with melted cheese. The panini press is how we make grilled cheese, faster and easier to clean. So start with a grilled cheese and add extras if you want: avocado, tomato slices, deli meat, leftover bacon (leftover cooked bacon can also be frozen and makes a great panini ingredient to pull out a little at a time). Just add cheese!
4. PEANUT BUTTER BANANA SANDWICH
With banana or PB&J, they are classics for a reason! Try mixing it up with different nut or seed butters, occasionally adding Nutella, and using fresh sliced strawberries in place of the jelly. Lots of combinations!
5. VEGGIE BAGEL
My kids love these and you can keep them as simple as they are picky! Hummus and avocado with cheese are a must, but sometimes you can sneak in some spinach, cucumber or tomato. (Mom loves these too!)
BONUS – QUICK MAC & CHEESE
This does not need to be fancy OR from the blue box! Recipe Here, just simply boil up some pasta and mix in a handful of shredded cheese and a scoop of plain yogurt. You can make a batch for lunch on the weekend and microwave the leftovers the next day or two. You can also add the leftover spaghetti sauce from #2.
Serve it With
That’s it, a handful of easy main courses for lunch! Pair them with cut up fruits and veggies, a healthy zucchini cookie or baked oatmeal cup pulled from the freezer, and a handful of salty snacks like pretzels or nuts.