A Healthy Lunch for Kids is easy with these simple to make, well-loved favorites! These kid-friendly lunches can be eaten at home, packed into lunchboxes, or taken to-go to 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!
Kid-friendly lunch ideas 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. With lunch, I use my panini press a lot, I mean a lot!
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 problem with my kids. These are our go-to basics, quick, easy and semi-healthy!
Quesadilla's in the Panini Press!! This is so easy and can be as basic as your kids want it to be. I always have some soft tortillas in the fridge and I always have cheese. From there I add in whatever I have, leftover chicken, black beans, or a few cut up veggies if they're willing.
Leftover cooked chicken or taco meat can be frozen and used later for quesadillas! I can make it extra healthy by always keeping my 5 Minute Veggie Salsa on hand.
The kids like to dip them a simple sauce made with equal parts salsa and plain yogurt or ranch. Mom and Dad love these too!
2. Pizza "Things"
This is what my mom called them when I was a kid, I lived on "pizza things" when I was little! Basically, they are 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 Homeamde Spaghetti or Bolognese Sauce, I freeze some of the leftover sauce in small containers or little jars. They are perfect for thawing just a small amount 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° until it's hot and bubbly. I put it right on the oven rack, no need to dirty a pan. I've made these up quick in the morning and sent in a lunch box to be eaten at room temperature by lunchtime!
3. Panini Sandwich
My kids are much more likely to eat a sandwich, any sandwich, when it's all glued together with melted cheese! The panini press is how we make grilled cheese, faster and easier to clean too!
So start with a grilled cheese and add extras if you want, deli meat, avocado, tomato slices, or 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
Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches are a kid classic for a reason! We mix up our PB&J, sometimes with peanut butter banana, no jelly. We switch it up and add protein variety with different nut or seed butters, occasionally adding Nutella, and using fresh sliced strawberries in place of the jelly.
Or make your own small batch freezer jam when the summer berries are in season! Lots of combinations!
5. Kid's Charcuterie Board
Some days we all just have an un-fancy kid-friendly 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.
6. Veggie Bagel
My kids love these and you can keep them as simple as they are picky! Start with the basics, just avocado and a slice of cheese. We like to add homemade plain hummus or Roasted Carrot Hummus or sometimes cream cheese. Depending on the kid, you can sneak in some spinach, cucumber, or tomato.
You can also add deli meat, turkey or ham. Sometimes just switching the bread to a bagel makes for an all new sandwich they are happy to eat. It depends on what they like! Mom loves a good piled-high veggie bagel too!
7. Quick Mac & Cheese
This does not need to be fancy OR from the blue box! This 8 Minute Mac & Cheese, is made by just simply boiling some pasta and mixing 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.
Lunch Add-Ins & Extras
That's it, a handful of easy main courses for lunch! Pair them with cut up fruits and veggies, a Healthy Zucchini Cookie , Banana Carrot Oatmeal Muffins, or a Homemade Popsicle pulled from the freezer, and a handful of salty snacks like pretzels, crackers or nuts!