We understand the importance of providing your kiddos healthy food, but we also know you don’t have time to carve animal faces out of your kid’s fruit. Here are 10 easy school lunch ideas to start trying this week!
It’s That Time of Year Again
It’s officially that time of year again. School is in session and busy days blend into busy nights, and eventually, the sun is up, and you’re at it again. Get the kids dressed, put breakfast on the table, load up the backpacks, and of course, don’t forget the school lunches. The chaos never ends!
Maybe we can help with some easy lunches that you can streamline right into your morning routine. We gathered a list of 10 easy lunch options you can make the evening before. Have those lunch boxes prepacked, so all you have to do is maybe a quick microwave nuke in the morning and then grab and go. Here’s what we’ve got for you.
Mini Fruit Pancakes with a Side of Maple Syrup
What’s great, is you can make these weeks in advance and freeze them till you’re ready to use them. Purchase your favorite pancake mix made with whole grains and prepare a batch of batter. If you’re looking for a nutritional boost that kids won’t even notice, we can’t recommend Kodiak Cakes batter mix enough—the pancake and waffle mix starts with 14g of protein per serving and boosts up to 21g if you mix it with milk instead of water and add an egg.
Kodiak Cakes Protein Pancake Power Cakes, Flapjack and Waffle Mix, Buttermilk, 20 Ounce (Pack of 3)
Kids love pancakes and waffles, and you'll love that you're sneaking some extra protein into their diets.
Pour enough batter to make mini pancakes that can be eaten with hands and easily dunked into a side of maple syrup. Don’t forget to add strawberries, blueberries, or a few slices of bananas. Your kids will love this tasty treat.
Cheese Quesadillas with a Side of Salsa
Cheese quesadillas are among one of the most effortless lunches you can make for your little ones. Turn your stove to medium heat, and place an eight-inch flour tortilla on a warm skillet. Add cheese to the tortilla, and warm until the cheese begins to melt.
Fold the tortilla in half. Once it’s browned on both sides, take a pizza cutter to slice into strips and provide a side of salsa, or guacamole depending on your child’s preference. You can make these the night before, and they taste great cold.
Deli Meat Roll-Ups with Wheat Crackers
Kids love deli roll-ups and depending on whether they prefer turkey or ham will determine what your roll-up consists of. Roll the deli meat and cheese and slice into bite-size pieces. Serve this with whole-grain or wheat crackers, and you’ve got yourself a homemade and healthier version of a Lunchable—minus the markup and the shockingly high sodium content.
Rotini with Red Sauce
If your kids love pasta with sauce, then why not pack it for lunch? If that’s what you’re making for dinner one evening, set a little bit aside and warm it up the morning after. Place it in a thermos, and it will stay warm enough for your little one to eat during lunchtime.
Grilled Cheese Bites
Make a few grilled cheese sandwiches for the kids, and slice them into strips once they’ve cooled enough. Pack these in a Tupperware container with a side of ketchup for dipping.
For older kids or more adventurous diners, you can try different breads and cheeses for a wide variety of flavors.
Veggies with Ranch or Hummus
Whoever said a proper lunch had to be a sandwich with a bag of chips? If you’ve got carrots, celery, and cucumbers on hand, create a fresh platter and serve it with hummus or a side of ranch. Not only is this super healthy, but with plenty of fruit and other snacks to go with it, your little one’s tummy will be full and happy.
A Colorful Fruit Salad or Yogurt Parfait
Giving your child a big beautiful fruit salad for lunch is super nutritious and oh so yummy. Fill a Tupperware container with grapes, banana slices, mixed berries, and even watermelon if it’s in season and at a reasonable price. If your son or daughter also loves yogurt, add a container with their favorite flavor and a little granola on the side. Fruit parfaits are the best.
Mac N Cheese in a Thermos
We all know Macaroni and cheese is a big favorite for kids, so why not pack that up for lunch. If that’s what you’re cooking for dinner, then warm up and pack the leftovers in a thermos the following day. Even the teachers might get jealous of that one.
Whole Grain English Muffin Pizza
English muffin pizzas are super easy to put together. Just cut open a few English muffins and place them on a cookie sheet, then spread a bit of pizza sauce on and sprinkle them with cheese.
Pop them into the oven at about 375 degrees for around 10 minutes, and you’ve got yourself a simple yet delicious school lunch. As long as your child doesn’t mind eating them a little cold, you’re golden.
Mini Whole Grain Bagel with Cream Cheese
Next time you’re at the supermarket, grab some healthy bagels, and your son or daughter’s favorite cream cheese. Whether that’s strawberry, veggie, or plain, slap some on the bottom half and place the top of your bagel. Wrap it up and go; your kids will be good to go.
Sandwiches are an old standby for good reason, but a little variety is nice. With these simple recipes on hand, you’ll be able to spice up your child’s lunches with minimal effort.