This will be the first year that my daughter will be in full day school! She is starting Kindergarten this fall and she wants me to pack her lunch most days. My son was the same way until last year, when he started to want to have hot lunch most days. I do want to start packing my son’s lunch a couple times a week (to save $$$) and to pack my daughter’s lunch most days. I have been thinking about what would be best for her to bring to lunch, since they can’t warm anything up at school. Also, I want it to be something that doesn’t take me a lot of time to prep the night before.
I hope these 10 Easy Lunch Ideas help you when you are getting ready to start packing lunch again in the fall. I know a lot of these would work for Kindergarten and up!
1. Cut Out Sandwich
Does your child get tired of sandwiches easy? Do they hate crust (most kids children do!)? Why not try buying some sandwich cut outs, or even try using some cookie cutters you have around the house. I love how Jill from Meet the Dubiens made this turkey sandwich fun by using white and whole wheat bread with a puzzle cutter!
2. Good ole PB&J
Every kid loves PB&J, well, except my son… he loves it minus the jelly. (Sigh). There are so many different ways to do PB&J these days… you can serve it on plain ole bread, use a sandwich cutter (mentioned above), serve it on pancakes (as seen above, link HERE), roll it up, spread it on a mini bagel or even buy the frozen PB&J Smuckers that thaw out by lunch time.
3. Rainbow Lunch
A rainbow lunch is when you pack a lunch for your child in all of the colors of the rainbow! This can be a lot of fun, you can layer fruit on a skewer in the color of the rainbow… or you can use a bento box and do each section in a different color of the rainbow as is done in the photo above by Tracy at The Lucky Lunchbox. This doesn’t need to be just for St. Patrick’s day, you can do this sort of lunch any week! Plus, it is a great way to pack in a lot of fruits and veggies for your child’s lunch that day.
My daughter LOVES salads! And, why not pack a salad when you can add lots of healthy toppings to it? My daughter eats her salad WITHOUT salad dressing… which, I know, is a little different… but, she also doesn’t mind dipping her veggies into Catalina salad dressing. I was browsing through Pinterest and saw this idea for a TACO salad lunch from the site Super Healthy Kids. I know my daughter would love having all of these different toppings in little containers in her lunch in addition to the salad. Also, add in some tortilla chips on the side or in a little plastic bag and you have yourself a nice and unique lunch for your child!
5. DIY Lunchable
How many times have you purchased Lunchables for your kids and have thought to yourself… I could make five times as many of these for the fraction of the cost. Yes, they are convenient… but, my children are SO tired of Lunchables that I don’t even buy them anymore. However, you can recreate them by buying crackers, lunch meat, cheese and then you can add in some healthy fruit and vegetables that the regular Lunchables don’t include! You can find an assortment of different crackers and cheeses that your child will never have the same lunch twice! Dina from What the Girls Are Having shares how to create a DIY Lunchable and the photo above is from her blog.
What is it about skewers that makes anything on them look more appetizing? Betty Crocker shares this recipe for how to make Club Sandwich Bites on their site HERE. You could also do BLT’s on skewers, lunch meat with tomatoes and cheese or perhaps just skewers with fruit or veggies.
7. Roll Ups
Looking for a creative roll up idea for your child’s lunch? How about putting a layer of peanut butter and jelly on a tortilla and rolling it up around a banana (link HERE)? You could also roll up ham/turkey and cheese, or just peanut butter and jelly by itself.
8. Picnic Lunch
I always think of a ‘picnic lunch’ as a lunch with just cheese, crackers and salami (or the kid safe equivalent- pepperoni). I would throw in some grapes and maybe a nice homemade brownie, too! The lunch idea and photo above was taken from Family Fresh Cooking.
9. Hot Soup (Thermos Lunch)
I did not consider the idea of a thermos and packing hot soup for lunch until my son had been going to school full day for quite some time. Family Fresh Meals shares a blog post HERE about how to pack soup for lunch! My son went through a phase where he loved Campbell’s Star soup… so, I bought him a thermos and he had that for lunch (with some sides) every single day for months! It isn’t difficult at all and if your child loves a variety of soups, it can add a lot more choices for their lunch!
10. Hot Pasta (Thermos Lunch)
Another choice for lunch is packing pasta into that same thermos! Some choices could be mac & cheese (the photo above and this great recipe for mac & cheese can be found on Food For My Family by clicking HERE), leftover spaghetti from the night before (some people even freeze small batches of spaghetti for lunches!), or even Chef Boyardee Ravioli.
I hope these ten ideas help your transition this fall when it comes time to think of ideas for your child’s lunch box! I will probably use several of these ideas randomly from week to week to keep Autumn’s lunch box exciting to her! You’ll also want to pair a lot of these with sides and you may want to make a list with your child to figure out which fruits and veggies they want you to rotate in their lunch box.
Another great website that a friend referred me to for lunch ideas is this one:
30 days of lunchbox recipes: No Repeats! from Peanut Blossom
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