Wondering what to feed your kids for lunch? Whether at home during the summer or packed for school, these lunch ideas for kids are easy, tasty, and fueling!
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Lunchtime with kids can be quite the dilemma. I’ve shared tons of dinner ideas on The Merry Momma over the years, but it leads to a question I get asked all. the. time: “What do you make your kids for lunch??”
I’ll be honest with you — lunch is a very simple affair at our house. I serve a wide variety of healthy dinners, so I don’t feel an ounce of guilt if we have the same kind of lunch several times in a week. As long as the kids are happy and it’s reasonably healthy, I’m good!
So, my biggest tip when it comes to kids’ lunches is to keep it simple. If nothing else, I hope I can ease some of the pressure you’re putting on yourself and assure you it’s seriously okay if your lunches aren’t gourmet fare! Remember, the purpose of food is to fuel our bodies, so as long as you’re doing that, mission accomplished.
That said, it’s helpful to have a repertoire of ideas to choose from, especially when everyone starts to get tired of the same old thing week after week. If you’re needing some fresh inspiration, check out this list of kids’ lunch ideas!
15 Lunch Ideas for Kids
Are you wondering what to feed your kids for lunch? Here are 15 pretty typical lunches at our house. I keep it simple (no fancy recipes or animal-shaped food here!), and every “main course” is accompanied by a veggie, fruit, and one other side. Feel free to mix and match the ideas below!
Whether at home during the summer or packed for school, these lunches are easy, tasty, and fueling.
- Peanut (or other nut) butter + Jelly — I know I don’t need to tell you this one, but there is nothing wrong with good old PB&J. It’s a classic! (And it’s my 7-year-old’s favorite lunch, so we have it a lot when he’s not in school.)
- Leftovers — Next to PB&J, this is what’s most often on the lunch menu at our house.
- Deli meat sandwich — Pro tip: If the kiddos start to balk or get bored with sandwiches, make it a panini! You’d be amazed how much more willing they are to eat a sandwich that’s been grilled.
- Hard-boiled egg + whole wheat muffin
- Roll-ups or pinwheels — There are sooo many ways you can go with these: ham & cheese, ham & spinach, turkey & cream cheese, bananas & peanut butter, and more! Do a quick Google search to find more ideas.
- Meat, cheese, and crackers
- Leftover pancakes or waffles
- Pasta salad — Our favorites are chicken pasta salad and tuna pasta salad, but you could also do a pesto pasta salad or Italian antipasto salad. (There are some great “real food” salad recipes in 100 Days of Real Food Fast and Fabulous)
- Hummus with pita bread/crackers or veggies
- Rotisserie chicken
- Pizza bagels — Make your own by spreading a little pizza sauce on mini bagels, topping with pepperoni and mozzarella cheese, and broiling for a couple of minutes until the cheese is melted
- Bean & cheese burritos
- Parfait (granola + plain whole fat yogurt + fresh fruit)
- Energy balls or homemade granola bars
Round out the meal with a few of our favorite lunch sides:
- Baby carrots
- Cucumber slices (or mini cucumbers are super fun!)
- Bell pepper slices or mini bell peppers
- Broccoli & cauliflower
- Grape or cherry tomatoes
- Snap peas
- Lettuce salad
- Green beans
- Apple slices or applesauce
- Clementines (I hate peeling oranges, so I LOVE the ease of clementines)
- Fruit leather
- Cheese slices or cubes
- String cheese
- Cottage cheese
- Babybel cheeses
- Wheat crackers
- Veggie straws
Those are some of our favorite lunch options. What’s standard fare on your menu? Share some of your ideas in the comments below!
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