Making lunch for my kids has always been the harder meal for me to make. I don’t know why it is hard for me to come up with ideas, but every month I search and search for things to make. I have managed to put together a small list of items that I rotate through each week and thought I would share them with you today 🙂
I try to give my kids a variety of foods each day while making sure they have a fruit, veggie and protein. One of the things that has worked really well for us is to have a lunch buffet. I spread a few things out on the table and they pick and choose what they want. Here are some buffets we have tried:
(1) Sandwich buffet
sandwich maker – turkey, ham, chicken, roast beef, peanut butter and jelly, egg salad, chicken salad
fixings – lettuce, tomato, mayo, mustard, oil & vinegar dressing, cheese
breads – hoagie rolls, sliced bread, pita pockets and sometime bagels
(2) Mexican Buffet
Tortilla chips, taco meat, lettuce, tomato, nacho cheese, taco shells, tortillas, taco sauce, refried beans, sour cream, guacamole
(3) Hamburgers and Hot Dogs
I cook 10-15 hamburger patties during my monthly freezer meals day and store them in the fridge. The kids can make themselves a quick burger or I can put them out in a buffet of hamburger patties, beef hot dogs, cheese, lettuce, tomato, diced onions, ketchup, mustard, mayo, chili.
If I have any leftovers from these lunch buffets, I put them in their lunch boxes and store in the fridge.
I really do love having a lunch buffet or breakfast buffet. It’s easy for mom, the kids can learn to be independent by fixing their own meal and they can explore different ways to eat things. It also makes for easy clean-up.
AND you can be so creative with a lunch buffet! These are the ones my boys like, but I plan on trying new ideas in the future, so if you have any ideas, leave them in the comments 🙂
(4) Lunch Boxes
This is another thing I do that the kids like. I put items in a “lunch box” and the kids can grab them and go. No waiting on mommy to prepare it! My lunch boxes are those plastic containers with a blue lid and 3 sections. I bought my first few sets at Kroger for less than $2 for a 3-pack. Not a bad deal.
Lunch Box Ideas
Chicken Fingers (My favorite recipe from Planner Perfect Meals)
Fried Chicken pieces – make your own or buy them (we prefer the 8pc fried chicken from Publix, yummy!)
Hot Wings and Homemade Fries
Sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs, burritos, tacos, nachos
soups, chili, fruit salad, broccoli salad, mac & cheese, Quesadilla’s
pizza slices or pizza pockets, small salads, homemade spaghetti & meatballs
I will also add things from our dinner leftovers
For the sides I add fruit, veggie sticks & ranch or peanut butter dip, crackers & cheese cubes, applesauce, fruit cups, small bags of chips, trail mix, goldfish, yogurt, frozen yogurt chips, cookies, Oreos, popcorn – you can get creative here and add things your kids like. I let mine choose their sides as long as it includes a fruit or veggie on one side.
Here are some links for more great ideas
Easy Lunch Boxes Photo Gallery – tons of ideas here!!
More great ideas from Mamabelly’s
Great ideas for real food, healthy organic options
I make several batches and keep in the freezer
(6) Tortilla Wraps
(7) Mason Jars
Mason jar meals are crazy popular right now and for good reason. Once you add something to a mason jar, it seals up tight and the contents stay super fresh for longer than normal. I make mason jar salads for my daughter when she is in town. She loves throwing together unique salad toppings.
(8) Freezer Pizza Dough
I make several batches of pizza dough and freeze them. When I am ready to make a pizza, it takes about an hour to thaw and its ready to go!
Other things I make with pizza dough and freeze:
mini-pizzas (to fit in the lunch box)
(9) Easy Pasta Dishes
Pesto Bowtie Pasta
Homemade Meatballs & spaghetti (you can make the meatballs ahead of time and freeze them)
Smoothies are super easy to make, really healthy, can be frozen in large batches and are easy for the kids to grab and go. There are tons of recipes on Pinterest but here are few to get you started.
Make a months worth of green smoothies to freeze
protein boost smoothies for kids
list of healthy smoothie recipes
I hope this list will help you with planning some healthy and tasteful lunches for the kids! Be sure to subscribe and watch for my Breakfast Ideas post!
I have tons more lunch ideas on my Pinterest board, check it out!!