I adore the cutesy kid meals I see some moms share online. But just like crafts aren’t my mom strength, neither is cutting out and dressing up a sandwich to look like a snowman. If that is your gift, then I recommend checking out LeeSamantha’s incredible work for inspiration, but if you’re like me, you just want to get healthy food into your kids as painlessly as possible.
Dinners are always pretty easy since we all eat the same thing, but lunches are notorious for tripping me up. Personally I’m a fan of salads and bowls, but they don’t always translate into the most enticing kid meals. The girls will eat them, but I’m more flexible with making different options specifically for them at lunch. I’ve been keeping track of what lunches work well for us through plenty of trial and error. I compiled a list on my phone for easy reference and thought that it might be helpful to you if you find yourself in the same place as me- staring in the fridge figuring out what I can throw together and pass off as lunch! So here are my favorite easy and healthy lunch ideas for kids!
I must lead with these because they are my favorite option by far. I love them because they are easy to assemble while I make myself a salad, it’s an easy way to introduce a new food in a small portion, the fruits and vegetables make it colorful and appealing to kids, and I only dirty one dish. The kids love it because it empowers them to pick and choose what to eat, and there is always plenty to choose from.
I make mine with a well-rounded dose of vegetables, fruits, fats, and protein. The biggest hits are always the following: mini peppers, olives, raspberries, carrot sticks, hearts of palm, deviled eggs, and ham rolls. Bonus tip: give them toothpicks to eat with! Obviously this isn’t a good idea with a two year old, but my 4 and 7 year old think it’s just the best thing ever!
For more on snack plates:
- Epic Snack Platter for Kids
- How a “Snack Platter” Can Transform Snack Time for Kids
- Kid-Friendly Snack Plate Lunch
My kids enjoy sandwiches but if you asked us both, we’d pick tortillas over bread. I like them because they leave less crumbs, are quicker to assemble, and easier for my four year old to eat. The kids like them because they roll up and rolling things up is way more fun than stacking them into a sandwich apparently.
Go-to combos in our house are:
- banana, honey, chia seeds, and peanut butter
- guacamole, diced tomatoes, black beans, and black olives
- hummus, diced cucumber, diced tomato, and feta
- ham, provolone, and shredded lettuce
- scrambled eggs with diced red peppers and sprinkle of nutritional yeast
For more on tortilla roll-ups:
We use wither full fat Greek or non-dairy So-So Delicious (which is great but has a lot of sugar). Then I set out a toppings bar which makes it fun! Our toppings of choice include granola, berries, and chia seeds.
- School Lunch Ideas and a Kid-Friendly Yogurt Parfait
- A Yogurt Parfait Breakfast Bar Your Kids Will Love
- 8 Fruity and Fabulous Parfaits
You could pair pasta with anything and it would immediately be one of Kaitlyn’s favorite foods (a girl after my own heart). When I’m on top of my food prep game, I’ll make a pasta salad on Sunday which gets us through 2-3 days of lunches. I usually use rotini because it’s easy to eat, and holds a lot of the dressing flavor it it’s spirals, but sometimes also play around with holiday shapes (bunnies near Easter), wagon wheels, or something new like Israeli couscous. I also switch up between classic pasta, chickpea pasta, and near Halloween- black bean pasta too!
Those are our go-to lunches that I can count on to please both me and the kids. I’d love to experiment with spring rolls in rice paper or rolling our own veggie sushi or rice balls, but I’m not going to pretend that that’s what lunch on a normal day looks like for us. I spend my time cooking for dinner, but lunch is all about efficiency around here. Get in, fill our tummies with some good stuff, and get on with the day!
Share with me: what are you favorite go-to lunches that are healthy and easy?