Kid Friendly Lunches

As if my 5 year old would ever eat a stuffed pepper for lunch!

The end of school is right around the corner. There are many things to look forward to about the summer.

But there’s one thing that I’m definitely dreading: Lunch time.

Yeah. If I dread packing lunch (and yes, unless we have left-overs, I definitely dread packing the kids’ lunches, which is why I’ve dumped that duty on my poor husband), then I’m shaking in my boots about having to cook lunch for the kids over the summer.

There are only so many bagel sandwiches and pots of mac-and-cheese one mom can take!

I’m thinking that having a weekly rotation will make my life a lot easier – if nothing else, it will take the daily debate with a particular 5 year-old out of the equation.

Here’s what I’ve got so far:

Monday: Veggies quesadillas (DS5 will likely end up with whining for requesting cheese quesadillas & cut-up veggies)

Tuesday: Veggie burgers, pita and cut-up fruit (I’m thinking of making my own black bean or lentil burgers in bulk and freezing them)

Wednesday: ???

Thursday: ???

Friday:  Macaroni & cheese (yes, DS5 gets a “day” on the rotation), fruit salad

As you can see, I’ve got nothin’ for Wednesdays and Thursdays, so I’m turning to you all. Let’s dish lunch ideas. Here are my qualifications: Easy, quick, (more-or-less) nutritious, and above all, palatable to the more particular palette (isn’t that a nice way of saying picky?!).

Leave your best lunch ideas (and recipes, if you have them) in the comments section – or link up to a post on your blog where you’ve shared a lunch idea or recipe.


  1. ever try ramen noodles (made w/less water than pck recommends) and add to it chicken/tofu/veg chicken and fresh steamed or frozen vegetables of your choosing? its good and the veg and protein offset the salt from the ramen spice packet.

  2. falafel in pita, home-made baked fish sticks & fries, mini pizza, cheese sandwich.

  3. My usuals are morningstar farm chicken nuggets, yogurt (yo-crunch) or whole wheat psata with sauce.

  4. Sora Chana says

    pizza bagel, rice cakes w/ peanut butter or cream cheese, grilled cheese on whole wheat bread, pancakes, latkes, tofu stir-fry, soup (mushroom barley, veggie, noodle), eggs (scrambled/omelette), salad with his choice of veggies, pumpkin/blueberry/corn muffins, rice with sauce.
    Hope this helps!!

    • We have done a lot of these, too. Glad we’re on the same page. And, I’m impressed that you’d fry up latkes for lunch!

  5. PB & Banana Tortilla with maybe a sprinkle of chocolate chips (not nutritious but I get “Mommy Rocks” points for this one). You can also do cream cheese with the banana. The kids like it.

    Grilled Cheese (we use Cheddar cheese) on WW

    Vegetable Soup – Make your own in a crockpot and add Alphabet Letters.

    Tomato soup and brown rice (HUGE hit in my house).

    Standard PB&J or Cream Cheese &J on WW

    Tuna fish sandwiches (my kids love this, though I know this is not normal).

    Pizza Muffins (WW English Muffin with tomato sauce and cheese)

    Cheese and crackers with cut up veggies (snacky style) Really good for hot days when everyone needs to eat, but no one really wants anything heavy).

    Fruit with every lunch. Cut-up fruit, apple, banana.

    Mac & Cheese is in there, but not often. My 5YO would eat it every day if I let her.

    I make FAKE Calzones. I use a WW pita, fill it with cottage cheese and a little tomato sauce. Then I put some shredded mozz on top and microwave enough to melt the cheese. Messy. But huge hit here.

    Cottage cheese and fruit – pineapples, grapes, bananas or any berry are hits here.

    If I think of any others I will share.

  6. mara – have you posted your home made veggie burger recipe? I’m always looking for a better one.

  7. caroline says

    pasta and marinara. make morningstar nuggets, chop, and use those to “beef” (haha, i know) up the sauce.

  8. Bacon Egg and cheese wraps- every1 in my house loves them (using Morningstar bacon of course)
    salmon croquets- i shape them like burgers and put them on english muffins and they are not fishy at all adn they freeze well.
    Beef Goulash- i make in bulk and freeze in small containers, ready to reheat. You can use chicken or inexpensive beef cuts.
    Vegetarian Chili and Rice wrap

  9. Tziporah says

    In the summer I still make what about the same lunches I make during the year. But that is because the kids eat leftovers cold in their lunches. If your kids like sandwiches you could try different experiments, maybe the kids can come up with some of their own idea. Have cut up veggies and fruit for sides. We also have a sandwich maker. Those are fun to put lots of different combinations into. Try fake meat and cheese sandwich in there, so yummy!

  10. Great topic, love your ideas.
    What about hummus (I made my own – linked up my recipe above) with cut up veggies and a half a pita?

  11. Mara, I just came across this link and thought I’d share it. Some good healthy lunch tips for kids.

  12. Have you ever seen the bloggers who do Muffin Tin Monday lunches? So cute…a whole bunch of fun finger foods served in muffin tins…breaks up the monotony of veggies and fruit with hummus, which is my go-to quick lunch…served with whole grain crackers and cheese usually…

  13. I’m late to the party but just wanted to say thank you for posting this – I need suggestions too! One simple thing we make a lot is omelettes with cheese – for myself, I add herbs, goat cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes. You can also fold them up in a roll for an egg sandwich with lettuce and tomato on top.

  14. Black bean tostadas. Easy, quick, and – if you start with dried beans and make them in the crockpot – super frugal. I base mine on Dean Ornish’s recipe – melt some cheese on little corn tortillas (in the microwave or in a skillet), top with black beans, lettuce, sour cream, and fresh pico de gallo (also a Dean Ornish recipe – diced tomatoes, minced garlic and red onion, cilantro, lime juice, and jalapeno if your kids like spicy – make a big batch and keep it in the fridge for a few days). Pile on the toppings and eat with a knife and fork, or wrap it up and eat like a taco. Change up the toppings and eat it again the next day. Let everyone make their own – great for picky eaters.
    With a package of 30 Mission-brand corn tortillas costing about $2, and a package of dried beans costing about $1.50, I’d estimate that, even with the other toppings, each tostada costs about 40 cents!

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