How many days do you find yourself breezing through the morning and all of a sudden realize that it’s noon and the kids are ready for lunch? It happens to all of us! When lunchtime has snuck up on you and the kids won’t wait for you to make a gourmet meal (ha!!!), try some of these quick and easy lunch ideas that they’ll gobble up.
1. Sample Plates: So, maybe lunchtime snuck up on you today and you haven’t had a chance to hit the grocery store this week (again, it happens to all of us!). Sample plates are the perfect solution to both – grab some of those divided plates from the cupboard (or a muffin tin, if that’s what you have) and start digging through the fridge. Fill up each little compartment with something tasty – crackers, sliced up apples, mandarin oranges, string cheese cut up into pieces – whatever you have! They’ll love the little “samples” of foods and are sure to request this lunch again.
2. Dip it Up: What is it about kids and dipping? They just love it and tend to be more adventurous and eat more if they have something to dip their food in! Next time you shop, grab some things that are great for dipping – hummus, Greek yogurt, peanut butter, ranch dressing – and then give them some dipping foods! Try mini pitas, sliced veggies, whole-wheat toast sliced into triangles, fruit, pretzels – whatever they love! For kids on the older side, get more creative with smaller foods like blueberries, raisins and edamame that they can use a toothpick to spear and then dip!
3. Easy Peasy Pizzas: Pizza is always a kid favorite, but sometimes even having to wait 15-minutes for a full-sized pizza to cook in the oven is too long for hungry kids to wait. Instead, grab some English muffins or bagels, top with pizza sauce (or even leftover spaghetti sauce!), top with some quickly shredded cheese and pop it in the microwave or under the broiler for a couple of minutes. Feeling brave? Try sneaking some veggies in under that cheese!
4. D.I.Y. Rollups: For a quick and easy lunch that will also get them involved with the prep, try letting them make their own rollups. Lay out flour tortillas for everyone (warm them in the microwave for 5-10 seconds first to get them soft) then let them go to town with fillings. Turkey and cheese slices, olives, cream cheese, jelly, baby spinach, thinly sliced apples, cucumbers, and peanut butter, all make for excellent fillings. Let them pick what sounds best, layer it on and then roll it up to eat!
5. Cracker Stackers: Every time you go grocery shopping, the kids beg for those pre-packed lunches in the deli section, but we’ve all heard the reports about how un-healthy those tend to be. Make this quick, easy alternative yourself at home. Buy whole-grain crackers (ones they can eat in two-bites are perfect) and stack them up with fresh turkey or ham from your local deli and their favorite type of cheese. Top with another cracker and you’re set!
What is your quick and easy go-to lunch for your kids? Tell us in the comments section below!
Looking for more quick and easy meal ideas?
– Katie Kavulla