Easy lunch recipes for your kids
School is in session! School certainly looks different this year, but at least one thing remains the same: Your child needs a lunch to eat. For kids learning face-to-face, this means lunches that are quick to pack, portable, easy to open and includes food that they like. For those learning from home, this means food that that be quickly reheated or requires little prep and includes food that they like.
Lunches should provide at least 3-5 food groups (dairy, vegetables, fruit, grains, protein). If your child has more than three hours between lunch and the next meal or snack, strive to provide at least a serving from all five food groups for your child. This will provide a satisfying combination of fiber and protein, to give your child's brain fuel to learn and keep their belly from getting empty too quickly.
If your child is learning from home this year, leftovers that can be reheated is a great option. Another easy option is what I call a "snack meal." This is a meal (3-5 food groups) that is comprised of foods that require minimum prep yet provide the nutrition your child needs for lunch. Snack meals are great for both packed lunches, and to have in the refrigerator ready to go for your child to grab when lunch break arrives.
5 food group choices for your child's school lunch
The list below is not all-inclusive but provides some suggestions of foods you can grab from each food group to make a lunch. This list works great for adult lunches as well!
- Whole wheat crackers
- Dry cereal
- Whole wheat tortilla, bread, or bun
- English muffin
- Mini bagel
- Granola bar
- Cooked pasta
- Waffle, French toast sticks, pancake
- Pita chips
- Raw veggies (carrots, grape tomatoes, bell peppers, etc.) with dressing dip or hummus
- Small salad with dressing
- Canned or cooked vegetables
- Low-sodium vegetable juice
- Steamed edamame
- Small fresh fruit (apple, orange, pear, peach, plum, banana)
- Canned fruit cup
- Dried fruit
- 100% fruit juice
- Cut up fruit like melon, pineapple, berries
- Milk or nut milk (soy, almond, cashew, oat, etc.)
- Greek yogurt or regular yogurt
- String cheese
- Sliced cheese
- Shredded cheese
- Cheese curds
- Drinkable yogurt
- Peanut butter or other nut butters
- Hard-boiled egg
- Cottage cheese
- Deli meat
- Canned chicken or tuna or salmon mixed with mayonnaise
- Steamed edamame
View all our main dish recipes here.