Coming up with kid-friendly lunch ideas has got to be one of my most dreaded tasks. I tend to count on having leftovers, but sometimes the fridge is bare. And I worry that I’m giving my kids too much bread because that’s the go-to when we’re scrambling for ideas. But I’ve been testing out some new ideas and I’ve come across a few winners for last minute lunch ideas!
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I’ve found that what works great for my 3yo is to put a big selection of finger foods on a segmented plate and he picks away at it. Usually he eats it all. So I’ll give him a ‘main’ like a banana wrap or pizza wheel, then supplement with a handful of grape tomatoes or berries and a string cheese.
Plates like these are great because that way none of the foods touch each other. Toddler moms will understand. 😛
The main problem with lunch is that we’re either rushing home or rushing out the door at that time of day and I need a quick solution before we start getting cranky. There’s no time to make something fancy, we’re going for tasty & satisfying in a hurry.
Last Minute Lunch Ideas
Ham & Cheese Crescents:
Wrap up a slice of ham and slice of cheese in pillsbury crescent dough and bake. Delish.
PB & Banana Wrap:
Spread peanut butter (or other kind of nut butter) on a tortilla and wrap it around a banana. We call this a ‘banana taco’, you could also slice it up for a different approach.
My kids will gobble up oatmeal like it’s their last meal. I don’t know what that’s all about but I’m certainly not going to argue! I usually add an apple or some berries and sprinkle the top with brown sugar.
Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup:
Yes this is a staple of any lunch recipe repertoire but you can mix it up a little. Sometimes I’ll add a fried egg or slice of deli meat to the grilled cheese. The tomato soup can be canned or homemade.
We often had mini pizzas as kids which was just a slice of bread with pizza sauce and cheese and broiled for a minute. I like to do these on an english muffin or naan bread and you can add some leftover meat or veggies.
I’ve recently discovered the joy that is cooking with a silicon baking mat. I find that we use a lot of tin foil and I’m trying to cut back on our waste wherever I can. We’ve used our silicon mat to roast potatoes and bake chicken and it has worked like a dream! The potatoes came out all crispy and still slid right out of the pan.
Quesadillas Stuffed with Leftovers:
Everything tastes better with melted cheese on top of it.
Whenever I see a good sale on french bread or other long loaf of bread, I’ll pick up a couple and slice them all up to freeze. Then we have the perfect bread slices ready to go for french toast.
We always keep a couple cans of tuna in the cupboard for a quick lunch solution.
Use applesauce instead of butter to feel extra good about yourself!
These are such a comfort food for me. I love them topped with peanut butter! I just follow the recipe on the cornmeal bag but I use butter instead of oil. 🙂
Ham & Cheese Egg Muffins:
Mix it all up like an omelet then pour into a muffin tin and bake. Easy for little ones to eat with their hands.
My little guys don’t care for avocado unfortunately, but this is still a great option for a filling and nutritious lunch.
Mac & Cheese with Cauliflower or Sweet Potato:
There are lots of recipes out there for adding sneaky veggies into mac and cheese. This dish would take a little extra time to prepare though.
Mashed Potato Tuna Patties:
These are great if you have any leftover mashed potatoes. I never know what to do with leftover mashed potatoes because they don’t reheat all that well. I always forget about fish cake type dishes!
Quick Corn Chowder:
For a cold fall day. Use canned corn or any leftover veggies hanging out in the fridge. If you’ve got time, you can whip up some cheesy biscuits to go with it.
I know this one is more of a gamble, not many kids like broccoli. But if you cover it in bacon bits and cheese they might go for it! Surprisingly my kids do alright with raw broccoli pieces, we call them trees and make a whole game out of eating them.
What are some of your go-to lunch ideas? Share in the comments!