25 Kid Lunches – Back to the basics

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“Lunch time!  What do ya’ll want to eat?”

3 yo: “Spaghetti”

5 yo: “Sandwich”

This is basically every day.  I’ve told my daughter I’m not making spaghetti every day… If we do anything it’s usually spaghettios.  And my son must take after his daddy because he seems totally fine with eating a sandwich every single day.  But that’s beside the point.  I think they would appreciate a little variation in the menu… If I could think of anything!

Am I the only mom who draws a total freaking blank when I try to think of food ideas?  Seriously.  I have so many pins on Pinterest about food… But it feels like we eat the same thing every day!

So, I’ve decided to make a basic list of food ideas.  I didn’t include recipes because this is just a kind of reference that you can print and look at when you can’t think of anything.  Then you can look up “fancy PB&J” or whatever floats your boat, and go from there!  There are literally ideas for every item on here, that I’ve never even thought of.

I do have some great recipes and ideas saved on my Pinterest board here, if you’re interested!  🙂

Anyway, I’ve including everything here that I can think of… You can keep all of these extremely simple or try to health-ify them.  Let’s be real.  I do buy pizza rolls and lunchables.  But my kids usually eat some of their veggies every night.  Parenting is about balance…

25 Lunch Ideas – Back to the Basics

  1. Pizza rolls!  Or Hot Pockets!
  2. Lunchables
  3. Ham and cheese sandwich
  4. Grilled cheese
  5. PB&J
  6. Turkey and cheese wrap – easy: melt shredded cheese on a tortilla for 30 seconds in microwave… Add lunch meat and roll it up
  7. Chicken nuggets
  8. Pizza – could do the lunchable type, the frozen ones, or make your own little personal ones
  9. Hot Dogs
  10. Corn Dogs
  11. Mac n cheese
  12. Pasta – keep it simple or add some sort of easy sauce
  13. Nachos
  14. Fish sticks
  15. Tuna & crackers – mine like theirs just tuna mixed with mayo.  Keep it simple if they are picky!
  16. Taquitos
  17. Cheese & crackers, with any kind of sliced meat – turkey, bologna, pepperoni, etc.
  18. Kabobs – even just turkey and cheese
  19. Spaghettios
  20. Ravioli
  21. Chicken noodle soup
  22. Peanut butter & banana sandwich
  23. Baked potato
  24. Popcorn chicken
  25. Leftovers

Another thing… I have found that changing things up in a simple way can make it a new favorite lunch that they wouldn’t have eaten before!  Kids are funny that way.  Here are a few simple tips.

  • Cookie cutters – if your kids are pre-school age and they are not going to eat the whole sandwich anyway, grab a cookie cutter and use it on the sandwich.  This is how I got my kids to start eating sandwiches!
  • Roll ups – It seems like there is a “roll up” idea on Pinterest for most of the ideas on this list!  (A good few of them, anyway).  Just flatten out the bread with a glass, put the PB&J or whatever on there and… roll it up.  Simple, but kids love it.
  • Food coloring – it grosses me out, but it’s worth a try.  My daughter would probably eat anything I put in front of her if it’s “blue like Elsa” and my son would eat anything if it’s “black like Batman” (even though that sounds disgusting).  Anyway, a few moms have had success with food coloring, so give it some thought if you’re desperate!
  • Get creative – You don’t have to go all out and make Reindeer pancakes or whatever, but consider adding a ketchup smiley face or something.  Kids love that kind of stuff.  It doesn’t have to be beautiful or take much time.  Just something to catch their interest.
  • Add fruit, cheese, crackers, yogurt, etc. – I give them fruit all day.  It’s extremely healthy and it makes me feel a little better about those pizza rolls… Take any of the simple ideas above and add one or two sides to make it a better meal.
  • Eat it in front of them – Seriously.  I have lost track of how many times my kids have only tried something because they caught me eating it… Like the baked potato.  Or tuna fish.  They refused to eat it in the past, but when mommy eats it, it’s a different story.  Just don’t make it obvious.  They can smell fear.

Anyway, I hope this list was helpful!  Please feel free to leave a comment below if you have any other ideas, or particular favorites… And don’t forget to check out my Kid Food board on Pinterest!