Lunchtime can be a challenge with kids during the summertime (or anytime for that matter!) It can be so tempting to reach for those premade lunch items at the grocery store like chicken nuggets or corn-dogs. Whether you’re on the go or just wanting to get out of the “what’s for lunch” rut, these fast and easy recipe ideas are a fun way to involve your kids in the cooking process and to help teach them healthy cooking habits.
These recipe ideas are great if you have kids who love to help cook or just love choices–remember, kids are more likely to try new things and eat their meals if they feel ownership during the process–i.e. either helped cook or helped choose toppings/ingredients.
- Homemade quesadillas in a whole wheat wrap–take whole wheal tortilla and add cheese, black beans, corn to one side. Fold in half and microwave starting at about 30 seconds. Cut with a pizza cutter into triangles or use cookie cutters to make fun shapes. Let kids dip in salsa or guacamole if desired.
2. Almond butter and banana rolled in whole wheat wrap: Spread your nut butter over tortilla, place banana in the middle and roll up. Fun extras: drizzle with honey, add nuts, raisins, craisins, or sunflower seeds *Side note* I have a friend who tells her kids this is a “monkey lunch” and they love that!
3.Turkey roll ups: turkey, cheese, and pickles rolled up and pinned with a toothpick or wrapped in a large lettuce leaf.
4.Homemade lunchable: whole wheat crackers, cheese slices, and turkey
5. Tuna Pita Sandwich: Whole wheat pita stuffed with tuna fish and any extras like: tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, or sprouts
6. Mini pizzas made on whole wheat English muffins: If you’re using store bought sauce, pay attention to added sugars or salt. Spread sauce on English muffin, top with desired veggies or meats, sprinkle with cheese. Bake on foil lined sheet until cheese melts. You can also make these ahead of time and freeze before baking for a future use.
7. Grilled cheese sticks: Just a regular grilled cheese cut into strips. For some reason, kids love eating them this way!
8. BBQ Chicken sandwiches made with 21 Day Fix BBQ Sauce:
- 6 oz can of tomato paste
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbs molasses
- 1 Tbs raw sugar
- 2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce (Lea & Perrins has all clean ingredients and you can get it pretty much anywhere)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
- a pinch of salt
- black pepper, to taste
Heat all ingredients together in a small pot over medium heat and bring to a bubble. Check seasonings and adjust if necessary. Let bubble, giving it a stir every minute or two, for about five minutes. That’s it!
For sandwiches: mix well with shredded chicken and serve on whole wheat bread/bun. This is a recipe that you can make ahead of time, split chicken mixed with BBQ sauce into single servings using Ziploc bags, and freeze. Just pull out the night before and place in fridge to thaw for lunch the next the day.
Fun Lunch Sides:
- cheese sticks
- hard boiled eggs
- fresh fruit
- carrots and celery
- Raisins or Craisins