Summer went by way too quick! If your child is anything like mine (read: picky as all get out), then you’ll be struggling to figure out what to pack her for lunch in the coming school year. This last year, she was in this amazing program called Sure Start through the school system so they provided lunch and the kids had to eat what was given, no exceptions. For kindergarten, however, it looks like they’ll have a choice.
Lord, help me, Banana is the pickiest eater there is. If she could eat chicken nuggets all day, every day 365 days a year for every single meal, she would be happy and never get tired of it. Believe me, we’ve experimented. She went 3 months eating nothing but nuggets and she was happy as a clam. Thankfully for SureStart, her palate has expanded but is still limited. She recently just started loving cream cheese sandwiches so I’m jumping for joy!
Anyway, we’re veering off track here. I took to the internet in search of quick and easy lunches that hopefully Banana will eat. I also went searching for a container that would be easy for a 5 year old to open. Unfortunately, I didn’t find any that I thought would be super easy so it looks like we’ll be doing plastic ziplocks at least until she learns to open the reusable containers. I’m hoping that will happen before the year is out!
For children who are a bit stronger, I really like the containers that are divided. You can get some on Amazon and they are fairly inexpensive. I think I saw a 10 pack for about $12? (Don’t quote me on that. We’re doing ziplock baggies, remember?). We also saw some at IKEA that my husband picked up for himself. I had Banana try to open it by herself but the way she man handled it, I don’t think her lunch inside would fare very well.
Some quick and easy lunch ideas that your child will eat:
- DIY Lunchables: crackers, deli meat or salami or pepperoni, and sliced cheese
- Sandwiches (duh) but instead of a peanut butter and jelly, try cream cheese on toast with some pepperoni in the middle which is great if your child’s classroom is nut free. You can also try classic ham and cheese on toast. I like to toast the bread so it doesn’t get soggy or mushy.
- Sandwich pinwheels! Roll up some deli meat and cheese in a tortilla and slice. Here’s an easy recipe: Pinwheel Mini Sandwiches Mayonnaise optional. OR! Something fun would be to spread Nutella on the tortilla, wrap a banana up and slice.
- Hummus and baby carrots, sliced cucumbers, cheese cubes, and olives. Pretzels would make a good contrast, too!
- Meatballs (for something fun, you can stuff with mozzarella). You can pair with cubed cheese or string cheese and some cut fruit or veggies. Here’s a recipe for some delicious Oven Baked Mini Meatballs.
- Crescent roll hot dogs
- Cheese and ham quesadilla
- Little muffins! You can even make homemade zucchini or carrot cake ones and they’d never know they were eating vegetables or you can definitely get the premade ones like me! Ain’t nobody got time to bake in this heat! It’s 95 degrees Fahrenheit as I write this and we’re in the land of no air conditioning so you better believe we’re not baking anything! Here is a super versatile recipe with some mix-in ideas: Toddler Muffins.
- Cut fruit with yogurt
- Chicken salad. Make it with a rotisserie chicken and they’ll be sure to gobble it up! I was surprised my daughter ate it!
And you want to know the best part? You can prep most of these ahead of time and pop them in the fridge for grab-and-go ease! I’m all about easy in the mornings! Lunch is always ready to go and the best part is that Banana will be able to have a choice in the morning on what she’d like for lunch.
Some ideas to pack with the “main dish” part of lunch:
- String cheese or babybel cheese wheel
- Fruit cups or slice their favorite fruit. We love apples in our house and mandarin orange fruit cups!
- Yogurt or pudding
- Pretzels or goldfish crackers
- Fruit snacks or fruit leather
- Dried fruit
I’m really trying to think of things that my daughter would eat. I’m hoping that there are parents out there that will have children with broader palates and their lunch list will be more varied but I’m thinking that these will be the only things I’ll be choosing from this school year!
Do you have any tried and true school lunch hacks? Let us know below in the comments!