Weekday mornings are hectic enough without having to rack your brain for what to pack your little one for lunch. We’ve put together a list of simple ideas that will keep things interesting for your child, without making a whole lot of extra work for you. Post this list on your refrigerator for those times when you need inspiration!
Put it together in 5 minutes or less:
Pair each entree suggestion with a side of fresh berries, fruit, sliced vegetables, or their favorite dried fruit snack.
Hummus & Veggies – Scoop a generous portion of hummus into a container and pair with your child’s favorite veggies, along with a handful of tortilla chips or pretzels.
Nut Butter Wrap – Spread your child’s favorite nut or seed butter on a whole grain wrap. Top with a little bit of jelly and/or freshly sliced banana, strawberries, or apple.
Charcuterie for Tots – In a sealed container, combine a variety of hormone-free, organic meats and cheeses such as turkey, ham, salami, cheddar, and Swiss. Pair with seeded crackers or a wrap, and let them make their own mini sandwiches.
Quesadilla – Spread a tortilla with canned refried beans and a little cheese. Fold in half and cook in a skillet until browned (or microwave in a pinch!). Let cool, then slice and pack with a small container of guacamole for dipping.
Breakfast for Lunch – Split an English muffin and spread with cream cheese. Top with sliced hard boiled egg and some fresh spinach.
Picnic Lunch – Portion out a bit of tuna salad or egg salad. (Find it ready-made in our grab-and-go section!) Pair with crackers or pita.
Pasta Salad – Turn leftover pasta into a quick salad: add chopped celery, some cooked vegetables such as broccoli or green peas, dressing of choice, some shredded cheese, and sliced almonds or pine nuts for crunch.
Waffle Panini – Make sandwiches using leftover pancakes or waffles as the bread, and spread with cream cheese, seed or nut butter, and/or jam. Press in a panini press or griddle on the stove top. Cool and slice.
Harvest Bowl – Toss together leftover grains, proteins, and vegetables, and top with cheese and/or seeds for a healthy lunch. Try baked or blackened tofu, roasted sweet potato, rice, and pumpkin seeds topped with sliced avocado. Or, turkey meatballs and broccoli over barley with shredded mozzarella.
Make these recipes over the weekend and add them to lunches all week for an extra-special (healthy!) dessert option.
Chia Pudding – Chia pudding is creamy and satisfying enough to count as a dessert, or it can be topped with plenty of fresh fruit and a handful of granola for a filling, protein- and fiber-rich lunch option. To make, combine 1.5 cups milk (plant milk works too!), ½ cup chia seeds, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and maple syrup to taste. (Try 1-2 tbsp.) Let it sit overnight, then stir and portion into serving containers. (It should be thick and creamy – if it is too runny, simply add more chia seeds and stir.) Try mixing in colorful superfood powders like Acai, Pomegranate, or Spirulina to give the pudding gorgeous color!
Allergen-Friendly Muffins – For a simple boxed mix, try Simple Mills brand Banana Muffins (can be made without eggs) or try a recipe like this one.
Easy Grab-and-Go Snacks:
These are tried-and-true favorites that kids love. Keep them on hand for when the refrigerator is bare and you need to throw together something nutritious.
- Don’t Go Nuts Bars
- Made Good Granola Minis
- RxBar Kids
- Justin’s Nut Butter Packets
- Dried Nuts and Fruits from our Bulk Section – toss with Annie’s Bunny Grahams for a healthy and fun trail mix!