We get it — making lunches every day for your little ones can feel like a tedious chore, especially when you’ve got picky eaters to contend with. Not to mention when you’re in charge of everyone’s schedule, including your own, the last thing you want to do is toil over a lunch that your kids will ultimately hate. Which is why quick and easy lunches are music to Mom’s ears, right? The good news is that it’s definitely possible to prep and create no-fuss (and pleasantly healthy!) meals. Below, we rounded up 15 delicious quick lunch ideas for your kids that will leave them begging you for more.
Need even more family-friendly recipe ideas? Check out our pages on three-ingredient recipes, Crockpot recipes for kids, Instant Pot recipes for kids, healthy snack ideas, and healthy breakfast foods. Now, pull out your weekly meal planner and prepare to jot down some excellent quick lunch ideas for kids that your hungry little helpers will love.
Quick Lunch Ideas For Kids
1. Food on Sticks
Fact: Kids love to play with their food. This is why food on sticks is kind of perfect. It’s enough of a novelty that it won’t leave them bored with eating, plus they’ll be getting plenty of protein, fats, and veggies too. Think chicken satay, sausage, beef, or even shrimp skewers (check about allergies first if your kids are in a school setting). The good news is that you can easily use leftovers from dinner and then stick a toothpick through them. Then add cucumber, leftover rice, and your kiddo’s favorite fruit, along with their favorite snack. Yogurt or hummus is also a yummy touch. Check out this recipe here and here.
2. Bacon and Egg Tortellini
Who says bacon and eggs are just breakfast staples? Kids love bacon and eggs, and they love pasta. Put them together, and you have one satiating lunch that will keep them full and satisfied. Add an orange for dessert. Check out the recipe here. (P.S. Moms love eating this tasty meal too, so make extra!)
3. Spring Roll Lunchbox
Spring rolls are delicious and healthy, both of which are obviously big pros. Also making them appealing in more ways than one? Kids love ’em, and they’re super easy to make. Fill them with protein like chicken or tofu, and add carrots, red bell peppers, spinach, and lettuce. Pair with broccoli and hummus for a quick, yummy snack. Bonus: Kids enjoy making spring rolls, so you might get to skip having to do this one all on your own. Check out the recipe here.
4. Kid-Approved Sushi
Not only is sushi a sneaky way of getting your kids to eat their veggies, but sushi-making is also easily a kid-friendly activity. Kids will love helping out, whether it’s spreading the rice or making the filling. Since you can use leftover rice and veggies from dinner, this type of easy peasy sushi is a snap to make.
5. Rolled Turkey and Apple Quesadillas
Kids adore quesadillas. This simple recipe includes thin deli turkey, smoked mozzarella, shredded cheddar, red apple slices, and a sweet cream cheese mixture that will leave kids hungry for more.
6. Vegan Asian Salad
This yummy salad recipe will give your kids that extra boost of energy they need in the afternoon while also providing tons of flavor and healthy goodness. Packed with brown rice and crunchy veggies, like snap peas and carrots, it’s probably the number one salad that your kids will actually like.
7. Classic Tuna Salad
Some things never go out of style, like a scrumptious classic tuna salad sandwich. When done right like this one — think celery, red onion, mayo, dijon mustard — a “basic” tuna sandwich transforms into a delicacy. Add some pickles and potato chips along with a piece of fruit to round out the meal.
8. Lasagna Roll-Ups
Lasagna gets a new spin with fun and flavor with this roll-up recipe. Quick and easy, this recipe makes lasagna enjoyable for kids. Add some pepperoni into the mix for a different bite and texture. A flavored yogurt makes for a nice dessert pairing.
9. Take-to-School Taco Bar
Make it Taco Tuesday with this cute take on a taco bar. Use sliced roast beef or chicken for the protein along with shredded cheese and lettuce. Don’t forget to add a side of guac and salsa. Oh! And some tortilla chips, too.
10. Fruity Chicken Balls
Fruity chicken balls are fun finger food that your kids will love whether the morsels are on a skewer or not. This easy recipe is not only filled with protein, but the hints of apple and pear also give it a sweet taste that’ll be a hit with little ones. Add some veggies and dip, and you’ve got one nutritious lunch.
11. Nutella and Banana Sushi
Kids gladly gobble down dessert, so why not create a lunch around their favorite thing? Nutella and banana sushi is quick to make, and it’s so yummy that your kids won’t even notice how nutritious it is. Pair it with strawberries and yogurt for a sweet lunch, or a side of string cheese for a savory twist.
12. Sandwich on a Stick
Another stick lunch! But kids love eating from sticks, so it just makes sense to add a sandwich on a stick into the mix. This vegetarian recipe puts cubes of bread alongside slices of cucumber and lettuce with cheese to make for one delicious build-your-own sammy.
13. Chicken Salad Pitas
Is your kid an adventurous eater? Or do they love chicken salad? If so, they will love your fruity chicken salad pitas. It takes 15 minutes to prepare. You’ll need cubed rotisserie chicken, chopped apple, celery, unsweetened crushed pineapple, dried cranberries, mayonnaise, lemon juice, onion powder, salt, and pita pocket halves. After you mix the ingredients for the chicken salad, pour it into your pit halves, and voila!
14. Turkey Pinwheels
Are your kids tired of the classic turkey and cheese sandwich? You can switch things up with this turkey pinwheel recipe. You’ll need spreadable garden vegetable cream cheese, flour tortillas, fresh baby spinach, and sliced deli turkey.
15. Chili-Topped Cornbread Waffles
There seems to always be a container of leftover chili in the freezer, right? Now you can put last week’s dinner to use without having a full-fledged cowboy dinner. Instead of making breakfast waffles, make cornbread waffles and pair them with some meat and beans. If your kid usually craves hearty meals for lunchtime, they’ll enjoy this yummy creation.
To make this tasty meal, you’re going to need flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, eggs, milk, olive oil, two cans of chili with beans (or some leftover chili), jalapeno peppers, cheddar cheese, sour cream, avocado, and cilantro. Not only is this a cute brunch idea you can pass along to your mommy friends, but your cornbread waffles can be paired with other savory meals.
16. Garlic Bread Sandwiches
If your kid loves pizza, they’ll love these garlic bread pizza sandwiches. You’re going to need a pack of Texas Toast (or focaccia bread), pasta sauce, provolone cheese slices, pepperoni, and thinly sliced hard salami. Cook your bread until it’s lightly toasted. Next, add the sauce to one side of the toast along with your cheese, pepperoni, and salami. Then put it back in the oven and cook for another five minutes.
17. Vegan Hummus Avocado Wrap
Want to incorporate more veggies and superfoods into your tiny tot’s diet? The hummus avocado wrap has got you covered. Spread mashed avocado and hummus on your avocado wrap (there’s clearly no such thing as too much avocado). Then add some spinach, shredded carrots, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Once that’s done, just roll it up and watch your kid fall in love with the creaminess and crunch of their lunch wrap.