Kids Lunch Ideas & Recipes
Do you need ideas for kids lunches? If you are like me it can be
simple to plan easy kids meals for breakfast.
Dinner is the major event to plan. But lunches are difficult for me.
You can only have so much peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or
To help I've made a list of kid lunch ideas and posted it on the
fridge and in my cookbook. I even had the kids sit down with
me and we brainstormed lunch ideas. I especially like to do this
before the school year starts and I'm always in need of kid lunch
Help your kids be in charge of packing lunch with these easy recipes
Here are Some of Our Favorite Ideas for Kids Lunches
These ideas work well served at home or put into a lunch box. Just
stock up on plastic containers of various sizes, a kid size thermos,
several ice packs and a lunch box and you can turn most healthy meal
recipes into kids lunches.
- Pasta Noodles sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.(add chopped ham
- Peanut butter sandwich
- Toasted honey sandwich. Place honey in a mini container and
include a spreader for putting together at lunchtime.
- Hot dog or homemade corn dogs
- Homemade or store bought pizza
bites or bagel pizzas
- Soup in a thermos and breadsticks on side.
- Rice with or without shredded chicken
- Pasta salad
- Lunch kabob-Ham,
pineapple, cheese cubes or something similar
- Mini quiches
- Chicken kabob with rice on the side
- Tuna sandwich
in a pita
salad sandwich-shredded chicken and small bit of mayo
- Baked chicken breast with a bread roll
- Chicken meatballs
- Chicken Lo Mein with baby corn
- Tortilla wraps
- Deli meat sandwich or mini subs
- Mini bagel sandwiches
- Biscuit sticks with ham and cheese
- Beefaroni or Spaghettios
- Fish sticks
- Homemade or store bought Chicken
- Cheese sandwich
Fry or Fried Rice
- Bean, corn, hamburger bake -simply add canned beans, drained,
can corn drained and ground hamburger.
- Pizza on a stick-sausage chunks, veggie chunks, pepperoni
chunks. Serve with a breadstick on the side.
- Green salad or fruit
- Boiled Eggs or scrambled
- Egg Salad sandwich
- Pepperoni sandwich
- Rice Balls
- Chicken drumsticks
- Chili in a thermos
- Stromboli or calzones
- Taco Salad
- Sloppy joes with a
bun on the side
- Mini meat pies
- Taco ingredients with a tortilla or tortilla chips
- Leftovers! Make a little extra each night for dinner.
This provides lunch for anyone the next day including your kids
school lunches. Or if you don't want to eat something twice in a
row freeze them in Rubbermaid containers to pull out later.
Check out some
leftover recipe ideas.
- Homemade Chicken Soup. Place roast chicken with chopped
carrots, a quartered onion, 1-2 celery leaves and 2 bay leaves
in a large soup pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Cook
and simmer on medium-low 1 hour. Drain broth into large bowl.
Allow to cool. Shred chicken. Use the shredded chicken for a
casserole or other dish. Freeze the broth for a quick soup for
lunches. Or if you want soup now add noodles, frozen carrots and
peas and cook until vegetables and pasta are tender. A quick
homemade soup that can be used for kids lunches or eaten at
home. More chicken
- Think out of the box for sandwiches. Try cut out bread
with fun cookie cutters, bagels, tortilla wraps, crackers,
pancakes or crepes. This changes things up. I've even given my
son peanut butter on a pancake cut into triangles. It was a hit!
See some kids sandwich
- Pasta. When cooking
macaroni and cheese add in peas, ham or tuna. Or for school
lunches cook fun pasta noodles and sprinkle with Parmesan
cheese, Italian dressing, leftover spaghetti sauce or tomato
- Mini calzones.
Make small ham and cheese or pepperoni calzones and freeze for
- Omelets. Add
cheese, meat and chopped vegetables of your choice. May not work
for your kids school lunches but great for kids lunches at home.
- Shredded meat. Use
left over pork or beef roast. Shred and put on top of a
tortilla. Add cheese and other taco fixings for your child to
put together at school. Or shred and mix with barbecue sauce.
Eat with a hard roll.
- Muffins. Pizza muffins or corn dog muffins are great
for a change in kids school lunches.
- Simple Goulash soup. Add cooked noodles and cooked
ground beef to tomato juice. Season with pepper.
- Meatballs. Use store
bought frozen meatballs or make a large batch and freeze on a
cookie sheet until frozen then place in storage bag. With
leftover spaghetti sauce or tomato sauce make a meatball
sandwich with French bread or eat with cooked noodles. For a
child's school lunch you can put meatballs in a rubbermaid
container and sauce in a separate container. Give them a
toothpick or fork and they can dip their meatball. Or make a meatball soup.
- Ravioli. Buy store
bought cheese or meat ravioli. Add to chicken soup, toss with
spaghetti sauce or plain yogurt sauce. Many kids like to eat
- Mini size hamburgers, chicken legs, or chicken wings
are also a kids favorite and can be used for kids lunches.
- Salads. Make a meal out
of a salad. Cobb salad or pasta salad work great in their
lunchbox with the dressing in a small container on the side.
- Snack Ball Ideas
rolls- A simple wrap kids love because they can see
- Granola and yogurt- Short on time or ideas? Add a side of granola
with a package of yogurt. Include blueberries or
raspberries as well if you have some on hand.
- Hot dog muffins- Using a simple corn muffin recipe, add
in small chopped hot dogs or one inch hot dog in the middle of
each muffin before baking.
- Homemade Lunchables- All you need are mini cookie cutters and a
plastic container to create your own lunchables.
Eggs-Press the two halves together and wrap up for less
Some of our Favorite Products for Kids lunches
Something I've found that has made a difference for lunchtime, is a
roomy, reusable lunch box set and fun kid size containers.
Kids Lunches - Packing Vegetables
Don't forget to provide vegetables in small
containers to go in your kids lunch box. Talk with your kids
and add what vegetables they would like to your "lunch list."
- Mini green salads
- Carrots-cut in coins, sticks or diced
- Corn in a small container
- Green beans
- Steamed broccoli or raw
- Steamed cauliflower or raw
- Peas in a small container
- Bell pepper strips
- Cucumbers cut in coins or sticks
Make sure to include vegetables in their sandwiches as well as on
the side in their lunch boxes. Get them involved in deciding which
ones to include but try to get them to add at least one and work on
adding more as they get use to it.
Kid Lunches Ideas and Recipes
Chicken Lo Mein
Serve for dinner and include leftovers in your lunch box.
- 8 ounces uncooked linguine noodles
- chicken breast halves, cubed
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 1 (16-ounce) bag frozen stir fry vegetables
Cook noodles. While noodles are cooking, cook chicken pieces in a
frying pan. Add soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic and chicken broth.
Stir in frozen vegetables and cook covered on medium. When chicken
is cooked through and vegetables are tender mix drained noodles into
chicken mixture. Serve immediately.
- Flour tortilla
- Deli ham, turkey or tuna salad
- Sliced cheese
- Vegetables your kids like such as shredded lettuce, shredded
Place deli meat on top of tortilla and add vegetables. Roll up and
cut in half. Wrap in plastic wrap or in a plastic container. If
desired included mayo or miracle whip on the side.
Add chopped ham or other deli meat and shredded cheese to homemade
biscuit dough. Flatten onto cookie sheet and cut into strips.
- 2 Cups flour
- 2 teaspoons Sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 Cup milk
- 3 teaspoons Baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Cream of tartar
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1/2 cup Chopped ham
- 1/2 Cup shredded cheese
In mixer blend flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and cream of
tartar.Add shortening and blend. Stir in milk until dough forms a
ball. Stir in ham and cheese. Roll or pat dough into a
rectangle. Cut into rectangle sticks and bake at 450 degrees for 10
minutes or until golden.
A thermos works great for bringing soup in a lunch box. Before
placing soup in thermos pour boiling water in thermos and let it sit
for 10minutes. Pour water out and add soup.
- 6 oz. ground turkey
- large beaten egg
- 3 tablespoons bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 6 Cups chicken broth
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1 Cup pasta bowties
Combine turkey, egg, bread crumbs and parsley and form into
meatballs.In saucepan cook broth and add carrots. Bring to a boil
and add pasta cook 5 minutes. Lower heat and add meatballs. Simmer
until cooked through. More
- 1 slice baked ham, diced or chopped*
- 1/4 Cup celery, diced
- 1/4-1/2 cup mayo
Blend all together and serve with toasted bread or wheat crackers.
*You can replace with canned ham.
Beans and Franks
- 1 Can baked beans
- 1 pkg turkey hot dogs, chopped
- 1 teaspoon mustard
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, optional
Stir all together and warm up. Place kids portion size in warmed
thermos for lunchtime.
Italian Chicken Strips or Drumsticks
- 1 lb. chicken breasts, cut in strips or chicken drumsticks
- 1/2 cup Italian dressing
- 1 1/2 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
Add ingredients together in a ziploc baggie. Marinate for 1
hour. Bake or grill. Add to lunch box in the morning.
Picnic Taco Packets
by Lori (Utah)
For each person have:
- 1 bag Doritos or Fritos chips
- taco meat browned, drained, seasoned
- shredded lettuce
- grated cheese
- ketchup or taco sauce packets (like from the deli or
Open the bag of chips. Toss in a scoop of meat, handful of lettuce
and grated cheese. Top with ketchup or hot sauce. Instant taco salad
We like to place a piece of teriyaki chicken inside the rice ball.
My kids won't eat cold rice, but they will eat rice balls in their
lunch. A friend who is Korean and Japanese makes them for her
children, and my children wanted to try them.
Use short-grain rice cooked so it is sticky (Uncle Ben's will not do
this!). You might have to experiment with your rice-cooking a few
times. It doesn't have to be Japanese rice. Dip your hands in a bowl
of salted water, then grab some rice and shape into a ball.
You can put a filling in the middle or not. This works the same way
food on a stick works. Kids like to eat it! My kids like them very
small, with other little foods.
Make a twist literally on a pizza kids can take in their lunch.
Create these with bread dough. Roll dough out into a rectangle.
Spread with pizza toppings. Roll up jelly roll style and slice. Add
to a greased 13x9 pan and let rise 15 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees
until golden brown. See more pizza
how to make spring rolls
More Lunch Help
and Wrap Recipes
Also visit our List of
for more ideas.
6 or fewer ingredients for main dish recipes for lunch ideas.
See our Healthy Snack Ideas
for more ideas.
Would you like more help
with kids school lunches? Visit
school lunch page
for help with getting your kids involved in
packing their lunches, providing variety, what to pack for school
lunch and more help with kids lunches and healthy lunch ideas.
What is your kids favorite lunch?
Submit your favorite kids recipe
Do you have a favorite recipe your kids love to make? Or a recipe your kids ask you to make again and again? Share it with us!
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