After a long summer and online learning since last year, getting back into the groove of waking up early and packing school lunches is not an easy job. Now a lot of times we can just rely on leftovers from the night before to stick in a lunch box but sometimes that doesn’t work out. If the night before’s meal was tasty and eaten up then we actually have to plan for a lunchbox the next morning. Most of the time kids get bored of lunches easily so it’s good to have a few ideas up your sleeve.
- Tuna veggie rolls
One of the best methods to add protein to your meal or snack is using canned tuna. Many kids love this and could eat it straight out of the jar. Canned tuna provides an important source of nutrients, like fatty acids omega 3, high-end protein, selenium, and vitamin D. Most tuna species have about 2 g of fat per 113 g and less than 45 mg of salt and cholesterol. If made in the morning, those rolls will remain in the lunch box of your child until lunchtime at school (in an airtight container). However, they can also be made the night before and kept in the fridge in a container, they will be just as good.
Pair this food with a small side salad. Cut up some fruit, cucumbers, and carrots for them to munch on as well. The main star of this meal is actually the dipping soy sauce. If your kids are older and less messy they will love this. Just pack a small container of soy sauce for them to dip the rolls into. And lastly, if you want to add a side of protein you can steam some edamame beans sprinkled with some salt on the side. This is the perfect example of a balanced meal.
- Hummus and spinach sandwich
Many schools do prefer that kids bring lunches that are nut-free. This may be hard if your go-to packed lunch meal for the kids is peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. However, they are much more you can put into a sandwich other than peanut butter.
A big favorite is a hummus and spinach sandwiches. Find a good store-bought hummus or make your own and use that as a creamy base for the sandwich. Hummus pairs greatly with all types of vegetables. A hummus sandwich is a great meal rich in fiber, carbohydrates, and proteins. Another substitute for hummus is using avocado as the base for the sandwich. This creamy fruit will keep the bread super moist and delicious. Add some salt and pepper and lettuce leaves and you’re good to go. Chop up some seasonal fruits to go with it and your child’s favorite crackers, cookies, or even homemade french fries.
If your kid is missing their favorite PBJ sandwich there is always the option to look for any type of seed butter. The most popular is sunflower seed butter. These are a great substitute for peanut butter, they virtually taste exactly the same, and after putting the jam on as well it’s identical to the classic PBJ.
- Chicken Pasta
Chicken pasta is definitely one of those addictive meals that your kids would happily have for dinner and lunch the next day. However, it’s also so easy to make that you could whip it up first thing in the morning or before going to sleep. With this meal, you can also use any type of pasta you have available and the meal can be more fun to eat for the kids if it’s their favorite pasta shape. This is also one of those meals that can be frozen in the freezer for up to 2 months. You could pack individual servings in the freezer for a busy week where you know you won’t have time to make lunches as per usual.
If you have an instant pot you are going to love this Instant Pot Crack Chicken pasta by Corrie Cooks. Using an instant pot to cook pasta allows you to cook everything together in the pot at the same time. This means that as the pasta is cooking it’s soaking up all the amazing flavors of the other ingredients. Other than all of that, this recipe only takes 9 minutes of cooking time, super easy to make!
- Zucchini fritters
Zucchini fritters are a great way to get vegetables into your kids if they tend to avoid them. After the first bite, your child won’t even care that the color green is part of the meal. These chips are now incredibly easy to mix up. Just shred your courgettes, drain them with a clean dishcloth, and place them in a bowl with all the other ingredients. From there mix it all in, scoop it onto a hot pan, flattening it to look like a pancake. Cook, flip, cook the other side and serve.
These fritters are marvelously nutritional, and great for these picky eaters to sneak in some vegetables. The best thing is, you can cook these for the kids as a snack or put them in their lunch box as a part of their meal. You can pair them with a dressing or sauce like tomato sauce or ranch. Cut up some fruit on the side and stick the kid’s favorite biscuit or cookie on the side.
- Veggie taquitos
If you’re looking for foods that you can make batches of, have them for dinner and save some leftovers for lunch then this is the perfect food. These veggie taquitos are so versatile, you can mix and change up what you put inside them. They can be stuffed with ground beef, become vegetarian, this makes it very easy for them to be made from scratch.
Depending on how you like your taquitos you can make these as small thin rolls or you can go a bit overboard and add a lot of toppings for a fully packed roll. Either way, it’s still going to taste great. These can be paired with some veggies and dipping sauce such as ranch or hummus on the side, maybe some salsa as well. These are filled with protein and wholesome nutrients.
- Chicken parmesan meatballs
These chicken parmesan meatballs are be cooked super easily and come together really fast – in under just 30 minutes! Basically, all you really need to do is throw the ingredients into a food processor and press the button, scoop them into balls, stuff them with cheese, roll them and stick them in the oven. These don’t have to be packed as lunches, they can also be easy to eat and delicious snacks.
Another great thing about these is that you can eat them paired with a lot of other things as well. You can stuff them into sandwiches to make a Mediterranean-inspired meal (like falafel)l, eat them over pasta, on polenta, or stick them in a salad to make it more filling.
Packing these as lunch for school they can be paired with some veggie sticks or even some rice. Stick some marinara sauce in there as well and your kid has a full set meal that they will no doubt be asking for again.