This is the second post in my series about cooking with kids. If you missed it, you can read my first post about breakfast right here! Today, I’m talking about lunch! If your kids are in school, there are a few options below that you could make with your kids ahead of time and then pack to take. Otherwise, making these ideas together on the weekend would be fun!
If you have little ones still at home, making lunch together can be a great activity to fill some time during the day. I know lunch can sometimes be a speedy “I make it, and they devour it” type of affair, but by bringing my kids into the kitchen with me, we can stretch it out a bit!
Here are a few of my favorite lunches to make with my kids! If you have some of your own, please share in the comments section at the end!
My kids love pasta salad. While I cook a 16 oz. box of whole wheat spiral pasta, I have my kids cut the veggies and add them to a large bowl. I add a head of broccoli florets, one chopped diced red pepper, a pint of cherry tomatoes cut in half, a small can of sliced black olives, and about a cup of diced cheddar cheese. Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water. Add pasta to the bowl of cut veggies and stir – my kids love that part! Then they can help squeeze on some Italian dressing and stir some more. Serve right away or refrigerate until ready to eat.
Smoothies are a great addition to lunch for so many reasons! First and foremost, my kids love them, so I don’t have to beg them to drink them. I like that they’re quick and easy to make. Also, by preparing the smoothies at home, I can make them pretty healthy. I always add fruit and milk, but with the addition of spinach, oats or natural peanut butter, I can up the health factor even more! My kids like to add the ingredients to the blender, push the “on” button and taste test to see if we should add more of an ingredient. Here’s a recipe for one of my favorite green smoothies!
Cream Cheese + Veggie Wraps
Here’s a fun and easy way to get some veggies into your lunch! Take any kind of wrap, we like whole wheat and have your kids spread cream cheese onto it. Add some chopped-up veggies on top. We like to use carrots, peppers and broccoli, but any mixture your kids like will work! Roll it up and slice into 1″ pieces. If your kids are old enough, they can help cut veggies and the roll into slices.
Peanut Butter + Banana Sandwich
This is my personal favorite lunch, and my daughter loves it too! At six years old, she can mostly do it herself. Simply spread peanut butter on two slices of bread and add banana slices on top of one. Sandwich together and enjoy! I sometimes make this on an English muffin and eat it open face. You could also use a wrap and fold it in half or roll it up and cut it into pieces, like the wrap above.
Everyone loves a snack plate, right? They’re quick and easy to make. They help use up those random five crackers or a handful of blueberries that need to get eaten. It’s also an excellent opportunity to talk to your kids about putting together a complete meal. I’ll have them help pick up a fruit and veggie for their plate. We’ll talk about what a grain is. Can they cup up that apple or maybe stir some strawberries into a yogurt? Do we have everything – fruit, vegetable, grain, protein, etc.? Sure they often just want to add goldfish crackers, fruit snacks, and cheese to their plate, but most of the time, we can create something that makes everyone happy!
What are some of your favorite lunches to make with your kids?