In case you missed it, we recently shared tips for getting kids to make their own lunches and breakfast recipes that kids can make themselves. Can you tell we’re all about getting our kids to help more in the kitchen? Let me tell you, it’s a game changer, especially on busy weekday mornings.
To help even more, we wanted to share some of our favorite school lunch ideas that kids can make themselves too. These are all basic, kid-friendly recipes that will give them the healthy boost they need to get through their afternoons in the classroom.
If your kids are still learning to prepare meals, you can help them prep these ahead of time, then let them grab and pack in the morning. Or if your kids can be trusted to cut, spread, and spear on their own, let them make these while you’re fixing breakfast. We think the independence and responsibility is great for them.
Top: Easy kid-friendly wraps | Super Healthy Kids
This quick and easy recipe for pizza pinwheels is still a favorite around my house. The recipe makes a lot, especially if each kid wants to make their own, so I recommend fixing these for dinner with a big side salad, and letting the kids pack the leftovers in their lunch the next morning.
While my kids still turn their noses up at sushi (c’mon, kids!), they think this Banana “Sushi” recipe at Gather and Dine is really fun for lunch. When you have a free afternoon, definitely take the time to make a batch of her strawberry chia jam: It’s full of fiber, protein, and fatty acids that may help keep your kids focused at school. Or at least it will make them say, “yum!”
While it may not be the healthiest recipe around, my kids love this idea for making PB&J with mini waffles that we found at Cooking Classy. Even my kindergartener can toast his own waffle and spread the peanut butter (or almond or seed butter) and jelly with his kid-friendly butter knife. Honestly, the hardest part will probably be getting the lids back on the jars and putting them away, ha!
Wraps are one of our favorite go-to meals for breakfast or lunch, so I was excited to find so many easy wrap ideas at Super Healthy Kids (above & top). Sweet, savory and, of course, peanut buttery, there are plenty of ideas here for the kids to choose from. I plan to print this out and stick it on the fridge for quick and easy inspiration that doesn’t require asking me a million questions.
Is it just me, or is it easier to convince kids to eat veggies if they’re on a stick? That’s why I love all the different ideas for lunch box kabobs at Mom on Timeout, like pepperoni pizza, chicken quesadilla, and this Chicken Cobb Kabob. This is a great way to use up dinner leftovers for lunch the next day, but the kids can still make some version of these even if you don’t have leftover chicken or bacon. Lettuce, avocado, cubed cheese, and deli meat work well too.
I love the idea of sending my kids to school with these frozen smoothies at One Good Thing and all the kids have to do is press blend. The kids will have to make these ahead of time so that they freeze, but once they do, packed in a lunch box, they’ll do double duty keeping the rest of the meal cool and giving a sweet and healthy treat. If your kids eat late in the day, I’d recommend using OJ instead of milk.
I think that nearly any of these sandwich alternatives using tortilla chips is something that the kids can make on their own and, hello, tortilla chips: the motivation to make these will be high in my house. The easiest of all the ideas is tortilla chips and healthy dips (pictured with hummus), which makes a nutritionally well-rounded lunch. I’m also thinking that the Tortilla Salad will encourage vegetable packing—and eating—too.