While kids in some parts of the country are already out of school, many others (including my own) have a couple of weeks left. That means their parents (including me) have a couple of weeks left to pack school lunches. And then, of course, there’s camp.

Because no rest for the wicked — or those of us who have to pack lunches.

Related: 7 easy school lunch ideas that kids can make themselves.

 
In this week’s Kitchen Help LIVE, our weekly Facebook Live broadcast on the Cool Mom Picks Facebook page, I went over school lunch ideas that are perfect for the last stretch and summer. They are easy, low maintenance, kid-friendly, and good enough to get the job done. Perfect for this time of year.

 

 

The big take away is this: At this point in the year, you can make life easy by focusing on leftovers and store-bought shortcuts.

Related: When sandwiches flop, pack healthy dips for school lunch.

 
Meal ideas that make great lunches the next day include cold noodle salads, meatballs, grilled meats, pulled meats made in the slow cooker or Instant Pot, pizza, nearly any pasta, and anything that can be added to a quesadilla. If you’re looking for specific recipes, try these great dinners that make great leftovers for lunch.

Leftovers can also go beyond last night’s dinner. When you’re cooking pasta, rice, quinoa, any of our other favorite family-friendly grains, beans, or other foods that you can easily cook in bulk, just make extra to have on hand for school lunch. Then you can use them to make school lunch grain bowls (Italian! Greek! Mexican! Japanese!), wraps, quesadillas, more interesting sandwiches on potato rolls, and more.

Leftover pasta — saved plain, before I toss it with sauce for dinner — is my favorite thing to have on hand because it’s so versatile. Toss with store-bought pesto, tuna and mayo, vinaigrette (plus deli meat and a hard boiled egg), butter and frozen peas, or an all-purpose peanut dressing (made with sunflower seed butter to keep it allergy-free).

Be sure to watch for more ideas including tips on including fruits and veggies that the kids will actually eat and my favorite store-bought shortcuts that can become the center of an easy school lunch.

Have you guys been tuning into our weekly Facebook Live series, Kitchen Help LIVE? If not, be sure to start watching every Thursday 1 pm ET / 10 am PT on the Cool Mom Picks Facebook page for live sessions where I give tips, share cheats, demo techniques, and generally chat with you guys about anything that makes life as the family cook easier. 

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