Fun Lunch Ideas for Kids

Coming up with fun lunch ideas can be challenging, but lunch is a great chance to include vegetables, protein, and dairy into the overall daily meal plan. Here are some ideas to try:

Eating Together
If you can, make lunch a group effort! Lunch can be a time for children to help make their meal and serve themselves. One fun way to involve children is to host a sandwich bar where each child can "build” their own sandwich. Put several types of low-fat deli meat out on a platter, with another plate of low-fat cheese slices and lettuce or spinach leaves. Offer sliced veggies like tomatoes, onions, or bell peppers, and don’t forget some whole grain bread.

A salad bar would work the same way. Have the children help tear and rinse lettuce into bowls. Jazz up the salad bar with different colored veggies, fruits, and mushrooms. Add protein options with chopped chicken breast, beans, and sunflower seeds.  Have another bowl with shredded low-fat cheese. Include a variety of low-fat dressings to add a little more flavor. Challenge children to make their own Rainbow Salad.

On Their Own
When you need to leave the children to make their own lunches, have plenty of easy ingredients on hand. Whole grain bread or flour tortillas are easy to spread with peanut butter; leave one banana to be sliced or rolled per sandwich/tortilla. Try out this Banana Burrito recipe!

Use leftover pasta from earlier meals and add lots of diced veggies for a quick and cool lunch.

Mix diced hard-boiled eggs or drained tuna with low-fat mayonnaise and leave pre-rinsed lettuce leaves with a loaf of whole grain bread for older children to make their own sandwiches.

Want to make lunch time even easier? When you make dinner during the week, think about leftovers. Store them in child-sized portions and let each child enjoy the leftovers throughout the week for lunch.

Check out our previous Eat Smart blogs and our Recipes section on the Eat Smart website for other lunch ideas!

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© Eat Smart, Be Fit Maryland!Maira Gall