Breakfast I can totally handle. Meal planning for dinner is totally doable. But lunch? Lunch is where I struggle.
I always seem to forget about planning for lunch, which then leaves me in a lurch when I suddenly realize it’s 11:30 and I have a crying, tired, and hungry 3 year old throwing a fit on the kitchen floor.
But what to make for lunch?
If my daughter had her way we would have macaroni and cheese every.single.day. But for me, the idea of eating the same thing for lunch every day is pretty much horrible. I just… can’t.
I am also not in the habit of making a different meal for every family member, especially when there are only two of us home for lunch. Who has the time or the energy for that?!
And I want my kids to know that it is perfectly fine and normal for them to eat a variety of foods. So that means it’s my job to think of easy, quick, and healthy lunches that my children will find tolerable. Or you know, even enjoy. And that will also be satisfying for me. Some days this feels like a really hard job.
My solution is to stock the fridge with some basic staples I can easily turn into lunch at a moment’s notice.
These are tried and true lunches that I know my kiddo will eat, that I don’t need a recipe for, and that I can easily add a little variety to.
I call them Mommy and Me lunches, because we basically get the same thing, but with little twists here and there to satisfy us both. That way I don’t feel like a short-order cook, but we are both happy with what we get for lunch.
Mommy And Me Lunches
Quesadillas are totally customizable depending on what you have on hand and what kinds of things you like. As long as you have cheese and tortillas, you can have lunch! Toss in whatever leftover meat you have on hand (ground beef, diced chicken, sliced deli meat, or pulled pork, it all works!). Add in some black beans for extra protein and some veggies if you have them! Quesadillas are a great option because you can make them simpler for children and toss in all kinds of fun extra’s for yourself. I always try to serve mine with a protein rich dipper, too – like bean dip or plain greek yogurt, or guacamole which is high in folate and good-for-you-fats.
Chicken or Egg Salad
Kids LOVE making their own food – and chicken or egg salad are excellent ways to let your kids be in charge. Plus you can change things up by making it into sandwiches or wraps, eat it with crackers, or make it into a lettuce salad.
Make up a “plain” batch beforehand, and when it is time to eat let your kiddos decide how to make theirs! Lay out little bowls of dried cranberries and raisins, chopped apple and grapes, and seeds and nuts like sunflower seeds or pepitas and chopped walnuts or pecans. Instead of using traditional mayonnaise, use a plain greek yogurt to help add extra protein. Allow your kiddo to add in a few spoonfuls of whatever mix-ins they want, and let them choose how they want to eat it, and your kiddo will be in lunch heaven!
Breakfast burritos are a great lunch! They are easy to make – just scramble up a few eggs! Add in any leftover meat if you have it (or quickly cook up a few sausage links or bacon slices). Add in black beans, veggies, and whatever else you can raid out of your fridge. Sub out the sour cream for plain greek yogurt for an extra protein kick. Add in some guacamole and/or salsa and call it lunch!
I know, how dare I suggest leftovers. I can feel you rolling your eyes at me from here. When you get down to the nitty gritty of it – nothing is quicker or easier than utilizing ready-to-eat food you already have at home. It’s true! Just a few minutes to reheat, add in some fresh fruit and veggies, and you are ready to eat!
So, there you have it! Four super easy and quick ideas for lunch you can have today!
What are your favorite things to have for lunch? And don’t say macaroni and cheese…