When it comes to family meals, lunch is supposed to be the easiest. Why is it then that packing lunches for the family tend to be stressful? Trying to get everyone sitting at the dinner table is enough work, who wants to worry about lunch for the next day? Luckily, there are a few easy and nutritious recipes out there to make back to school lunches a breeze. The trick is making sure you have plenty of leftovers so that you and your kids have real food for lunch, not a bunch of processed junk. If you’re looking for new recipes as the school year begins, here are 10 back to school lunches for the whole family.
1. Deli-Meat Roll-Ups
Deli-meat roll-ups are one of the easiest and tastiest lunch options out there. And parents, fear not, no need to result to the basic ham and kraft cheese roll-ups of yesteryear. Today, there are tons of healthy roll-up recipes including delicious ingredients like pesto, sun-dried tomato and hummus.
2. Tuna Sandwich
Sometimes, simple is best. A tuna sandwich can be the perfect solution to a busy morning packing lunch in a rush, while still wanting to provide a balanced and nutritious meal. Tuna sandwiches don’t need to be boring, feel free to get creative with flavors including fresh apple slices for a sweet crunch, lemon juice for freshness, or even try swapping Greek yogurt for mayo. Using high-quality sandwich bread is the key to the perfect sandwich, so make sure you pick out something tasty.
Keeping a few crockpot recipes up your sleeve is a great way to make sure you have the resources you need to throw a bunch of veggies in a pot and make something delicious. The best thing about crockpot meals is that you can make them days in advance, and store the leftovers for lunches all week long. For example, making a big batch of vegetarian chili over the weekend can supply lunch for a family all through the week.
4. Vegetable Sushi
If you’re looking to mix up your lunch routine, adding some vegetable sushi ensures you get fresh veggies at lunch without dealing with carrot sticks or romaine lettuce. Vegetable sushi is fairly simple to make, and a fun cooking project the whole family can get involved in. Consider adding carrots, avocado, peppers, cucumbers and even sweet potato.
Quesadillas aren’t just for kids, and if you are feeling ashamed of eating a quesadilla at the office, just think of it as a fancy taco. Dress up your quesadillas with extra veggies like avocado and even kale, and make your own pico de gallo for extra flare.
The best thing about a casserole is that you can have it for dinner one night and lunch for the next five days. Casserole dinner recipes are relatively hands-off, allowing you to relax once the dish is in the oven. You can also double or triple recipes to ensure that there is plenty of food to last all week, and portion leftovers into individual containers for easy lunch-grabbing first thing in the morning.
7. Spring Rolls
Like vegetable sushi, spring rolls are another fun way to get extra raw vegetables into your mid-day diet. Spring rolls are super simple to make, and another fun project to involve the kids in. The only special ingredient is spring roll wrappers, which are available at most major grocery stores and Asian grocery markets. For an especially delicious meal, whip up some homemade peanut sauce for dipping. You’ll end up putting it on just about everything.
We know, salad doesn’t always have a reputation for being particularly exciting or filling. But there are tons of salad recipes out there that are packed with protein and flavor. You never know, they might be so good your kids even want to eat them.
School nights, and mornings, can be hectic. Sometimes boiling a big pot of pasta is all you can manage, and that’s okay! Pasta can make great lunches for the whole family. Try using grain-free alternatives, like pasta made from rice or chickpea flour. You can also throw in a bunch of vegetables and see if the kids notice. Kale, spinach, tomatoes and peppers are all delicious in pasta.
10. Cold Noodle Salads
Chances are, you don’t like using the microwave every day at lunch. And the rest of the family needs lunches that are easily pulled from the fridge and ready to eat. Enter cold noodle salads. Cold noodle salads are packed full of flavors, veggies and sauces that just get better over time. If you’re a fan of Szechuan style food, you can easily make a delicious lunch with chili paste and sesame oil. Toss in some extra veggies and you have a meal the whole family will love.
Family Lunch Made Easy
No need to survive on peanut butter and jelly or crackers and cheese any longer. Family lunches don’t need to be complicated to be delicious and nutritious. The secret to easy back to school lunches for the whole family is planning ahead, making big dinners and plenty of recipes you can pull straight out of the fridge. Whether you decide to toss everything in a crockpot first thing in the morning or throw together some spring rolls the night before, try out these 10 easy recipes that the whole family will love.