We love to have fun with our kids, and kids love to have fun with their food. Instead of trying to stop kids from playing with their food it’s a great idea to re-harness this energy by bringing them into the kitchen. Getting children engaged with ingredients and dishes they really like and involving them when you prepare meals will benefit everyone in your household, and you will all have fun cooking together! Here are just a few ideas for fun healthy lunches for kids to get you started!
If you make your children’s lunches the night before, have your kids help! Below are some simple recipes for lunches that are fun to make, taste good, and are good for your kids!
Meat and Cheese Roll Ups
Favorite sliced lunch meat
Favorite sliced cheese*
These roll ups are simple to make, very filling and you are practically playing with food as you roll them up! These are delicious, protein heavy, and gluten free!-Lay a slice of meat on a clean surface, lay a slice of cheese on top and then cover the cheese with another slice of meat.-Fold one end over and begin to roll up.-Place 2-3 in a sandwich bag.*If you don’t have sliced cheese don’t fret! Cut a rectangle of cheese and wrap the meat around it. Just as easy and delicious!
Cookie Cutter Sandwiches
Large cookie cutters
Sandwiches are classic and delicious. No reason to change what’s great about them, but you can make them way more fun with fun shapes! Kids love to use cookie cutters and this is a great solution for little ones who don’t like crusts.-Make your kids favorite sandwich (We are using PB and Jelly for this example but this would work for practically any sandwich!)-Place finished sandwich on a flat surface.- Press cookie cutter into sandwich to cut out shape. You can make them all the same shape or get wild and use different cookie cutters. The more shapes the more fun!- Wrap in plastic wrap or put in a sandwich bag for portable yumminess!
Veggies on a Stick
A little novelty can go a long way with kids. Pick out some favorite veggies with your child and show them how to push the veggies on a skewer. This is great for a bag lunch or a snack at home. Serve with a sauce that compliments the veggies. Here are some yummy veggie/dip combinations:-Cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots on a skewer with ranch to dip-Red and green pepper slices, cucumbers and celery on a skewer with hummus to dip-Mozzarella balls and cherry tomatoes on a skewer with pesto to dip (a kid friendly version of caprese salad!)-Mix and match your kids favorite veggies and dip! Get creative!
A day at home with the kids is the perfect time to gather up your little ones, get into the kitchen, and experiment with lunch! Have fun, be creative, and don’t fret if it gets messy!
Tortillas (corn or flour)
Shredded cheese of choice
Mini pepperonis or sliced ham
Other favorite toppings:
Red or green pepper diced
Most kids love pizza, and kids love having options when it comes to food. Lay out ingredients for them to choose from and assist them in creating their own pizza!-Preheat oven to 350 degrees- Cover cookie or baking sheet with aluminum foil and lay tortillas on baking sheet- Spoon pizza sauce onto tortilla and spread out to cover most of the surface.- Show your child how to sprinkle shredded cheese on top and monitor to make sure it’s not too much! The pizza will be hard to handle if there is too much cheese!- Once there is the right amount of cheese it is time to choose and arrange other toppings! Arrange them on top of the cheese, then sprinkle a little more cheese on top so that when it melts the other toppings are secure. Have fun with this step! You can make faces or designs with the toppings or just let your little one have at it and place the toppings as they choose.- After they have added everything on that they desire put the cookie sheet in the oven and bake until the cheese is fully melted!- Remove from oven and let cool. Once the pizza is cool enough, use a spatula to transfer to a plate and cut into slices that are easier for little hands to handle.
Your favorite tortillas
Canned black beans
Mexican style chicken or beef**
Nothing quite hits the spot like warm gooey cheese and crispy tortilla! This is a simple black bean quesadilla, delicious and filling. Meat is optional and a great way to use up leftovers from taco night!-Put shredded cheese in a bowl and keep close by-Mix half a can of black beans and ¼ of a can of corn together in a small saucepan and heat up.- Mix in a small amount of taco seasoning into warmed black beans and corn. Not too much if your children are adverse to spicy foods! Once fully mixed take off heat and set to the side.-If you are using meat re-heat slightly and set to the side-Get a larger pan nice and hot and warm both sides of the tortilla.-Once tortilla is slightly toasted lightly sprinkle cheese on one half. Spread evenly.-Spoon a small amount of your bean and corn mixture on top of cheese. If you are adding meat to your quesadilla, add some on top of the veggies and cheese.-Evenly sprinkle cheese on top of the added veggies and meat; without this cheese the quesadilla won’t stick together!- Flip other half of tortilla over and toast on both sides until cheese is melted! Serve with salsa and sour cream.
Fruit Puree Popsicles
2 cups fruit of choice, fresh or frozen (strawberries, watermelon, peaches, blueberries)
What kid doesn’t love a Popsicle? These are a bit healthier than store bought versions and you can make all sorts of varieties with different fruits. You can pick up Popsicle molds at almost any grocery store.-Blend 2 cups of fruit and honey in a blender. Start with 2 tablespoons of honey and add more to taste.-Pour into Popsicle molds and let freeze for several hours.-Hand out to treat hungry kiddos!