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A couple of weeks ago, I asked the fine folks of Live Simply’s Facebook community, for blog suggestions. “What do you want to see more of on the Live Simply blog?” The overwhelming response came down to: more videos and kid lunch ideas. Today, I’m sharing both, combined into one big ol’ package.
If you’ve been around Live Simply for long, you know I struggle with lunches. I spend my mornings working and by lunch-time, I have two hungry kids staring me down, tummies rumbling. I’ve found the trick to a successful lunch-time, one that I love, is planning. When I’ve properly planned and prepared, lunch-time is enjoyable and delicious for the whole family.
I keep lunch simple. Cooking real, from scratch food for a family of four, from breakfast to dinner and everything in between can be daunting. Why complicate things? Our lunches are far from culinary masterpieces or huge four-course meals. Simple and nourishing best describe our daily lunch.
Dustin often takes last night’s leftovers, while the kids and I enjoy simple meals. I prepare many of our lunches on Sunday for the week ahead. Today, I’m sharing a sample of a week of lunches, designed to nourish my kids, a toddler and preschooler. While I’ve selected items that are “kid-friendly” they are perfect for mom (or any other adult) too.
Simplify School Lunch Packing
Over the years, I’ve developed strategies that help me simplify packing my kids’ lunch. I created the Simplified School Lunch Kit to end the school lunch overwhelm and share all my simplifying strategies and lunch plans. It’s possible to simplify and even enjoy lunch packing!
Here’s what you’ll find in this kit:
- ready-to-use lunch plans
- a food prep guide
- my stress-free approach to planning and packing lunch
- nourishing recipes my kids love
- 20 fully-packed lunchbox printable cards to make building a school lunch super easy
Below the video I’ve compiled a huge list of kid (and adult) friendly recipes, perfect for lunch-time. You will also find my favorite lunch-making tools and additional resources.
My Favorite Lunch-Packing Tools (After One Year of Kindergarten: Updated June 2016)
- PlanetBox: My absolute favorite lunchbox. It’s an investment, but 100% worth the cost!
- Thermos:Doesn’t fit in the PlanetBox bag. I send this is in a back-up lunchbox that Piper picked out from Target.
- LunchSkins: These bags saved me from using plastic bags last year, which meant we saved a ton of money!
- Thermos: Fits in the PlanetBox drink pouch.
The list below is meant to give you recipe ideas. This list is not meant to overwhelm. Remember, real food does take time, but keep it simple.
I plan and prepare lunches on Sunday. Making muffins, meat, beans, rice, even smoothies (freeze and defrost) on the weekend can help lunch-time run smoothly. There are so many wonderful lunch ideas and recipes out there, this is just a starting point. A reference for when you need a recipe. While this list is meant to be “kid-friendly”, our family shares the same food, so the recipes can happily feed adults and children.
Kid-Friendly Lunch Recipes
- Freezer Bean Burritos from Live Simply
- Easy Chicken Tenders from The Organic Kitchen
- Chicken Nuggets from Live Simply
- Fish Sticks from Raising Generation Nourished
- Tuna Salad For All Ages from Raising Generation Nourished
- Ham & Cheese Lunch Bites from Momables (I like Applegate Brand lunch meat and a good pastured cheese)
- Salmon Burgers from Live Simply
- Chicken Noodle Soup from Live Simply
- Viva La Beef Taquitos from Elliott Homestead
- Vegetarian Fajitas from Live Simply
- Crispy Chicken Thighs from Live Simply
- Chicken Salad from Live Simply
- Simple tacos or quesadillas: meat or beans, tortilla, and toppings
Kid’s Menu Classics
Mac & Cheese
- Stove-Top Macaroni and Cheese from Live Simply
- Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese from Live Simply
- Macaroni and Cheese with Swiss Chard and Mushrooms from Live Simply
- Nutrient-Dense Mac and Cheese from Naturally Mindful
- No Pasta Mac & Cheese Cups from Oatmeal with a Fork
- Sweet Potato Oven Fries from Raia’s Recipes
- Kale Chips from Live Simply
- Beet Chips from Live Simply
- Baked Sweet Potato Tots from Real Food RN
- Homemade French Fries from Red and Honey
- Strawberry Spinach Salad from Weelicious
- A simple option of cut veggie sticks. You can also make fun shapes with veggie cutters.
- Go-Gurt Like Yogurt Sticks from Live Simply
- Watermelon Cookies from Where The Watermelons Grow
- Real Fruit Snacks from Real Food RN
- Simple Fruit Salad from Nourishing Minimalism
- Fun Fruit Kebobs from Homegrown and Healthy
- PB and Fruit Rolls from Homegrown and Healthy
- Dehydrated Fruit from Don’t Waste The Crumbs
- A simple option of orange slices, berries, banana, apple slices, grapes, or other favorite fruits
Fun Sides & Muffins/Bread