A week’s worth of easy lunch recipes
For many parents, the last thing we have time for is packing a lunch. But we’re here to say, don’t give up just yet! Of course, there are standby favorites like PB&J, but if you’re looking to mix it up, here’s a week’s worth of meals you can knock out in a hurry.
To get started, try these flexible recipes. Be creative and substitute ingredients as necessary to accommodate your child’s eating habits. The goal is simple, healthy and delicious!
- Hard boil enough eggs to use in 2 lunches.
- Scoop watermelon and honeydew balls; toss with pineapple juice to retain color and freshness.
- Cook one serving of shell-shaped pasta and then drain, cool and store in an airtight container. (2 oz. is about one serving.)
- Make mini meatballs using your favorite meatloaf recipe; bake and then freeze in single layer. When fully frozen, store in airtight bag.
- Chop red, yellow and green bell peppers (one each). Store in airtight container
- Trim a small handful of broccoli florets into bite-sized pieces.
- Make cashew butter in food processor by blending 2 1/4 cups of raw, unsalted cashews, 1/4 teaspoon salt and about 1 tablespoon of canola oil. (You want just enough to make a thick paste. You could also use a splash of lemon juice or orange juice.)
- Make 1 cup of trail mix by tossing together various nuts, coconut flakes, dried blueberries, cherries and other favorite dried fruits; add a few chocolate chips for extra flavor.
Monday: Mexican Black Bean Pinwheels
- Spread cream cheese on whole wheat tortilla. Sprinkle black beans, diced bell peppers and cheddar cheese over the top. Roll tightly and cut on bias. Wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- Include 1 serving of Salsa for dipping.
- Add melon balls and blueberries drizzled with honey for dessert.
Tuesday: Shells and Veggie Pasta
- Toss 2 oz. of pasta, bell peppers, corn kernels (frozen is fine), broccoli, halved cherry tomatoes, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Drizzle with scant amount of Italian salad dressing.
- Add melon and strawberry skewers with a single serving of vanilla yogurt for dipping.
Wednesday: Italian Meatball Soup
- Sauté one onion, 4-5 carrots and 3 celery stalks in soup pot until softened. Add a bag of chopped kale or spinach until wilted. Add meatballs and enough low sodium beef broth to completely cover (about 1/2 cup per serving). Simmer until heated through. Season to taste with parsley, salt and black pepper.
- Make a chopped salad by tossing mixed greens, chopped hardboiled egg, cheddar cheese, grated carrots and sliced green onions. Drizzle lightly with favorite dressing.
- Pack with apple wedges tossed with pineapple juice to prevent browning.
Thursday: Turkey and Swiss Pinwheels
- Spread roasted red pepper hummus on tortilla; cover with thinly sliced roasted turkey breast. Top with Swiss cheese slices and chopped lettuce. Roll tightly, chill overnight and then slice into 1” pieces in morning.
- Peeled hardboiled egg, rolled in lemon pepper seasoning.
- Use half of the trail mix (1/2 cup serving) for dessert or snack.
Friday: Banana, Cashew Butter Bagel
- Spread toasted bagel with cashew butter; top with thinly sliced bananas. Slice into quarters.
- Pack celery and carrot sticks with ranch dressing for dipping.
- Use the other half of the trail mix and combine with vanilla yogurt parfait for dessert or snack.
- Layer yogurt and trail mix in container, starting with yogurt and ending with trail mix