School’s back in session, and with it comes another year of packing lunches. But between buying school supplies and new clothes, figuring out after-school schedules, and helping kids find that missing shoe from last school year, they’re lucky if you even remember to pack their lunch.
But when they start getting bored with the typical sandwiches and sides by the second week of school, how can you avoid falling into the rut of making the same old lunch? Kids love variety, and it doesn’t take a fine dining chef to make it happen. It just takes a little creativity.
Check out these fun and easy recipes that will have your kids asking for more!
Sometimes, you don’t need a new recipe, just a new way to serve it. Sandwich sushi takes your kids’ favorite sandwiches and serves them in a fun, new way. They use the bread like sushi rice, flattening it and rolling it around different fillings. If you’re feeling especially creative, add a pair of kids’ chopsticks for them to eat with! The sky’s the limit when it comes to fillings, but you can try making a BLAT (bacon, lettuce, avocado, and tomato); their favorite nut butter (be sure to check whether your kids’ school is a nut-free zone!) with strawberries; or vegetables and cream cheese. Having something a little pasty, like mashed avocado, nut butter, or cream cheese will help glue the other ingredients to the sushi roll.
If breakfast for dinner gets your kid excited, why not try breakfast for lunch?
These two ingredient banana pancakes are fast to throw together and freeze well. That means you can throw a frozen pancake in a lunch and have it completely defrosted by the time it’s lunch. Serve it alongside your typical breakfast companions, like bacon, sausage, yogurt, fresh fruit, or hard boiled eggs for a complete meal they will love. And don’t forget to include a little maple syrup or jam!
Three words: corn dog muffins. This genius recipe combines cornbread muffin mix with your favorite hot dog to make a lunch time protein any kid would love to munch on. You get to the pick the type of hot dog (all-beef, pork, chicken, or turkey), plus, it’s not deep fried. This makes it a bit more nutritious than corn dogs from the carnival, and it offers a better ratio of cornbread to hot dog, which is really the best part.
These mini taco hand pies aren’t just adorable; they are a snap to customize, too! Just make your kid’s favorite taco filling (ground beef and black beans are the ingredients in this recipe), stuff it into rounds of pie dough with a little cheese, and bake! Be sure to pack it with some salsa, guacamole, and tortilla chips or maybe some sour cream, rice, and beans to make it a full meal. Or if they like a little chile, send them with a fruit salad sprinkled with a little of the Mexican fruit seasoning, Tajín. Mangoes taste amazing this way!
Once you introduce these new lunches, be sure to ask your child which one’s their favorite. And ask them what ideas they have for new lunches. School lunches don’t have to be hard . . . and can actually even be fun sometimes!