I would like to say that I am sharing all of these lunch ideas in order to educate you, our lovely blog reader, and to increase your lunch menu repertoire, but honestly, I hate to admit that …uh...this post is kind of for me. I have all of these lunch ideas floating around in my head, but at 11:30am when three
starving natives adorable munchkins are begging for grub, I can never remember this blasted list! So now, I can check my own blog post for lunch ideas!
I homeschool our children, so these lunch ideas are coming from that perspective; although many, if not all, of these items are easily adapted for lunch boxes. Plus, we don’t buy pre-packaged meals, so all of these recipes are “from scratch”.
So, here are some lunch menus that I try to rotate, in no order or pattern:
-“Ants on a log”:: Just like the picture, you simply smear nut butter onto a celery stick and apply the ants – raisins. This is definitely one of my kids’ favorites! It could also be a snack, but I usually serve them several and we’ll pair it with another veggie, some cheese or a small cup of yogurt.
– Sourdough bread with any of the following:
- cheese with fresh tomatoes (and some fresh basil if I have it!)
- cream cheese and homemade preserves
- nut butter and homemade preserves
- hummus, cheese, and tomatoes
-hummus platters with cheese, tomatoes, carrot sticks, celery, or veggies of your choice
-smoothies + popcorn
-breakfast for lunch:
- bagels with cream cheese and preserves
- omelets: cheese veggie or some of both
- baked oatmeal
- corn grits (my family’s from the South, so grits hold a special place in my heart!) savory or sweet, but we always preferred the latter.
- English muffins with your choice of toppings (we like cream cheese, nut butters and sometimes just plain ‘ol butter)
- yogurt with granola, berries, nuts, seeds, etc.
- hard boiled eggs
- Soaked Buttermilk Pancakes
-BLTs :: (These sound intense, but throw some bacon into the oven to bake (we love our beef bacon – no pork around here!), chop some tomatoes and throw it all together with some lettuce, with or without bread)
-quesadillas with beans, cheese or both
-cottage cheese :: either savory or sweet. Use tomatoes, salt + basil for a savory, filling yet light meal OR throw in some pineapple chunks and sunflower seeds for a sweet lunch.
-tomato soup (bisque) and cheese sandwiches :: This is a classic, but I can’t bring myself to buy canned tomato soup. There is virtually nothing redemptive about it, save it’s nostalgic pull back to my childhood. Instead, there is a simpler, mostly healthier approach. I simply buy a jar of organic tomato or marinara sauce. Add in some heavy whipping cream (I’ve used sour cream in a pinch) and about 1/2-3/4 c. chicken broth. Simmer on lowest heat until warm and add additional Italian Seasoning as needed. Serve with grilled cheese or simply a hunk of cheddar and it’s comfort food at it’s best!
-coconut and mango rice :: This is a sweet yet very nourishing dish, and we use it as a special “treat” for lunch. Simply add coconut milk with a touch of honey or maple syrup to white rice (Yes, I eat white rice. And with good reason) and dice some fresh mango over top. ohmylands…
-pasta with tomatoes :: As simple as it is, this is one of our favorite meals. We don’t eat much pasta, but when we do, we use rice pasta (it’s more easily digestible), cooked al dente. Then, I add a generous amount of butter, sea salt, and canned petite diced tomatoes. As simple as it is, it’s oddly addictive and a family favorite!
-cheddar cheese scones :: (I’ve made these several times, but it does take some pre-planning, although you can bake inbulk and freeze for additional meals) I’m a self-declared scone-snob and I’m still looking for a good recipe…(hint, hint…)
–banana burritos :: Yep – just like it sounds! We try not to serve fruit with our meals very often (we save them as dessert or special snacks, because they’re getting so gol-darned expensive anymore!), but we do go through a LOT of bananas. For this treat roll a banana, nut butter, raisins and a small drizzle of honey up into a tortilla shell and serve. And then make more because they will want seconds.
-salmon salad :: I’m blessed with great eaters and there are very few things that they won’t eat. Thankfully they love salmon salad and I’m more than happy to acquiesce. We simply use a can of skinless, boneless wild-caught salmon, add some mayo, relish, and salt to taste and voila. We’ve been known to eat it with bread, bagels, tortillas, or lettuce leaves and occasionally, just a spoon.
And obviously, we never want to downplay the value of leftovers! (Those are mommy’s favorite!)
Here are a few tips to remember:
–Don’t be afraid of repetition! I once read a blog where the mom served *only* cream cheese and jelly sandwiches with a side of carrot sticks, celery, or other veggie. She said it was SO easy to plan lunches, because everyone always knew what they were having, and it cut down on grocery store confusion when shopping! She has a point, but I don’t think I could do the exact.same.thing for EVERY lunch. I do need a little variety – but don’t worry if you even have just 3 or 4 of your family’s favorites that you rotate. Around here, lunches don’t need to be overly exciting, they just need to be easy and quick.
–Don’t be afraid of those random finger-food lunches. It’s the end of the week or month, right before grocery shopping day when the fridge is E.M.P.T.Y. and it’s time to make lunch. Every mother’s nightmare. There have been days where we had olives, cheese, some nut butter on a spoon, and an orange. In those moments, any shred of desire that I had to be the “perfect homemaker” is quickly squelched as I hand over a spoon of peanut butter. Funny thing is though, that is my kids’ favorite meal! Mainly because it’s all finger food and mom lets them eat a WHOLE spoon of peanut butter (plus, what is more fun to eat than olives on your finger-tips?). You don’t need to impress your kids, just fill their tummies!
What other ideas for simple, quick and wholesome lunches do you use?
picture amended by me, but originally by this great photographer
This post was linked to Traditional Tuesdays at Cooking TF, Fat Tuesdays at Real Food Forager, WLWW Link up at Women Living Well, Frugal Days, Sustainable Days at Frugally Sustainable, Real Food Wednesdays at Kelly The Kitchen Kop, Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFGLINS, It’s a Keeper Thursday at Everyday Tastes, Your Green Resource at Live Renewed, Pennywise Platter at The Nourishing Gourmet, Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade, Friday Food Flicks at Traditional Foods, Seasonal Celebrations at Natural Motherhood, Homestead Barn Hop at The Prairie Homestead, Monday Mania at The Healthy Home Economist, The Welcome Home Link-up at Raising Arrows