Monday, August 10, 2009

Kids Lunch's- HELP!

Okay Ladies, I have asked before and you always deliver- so I need your help again!
My kids (4 and 2) and getting to the age where I can't just fake lunches for them, and they are getting tired of Mac and Cheese and Hot Dogs (sound familiar?)...
So- I am wondering, What do you cook your kids for lunch?
What are your favorites?
I am talking easy, quick (I am no Martha) and fun for them!

To show our gratitude- we'll choose a favorite and send ya some coupons!

Photo courtesy of Living Locurto, and no- this isn't what I had in mind! :)


Rachelle said...

My kids love this (me too).
1 tortilla with cream cheese spread on it and then some lunch meat. Some like mustard some don't. Roll it up (2 like it warmed up in the micro the other 3 don't)..
When I make it for myself I like to add variety, add a slice of cheese, pickles, tomatos anything really..

Julee said...

My son is easy and could eat a PB&J almost every day. Our favorite thing to do lately is cut it with one of those cute shaped sandwich cutters (that cut the crust off). We put the sandwich to the side and then fill the "hole" with something fun! He still only eats the crust about 1/2 the time, but he loves that the crust makes a fun bowl.

Shala said...

I love to make grilled cheese sandwhiches, but so my 4 and 18mo old daughters will eat them I use small cookie cutters to make fun shapes for them. I also do celery sticks with peanut butter and put some raisins on top. We call this ants on a log.

Utah Deal Diva said...

When you coupon, you tend to have a lot of whatever happened to be on sale that week. Instead of planning out specific lunches, I try and have a food-type "guideline" I adhere to. I serve the following items: a protein, fruit, veggie, whole grain & misc. (Many times we have 2 fruits because they love them so much.)A few examples are:

A) apple slices, yogurt, carrot sticks, Wheat Thins crackers and a granola bar.

B)PB&J, banana slices w/ cinnamon, & broccoli w/ Ranch dressing.

C)Cottage cheese w/ fruit, Ritz crackers, fruit snacks and a strawberry smoothie w/ spinach, or whatever veggie you're sneaking in! Trust me- they can't taste it. :)

M. Du Bois said...

I'll tell you what! The key is anything they can DIP or eat with a TOOTHPICK. It's like magic!

Greta and Ryan said...

My son is allergic to peanut butter so we do Jelly and Cream Cheese Sandwiches. Our friends use this too just for a variety...the kids love it!

Amanda said...

My daughter likes "muffin pan" lunches! We only do it about twice a week - so it's a special lunch. I fill each muffin spot with a different goody! Deli meat, crackers, bananas, grapes, cheese, pickles, apples, carrots, yogurt, raisins - whatever I've got on hand. She loves it!

Shannon said...

Chicken nuggets for sure! Pop them in the microwave for a couple minutes and they LOVE them.

charlie54933 said...

I try not to do much meat in our house and my son loves Morningstar Farms soy chicken nuggets and corn dogs. Although the corn dogs have been MIA in stores for MONTHS now (arggghhh). Anyway, we like those, and of course the traditional ants on a log, and he loves almond butter sandwiches with sliced strawberries inside rather than jelly, which works awesome...less mess!

Jessica said...

One of my girls' favorites: tuna, saltine crackers and cheese...pickles opt.

Becky said...

I just give my 2 year old 6 oz of yogurt and some cut up fruit (or canned fruit) for lunch. She loves it

Terry said...

Whole wheat flat bread pizza's, sliced apples sprinkled with a bit of sugar and cinnamon. Anything tastes better to them if I put it in a "kids cuisine" tray (frozen kids meals) - I saved them and use them - they love it! Morningstar Chik nuggets are always a hit, string cheese or I'll dice up a carrot super small and throw it in a pot of chicken broth (like swansons), bring it to a boil and throw in half a cup or so of broken up spaghetti noodles for a quick "homemade" chicken noodle soup. Chopped up iceburt (I take whatever veggies I can get them to eat) to dip in ranch with baby carrots, hummus and baby carrots, pita chips and bread, "minnie-strone" soup (You can use some of your Ragu for this) - no exact recipe - small onion, carrot or two, stalk of celery, sautee them in veggie oil for 10 min then add a clove of minced garlic, some italian seasonings or basil and oregano, maybe some chopped zuchinni and sautee a couple more min - add anywhere from 4 to 8 cups of some kind of broth (I use Knorr veggie boullion cubes/water) a can of diced tomatoes (I puree in blender) or a cup or so of your Ragu spaghetti sauce - bring to a boil and then throw in half a cup of broken spaghetti noodles and simmer till noodles are cooked. Sometimes I toss in frozen corn or green beans while boiling also. It can be played around with to suit your tastes and its "mild" enough that two of my boys will eat it, especially if I call it Minnie-strone :-) wow, hope I made sense and got it right!

Terry said...

Of course the soup - salt and pepper to taste and I meant iceburg (not iceburt) lettuce :)

Terry said...

OH, you can also add a can of drained and rinsed garbonzo beans to the soup.

Brenda said...

I think kids always like food more when they get to do it themselves. We had a baked potato day today, where I put all the toppings in separate bowls (cheese, sour cream, chives, etc.), then my kids (3 and 5) get to pick and choose what they want to put on top. They think they are "cooking."

Brenda said...

Oh, forgot to add to the last post. Along the same lines on doing it themselves, mini pizzas are always a hit. A toasted English muffin with the toppings they choose, then broil for a few minutes until the cheese is melted.

~Mo~ said...

we have tostada, made with a can of tuna, drained and a can of drained mixed veggies, with a little mayo. You can eat it with saltine crackers or tostada chips,good either way.

we also have pb with banana sandwiches.

I seen in another blog whimsy love, where she puts dry spaghetti through cut up hot dogs and boils it, then adds a little parm. cheese and butter, looked good.

Kristi said...

My sister is great with fun inventive ways to get your kids to eat healthy.
One lunch that she serves and her 3 and 1 year old love is vegetables, fruit, and dips. Sound boring?
Well, she takes a muffing tin and fills each cup with a different dipping sauce. Then they take their veggies (carrots, broccoli, green peppers, apples, strawberries, grapes, etc.) and dip away! They LOVE it!!

The Hendricks ID said...

We had Peanut butter and apple sandwiches today. I like using granny smith on them but it really doesn't matter. Peanut butter and bannanah works too but I like the apple for the crunch. Obviously I eat them too :)

Mari said...

I try to get a good variety for lunches for my kids while making them fun to eat.

Waffles: Toast a frozen eggo waffle, spread peanut butter on it and add some cut up strawberries and bananas on top.

Meat and Cheese Kabobs: Cut up ham or summer sausage into cubes as well as different kinds of cheese and stick them on toothpicks.

Tuna and cheese on crackers.

Good sides are fresh fruit and veggies--but you could also do a hard boiled egg or some cottage cheese.

Rose1957 said...

Ok get you a couple of muffin tins. You probably already have some. Make some baby sandwiches and put them in the one hole in the tin. Then use fruits they like in some of the holes. Some small pieces of cheese in some holes. Just good for you things and they love to eat it out of the tins. You can use the 6 hole one so you wont have to fill so many holes. You can do a search online on muffin tin monday or Fri. can't remember which and find lots of ideas for this.
THEN when I was in a teen we used to make this in school and it's called saucy weiners. You can also serve this out of the muffin tins. Make it fun like a game with the muffin tin. A surprise and they will love it! Anyway back to the saucy weiners. Use some of that Ragu you have. What you do is slice the weiners into very small pieces so they wont get choked on them. Toss them into a pan with the Ragu and simmer just for a few minutes until the weiners are done. Then serve this over hot dog or hamburger buns. My husband loves the stuff and can't get enough of it. So it's not just for kids. It's VERY EASY to do. I think you simmer it for like 10 minutes or so. Have fun!

Rose1957 said...

Opps sorry about that! I DID NOT realize someone else had posted about the muffin tin idea. LOL as you can tell I did not read them all first before I posted my idea.

berkeley said...

Cheese quesadillas are always good. Or for a twist on hot dogs, slice them lengthwise, put cheese in the middle, cut them in 5 or 6 pieces, put a toothpick in each piece and bake them in the oven until the cheese melts.

Blur Mommy said...

Nuggets, ravioli, spaghetti, corn dog, sandwiches, pizza etc.. Come check out some of the fun lunches that I make for my preschooler on my blog: Kooky Culinary

Melissa said...

We buy the uncooked tortillas in the refrigerated section at Costco. I warm them in a frying pan and then add cheese to make quesadillas. My kids LOVE these to dip in salsa. Also, you can add chicken or anything else to make it a little different. We use them for dessert too by adding sugar and cinnamon to it. They are delightful and the kids think so too.

Sarah said...

What is it about dip? Dip is the miracle cure to all things food related for most children. I admit that I use "dip" to manipulate my child into eating what I would like for her too... and I do it very simply. Sometimes for lunch we will have a dip tasting party, to determine what kind of dips we like best with things. I put out all of the possible dips (usually three different kinds) in small quantities. Then I put out what I actually want them to eat for the day. Example meal... polish sausages chopped up and heated in a skillet until they are good and cooked. Green beans, celery sticks, and sliced apples on the side. I will then put a little bit of ketchup, peanut butter, and ranch (or whatever other ones you want to try) in nickel sized portions on her plate. As she tries each item in each of the dips, she is actually eating those things she might not normally eat if I just handed them to her. And she has a lot of fun laughing at the different combinations she tries.

Tammy said...

We make pizzas out of english muffins. Put the pizza sauce and cheese (and whatever additionals toppings your kids like) on the muffin put it in the oven to melt the cheese. The kids love putting their own toppings on.

Pip said...

Waffle sandwiches! Lightly butter two slices of bread. Set one slice on a cold waffle iron and top with cheese and a meat (I used finely chopped ham or bacon). Top with second slice of buttered bread, close the lide, and cook until crispy.

Deli meat and cream cheese rolls ups. We like salami and ham.

Cold rice with bits of fruit.

Ramen noodles with fruit/veggies on the side. You can alter flavors with soy sauce, hot sauce, or worchestershire sauce.

Freeze taco meat in snack or sandwich bags. Defrost and serve on tortillas, or taco shells. Mine liked a taco shell broken in half, covered with (warm)meat, refried beans, and cheese then heated for a few minutes in the oven.

Bagel pieces dripped in flavored cream cheese.

Pasta with butter and parmesan cheese.

One-eyed sandwiches: Cut a circle out of a piece of bread. Butter one side and lay butter side down in frying pan. Break in one egg and fry until egg is done. My kids didn't like soft yolks so I usually broke it or scrambled the egg first.

Mini-muffins cook quickly so I keep a recipe for a small batch of corn muffins taped inside my cupboard.

Panini: squashed grill cheese with your favorite cheese, meat and veggies. Split the cheese between the two sides so the sandwich stays together.

Divide leftovers into small tubs and freeze to reheat later. Even leftover pizza and meat from the grill can be frozen for lunches.

Once a week make a regular lunch into a picnic on the blanket thrown on the floor or into a tea party. It doesn't take much effort and it makes an ordinary lunch special. :-)

Sara said...

I run an in-home daycare and have 5 hungry little mouths to feed. They range in ages from 5 to 13 months. So I have about ZERO time to make lunch, but still want it nutritional. I alway make sure there is a vegetable and a fruit.

Here are examples of what I serve for lunch:

Grilled cheese, tomato soup, blackberries

Chicken nuggets, blueberries, corn

English muffin pizza (I use a food processor to add extra carrots into the pizza sauce (ragu)...they don't even know) and strawberries

Turkey (or ham), cheese sticks, carrot "chips" (just carrots shaped liked carrots), plums

Mac & cheese (either organic or the Kraft dinner kind), green beans, raspberries

Hot dog, peas, watermelon

Organic ravioli (Annie's-BUT only from Target. Target sells it for $1.79 a can and sometimes has it on sale. Everywhere else is like $3.49 a can-RIDICULOUS!), butter bread, and mix fruit in a can. This is my lazy meal. Everything is in a can and is super easy to fix. Or you can always use chef boyardee.

Fish sticks, broccoli, and strawberries

Spaghetti, garlic bread, yogurt

Organic spaghettios (again Annie's only from Target), and apple dippers

Now there is 10 lunches for you to vary week to week. Not including PB&J (which I never serve since Peanut Butter is risky for young kids I have in care).

Hope that helps!!!


Rene said...

Try these homemade "Hot Pockets" I found on the Best Bites blog: For an even easier recipe, use a prepared pizza crust.

Rene said...

Try these homemade "Hot Pockets" I found on the Best Bites blog:

For an even easier recipe, use a prepared pizza crust.

Kristi M. said...

We like cheese melted on tortillas and then rolled up. We dip them in ketchup. We also like to make our own lunchable with stacked cheese and meat on ritz crackers.

jennym said...

We love the Pampered Chef "Kids in the Kitchen" cookbook. My little ones (4 and 2) will eat almost anything if they can help make it. Also, I try to take less healthy lunch options and add nutritional value. Some of our favorite lunches include:

Asian Noodles (Ramen noodles cooked with finely chopped baby carrots, scallions, and scrambled egg). My kids crush up the noodles before they go in the pan and use the food chopper to cut up the carrots.

Pizza Slices (Use refrigerated crescent roll dough and roll out the triangles into individual pieces. Let your kids top them with sauce, cheese, veggies and/or meats, then bake them for around 12 minutes or whatever the package says for the dough. My kids love to make each slice different, and if they only have one meat choice and several veggie choices, they end up eating a lot more vegetables!)

Granola with yogurt (My kids LOVE to bake their own granola by adding oats, cinnamon, honey, nuts and butter to a baking pan. I bake it for them while they layer fresh fruits and yogurt into a tall glass, then they top it with their "homemade" granola.)

I love this post!!! I will definitely be using the dipping ideas and the muffin tin ideas! You guys are amazing. Thanks!

Samiam3 said...

Sandwich Kabobs:

Get some wooden skewers and load on cubed cheese, bread and meat, olives, pickles, cherry tomatoes, grapes, etc. Whatever your kids enjoy! And don't forget the dip!

Monica said...

I have a TON of Skippy PB and my girls love PB and honey sandwiches!

Amber said...

Lots of great suggestions here. Here's a little twist on an old standby - Pepperoni Pizza grilled cheese sandwiches:

Kelliann said...

My mother-in-law makes my daughters "octopus and seaweed". It's ramen noodles with hot dogs. The hot dogs are cut in half, then an X is made lengthwise in each half, leaving the top uncut. It will look like an octopus (with only 4 limbs). Put them in the boiling water with the noodles, and the limbs will curl up and look more like an octopus. Add green food coloring, and you have octopus and seaweed. My girls think it's so cool!

Cassie said...

My boys love it when I make "alien" lunches. Just take any kind of sandwich, cut the crust off and make it round for the stomach. I then cut cheese to make arms and legs, use olives for eyes, and whatever veggies I have for antennae and a mouth. It gets them to eat veggies they might not normally eat and they are fun and very easy!!!

Rachel @ said...

super easy lunch/dinner in a can that even my 6 year old, 16 year old and husband absolutely love!
One can corn, one can green beans, Two can chili, 1 small can tomato sauce, 1/2 packet taco seasoning. Add 2 cans water. Heat up the "soup" serve hot over tortilla chips, top with cheese, sour cream and lettuce. (add chopped onions if you wish to soup). EASY taco soup that is delicious!

Holly said...

My kids love "grilled cheese" with thinly sliced italian sourdough bread, pesto/cream cheese spread, sundried tomato turkey, olives, avacados, provolone and a little parmesan cheese toasted on the outer side of the sandwich. I use the george foreman grill and it is very quick and delicious! You can also make an "alien" out of a piece of string cheese with turkey lunch meat wrapped around it. Then add toothpicks with olives (or and other vegetable) for arms and legs and a grape/cherry tomato for the head.

Mandy Nelson said...

My boys (5 & 2) love pigs in a blanket. We cut hot dogs in half, make a little slice in them and add some cheddar cheese, wrap in refrigerated crescent dough and bake for about 10 minutes. Of course, they have to dip them in ketchup!

The Wixom Zoo said...

My kids love face sandwiches. It's super easy. We get a piece of bread and put a slice of ham and cheese on it. Then we let the kids make their "faces" with whatever is laying around. Dried apple slices for ears, raisins for the eyes or mouth, oriental noodles for hair, carrots for the nose. It's a lot of fun to see how creative they can be (and it helps to clean out the fridge/pantry!)

Lady Thought said...

My kiddies love ramen noodles with veggies in them. I chop up broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, scallions, cabbage (it's a great way to use up extra cabbage) and throw it in with the noodles to cook.

garcia6985 said...

Grilled cheese with mozzarella and cheddar, lunch meat( or pepperoni if you wish). Grill and warm up some spagetti sauce in the micro, and you have a delicious and simple lunch! I swear by these, we eat on a paper towel.. no dishes except the bowl for dipping(we share between us) and the griddle. Add a capri sun and you have a fast and easy lunch! Great for dinner too, add a salad and you have a complete meal!

Dawn said...

My kids love tacos! Our new fav is blackbeans, corn, cheese, zuccini. wraped in a tortilla shell. And we have the best fake out dessert, healthy chocolate cup cakes. recipe: 1 box chocolate cake, 1 box spice cake mix, 1 large can of pumkin puree thats it, mix, bake it using temp and time on back of the box. They are moist yummy and half the calories and fiber that our little ones need.

Terry said...

It's looking like we all agree with the dips and the packaging or presentation - for us its the "kids cuisine" tray (have the little compartments) and I see so many of you use muffin tins - I'd never heard of that but will try it for sure.

Derek-Jenny-Kaitlynd-Ethan-Dylan said...

Here's something to try! We make mini-calzones with pre-made roll dough. The kids love putting them together!
Stretch the individual roll dough out a little bit into an oval, put a spoon full of spaghetti sauce and add cheese and any other "toppings", I also add a little Italian seasoning. Then fold the roll dough over all the toppings and bake (following the directions on the dough). After you pull them out of the oven,top with a little cheese!YUM!
You could also make them baked tacos, with left over taco meat or a yummy dessert with cinnamon, sugar and a large marshmallow! The ideas are endless!

Carrie said...

Fruit is always the easiest for me. Cut up a plate full of fruit, put some squares of cheese alongside and serve with a toothpick. Before I know it, the plate is empty.

The other lunch my children love is 'banana boats' Peal the banana, lie it on a plate with the curves up. Carefully slice down the length of the banana, spread open and fill with either peanut or almond butter. Add some raisins (the sailors) and stick pretzels out the sides by each raisin. ( the oars)

Adrienne said...

I like to make a bunch of homemade hot pockets for the freezer. My kids (and hubbie) love these for lunch! Check the recipes on my food blog

hodgesheather said...

I fill the silicon muffin cups with yogurt and top with a few sprinkles. He thinks it's a cupcake and I usually refill it at least once.

andrea said...

Anything relatively healthy in a pita bread pocket (for some reason they like those better than regular bread) and, to get them to eat fruit, make a smoothie with frozen fruit, any flavor yoghurt (strawberry is good) and a little milk or juice if necessary (they think they're getting a milkshake).

Lachelle said...

We have made tuna boats before. You take a pepper (cut in half or a fourth depending on the size of the pepper) or half of a cucumber hollowed out or half of a plum tomato hollowed out. Fill that with your tuna sandwich mix adn then use a carrot or celery stick for the mast (stick it into the tuna mixture) and then use a cheese for the sail (cut it in a triangle adn put it up against the mast). I let my children have fish crackers with their tuna boats.

We have cut shapes out of sandwiches with crackers.

We have used pampered chefs little circle tool that cuts a circle out of the bread and at the same time seals the edges of the circle making a little sandwich pocket.

We have made peanut butter and honey pinwheels (you can sprinkle granola or Honey Bunches of Oats on this as well). Make the pinwheel, roll it up and cut it into pieces. (Can also make the pinwheel with whatever your heart desires--you may not always want to cut it though, cheese and salsa, chopped veggies and cream cheese, etc.)

Core and apple, fill it with a peanut butter and raisin mixture (can cut the apple into rings as well).

Make fruit kabobs and dip it into yogurt or veggie kabobs and dip it into ranch (or hearts desire).

Make "shrunken sandwiches" using ritz. Can put peanut butter and jelly on it or do an open face cracker with a dab of pizza sauce, cheese and pepperoni (if you have small cookie cutters may be fun to cut out the cheese you put on these).

Can use the muffin tin idea one but with a twist. Use empty egg cartins. Put little muffin liners in each spot and then fill with various fruits, veggies, crackers, nuts, etc.

Make zoo sandwiches with animal crackers and peanut butter and jelly.

Pizza muffins as well:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/ 4cups milk
1/4 cup veg. oil
1/3 cup marinara sauce
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup finely chopped pepperoni.

Sift dry ingredients together. Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Make a well in dry ingredients, add wet ingredients and mix until combined. Mix topping ingredients (except pepperoni) together.
Fill muffin cups with liners adn spoon better into each liner filling about 3/4 full. Put 1/2 tsp. topping mixture on each
batter filled cup, push in a little, sprinkle with pepperoni
Bake in oven for 15 min at 400 degrees. Cool for severeal minutes before eating (36 mini muffins)
Recipe from family fun.

Have fun!

Ann said...

My kids love the CHILI CHEESE DIP I make. It is quick and simple!
Take your fav can of chili
Shredded Taco Cheese or Mexican style
1 8oz block of cream cheese softened

You can melt all ingredient's in the microwave or on the stove top. Once everything is melted together you can poor over nachos or dip them.


Hizzeather said...

My aunt came up with this recipe for her picky son almost 28 years ago and we ALL love it and still eat it. So simple and so delish!


1 box Medium Shells
3 packets Cup-o-Soup cream of chicken soup (the red ones...we get a big pack of them from Smart & Final)
Salt 'n' Spice

Cook the shells according to package directions. just before draining them, spoon out anywhere from a cup to two cups of the pasta water and mix it in a separate bowl over the soup packets, mixing it until you have a thick soup. Drain the noodles and throw them back in the want to have some extra water that's "stored" inside the shells. :) Mix in the soup well, splash on some salt 'n' spice, and viola...lunch!

We jazz it up sometimes with this new chicken sausage we love from Sam's Club...the one with spinach in it. Just slice it up and fry it in it's own fat and throw in with the shells.

My nephews and the kids I nanny love this meal. They think of it as a cross between mac 'n' cheese and chicken Top Ramen. :)

Anonymous said...

One of my go to quick lunch meals for me and my son is baked potatoes. I cook them in the microwave and add cheese and ranch dressing. Quick, easy and delicious!

Lachelle said...

Checkout frogs in a bog too at

So cute!

Life in Lily and Spencer Land said...

We love to make quesadillas. You can use any cheese and add veggies, chicken, any left over meats, etc. It's a great way to use leftovers. My daughter loves to dip hers in ranch and our son salsa.

Terry said...

I meant to share this back when a lot of you had stocked up on peanut butter - this can be kid friendly - I've got two that love it and one that doesn't :-)

Peanut noodles -

3 T. Tamari or soy sauce
2 T. Rice vinegar
1/3 cup natural peanut butter (no sugar added - smooth or crunchy)
3 T. real maple syrup or honey
1 T. hot water
1 T. toasted sesame seeds (optional)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 to 1 tsp hot chili paste (optional...too spicy for most little kids)
1 lb fettucini or linguini noodles

Cook noodles - while cooking combine ingredients in mixing bowl and wisk together till smooth - when noodles are done, drain and rinse under cold water and add to bowl with peanut sauce mixture. I add 4 to 6 chopped green onions and sometimes add about a cup of chopped up baby spinach and/or some shredded carrots. At first the sauce may seem runny, but it soaks in to the noodles and thickens up a bit as it stands, it is excellent warm or cold.

garcia6985 said...

Chili chips and cheese, sour cream if you like. my kids love this meal! you can use canned chili, or even better, left over chili from the night before. warm up the chili, pour over tortilla chips, add shredded cheese, add a dollop of sour cream if you wish, and you have lunch, easy and delicious!