Homeschool seems firmly on the agenda for the next few months. So, I have created a few more quick and easy kids lunches for Summer. I can make these easily while juggling their education, the house work and fitting in my blog work.
A question I often hear among parents is what can I give my child for lunch? I have asked that question myself before to see what kind of meal inspiration I can gather. I don’t know about you, but our house over the Covid-19 lockdown period has felt at times like a cafeteria! One meal or snack just seems to roll into another. The kids were getting stuck in a rut, always wanting a plain old cream cheese sandwich or ham sandwich and crisps. I was also getting bored of always preparing just sandwiches that my kids are so used to getting in their packed lunch box when attending school.
I have included a mix of hot and cold lunches. Some take longer to prepare than others but most are pretty quick, easy and varied. I also have a fussy eater in my house and she was pretty happy with what I prepared, so that is always a bonus. I do try and add salad, fruit, veggies or a smoothie to these lunch ideas so they’re getting a varied diet and some extra good bits. Also when I say season you can omit salt for younger appetites or use sparingly.
As we have four children, I have focused on making a few sharing platters perfect for larger family tables. I find it satisfying and easy to prepare a few quick platter lunches. They love the novelty of helping themselves and somehow the clearing up seems less with this type of lunch. Any leftovers can get rolled into a picnic for the next day. Which leads me to say, utilise any leftovers from dinner the night before. It makes for a more affordable food bill each week, we find any savings a godsend right now! It also gives me a sense of satisfaction to know we’re minimising our family food waste. Food planning your lunchtime meals can also help you plan in how to use up the leftovers.
Please note that in some of these kids lunches we had to make do with the ingredients we had in the cupboards as I did not want to go and shop for non-essential recipes during lockdown. I have added some other suggestions of ingredients you could use in the descriptions of the lunches.
First up, I thought I would start off with a platter lunch board. This was a kids cheese board lunch of which myself and Dougie also tucked into with a bit of extra salad on the side. Simply use the cheeses that you have in your fridge. My kids love plain old mature cheddar and Flo’s favourite is cream cheese! Use a variety of crackers / breadsticks from your store cupboard and then add the usual cheeseboard accompaniments of pickles, chutneys, apple, celery etc.. We also added in some smoked salmon and lunch meats to the platter.
I enjoy a Buddha bowl when I go out for lunch or when the kids are at school and I’m having a nice peaceful lunch over nap time. So I decided to recreate a buddha bowl but with kids tastes in mind. Shred, cut and grate a variety of salad, fruit and vegetables and place in little pots or a cake muffin tray.
Add in any small finger type food such as falafels, quorn nuggets, cocktail sausages, cheese etc. Then toast some wholemeal pitta breads and then slice them into strips for dipping. Arrange around some dips such as hummus and sour cream and serve on a platter so they can all dig in together and make up their own buddha bowl. I often find that they’re more adventurous at trying foods when they get to help themselves.
Tip – If you use separate pots, you can simply pop a lid on any leftovers to use in salads later or for more kids lunches another day.
We made use of leftover roast chicken meat for this recipe but you could also go veggie.
Place your dry noodles in a saucepan and just cover with enough vegetable or chicken stock to boil them through. Add in your chosen vegetables, we used some leftover vegetables of carrot, brocolli and peas. Then add in your cooked shredded chicken and 1 Tbsp soy sauce and season. Optional extras are 1 tsp marmite, chopped coriander and 1/4tsp Chinese five spice. Using a slotted spoon collect noodles, chicken and veg and pop into a mug. Spoon in a little of the liquid if your child prefers a more soupy noodle. Alternatively you can drain the liquid away leaving the noodles, meat and veg to eat.
You could add in frozen mixed veg or tiny diced peppers if you prefer.
A quick tortilla fried sandwich filled with cheese, mmm! What’s not to like about this? You can always swap baked beans for another filling if they don’t like beans. You could fill with sliced tomato, peppers etc
Place a mini soft tortilla on a bread board and place slices of cheese on top and a tablespoon of baked beans then simply pop another mini tortilla on top. Using a fish slice carry the wrap onto a warm oiled frying pan to warm the tortilla through to melt the cheese. Once fried on one side, simply flip it over to heat and toast the other side. Once cooked cut in half or quarters and warn them it could be hot in the middle!
We used to live in Germany and while over there we enjoyed a German breakfast. Every so often we recreate different versions of a continental breakfast for our kids lunches.
We usually use soft brioche rolls or crusty rolls and then serve with either scrambled egg and continental meats such as salami or in this case smoked salmon, boiled egg and Dutch leerdamer cheese. We added in a few crudités to make it a bit healthier!
These make for a speedy twist on homemade pizzas. Also without realising it, these bagels ended up with a bit of a food art twist by resembling an owl!
I always have a batch of hidden veggie pizza /pasta sauce on hand in the fridge / freezer. See my tortilla pizza recipe with details on how to make a speedy hidden tomato based sauce. You could also use tomato puree with some basil if you’re stuck for time. I tend to lightly toast the bagels under the grill and then add on their chosen toppings and bake in the oven on a moderate setting for about 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and golden.
This recipe is based on 4 / 5 small-med sized lunches.
Boil up some pasta following the packet instructions but boil the pasta in vegetable stock. Towards the end of cooking add in frozen peas/ veg/ sweetcorn. Once the pasta is cooked reserve a cup/mug of the stock before you drain the rest of the stock liquid away. if making this recipe for one or two then decrease the amount of stock you reserve for the pasta.
Place the drained pasta back in the pan, add the mug of stock back to the pan with the cream cheese – the amount you add in will vary as to how many you want to serve. We tend to roughly use just under 1 level tbsp per portion. I also add in 1/2 tsp of English mustard or mustard powder, season and then add some chopped ham or cooked hot dogs to the pasta. Simply heat the sauce gently, serve in bowls and add some grated parmesan. This is a really quick cooked pasta meal and one my kids all enjoyed.
I always use ready rolled pastry as I don’t have the time to make my own. I very lightly spray my silicone muffin mould with oil and then use my largest pastry cutter to cut out shapes. I often let my youngest do this as she can’t really go wrong and enjoys making shapes in the pastry. It just means I end up re-rolling a few times!
Lightly beat 5-6 eggs in a jug and season with a teeny amount of salt and some pepper (omit salt for younger ones). You can also add a drop of milk into the mixture to thin it out slightly.
Pour the egg mixture into the pastry lined muffin holes. I tend to fill ours about 3/4 full leaving room for our toppings. We filled ours with grated cheese and then added a variety of toppings; cooked bacon bits, small snips of smoked salmon and frozen peas/ canned sweetcorn. Other small toppings such as pepper, mushrooms or cherry tomatoes can also be used.
Then bake in an oven at 180 degrees in a fan oven for about 25 minutes. Use a spoon and check that the bottom of the pastry is cooked throughly before taking them all out the tray. We like to keep any leftovers for picnic food.
I have added in a few more simple kids lunches that you could try;
I hope that these kids lunches for Summer give you some lunch time inspiration and I would love to hear how you get on serving these up to your own children. Also a disclaimer to say I also enjoyed eating all of these lunch meals with the kids too!