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For parents, one of the best things about the weekend and school break is not having to pack school lunch boxes. But then, what do you give them for lunch when they’re home?
These lunch ideas for kids at home will help you come up with delicious midday meals that even the pickiest child is sure to love with healthy lunch ideas and simple recipes for those days spent at home together.
Creating yummy and healthy lunch boxes for my kids has been a goal ever since they started school, but I am the first to admit that I love the break from routine when the school holidays roll around and there’s no lunch box packing to do!
It’s all easy peasy until someone says they’re hungry and you realise you hadn’t planned a thing.
While you could easily just serve them up the same food you typically would in their school lunches, being at home gives you so many more great options for lunch ideas for kids when at home!
Especially in the cooler months when hot lunches are perfect for warming everyone up from the inside! And there are plenty of easy kid lunches at home that the whole family will enjoy.
Easy Lunch Ideas For Kids At Home
These simple and delicious ideas are great options for making lunch at home with kids (and for yourself too) with plenty of inspiration to keep things interesting throughout the long school break too!
There are plenty of ways to get your picky eaters eating the foods you want at home too, by adding some fun twists to their home lunches!
Here are some fun ideas for making their lunches extra appealing when you’re at home and have the time:
- Use cookie cutters to make shaped sandwiches or fruit pieces
- Add character to their meal by adding decorations or faces
- Use foods and flavours they love and add in healthy extras
- Dine outdoors or throw down a picnic rug to make lunch exciting at home
- Use time-saving kitchen gadgets such as an Instant Pot, slow cooker or air fryer to save time cooking lunch meals by making them ahead of time
- Keep a fridge snack station filled up so kids can help themselves between meals
Okay, now let’s get those kiddos fed! Check out these hot and cold home lunches to try.
Hot Lunch Ideas For Kids
For chilly days, hot lunches are perfect for warming everyone up! And hot lunches don’t need to take a long time to prep or cook when you’re busy trying to fit meals in around your activities or work.
Here are some simple hot lunch ideas kids and the rest of the family will love:
- Cheese Quesadillas – A delicious lunch for any age! Quesadillas are easy to make with just cheese or add your child’s favourite fillings, such as chopped deli meat, sauces, and veggies for a quick grilled quesadilla.
- Rice & veggies – Even the pickiest eaters are often happy to eat plain rice. Or with a splash of their favourite sauce mixed through.
- Toasted sandwiches – You can’t get much easier than a toasted sandwich, either in the sandwich press or in the toastie machine with toasted cheese sandwiches as a popular choice, but so many other filling options to try. Spaghetti, baked beans, leftover taco mince, salami etc.
- Baked Potatoes – Kids love baked potatoes stuffed with sour cream, cheese, bacon and more. You can bake them in the oven or air fryer and allow them to cool for a while first, then add your fillings and serve them up for a very. hearty hot lunch and special treat. Check out my air fryer baked sweet potatoes for a variation on this classic idea.
- Chilli Dogs – These hot dogs wrapped in puff pastry dough can be cooked up quickly while also being super tasty.
- Sausages & mash – A simple bangers and mash meal is often a child’s favourite and one the rest of the family will enjoy as a simple weekend lunch that doesn’t take long to make.
- Fajitas – If it’s not cold outside yet but you need some warming lunches anyway, why not try fajita wraps? They’re delicious and really easy to whip together in the pan.
- Pita Bread Pizzas – Make mini pizzas on pita bread by spreading tomato paste, seasoning, pizza toppings and cheese and oven bake until they are golden. So simple yet so much fun!
- Pizza Rolls – Just like sausage rolls except stuffed with pizza fillings. This recipe is made in the air fryer however you can easily adapt this to be an oven recipe.
- Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries – These sweet potato fries are quickly made in the air fryer, with a simple dipping sauce recipe that pairs perfectly.
- Milky Rice – My kids love the occasional treat of warm white rice with just enough milk to make it creamy and a generous sprinkle of cinnamon mixed through. It’s more like a dessert and they have loved it even back when we were seeking toddler lunch ideas and rice was one of the few foods they both loved.
- Chicken noodle soup – This hearty soup is perfect for lunch on a cold day. It is easy to make in bulk to enjoy over a few days for the whole family.
- Pasta – Plain spaghetti or pasta with a simple sauce is often a favourite for kids. Ravioli is a great option for something a little more flavoursome.
- Wholegrain toast with cottage cheese – Add cottage cheese and sliced tomatoes and a sprinkle of salt and pepper for a simple option for kids who want to make their own lunches.
- Waffles – While they may not be the healthiest option, there are alternatives to sweet waffles you can experiment with, such as savoury waffles instead. Simple home lunch ideas kids will love.
- Burrito bowls – A mix of black beans, savoury mince, fresh tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, corn and other fillers you would normally find in a burrito, yet served in a bowl so the whole family can enjoy this simple lunch meal.
- Eggs on toast – Poached eggs on toast is quick and simple to make, or add a slice of ham and a drizzle of hollandaise for eggs benedict and an all day breakfast favourite.
- Egg soldiers – Kids love egg soldiers and it’s a simple and fun meal for kids to get some extra protein with dippy eggs and toast soldiers.
- English muffins – Toasted English muffins with cheese, ham or jam are so easy that older kids can make their own.
- Fried rice – A quick meal you can make in bulk to enjoy over several days or to freeze half and eat the rest on the day.
- Meat pie – As an Aussie, a meat pie is a beloved lunch favourite of all ages although kids love the smaller party pies as well.
- Nachos – A family favourite, lunchtime nachos are simple to make and can be tailored to each person’s liking.
- Omelette – A classic omelette is perfect for lunch and can be made with a variety of fillings.
- Chicken nuggets – Homemade chicken nuggets can be a healthy option compared to store-bought versions, but in moderation, they are a kid’s favourite!
- Air Fryer Steak Gyros – These quick and easy Greek gyros are a great lunch recipe to enjoy at home on the weekend or during school holidays.
- Rissoles – An easy-to-make meal that you can make ahead and serve for lunches with salad, rice or other sides.
You might also want to make ahead some of the following meals that can be frozen as part of your meal prep routine and defrosted ready to eat at lunch time:
- Savoury mince – Make up a big batch that can be used in different ways over several days, much the way you would with these leftover taco meat recipes.
- Soups – Cook up a big pot of soup to freeze in lunch-sized portions. Then all you need to do is heat and serve with some bread on the side.
- Macaroni and cheese – This classic lunchtime favourite can be made ahead and frozen in a small portion. Simply defrost and reheat when you’re ready to eat.
- Stews – Another great lunch option that can be made ahead and frozen for those days when you don’t have time to cook lunch from scratch and you want something hot and hearty on a cold day.
- Burritos – Make ahead and freeze your burritos to easily defrost ready for lunch meals.
Find more freezer meal recipe ideas that you can consider making ahead for small lunch servings during the school year, for weekends and school break.
Cold Lunch Ideas For Kids
When summer hits – there’s nothing better than quick cold lunch ideas for kids at home when you don’t feel too productive on those hotter days of the year! These healthy recipes not only taste delicious but look great too (you know how important presentation is when it comes to pleasing picky eaters).
Many of these cold lunches also work perfectly for bento boxes and school lunch bag ideas, so make sure you save this for later!
- Tortilla Chips & Salsa – Make your own air fryer tortilla chips from tortilla wraps (they can be eaten warm or wait until they cool down) then serve them up with homemade or store salsa and sour cream for a quick and easy lunch at home.
- Pasta Salad – This is a great lunch that can be made in advance and enjoyed over a couple of days. A pasta salad with fresh ingredients like cherry tomatoes, feta cheese and olives makes for an easy and healthy lunch idea.
- Cheese platter – Even young children appreciate a good cheese platter, providing you choose the types of cheeses, crackers and meats that they enjoy eating. Grazing boards are one of the quickest lunch combinations you can put together and there are so many creative ideas for what you can include on them.
- Sandwiches – Make a simple sandwich with your child’s favourite fillings. While this isn’t an exciting option for many kids, others will love the fact that they can enjoy fillings they might not be able to have at school, such as peanut butter or almond butter spreads that aren’t allowed in a nut-free school lunch.
- Oat banana & applesauce muffins – These breakfast muffins also double as a great on the go weekend lunch idea or for kids at home from school.
- Fruit Salad – A rainbow of fresh fruit pieces served with a dollop of Greek yogurt is the perfect light and healthy lunch for summers at home!
- Dip & Veggies – Another light and healthy summer lunch is serving up a dip with veggie sticks, such as hummus and celery sticks and baby carrots.
- Egg Salad – For kids who love boiled eggs, egg salad is an easy salad to make and loaded with protein. Make it quickly on the day or prep it the night before.
- Turkey Roll-ups – Cranberry sauce and turkey roll ups are a delicious combination rolled in tortilla wraps, making them easy to eat and loaded with flavour.
- Croissants – A croissant with their favourite toppings is a quick and easy meal to make for kids.
- Carrot, ham & Cheese muffins – These muffins are a great option to make ahead in bulk and serve for a quick and easy lunch.
- Rice cakes with cream cheese – Rice cakes an a healthy alternative to sandwiches and taste great topped with cream cheese, sliced tomato, cucumber or sliced ham.
- Muffin tin snack tray – Create a muffin tin platter for your kids, filling the separate muffin sections with different types of snacks, such as Cheerios, apple slices, berries, crackers, sultanas, veggie sticks and dips. These make fun lunch ideas for kids who like to graze during the day.
- Cheese roll-ups – If you have some cheese slices, then these lunch ideas for kids are super easy to make! Simply roll up the cheese in a tortilla wrap and slice it into thin rolls to make them an easy kid’s lunch meal.
- Savoury scrolls – A simple make-ahead lunch box filler that also works as perfect weekend lunch ideas for kids at home.
- Pikelets – For a sometimes treat, lunchbox pikelets are a delicious option that can be made ahead and frozen. Serve with your favourite fruit spread or honey.
- Fruit Kebabs – Get the kids involved in making their own lunch with healthy fruit kebabs! They are easy to make, adding slices of fruit to a skewer, and can be enjoyed as a snack or as healthy lunches.
RELATED READING: Recipes using Greek yogurt
Snack Ideas For Kids At Home
As well as lunch, you’ll want to make sure your kids have enough snacks to get them through the day. These healthy snack ideas are perfect for both school and at home!
- Popcorn – A healthier alternative to chips, popcorn is a great snack that can be enjoyed plain or flavoured with a little salt and butter.
- Mango banana muffins – These sweet muffins are a great snack for kids who enjoy a sweet treat. They are made with Greek yogurt.
- String cheese – A lunchbox favourite, string cheese is a convenient and easy dairy snack
- Fruit – An obvious choice, but fruit makes for a great snack that can be enjoyed fresh.
- Veggie sticks – Carrot, celery and cucumber sticks are a great way to sneak in some extra veggies into your child’s diet.
- Muesli bars – Store-bought or homemade muesli bars are perfect for a quick snack
- Trail mix – A mix of nuts, seeds and dried fruit is great to graze on so long as there are no food restrictions with nuts.
- Homemade granola – Another healthy favourite, granola is a great snack that can be made ahead and enjoyed with milk or yogurt.
- Choc banana muffins – A sweet treat that kids love, these easy to make muffins are a favourite in our house. We make mini muffins to freeze for lunch boxes or snacks at home.
- Yoghurt – A healthy dairy snack that can be enjoyed on its own or with fresh fruit. Our kids love the single-serve yogurt pouches.
- Custard – Kids love custard and it’s a great way to sneak in some extra calcium. Serve with fresh banana slices or as a snack on its own.
It can be hard to get your kids to eat the healthy foods you want them to. But, if you’re creative, it can be easier to have them eating great-tasting food that is mum-approved during their days at home.
These lunch ideas for kids at home are perfect for school break and weekends when you’re all in the house. Try these ideas for a fun lunch that will please even picky little ones on those no lunch box days!
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