It’s Tuesday morning, your 7-year-old is doing her math, your 10-year-old is reading his history on the couch, and the 3-year-old is dumping out a box of blocks nearby. You’re already starting to feel a little overwhelmed and weary from the demands of busy family life, homeschooling, plus trying to keep up with laundry and making sure the house is clean enough for the baby to crawl around on the floor. You know your sweet children who just finished breakfast two hours ago and a snack 30 minutes ago are going to want lunch soon … and you are fresh out of ideas.
We recently asked Arizona homeschool parents to share their favorite easy weekday lunch options. I bet you find a new idea or two in this great list of lunches! Hang in there, mama! Lunchtime is coming and they’ll be hungry again tonight and tomorrow, too, but you got this!
Cook larger portions of whatever you’re making for dinner so you have leftovers for a day or two of lunches.
There are many sandwich options to choose from such as peanut butter and jelly (or PB & honey, PB & banana), tuna salad, chicken salad, egg salad, grilled cheese, and deli meat and cheese with toppings like tomato and avocado slices, lettuce, mayo or mustard, and pickles. Let your kids make wraps or roll-ups with tortillas and their favorite fillings.
Make a bunch of “Salads in a Jar” for a week of salads in individual servings using mason jars. They last about a week in the fridge. (Add dressing when you’re ready to eat.) Kids can create their own favorite combinations of ingredients. Pre-packaged salads are also an easy go-to item to have on hand in the fridge, and pasta salads are another family favorite.
Cook up a batch of ground beef or shredded chicken (or both) with taco seasoning to keep in the fridge along with diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, sour cream, salsa, etc. for make-your-own quesadillas, nachos, tacos, tostadas, taco salads, and more. Cook up a batch of homemade pinto beans for a healthy bean burrito or bean dip.
Homemade soup can be made in large batches. It freezes well and can be frozen in individual portion size packets that can be reheated quickly. Canned soup can be heated and served with crackers or bread.
Keep cut-up veggies and washed fruit on hand. Pair with cheese cubes or high-protein yogurt and you’ve got a quick and easy healthy meal. Add almonds or other nuts, too!
PITA & HUMMUS
Enjoy pita bread cut into wedges or pita chips with hummus. Pair with fresh fruit or veggies.
MACARONI AND CHEESE
Boxed or homemade, mac and cheese can feed a hungry family for pennies. Add cooked ground beef, chicken, or tuna fish for some extra protein.
Ready-made pizza crusts, English muffins, bagels, and more can serve as a great base for homemade pizzas your kids can help assemble. Jars of pizza sauce keep for a long time in the pantry and bags of shredded mozzarella cheese can be stored in the freezer. Let the kids add their own toppings such as diced veggies, pepperoni, cooked ground sausage, grilled chicken, or Canadian bacon and pineapple chunks.
BREAKFAST FOR LUNCH (OR DINNER)
Pancakes, waffles, French toast, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, hash browns or pan fried potatoes, homemade egg sandwiches on English muffins or croissants, omelettes, and oatmeal are a few options.
The possibilities are endless as we seek to provide nutritious, filling lunch options for that don’t create a lot of extra work for us busy homeschool mamas. A little planning and shopping for lunch fixings and lunch doesn’t have to be quite so overwhelming during our homeschooling days. Don’t forget to get the kids involved. They can be a great help!