One homeschooling perk is that I do not have to worry about packing lunches for the kids each school day. Packing lunches drives me nuts. When we plan a day trip, picnic or long weekend away from home, I tend to get stressed out trying to figure out what I’m going to pack for lunches. If I had to do it each and every day it would drive me crazy, not to mention I would probably spend way more money than I needed to. Having my kids at home with me makes it easier to plan since I do not have to find unique and pricey ways to feed them healthy lunches, on a budget, with foods that do not need to be refrigerated! I’m sure if I had to, I’d figure it out, but for now, I’m thankful that I do not have that I can prepare meals at home during lunchtime for my kids.
As a homeschooling family, leftovers are our best friend, if done right. With a little bit of planning and creativity, I love that I can simply open the fridge, turn on the stove and give them a quick and easy meal that will fill them up and keep them going throughout the day.
To help give my kids the energy they need, I try to fuel them up with a meal that includes protein. If there is a lot of carb content in the meal, such as sandwiches, I make sure they have some carrot sticks or apple slices on the side. I also try to avoid juices or dessert at lunch so they don’t get a sugar high that will ultimately bring a sugar crash soon after.
Here are some of my favorite, easy, lunchtime options:
If I make this at for dinner one night, I try to make a little extra to be sure we have leftovers for the next day. It is quick and easy to heat up and the kids love it topped with sour cream and cheese. It gives them the protein they need and fills them up as well so they are not complaining all afternoon that they are hungry for a snack.
Pepperoni and Cheese Quesadillas
This is probably their favorite lunch and it only takes minutes to prepare. All I do is heat up some pepperoni and cheese in between two quesadillas on a frying pan. Sometimes I let them dip them in some salsa or sour cream. I serve it with veggies and everyone is happy and full!
Salad and Cooked Chicken
Chicken breasts can be pricey. I simply wait for it to go on sale at Aldi and stock up. Then, when I cook chicken for dinner I throw in a few extra breasts and save them for salads during the week. I let the kids load up their plates with piles of veggies, chicken, croutons and dressing for a complete meal.
Grilled Ham and Cheese
I used to avoid grilled cheese because I wasn’t convinced that it was the best lunch choice. But, once I started adding ham to the sandwich and was sure to use thick, crispy french bread, the kids were full and satisfied. Again, with this meal, you’ll usually see some color added to the plate with carrots, grapes or apple slices in our home.
Lentils and Ham
For this quick and easy lunch, I buy a pre-cooked ham steak and add it to some lentils. I’ll throw in some tomatoes and spices and my kids gobble it right up.
Again with the leftovers. I love making an overabundance of soup and saving it for lunches. They are quick to heat up and way healthier than the store bought canned variety. I usually lean toward chicken noodle, beef and rice or potato and ham. I fill them with piles of chopped veggies and always, always include garlic, onion and celery for the extra health benefits.
We pile these with lots of meat and veggies. I try to load these sandwiches with as many veggies as possible to make up for the intense carb content in the bagels! They are filling and easy to prepare.