Eat Empowered, Family, Kids & Yourself

5 Healthy Lunches Kids Can Make for Themselves

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In partnership with Kidfresh.

By Keri Glassman, MS, RD

When you have school-age kids, summers can be a little crazy. Suddenly you’ve got six to eight extra hours of parenting time on your hands. Your lovable little (or not so little anymore!) ones need activities and rides and attention…and it seems like they’re basically always hungry.

One of the main reasons I love partnering with Kidfresh is that no matter how busy I am, I can get nutritious meals my kids will want to eat on the table quickly.

But once your kids are old enough, you can even take it a step further: Maybe it’s time they started making their own lunches?

Giving them some agency over their meals can help them develop long-term healthy eating habits (you know, teach a kid to fish…), while also helping you get more work done. Get started by teaching them to make these simple lunches, below. Before long, they’ll be making you lunch, too.

Okay, it may not be the gourmet superfood salad you dream of every day at noon, but it’s a start.

healthy lunches kids can make

5 Healthy Lunches Kids Can Make On Their Own

1. Nut Butter Pantry Party

This one’s great for kids because it’s more about assembling than cooking. Essentially they can get out a few nut butters, some fruit, nuts, veggies, and crackers, and then pick at the spread. To really set them up for success, have some apple slices, carrot sticks, and celery sticks ready in the fridge.

2. Nutritious Mac ‘N Cheese

Mac ‘n Cheese is basically a kids’ dream lunch, and when the noodles are wagon wheels, it’s even better. The Kidfresh version is great for kids to make themselves because there’s no dangerous boiling water involved. All they have to do is stick it in the microwave. Plus, the pureed carrots provide a dose of veggies they don’t even realize they’re getting and unlike other packaged mac ‘n cheese, it’s made with real food—no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. Kidfresh also now makes a gluten-free White Mac ‘N Cheese, so if one of your children has a gluten sensitivity, they can still get in on this favorite.

healthy lunches kids can make

3. Healthy Tacos

This requires a bit of prep on your part, but it can also set you up for many days of lunches, so it’s totally worth it. Stock your fridge with tortillas, a cooked protein like black beans, ground beef, or chopped grilled chicken, tortillas, and a few different chopped veggies. Plus, salsa, obviously! (You can see my favorite taco night ingredients, here.) Come lunch time, the kids can get everything out and assemble the tacos themselves.

4. Avocado Toast

No, I don’t want you to teach your kids to become Instagram influencers. But avocado toast can be a fun meal for them to make, in terms of scooping out the avo and smashing it onto toast. You can have them then add leftover veggies on top or other ingredients that add nutrients (especially protein), like feta cheese, chia seeds, or hardboiled eggs from the fridge.

healthy lunches kids can make

5. A Nutritious Quesadilla

Quesadillas are great because they’re portable. So if the kids want to make themselves lunch to eat out in the sun with their friends, they can. Kidfresh Quesadillas are the perfect healthy option because they’re made with real cheese and have pureed carrots hidden inside. Thanks to the nutrient-dense, whole food ingredients, they’re a great source of protein and important vitamins and minerals like vitamin A and calcium. And cooking one involves about a minute in the microwave. What could be easier?

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