During the pandemic, Home-Based Learning and homeschooling have become a common occurrence. Parents are racking their brains for homecooked meal ideas that are healthy yet convenient. With children, nutrition is very important! In order for them to be focused, you need to feed them nutritious meals.
To run your day smoothly, adopting a meal plan can ensure that your children eat healthily to keep them energized through all their afternoon activities.
In this article, we have come up with 16 lunch ideas that are perfect whether you are on-the-go or in the middle of a study session.
Lunch Ideas for Stay-At-Home Days
On days when you don’t have to run off to classes or activities, it’s a great idea to include your child in the homeschool meal prep.
These meals include a bit of cooking, but you and your chef-in-training are sure to have fun making them! Not only will it help with laying the foundation of healthy eating habits, but it can also bring your family closer.
1) Stir-Fry Noodles
Stir fry is a great go-to option for lunches because it is easy to make with whatever vegetables you have on hand.
It can take a bit of time to slice all the ingredients, so cut those the night before to make prep quick and easy! Popular vegetable choices include broccoli, baby corn, carrots, and mushrooms. They are full of fibre and are good for the digestive system.
2) Cauliflower rice
Rice is incredibly versatile, but sometimes you need a change. Instead of using the typical rice, use cauliflower rice. It’s lighter than regular rice, making it perfect for lunch, and it’s full of flavor.
You can either buy it or make it yourself by blitzing cauliflower florets into small pieces in a food processor, then pressing it between two paper towels to absorb the excess moisture before you cook it. Saute it in olive oil and cook for a few minutes.
Add your favourite ingredients such as egg, your preferred choice of meat for protein as well as vegetables.
3) Spinach Egg Rolls
If you have a little one who hates vegetables, try spinach egg rolls. They are small but packed full of protein, nutrients, and fiber, so they’ll keep your child full for the day.
The filling consists mainly of corn, black beans, spinach, and cheese, but you can add spices like cumin, chili pepper, and pepper to mask the taste of the spinach so your children won’t even notice!
4) Tuna Avocado Salad
This salad is bursting with nutrients like heart-healthy omega-3s. Make guacamole the way you normally would then add tuna, red onions, celery, and walnuts. You can pair it with fruit or crackers to add some crunch.
5) Black Bean Burrito Bowl
Everyone loves a burrito bowl! Prep your favorite fillings (we like rice, chicken, salsa, black beans, cheese, guacamole, and sour cream) the night before, then have fun layering it when it’s time to eat.
This is simple to make and full of beneficial nutrients!
Lunch Ideas for On-the-Go Days
If your child has extra-curricular activities during school days such as enrichment lessons, you can prep one of these delicious packed lunches for your active child to eat between activities.
6) Onigiri Rice Balls
This is a great recipe to make when you have leftover rice from the day before, and you can add whatever veggies you have leftover, too!
The ingredients should be chopped as finely as possible, added to the rice, and then formed into balls about 3.8 cm in size. Also, their small size makes them great for eating on-the-go. Options like ham and spinach make them a filing, easy-to-eat option.
7) Milk Buns with Fillings
Milk buns are delicious soft dough balls that can be made in a breadmaker or by hand. Requiring only four ingredients (flour, yeast, milk, and butter), they are light and fluffy.
Add these buns and whatever fillings your child likes to a bento lunchbox, and let them assemble their own lunch.
8) Soba Noodles
Soba noodles are great for lunchboxes because you can eat them cold and add any veggies you have available. Simply cook the soba noodles, rinse them with warm water, and drain them.
Combine soy sauce, brown sugar, and sesame oil to make a delicious sauce, and add cucumbers, carrots, or whatever other veggies you have on hand.
9) Overnight Oats
Overnight oats contain everything you need for a healthy, delicious meal, and you can easily personalize it for picky eaters or those with allergies.
Plus, it only takes one dish to make and serve, saving you time on cleaning up. Instead of cooking oatmeal on the stove the way you normally would, let it soak all night in milk. Top with fresh or dried fruit, seeds, spices, or nuts.
Omurice, or rice omelet, is an easy recipe to make despite its long list of ingredients, it’s a simple way to get your child to eat more protein. Stir fry rice, veggies, and a protein with whatever sauces and seasonings your picky eat enjoys.
Put one serving onto saran wrap and shape it (be sure to test and make sure the size is right for your bento box!).
Scramble an egg and spread it thinly on the bottom of a pan. Once it’s cooked, carefully remove it from the pan, set it on a saran wrap, place the rice from earlier in the center, and wrap the egg around it. Serve it in the bento box on a bed of lettuce.
11) Healthy Tortilla Wraps
Tortilla wraps are so delicious your child won’t even know how healthy they are! The wraps make the meal easy to eat on the go, and you can tailor the filling to meet the demands of your pickiest eater!
Spread hummus on a warmed tortilla, top with grated carrots and sliced avocado, and roll.
12) Mini Muffins
You can’t go wrong with mini muffins! Make your favorite muffins, but use a mini-sized tray instead of the traditional size. This way they are bite-size and won’t leave behind any messy crumbs.
Incorporating chocolate chips, blueberries or raisins can elevate the flavours!
Healthy Snack Ideas
Edamame makes a nice crunchy snack whether your child is taking a break from studying at home or in between soccer and music practices.
Shell the edamame, sprinkle with olive oil, parmesan cheese, and seasoning, and bake for 5-8 minutes. Simple boiling it will also make a delicious snack!
14) Kale Chips
Kale is a highly nutritious snack, but it can have a bitter taste. Crispy-baked kale chips will have your kids convinced they aren’t eating something healthy!
Chop the kale into smaller pieces, add olive oil and salt, and then bake them for 10 minutes.
15) Cheese and Pear Slices
It’s no secret that we like crunchy snacks and finds them more satisfying. So slice up an apple or pear, and add some cheese slices for a protein boost!
16) Wholemeal Crackers and Avocado Dip
Many crackers are high in sodium so be sure to look for crackers that are lower in sodium and sugar. Creamy healthy avocado dip is guaranteed to liven up those healthy crackers, and it’s flexible.
You can replace the yogurt with olive oil, cream cheese, or sour cream, or add jalapenos or cilantro to add a bit of a kick to it.
Don’t Forget the Drinks!
Water is always the best choice to keep your children hydrated. But, if you choose to give your child fruit juice, make sure it is 100% fruit juice!
You can also freeze milk packs and use them in a lunchbox to keep other foods cool when traveling between activities. It will be thawed enough to drink by the time your child eats lunch.
Helpful Meal Tips and Tricks
There are several simple ways that you can ensure that you serve healthy meals even on the busiest days.
- Cook extra for dinner the night before. If you make chicken, make an extra piece and chop it up to add to a wrap for lunch the next day. Bonus tip: wait until the food cools down before you start packing it in containers, or it will be soggy by the time your child eats it the next day.
- Prep homeschool lunches for the next day after dinner. Even if you have a difficult morning, you know a healthy lunch will be ready for your child.
- If you freeze leftover soup or other meals, freeze some in lunch-sized portions, so you don’t have to wait for the dinner-size portions to thaw before portioning them out.
- Make mini versions of meals. For example, when making muffins or quiches, make a few mini-sized portions to freeze for later.
Remember to Have Fun!
Regardless of the meals you make, remember to have fun with the process. While you may be tempted to make the meals yourself, include your children in the process as much as possible.
Think of it as another lesson in their day, and you’ll be able to bond while teaching them to cook.
We hope that this article has been helpful for you to come out with new lunch ideas!