Not that you really need 45 lunch ideas. Because let’s face it, most of us eat the same thing week after week, right?? But what can I say? As a mom of six, I don’ t know how to do anything small.
Before I jump into the list, let’s talk about a few things first . . .
Get the kids involved
Time and time again, meals are a big flop because I forget one simple, yet crucial detail . . . I didn’t ask the kids what they’d like to eat in the next week! Not that I let them dictate what we eat, but having their input always helps.
And, when they help make the meal plan, they’re more likely to want to help meal prep and just eat their food in general.
Some things can be done ahead of time, to save time during the school week.
Examples of this might be to cook a big batch of taco meat on the weekend for tacos, burritos, salads, or soups during the week. Cooking chicken for pasta, salad, burritos, sandwiches, or soups also helps a lot! You can do the same thing with beans.
Setting the crockpot up in the early morning will often have lunch ready by midday.
Having a freezer cooking day over the weekend will also yield many lunch options to pull out and heat up as needed. Think peanut butter and jelly’s, meat and cheese sandwiches, burritos, bagel sandwiches, egg muffins, sloppy joe corn muffins . . . the options are endless and they’re all freezer-friendly!
Don’t underestimate leftovers
Leftovers are probably the quickest, easiest lunch there is. Just heat (or not!) and eat. To make sure you always have some on hand, just make your supper meals a bit larger. You don’t have to double per se (unless you want to), but just adding an extra cup or two of rice, can of beans, few more potatoes, or any other stretcher will always yield more food.
Just be sure they don’t eat the extra just because it’s there! <– That’s what my kids tend to do.
And now onto the homeschool lunch ideas list . . .
*Let me preface this with a little disclaimer*
Not everything on this list is SUPER healthy. Sometimes it’s just about convenience and getting the kids fed so we can get back to reading, am I right? Everything below would be considered a “main thing” and of course you’d want to add fruit, cottage cheese, or other sides to round out the meals.
With that being said, here is the last list of homeschool lunch ideas you’ll ever have to look at again.
Don’t forget to grab the printable version below! It’s great to put on the fridge when you don’t have a meal plan for the day and need quick ideas!
Homeschool Lunch Ideas
- homemade hummus with veggies
- cheese, crackers, and fruit
- chicken nuggets – homemade or store-bought works!
- quesadillas – plain cheese, cold cuts, pepperoni, or veggie additions are all great choices to change things up!
- corn dogs – again, homemade or store-bought!
- pizzas – pizza boats, bagel pizzas, tortilla pizzas, zucchini pizzas, or regular pizzas
- roll-ups – lunch meat and cheese, peanut butter and jelly, peanut butter with banana and honey, tuna salad, egg salad
- peanut butter crackers with fruit and cheese
- ravioli – you can serve these warm or heated up, with or without sauce. My kids love them! You can find them in regular or mini size!
- muffins/bread and smoothies – sometimes we eat a quick bread I had in the freezer (banana, zucchini, applesauce, or pumpkin bread are all great choices) and smoothies
- tuna salad or tuna patties
- egg salad
- nachos – these can be just chips and cheese or be topped with some warmed chili beans, taco meat, and/or anything else you like on nachos
- hot subs or paninis
- baked potatoes – plain, BLT, taco, sweet potatoes . . . the topping choices for baked potatoes are only limited by your imagination (or Googling abilities) By the way, did you know you can make baked potatoes in the slow cooker without foil???
- hard-boiled eggs (a personal favorite of mine)
- bagel sandwiches, or just bagels with cream cheese – remember, you don’t have to be fancy, you just have to get them full
- grilled cheese – plain cheese or add pepperoni or lunch meat to change things up. I like to add avocado to mine!
- lettuce wraps – anything you can put on bread, you can put on lettuce
- macaroni and cheese – whether you do the .33 box at Aldi or choose to make it from scratch, mac and cheese is always a winner
- hotdogs or brats
- salad – you can top a salad with just about anything to make it more filling
- pasta salad or potato salad
- leftover breakfast – make extra waffles, pancakes, breakfast sandwiches, egg muffins, regular muffins, or sausage gravy for breakfast and just reheat it for lunch
- soup – homemade is great (and super frugal!) but I’m also a big fan of the soup from Brandless
Need some side item ideas?
Here are a few of my go-to side items . . .
- fruit – berries, watermelon, apples, bananas, raisins, peaches . . . whatever is in season (and preferably on sale) is what I go after first. We do tend to have apples and bananas year round.
- cheese – cheese sticks, slices, cubes . . . to keep the cost down, I usually buy a block of cheese and cut it into cubes or sticks. You pay so much for the convenience of the individually wrapped stuff!
- crackers/chips – veggie chips/fries, pork rinds, pretzels, circle crackers (off-brand Ritz), cheese crackers, chex mix, goldfish, and graham crackers are our favorites
- veggies – carrots (buy the big ones and cut them smaller to save money!), celery, sweet peppers, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes are our go-to’s
- cottage cheese
- applesauce – buy the plain, unsweetened and flavor it yourself to cut down on sugar and unwanted additives
- yogurt – plain or topped with granola, honey, and/or fruit
- seeds or nuts
- popcorn – stovetop is best, but the microwave works too!
- chips and salsa
- trail mix
See? These are so simple and cheap. Your homeschool day is guaranteed to run more smoothly when you have a plan for lunch in mind. Taking just 15-20 minutes over the weekend to take a quick inventory and make a meal plan will save you so much time and frustration later in the week.
If you don’t have a meal planning sheet you’re currently using, here are some I made for two-week meal planning.
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