It’s finally time for your kids to head back to school, and after the year they’ve had with hybrid learning, it’s time for a fresh start, starting with their lunches . Forget the boring, old sandwich and try your hand at one of these simple and delicious lunch box recipes by Lindsay Pruss from Lunches_by_Lindsay that are sure to keep your kiddos satiated and knock your parenting report card out of the park. We’ve got one for every day of the week that’ll appeal to all kinds of young eaters.
Meatless Monday: Pasta Salad
This pasta salad comes together quickly, in under 15min!
- Pasta noodles of choice (approximately 350g – add more or less and adjust as needed)
- Variety of vegetables of your choosing (sweet peppers, cucumber, olives, carrots, etc)
- Everything But the Bagel seasoning
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Your favorite salad dressing (Italian, oil and vinegar, etc)
- Cook your desired pasta as instructed on the package.
- Once cooked, run under cold water to prevent any further cooking (and stop the noodles from sticking together).
- While the pasta cooks, chop your veggies. Any veggies will do, but we usually add sweet peppers, cucumber, olives, carrots, and even pickles are great additions too!
- Add veggies and cooked pasta to a bowl. You can add more or less veggies to suit your preferences.
- Top with Everything But The Bagel Seasoning and your favorite salad dressing. We like Kraft Zesty Italian, along with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Taco Tuesday: Healthy Turkey Tacos
These tacos are veggie-loaded and will be a huge hit, even for your pickiest eater.
- 2 tbsp oil
- ½ small white onion, diced
- 1 cup zucchini, chopped
- 1 ¼ cup mushrooms, chopped
- 450g extra lean ground turkey
- Taco seasoning (see recipe for homemade seasoning below)
- Corn tortillas, taco shells, or tortilla chips
- Toppings: lettuce, tomatoes, cheddar cheese or sour cream
- First heat 2 tbsp of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the ½ cup diced white onion and cook until soft for about 5 minutes. Then add in 1 cup chopped zucchini and 1¼ cup chopped mushrooms. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until zucchini is tender. Transfer the vegetable mixture to a bowl.
- Cook 450g of extra lean ground turkey in a skillet and cook on medium heat until cooked through. Then add ½ cup water and stir in 1 tbsp of homemade taco seasoning (see recipe below) to cooked meat. Cover and simmer until liquid evaporates, then stir in your veggie mixture.
- Serve with taco shells, corn tortillas, or even tortilla chips. Perfect for the lunch box ~ just add your meat to an insulated container and pack all your sides in a bento box, like the Planetbox shown above.
- Include toppings like shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, shredded cheese, and sour cream.
Taco Seasoning Recipe:
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp onion powder
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp dried oregano
- Mix together and store in an airtight container.
Warm Lunch Wednesday: Butternut Squash Soup
This is a Lindsay Pruss family recipe and she has made it for years! It is easy, delicious, and packed with vegetables.
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, chopped
- 1 stalk of celery, chopped
- 2 medium potatoes, cubed
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed.
- 1 box of chicken stock (32 oz)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large pot, melt 2 tbsp butter and add in the chopped veggies. Cook until lightly browned for approximately 5 minutes.
- Cover the cooked veggies with 1 container (32oz) of chicken stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until all the veggies are tender (approximately 45minutes).
- Using an immersion blender, blend soup into a smooth consistency. If you do not have an immersion blender, transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. Add additional stock if the soup is too thick.
- Season with salt and pepper and enjoy! Add this soup to an insulated container, like the Omiebox, and send it to school with fresh bread to dip.
Tasty Thursday: Twice-Baked Potato Bites
Use those leftover potatoes for this delicious, kid-friendly lunch. These potato bites come together quickly and fit perfectly in the lunch box.
- 2 cups mashed potatoes
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- ¾ cup of shredded cheddar cheese (plus ⅓ cup for topping)
- 3 tbsp bacon, cooked and chopped (plus ¼ cup for topping)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. To a medium sized bowl, add 2 cups of mashed potatoes, 1 egg (lightly beaten), ¾ cup of shredded cheese, and 3 tbsp of cooked, crumbled bacon. Stir to combine.
- Coat a mini muffin tin with cooking spray and using a cookie scoop or small spoon, fill the muffin tin. Cook for 20min in a preheated oven.
- Remove from the oven and top with additional shredded cheese and more crumbled bacon and return to the oven for 3 min.
- Finally, remove from the oven and place tin on a wire rack to cool. Do not try to remove the potato bites until cooled completely, or they will fall apart. When completely cooled, add to your bento box with fresh fruits and veggies.
Fun Friday: Pancake Tacos
Pancakes have never been so fun! This is the perfect way to celebrate the end of the first week back to school.
- 1 cup of your favorite pancake mix (I use Flourish Buttermilk Protein Pancake mix here)
- Water or milk (follow instructions on your package for corresponding amounts)
- Toppings: fresh strawberries, Cool Whip, cooked and crumbled bacon
- Cook pancakes as directed on the package. Make them small enough for little hands to hold, but large enough to be folded and stuffed. Fold lightly and fill with your desired toppings.
- Get creative and add in any of your favorite fruits. I used leftover bacon and Cool Whip here, but you could substitute with chocolate chips, coconut, or even a nut butter or nut butter alternative.
- If you are sending this to school, you can place the Cool Whip in a side container to be spread on at lunch.
- Pack in the lunch box with a side of fruits and veggies, and don’t forget the maple syrup!
Lindsay Pruss is a mother of two and an elementary school teacher, on a mission to empower kids to make healthy choices. Lunches by Lindsay began with a love of food and healthy eating and blossomed into a way of helping other parents find fun and easy ways to feed their children healthy meals. Follow her on Instagram @lunches_by_lindsay for more easy and delicious lunch boxes recipes for your little ones.