Easy, Creative + Health(ier) Back-To-School Lunch Recipes
Happy Monday friends!
My little man starts the 5th grade today (sniff, sniff)! And since yesterday was spent meal prepping and packing lunches I thought I would share some of our favorite lunch recipes. Now I know my guy is a pretty adventurous eater for a kid (blessed!) so these may not all work for your kiddos. But hopefully it will get your brain thinking about a few new options you can add to your lunchbox routine this year.
These recipes are all simple to prep, require minimal ingredients and are probably a bit healthier than just your average peanut butter and jelly. Also, my son has been having a few stomach issues lately so we’re removing dairy from our diet for a few weeks just to see if it helps. All of these recipes are dairy free but you can definitely adapt them to suit your needs!
Sausage, beans + rice
This is a staple in our house and probably my son’s favorite. First I cut up and sauté 2-3 chicken sausages (usually Aidells or Al Fresco brands) then I boil a can of black beans and microwave a cup of instant brown rice. When everything is cooked, I throw it all in a pot and heat on low-medium for a few minutes so that the ingredients can mix. I heat it up in the morning for little man’s lunch and serve it in a thermos. This will make about 2-3 lunch main courses depending on how big of an eater your kid is.
Get creative with sandwiches
As I mentioned, we’ve taken dairy out of our diet temporarily which means no cheese or mayo for sandwiches. Instead I’ve been making an avocado spread to substitute for the mayo (which he loves) with several slices of deli ham. If we’re eating this at home I serve it open faced with a fried egg on top!
Unfortunately we are a nut free school, but if we weren’t I’d make almond butter, honey and banana sandwiches for this guy like they were going out of style!
For my simple avocado spread: 1 ripe avocado, 1 tsp garlic, 1/2 tsp lemon juice, salt, pepper and paprika to taste. Mash it all together with a fork until spreadable. Or a pre-made guacamole from the store works great too! :)
Easy bbq chicken subs
This is the first year I’ve done warm subs for lunch but it’s so simple and delicious I couldn’t pass it up! In my Instant Pot I cook 5 or 6 chicken breasts under pressure for 6 minutes. Then I shred the chicken, put it back in the Instant Pot and mix in 2/3 cup of Sweet Baby Ray’s bbq sauce and a 1/4 cup water. Put it back under pressure for 2 minutes, drain and you have enough chicken for at least 4 subs. I heat the chicken the next morning, put it in sub rolls topped with coleslaw and wrap it tight in tin foil. It won’t stay completely hot but should be warm enough at lunch time.
4-Ingredient breakfast casserole (for lunch)
This is another easy favorite that my son loves to have for lunch, not just breakfast! He dubbed it ‘egg pie’ when he was little so we continue to call it that!
Here is the easiest way to make a breakfast casserole that is gluten free, dairy free and delicious:
Brown a pound of breakfast sausage, drain and set aside. Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees. Wisk together 6 eggs, 1/3-1/2 package of frozen spinach (thawed) depending on how much spinach you like and 1 cup of almond milk. Add salt and pepper to taste – I use 1/4 tsp sea salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Stir in the sausage and transfer to a greased baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes at 450 then turn your oven down to 350 and continue baking for another 15 minutes. The casserole is down with a toothpick comes out clean.
In the morning I just heat up a big slice, wrap in tin foil and put it in a plastic container.
BONUS: This easy and healthy peanut butter and honey fruit dip recipe is a great way to get your kiddos to eat more fruits! And if you aren’t a nut-free school you should definitely send this in their lunchboxes. And you can substitute the peanut butter for almond butter if you prefer!
Check out a few of my other back to school posts:
Back-To-School Style Guide: Kids Fashion – check out my little model :)!
Enjoy the last few days or weeks of summer with your kiddos!