11 Ideas to Answer the Question "What's for Lunch?"
You've come to the right place to find easy ideas to pack for camp (or road trip, picnic, school) lunch for your you kiddos.
Now, I like to cook, I like to putter in the kitchen and I like to think that my kids are good eaters (but that TOTALLY depends on the day). I also like being creative and as you may have guessed by now, I’m a bit of a planner.
Okay you got me. I’m totally a planner.
I love a fresh calendar in January that needs filling in, I meal plan by the month (see more on that here), but I digress.
Let’s talk about getting lunch together for the kiddos without making yourself crazy. Whether you don’t love being in the kitchen or just don’t know what to pack, this is for you!
In full transparency, both my munchkins have been in school full time where they provide daily lunch and snacks, so packing lunches will be new for me this summer as the big one heads off to camp (eeek, I couldn't be more excited about this!).
But, I’m looking forward to the task!
Why you ask? Because I'm excited to pack her a fun, healthy lunch that I know she will eat. I want to make sure you are equipped to do the same thing. Get ready to send your munchkin off to camp, school, on a picnic or a road trip without thinking to hard or spending too much time prepping the night before.
Use these ideas in whatever way will simplify your life. Mix and match, prep for the week (do this!), make your partner help, pick 5 and send them the same thing each day of the week for the whole summer...it’s really up to you.
Since (our) camp is 33 days long this summer, here are 11 days of lunch ideas for you. (I also really like prime numbers).
Use them each three times and you are good to go.
If you want your little one to have a say in the matter, use this free printable to have them select what they want each week.
Talk about simple.
Laminate the sheet with this handy home laminator. Use colorful dry erase makers to have your kiddos circle what choice they want for the week, and add these items your shopping list. Erase the planner at the end of the week and repeat each weekend.
No more pouting about lunch since they got to chose what goes in it...even the most selective of eaters won’t have much to complain about!
Here are a couple of tips and tricks to get started:
- Try to stick to include one food they are guaranteed to eat (for my kids it's fruit), so I tend to put more of that in.
- Snacky lunches sometimes are the biggest hits. Kids are super social during lunch and sometime a “main” is just too much to focus on when they are busy chatting with their friends.
- Keep it simple. Try to include only things that are already put together for them. (I would stay away from MYO or DYI anything in a lunchbox).
- Pack in containers/bags that are easy to open. I know it's not great for the environment, but plastic zip tops bags are sometimes the easiest for camp, another great alternative are these portion cups. They are reusable, but it's not a bummer when they get lost.
Here they are...11 Camp Lunches ready to go!
- Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich, carrots, grapes, pretzels
- Grilled Cheese Sandwich, pickles, berries, veggie chips
- Soup (yep, soup in a thermos), crackers, sugar snap peas
- Veggie Burger, roasted sweet potatoes, pickles, potato chips
- Pesto pasta (good at room temp), mozzarella balls, cherry tomatoes, watermelon
- Quesadillas, guacamole, tortilla chips, mango
- Mac ‘n cheese (in a thermos), strawberries, cucumber slices
- Salami Sandwich (insert your favorite deli meat), chips, carrot sticks
- French Toast (or a chunk of baked french toast), applesauce, grapes
- Bagel and cream cheese, lox, berries
- Tuna sandwich, cheese puffs, apple slices with cinnamon
I ALWAYS include a sweet treat for my kids. Like I said, they think fruit is dessert, so a cookie, a few m&m's or a homemade muffin is really the bee's knees in their eyes.
I’m working on an even longer list for the school year. Just wait to see what I have in store for you early fall as the kidlets go back to school...
Simple as your favorite gray t-shirt, right?
Stuart's favorite camp lunch was cream cheese ad jelly (strawberry) roll up sandwiches, dill pickle chips and any kind of chips. He would eat fruit so I could stick in apple slices, berries or grapes or fruit roll ups.
I bet he'd still like this camp lunch!
Love what you're doing!