If Martha Stewart had her way, you would spend hours cooking healthy lunches for your kids, and they would crave sophisticated foods like couscous with mint and crepes with Gruyere. But the reality is that you have about 10 minutes to prepare a filling lunch, and your kids eat only a few different kinds of foods. Here are some lunch ideas that are easy to prepare and not too far outside of your kids’ culinary comfort zones.


Peanut Butter and Jelly Updated

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on toast are sure to elicit a blasé response from your kids. Luckily, a few minor tweaks will make this lunch staple much more interesting. Instead of traditional toast, use two whole-wheat or multigrain waffles. In place of jelly, which can contain a lot of sugar, use fresh banana, apple or strawberry slices. You can also use crushed pineapple from a can as a substitute for jam.

Dippable Foods for Lunch

Kids might not be enthusiastic about eating a salad for lunch because, without access to a refrigerator, lettuce and spinach can easily wilt. However, there is a way to make sure they get plenty of veggies. Pack celery and carrot sticks, broccoli pieces, cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes and strips of bell peppers along with a container of hummus or Italian dressing. Grilled chicken strips, pita bread and whole black olives also make a great dippable lunch.

Cold Pasta

Ditch the notion that pasta dishes should be warm and send cold pasta lunches to school with your kids. Old-fashioned pasta salad with extra veggies is a good option. If you are pressed for time, purchase pre-made pasta salad or a pasta salad mix at the grocery store, along with a bag of frozen veggies. Heat the veggies, mix them with the pasta salad and put the mixture in a resealable container. Pasta and bell peppers smothered in marinara sauce make another excellent choice. Just make sure you do not send your kid to school in a white shirt that day.