Lunch Ideas…Help!

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I know that Angie, over at The Homeschool Classroom, recently wrote a great post about the educational benefits of lunch, but today I just want to talk about the food. 😉

It seems like every year, about this time, we get into a rut. Probably because our list of choices that everybody agrees on isn’t terribly long. Our regular favorites are:

  • Chicken nuggets with macaroni and cheese
  • Pizza
  • Ham roll-ups*
  • Sandwiches
  • Macaroni and bacon casserole
  • Quesadillas with Spanish rice and refried beans
  • Leftovers

Some occasional favorites (that I probably just need to put on the rotation) are:

  • Sub sandwiches
  • Tuna and crackers or tuna-stuffed tomatoes
  • Homemade “Lunchables” (ham cut into rectangles and served with club crackers)
  • baked potatoes with salad

I bought the nifty divided trays a year or so ago — partly to encourage myself to fill all the little sections with a healthy selection of meals and partly because they’re just fun. Unfortunately, these days, many of the little sections are more likely to be empty than to be filled with something healthy.

Someone posted on WFMW this week about pigs-in-the-blanket. Yum! But, I’ve got a kid who doesn’t like hot dogs. What’s up with that?? And, we could do spaghetti sometimes –it’s quick, easy and cheap — but I’ve got a kid who doesn’t like spaghetti. Seriously! These kids are un-American! I guess I could have alternates for them. That’s what I do for Brianna when we have the ham roll-ups. She doesn’t like them, so she eats Ramen noodles. However, I don’t want to put myself into the position of being a short-order cook while also trying to homeschool my kids. None of them like soup, so that’s out, but I do want to try BBQ stuffed potatoes, as I have recently fallen in love with them. Mmmmm!

I used to have a link saved to a blog called something like “More Than Peanut Butter and Jelly,” which showed lots of lunch ideas in pictures. It was for school/work lunches, but still a wealth of ideas and now I can’t find it. If anybody happens to know what I’m talking about and you have the link, I’d love for you to leave it in the comments.

(Edited to add: Thanks, G! She knew that the link I was looking for is Not Just PB&J. It’s chock full of great lunch ideas.)

What are some crowd-pleasing favorites at your house? I could really use some new ideas, so please, leave them in the comments section or blog about them and leave your link in the comments. I’d set up a Mr. Linky, but my feelings would probably get hurt if nobody signed up. 😉

*The ham roll-ups are so super-easy and a favorite with everyone except Brianna. I just place a couple of slices of ham on a tortilla shell and top with shredded cheese. Then, I roll them up, brush the tops with melted butter and bake long enough to melt the cheese. Once the cheese is melted, I usually turn on the broiler for a minute or two, just to get the ends crunchy…but definitely not anything even hinting of burnt or I’d be eating them all myself.

Don’t forget to leave your lunch ideas…please.

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  1. I have such a hard time with lunch too. I usually end up with something microwavable or ready made. I would love to have healthier lunches! I’m going to steal your ham roll up recipe!

  2. First off — thanks for the shout out. πŸ™‚

    We don't have a whole lot of variety in our lunches. My kids are really picky. So, I try to pair up not as healthy things with things like apple sauce, yogurt, fruit, etc.

    But, here are some of the main dish stuff we do: pizza, chicken nuggets, mac & cheese, peanut butter and jelly, grilled cheese sandwiches, hot dogs.

    Geesh — we don't eat anything healthy, do we? (Okay, I take it back though — I usually eat something different from them. LOL So, I eat better than they do often. I'm such a bad mom.)

  3. Gillian will always eat buttered noodles with Parmesan cheese and peas. She also likes those Morningstar Farms soy “chicken” nuggets (we’re vegetarian), which I usually serve with some sort of steamed vegetable and buttered bread.

    Does Brianna do any of the meal preparation? I learned to cook when I was about her age or a little younger, and I really enjoyed it. I keep thinking that I need to start teaching G — all she knows how to make right now is Kraft EasyMac — but I haven’t quite been able to resign myself to the inevitable mess yet. πŸ™‚

  4. WHERE ARE THE PHOTOS? πŸ˜‰ I'm a visual gal. Thanks so much for the list, though! This is a great way to get ideas.

    We don't really do chicken nuggets at home (not that we don't do them at McDonald's now and then – oh, and Whataburger #8 or #6 – it comes with 3 strips instead of 2).

    I used to do Pizza, but we gave that up, too. Too much white bread and the cheese is just something you don't want to eat too much of when you are pregnant and taking iron supplements, ya know what I mean?

    No ham for us. Rolled up or not. "Ham doesn't touch these lips". Unless it is Christmas ham in brown sugar syrup. And then only a pinch of it – with all the fat cut off.

    We do the sandwiches. Lots and lots of them.

    Your mac and bacon sounds interesting – but if the bacon is even the slightest bit soft ANYWHERE, it would not go over well here. We are burnt bacon people.

    Quesadillas are the thing I always forget (unless we're in line at Chipotle). Duh. You would think I could remember them when I'm at home and I'm trying to think of how to use up those leftover flour tortillas. Sometimes I really astound myself.

    Spanish rice and refried beans are often eaten at lunch as LEFTOVERS. I usually make them for dinner at least once a week – from scratch.

    Leftovers (shhhh! Don't tell my husband. That is a dirty word to him, but I inflict them on the kids at least once a week).

    I have NEVER made a sub sandwich at home. I kid you not. How lame is that when I'm nearly ffff.. close to 35.

    Tuna and crackers sounds great to me. Try convincing my kids. Canned soup for them when I eat tuna. That's just the way it is. I've never tried it in a tomato… but my friend makes a wonderful twisted croissant baked with tuna inside. I do, however like sliced tomatoes with salt and pepper. Nothing against stuffed ones.

    Homemade "Lunchables"? You know – my kids do like summer sausage. We have once or twice had crackers and cheese for lunch (with fruit and other snacky things). I never thought about it as "Lunchables". How incredibly clever. You are so hip.

    Baked potatoes are a mainstay. Salad is getting a little fancy for the kids at lunch, though. I may be mildly domestic to make lunch for the kids, but I draw the line somewhere. πŸ˜‰

    Kate said she cooks in the crock pot. I wish she would show me how. I just make soup out of a can.

    Angie says she does PB&J. We do that, too. Today we did peanutbutter-pickle sandwiches and my kids said they are their new favorite sandwiches "EVER". Who would have known? I promise! Go see the photos on my post tomorrow. And we also do grilled cheese and tomato soup. That's a family favorite. My husband is a freak – he likes Ranch Style beans with his grilled cheese. Always has. It grosses me out.

    When all else fails, we have the standard fall-back… bacon, eggs and toast. Or just plain-ol cereal and milk. Those are for the days when the sky is falling. I can make bacon and eggs with all my brain tied behind my back. And the kids are great at pouring their own cereal and milk. Now if I could only get them to clean up after themselves. LOL

    OK, now that I've written a thesis, I'll return your blog to you. πŸ™‚ Thanks for participating in my food meme. I think this is the longest comment I have ever written that wasn't about theology, science or politics.

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