I’m a big fan of the picnic lunch: a handful of cherry tomatoes, a cluster of grapes, crunchy carrots to dip into creamy hummus, apple slices and almond butter, edamame sprinkled with salt, six slices of cheese and crackers to match. Dictated as much by the season as by whatever’s on hand, it’s a spur-of-the-moment combination of snacks that I’ve found kids love just as much as adults.
Maybe there’s time to prep sandwiches in advance? Stuff tortillas with beans and cheese, ready to fry into quesadillas? Mix canned tuna with mayo and pickle juice? Hard-boil half a dozen eggs? Blitz tomato soup in the blender? If so, consider the recipes below, and find more kid-friendly lunch ideas in our Recipe Finder.
Dahi Toast, above. Yogurt sandwiches can be as easy as a swipe of yogurt on bread, pan-fried in butter, creamy and rich. But they can also be stuffed with vegetables, as in this version, which gains crunch from shredded cabbage and bell pepper. Mustard seeds, warmed in hot butter, add a pleasant pop.
Quinoa and Vegetable Egg Bites. Filled with vegetables and protein-packed quinoa, these egg bites bake up like crustless quiches in a muffin tin, meaning you can make a batch at the beginning of the week, then warm one or two up for lunch as needed.
Tomato Egg Drop Soup. Developed by a 14-year-old, this lush tomato soup recipe uses fresh tomatoes to enhance a broth that’s threaded through with scrambled eggs, which separate into noodle-like strands once they hit the hot soup.
Mushroom Quesadillas. Sauteed mushrooms add a whole lot of flavor to mozzarella cheese-stuffed quesadillas. Picky eaters may want to substitute chopped tomatoes or baby spinach for the mushrooms. Make these ahead of time if you can, and reheat in a pan until crisp.
Crunchy Raspberry PB&J. The classic gets tarted up with raspberry jam and slices of green apple. Almond butter or a mixed seed butter would be good here, too.
Dill and Pickle Egg Salad. Hard boil the eggs in advance and you’re more than halfway to delicious egg salad. This recipe bypasses the mayo, drawing flavor from mustard, dill, pickles and pickle juice instead.
Fast and Easy Chicken Cutlets. This speedy method for breaded and pan-fried chicken cutlets uses mustard in place of the messy egg wash, to attach the breading to each piece of chicken. Once fried, they can be stored in a covered container in the fridge, ready to stuff into a bun or reheat in a warm pan.