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It’s the time of year where my Pinterest feed is packed full of easy kid-approved school lunch ideas and I’ll be honest, the bulk of them make me roll my eyes. I’m sorry, but none of my friends are making up those gourmet bento box lunches! We’re looking for simple, to the point lunch box ideas that can easily be put together while half asleep and that is just what I have for ya’ll today.
This post is in partnership with Fred Meyer and QFC, however, all opinions stated are mine alone.
The secret to kid approved lunch ideas
My kiddos would be entering preschool this fall, however, given the state of the world right now I figure we can wait. Instead, I have put together bits of easy “curriculum” if that is what you want to call it for practicing things like numbers, letters, and beginning to write them out. With the introduction to “school” though, my toddlers have become obsessed with being “big kids” and want the whole experience. And by experience, I mean backpacks and lunch boxes. That is all they want right now.
With that, I have put together a handful of easy ideas to give them that school lunch experience. After sharing the ideas with a handful of friends have found that the meal ideas are ideal for all kiddos!
Okay, but what about the secret. What makes them “kid-approved”?
I have a few tips. First of which is keeping to the “learn it, like it, and love it” method I discovered from Veggies and Virtue.
My take on her method is that for every meal you serve your littles, you should include a “learning it” food, along with “like it” and “love it” foods. This serves as a way for your kiddos to feel comfortable with the foods on their plates and increases food new exposure. In simple terms, you include a newer food they aren’t so sure about yet, a food they like (but don’t loooove), and then a food they love.
An example of that for my kiddos would be making up a lunch box with a love (goldfish), a like (yogurt tube), and a learning it (small bites of broccoli). Of course, you can add more to the lunch box, but that serves as a simple example of the idea.
My next tip would be to get them involved with the actual grocery shopping process. Let them help you come up with meal ideas and pick out the groceries. NOT instore though. I’m not talking due to the pandemic, but so they aren’t grabbing everything and throwing fits about what isn’t making it into the cart.
We love hopping onto the Fred Meyer website to shop for our groceries through their Clicklist option. I have been a huge fan of Fred Meyer for years, but once I had my twins I found a new love thanks to their huge selection of the best foods for my little family and of course, their easy to use Clicklist pick-up option.
The twins and I like to scroll through the weekly ad & coupons before working together to come up with ideas for the week. This not only helps them feel empowered, but makes for a smoother week of mealtimes. Plus when they ask for something I’m not going to actually buy, there is no massive meltdown because they have no idea it isn’t staying in the virtual cart!
Something we’ve been loving is following the new launches from Fred Meyer’s line of Simple Truth items. The Simple Truth line is filled with a ton of variety, some of which are foods I never would have expected to enjoy! They feature everything from your everyday lunch meats to superior meatless options. I highly recommend checking them out if you haven’t already!
five easy kid approved school lunch ideas
Not only do my toddlers help me grocery shop for our kid-approved school lunch ideas, but they help put them together also! It serves as another great way to get them involved in what they eat and I’ve found more likely to also actually eat the food.
Let’s dive into five of my best kid-approved school lunch ideas featuring Simple Truth from Fred Meyer!
1. Ham and Cream Cheese Spirals
- Simple Truth Uncured Ham
- Simple Truth Cream Cheese
- Simple Truth Whole Wheat Tortillas
- Microwave tortillas at 50% power for 5-10 seconds (essentially enough to make the tortilla more pliable)
- Spread out a thin layer of cream cheese on entirety of tortilla and cover the cream cheese with slices of ham
- Roll up the tortilla and slice into thin rounds
Serving idea: spirals, vanilla yogurt, blackberries, purple carrots, and a cookie.
2. Pizza Pasta Salad
- Simple Truth Pasta of Choice
- Simple Truth Italian Dressing
- Simple Truth Pizza Sauce
- Simple Truth Shredded White Cheddar
- Shredded Parmesan
- Cook up pasta and let cool
- Quarter the pepperoni
- Combine approx. 1/3c of Simple Truth Italian Dressing with 1/3c of Simple Truth Pizza Sauce
- Dump all ingredients into a large bowl and mix up, making sure all noodles are covered in the sauce mix
- Cover with plastic wrap and stick into the fridge for a few hours before serving for best taste (aka, great for meal prep!)
Serving idea: pasta salad, string cheese, blackberries, crunchy snap peas and a cookie.
3. shaped sandwiches
- Simple Truth Whole Wheat Bread
- Simple Truth 4 Berry Jelly
- Simple Truth Peanut Butter (or other nut butter)
- Simple Truth Honey
- Shaped Cookie Cutters (I used a small heart)
- Makeup sandwiches as usual
- Using the cookie cutters, cut out shapes
- (optional) using a fork, seal the edges of the shaped sandwiches
Serving ideas: shaped sandwiches, vanilla yogurt, blueberries, purple carrots, and a cookie.
4. Mini Pizza Bites
- Kroger Pizza Dough
- Simple Truth Pizza Sauce
- Simple Truth Shredded White Cheddar Cheese
- + any other desired toppings
- Preheat oven to 400
- Shape a small ball of dough into the bottom of a muffin tin covering the bottom and sides of each tin (I kept mine pretty thin & used a mini muffin pan)
- Top with a small bit of sauce, cheese, and any other desired toppings
- Bake for 8-10 minutes
- Let cool before serving. Store in the fridge.
Serving ideas: pizza bites, string cheese, strawberries, crunchy snap peas, and a cookie.
5. Pancake Bites
- Simple Truth Pancake Mix + ingredients box calls for
- Small diced fruits
- Preheat oven to 350
- Makeup pancake mix per instructions
- Dice blueberries and strawberries
- Pour a spoonful of pancake mix into each mini muffin pan (filling tins about halfway)
- Sprinkle chopped fruit on top of the mix
- Bake for 8-10 minutes
- Let cool and store in the fridge
Serving ideas: pancake bites, syrup, string cheese, blackberries, crunchy snap peas, and a cookie.
I hope these simple kid-approved school lunch ideas help make the transition into the crazy school year a bit easier no matter which way you’re going about it for your family. Let me know what your favorite idea was! Mine is the pizza pasta salad. I’ll be making it in the near future just for ME!