Here’s to less work feeding the kids their mid-day meal this summer! These easy summer lunch ideas are here to help you offer nutritious lunches that are quick, yummy, and perfect for warm days.
Summer Lunch Ideas
Whether you have kids heading to daycare, camp, or who will be home through the summer, a fresh crop of lunch ideas can be helpful. I love thinking of a few new ideas to rotate in to help me stay out of a rut, to use other foods I may have on hand (or that may be in season) and to simply cut down on the time I’m spending in the kitchen.
These lunch ideas are great for toddlers, but can be served to big kids and even parents. (You’ll just need to adjust how much they are cut up or not!) They are all either no-cook or incredibly low-cook with a few seconds in the microwave or pan.
I hope you use these as a starting point for your kids lunches—and that you take the time to feed yourself too.
1. Smoothie with Muffins
This is a Cherry Smoothie with Sugar-Free Banana Muffins as an example of an easy lunch built around a smoothie. You could do crackers in place of the muffin and swap out the thinly sliced bell pepper for thinly sliced cucumber or a fruit.
2. Hummus and Pita
Little wedges of slightly warmed pita with hummus—either Homemade Hummus or store-bought—is a really easy lunch option. Add a fruit and a simple veggie and you’re ready to go. (You can add cheese, shredded chicken, or turkey for additional protein and sustenance.)
3. Pesto Pasta Salad
4. Bagel Sandwich
You can dice this up into small pieces for younger kids or use a mini size bagel. Spread on cream cheese and jam, PB&J, SB&J or hummus. Add fruit and a simple veggie for lunch to round it out.
5. Deconstructed Taco
You can serve a regular bean and cheese taco of course, or serve it deconstructed like this for younger kids who aren’t quite up to the coordination it takes for a regular taco. We like to do pinto or black beans, tortilla (warmed and cut into strips or wedges), shredded cheese, and shown here are grapes and roasted red peppers.
TIP: You might also like my easy Bean and Cheese Quesadillas.
6. Cheese and Crackers Lunch Box
This is an easy idea that’s great all year round and it’s super versatile. Shown here are Triscuits (choose the Triscuits Thin Crisps for kids under age 2 so they’re easier to chew), a cheese stick, pepperoni (thinly slice for kids under age 2 so it’s easy to chew), snap peas and diced mango.
TIP: Find tips on how to serve and cut fresh snap peas here.
7. Pizza Quesadillas
These are super easy and so yummy! Simply make a quesadilla as you usually would, adding a thin layer of pizza sauce with the shredded cheese. I cut them into thin wedges for toddlers and add a simple side of fruit.
8. Uncrustables with Easy Sides
Homemade Uncrustables are easy to make and my kids always get so excited to see them for lunch! You can use any fillings you like and you can make them ahead too. Here they’re shown with cheese crackers, kiwi, and warmed frozen peas.
TIP: Learn to make Uncrustables here.
9. Yogurt and Granola
Breakfast for lunch is always fun, and it’s also really nice on a warm summer day. Here I have it in an Omie Life Bento Box with kiwi, strawberries, and Sungold cherry tomatoes.
10. Snack Lunch
This is one of our go-to summer lunches since you can use up whatever you have, serve it on individual plates or family style for everyone, and go to town! It’s basically a kid-friendly cheese plate. So good!
TIP: Find the full into on how to make a Snack Meal here.
Tips for the Best Summer Lunch Ideas
- Keep it easy. I know that there’s pressure to complicate things, but it’s really not necessary.
- Think of foods that are cool and refreshing to add as simple sides like melon, Watermelon Juice, Smoothies, bell pepper strips, thinly sliced cucumber, and even Popsicles.
- Pack lunches in the morning if you’ll be out and about.
- If packing lunch for camp, consider freezing disposable items like applesauce pouches and yogurt tubes to double as ice packs.
- Remember that appetites can vary when the weather gets warm and kids drinks are just as important as food.
- You may also like No-Cook School Lunch Ideas, Bento Box Lunches, School Lunches for Kindergarten, and more easy kids lunches.
So many summer lunches can simply be assembled. Here’s how to make the deconstructed turkey sandwich. See the Notes for tips on the rest of the ideas.
- 1 ounce low-sodium turkey breast
- 1 cheese stick (or 2 tablespoons shredded cheese)
- ½ cup diced whole grain pita bread or sandwich bread
- thinly sliced cucumber or shredded lettuce
- diced avocado
- Ranch, mustard, or other sauce for dipping, optional
- diced fruit, optional
- Prepare your ingredients. Take care to thinly slice any raw veggies and dice the bread for one year olds to ensure it’s easy to chew.
- Place onto a plate, starting with a small amount and offering seconds as the hunger of the kids indicates.
And here are the rest of the ideas for easy printing:
- Smoothie lunch: Cherry Smoothie with Sugar-Free Banana Muffins
- Hummus and pita with veggies and fruit
- Pesto Pasta Salad with diced melon
- Bagel sandwich with fruit and veggies
- Deconstructed pinto bean taco (or quesadilla)
- Cheese and crackers lunch
- Pizza quesadilla using pizza sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese
- Homemade Uncrustables with crackers, peas, and cucumber
- Yogurt and granola with fruit
- Snack lunch
Keywords: summer lunch ideas