10 Easy Hot Lunch Ideas

hot lunch ideas for kids in grid of 6


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Make it easier to make and serve (or pack!) hot lunch ideas for school, daycare, or preschool with this go-to list. Included you’ll find ideas that require minimal prep time and that hold up well when made ahead!

hot lunch ideas for kids in grid of 6

Hot Lunch Ideas

I love making use of a thermos to increase the options I have when it’s time to pack lunch for daycare and school, and these ideas are all super easy and super kid-friendly.

Though the very best part might just be that none of them are very hard or time consuming!

I hope that these hot lunch ideas—which can be packed and sent to daycare, preschool, or elementary school, or even adjusted for your own lunch or packed at home—give you some much needed inspiration whenever you find yourself in a lunch rut.


Egg Muffins with Crackers

Make a batch of Egg Cups with Zucchini whenever you have time, stash them into the fridge, then warm them up for lunch. Pair with crackers (like Triscuits or Triscuits Thin Crisps) and fruit.

(Shown on a Bumkins suction plate.)


Pizza Bites with Fruit

Pizza Bites (either my homemade recipe or store-bought) hold well in a thermos. Warm them, pack them, and add simple sides like milk and fruit.

(Shown in the Omie Bento Box.)


This simple soup—or any soup you like, whether canned or homemade—can be packed in a thermos or warmed to serve at home. Add some crackers and you’re good to go!


Leftover Pancakes with Veggies and Applesauce

Whenever you have pancakes left from a weekend breakfast, freeze them to use for future easy meals. You can warm, then sandwich with nut or seed butter and dice up. Pack with simple sides like applesauce and veggies.

(Shown in the Omie Bento Box.)


Combine scrambled eggs, cheese, and beans into a simple burrito—or warm up a frozen one like the bean and cheese ones from Annie’s—for a simple, yet satisfying hot lunch option.

lunchbots thermos for kids

If we have leftovers or I’m looking for an easy pasta recipe to make for everyone for lunch, this pesto pasta is a great option. I usually add a simple side of fruit and milk for the kids.

(Shown in a Lunchbots Thermos.)


Warm up some naan bread and pair with pizza sauce, cheese, and pepperoni for a DIY take on a pizza lunchable. Add some fruit and/or milk too.

(Shown in the Omie Bento Box.)


Mac and Cheese with Peas, Muffin, and Fruit

Make your favorite boxed mac and cheese (or try a homemade option if you prefer), stir in some peas, and add simple sides. This is a favorite kids lunch for sure!

(Shown in the Omie Bento Box.)


Pizza Muffins store really well in the fridge and just need a quick reheat before serving or packing. Plus, they have veggies in them! Pair with simple sides like a yogurt tube and fruit.

(Shown in the Omie Bento Box.)

Scrambled Eggs, Salad, and Fruit

Scrambled eggs are quick and easy (you can even make them in the microwave)—we love to add in some spinach. (See below!) Add some shredded lettuce and fruit for an easy kids lunch option.

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I’d love to hear your feedback on this post, so please comment below to share!


10 Easy Hot Lunch Ideas

Amy Palanjian

Find easy ideas for packing or serving hot lunches to kids at home or at daycare, preschool, or elementary school. Below is the method for making the veggie scrambled eggs. The other ideas are in the Notes for your reference.

Prep Time 5 mins

Cook Time 5 mins

Total Time 10 mins

Course lunch

Cuisine American

Servings 1

Calories 214 kcal



  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or other preferred cheese)
  • ¼ cup loosely packed chopped spinach


  • Warm a nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium heat. When warm, add the butter and swirl with a spatula to melt.

  • Add the egg and let set for about 30 seconds, or until parts of it start to turn opaque. Move gently with a spatula to allow the uncooked parts to run underneath.

  • When the egg is almost cooked, add the spinach and cheese. Stir to wilt and melt.

  • Serve or pack in a thermos with salad, fruit, and crackers as desired.


You can make the eggs up to 3 days ahead and store in an airtight container in the fridge. Warm to pack or serve.
And here are the other ideas for easy reference.


Calories: 214kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 13gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 204mgSodium: 244mgPotassium: 131mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 1349IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 237mgIron: 1mg


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