Texas Living

Homeschool Lunch Ideas for Kids Stuck at Home

By Jill Kring 3.2.21

Making a nutritious lunch that kids will eat is tough even in the best of times, but balancing life (and school) at home these days can feel overwhelming.

Many parents struggle with sandwich burnout. It’s easy to get tired of the same old thing every day, but it’s hard to come up with countless new ideas. Keep it simple with the same basic lunch ingredients you have on your shopping list (or your dinner leftovers) — but in fun, new configurations.

Best of all, making lunch a fun activity instead of a chore makes it easier to shift the responsibility to your kids if you can. Including kids in the lunch-making process fosters responsibility and helps develop fine motor skills. It’s a great opportunity for them to learn essential life skills — and one less thing on your to-do list!

Here are three popular ways to make lunch more fun — each with countless variations so you never run out of ideas and your kids always look forward to their mid-day meal.

homemade lunchable ideas
Imani Chet Lytle

1. Homemade Lunchables

Skip the processed food, packaging, and price tags by assembling homemade “lunchables.” Once you have the ingredients, these will be easy (and fun) for your kids to put together themselves. Here are a few varieties you can try. You can also mix and match whatever sides of vegetables and fruits your kids will eat.

Ham and Cheese
Triscuits or other crackers
Deli-sliced ham
Sliced cheddar cheese
Side of carrot sticks

Turkey and Swiss
Triscuits or other crackers
Deli-sliced turkey
Sliced Swiss cheese
Side of grapes

Pepperoni Pizza
Sliced pita bread
Marinara sauce
Shredded mozzarella
Pepperoni slices
Side of apple slices

Mini Tacos 
Mini street-style tortillas
Sliced chicken breast
Shredded cheese
Any salsa you have on hand
Side of vegetable chips

homemade tiktok tortilla hack ideas
Imani Chet Lytle

2. TikTok Tortilla Wrap Hack

This viral TikTok trend is worth the hype, and the hack is easy. Lay a large flour tortilla on a cutting board and put four different toppings (there are countless varieties to choose from!) in each quadrant. Cut a slit between the bottom two quarters to the centerpoint. Then, make four folds in the tortilla: Fold the bottom left quarter up, fold those pieces to the right, and then fold that portion down. All four quarters should be stacked into a triangle. Now, heat it in a griddle pan over low heat. (You can do the heating and cutting for your kids, if they’re too young to use the stove and knives.) Here are some fun variations:

Burrito Wrap
Refried beans
Shredded cheese
Pico de gallo or salsa

Hummus Wrap
Shredded cheese
Shredded carrot

Turkey Club
Sliced turkey

Chicken and Broccoli
Sliced chicken breast
Shredded cheese
Teriyaki sauce

homemade bento boxes ideas
Imani Chet Lytle

3. Bento Boxes

A bento is a single-serving, home-packed meal all wrapped up in a cute box. It typically has divisions, making it easy to put a variety of small servings in each portion of the box. One bonus is you can get the kids to prep these the night before, so all they have to do at lunchtime is pull out their box with their ready-made meal. You can even plan these around your dinner leftovers!

Deconstructed Falafel
Falafel balls
Pita bread triangles
Cucumber slices

Chinese Takeaway
Chicken strips
Shredded cabbage
Teriyaki sauce

Breakfast Bento
Hard- or soft-boiled eggs
Bacon strips
Blueberry muffins (Try cute muffin tins to make it extra special.)
Melon or berries

homemade cafeteria lunch ideas
Imani Chet Lytle

Cafeteria Vibes

Finally, if your child is staying at home for school, sometimes using a fun lunch box can bring back a sense of normalcy and remind them to look forward to a time when they are back in school again. Another great idea is writing small, uplifting notes for your child to read with their lunch. Times might be tough, but lunch doesn’t have to be!

When the school day is all over, bring the family together for a cozy, at-home movie night.

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