Co-op Blog

20+ Easy Breezy At-Home Lunch Ideas

If you’re reading this in 2020, you’re all too familiar with having to make lunches for you and your kids at home. Between working from home and distanced learning, weekdays can be super busy and by the time lunch comes around, the last thing you want to be doing is scrambling to figure out what to make.

But don’t panic! Lunch doesn’t have to be complicated, and it can be healthy, too! If you’re at a loss for what to do for your at-home lunch, we’ve got some ideas for you that are super simple, delicious, and perfect for you and the kids.

Sandwiches & Wraps

Sandwiches and wraps are a no-brainer when it comes to lunch because they’re so easy to customize and loved by kids and grown-ups alike. Here are a few fun kid and adult-friendly recipes!

Recharging Robot Lunch

robot lunch

Here’s a simple, delicious, and totally fun lunch to make with the kids.

Follow the instructions below for how to make your robot, or let the kids create their own! That counts as art, right?

Ingredients

  • 4 slices pumpernickel bread
  • 1/4 cup red pepper or plain hummus (see Tip below for Red Pepper Hummus recipe)
  • 1/4 avocado, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1/4 cup plus one small slice of chopped red onion or bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro or shredded lettuce
  • 1/4 cup carrots, sliced into rounds
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 4 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced into half-circles
  • 1 radish, sliced
  • 2 green beans
  • 2 sunflower seeds

Directions

  1. Cut two slices of bread into 3 1/2-by-3-inch rectangles. Cut two slices of bread into 2-inch squares.
  2. Spread hummus on one rectangle slice and one square slice.
  3. Toss the avocado, lime juice, and chopped red onion or bell pepper in a bowl. Spread the mixture over the hummus. Sprinkle the cilantro or lettuce on top.
  4. Top each covered bread slice with the same size bread slice. Place the sandwiches on a plate with the small sandwich above the large sandwich.
  5. Place two radish slices on the smaller sandwich. Top each with a sunflower seed for the eyes.
  6. Use the small slice of onion or bell pepper for the mouth. Place it under the eyes above the zucchini slice.
  7. Cut two celery sticks 3 inches long.
  8. Put one on each side of the body for the arms.
  9. Put a zucchini slice at the end of each celery stick for the hands.
  10. Arrange carrot rounds on the body. Slice one green bean into thin rounds and place them on top of the carrot rounds.
  11. Use wooden skewers for the legs. Stick a cherry tomato on each skewer. Cut two 1/2-inch-long pieces of celery.
  12. Put a piece of celery on each skewer. Put another cherry tomato on each skewer. Put a zucchini slice at the end of each skewer for the feet.
  13. Stick the skewers into the bottom of the body, into the hummus-avocado mixture.

Recipe and photo adapted from Welcome to the Table

Super-Duper Sandwich Faces

egg salad sandwich faces

Here’s another sandwich that lets your kids express their creativity!

This sandwich is more of an egg-salad style and can incorporate any of your kid’s favorite veggies.

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 3 slices whole-wheat bread
  • 1 radish, sliced
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 4 black olives, sliced
  • 2 green beans
  • 1 baby pickle
  • 1 cherry tomato
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 cup mixed salad greens

Directions

  1. Put the eggs in a large saucepan and cover them with cold water. Bring the water to a boil. Boil the eggs for 3 minutes, uncovered. Cover the pan and remove it from the heat. Let it sit for 8 minutes. Remove the eggs from the pan. Cool them in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Peel the eggs.
  2. Chop eight of the eggs into small pieces. Place the chopped eggs in a large bowl. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, green onion, and paprika. Mix together. Spread the egg salad on the slices of bread.
  3. Add eyes. Slice the remaining egg. Place two egg slices on the first bread slice. Place two radish slices on the second bread slice. Place two cucumber slices on the last bread slice. Put olive slices on top of egg and cucumber slices. Cut two slices of green bean. Put one on top of each radish slice.
  4. Add noses. Put a pickle on the first bread slice. Put half of a cherry tomato on the second bread slice. Cut a slice of carrot for the nose on the third bread slice.
  5. Add mouths. Use a green bean on the first bread slice. Use slices of green and red pepper on the second and third bread slices.
  6. Add hair. Use mixed salad greens on the first bread slice. Cut a carrot into short slices and place them on the second bread slice. Use a peeler to peel long, thin strips of carrot. Use it for hair on the third bread slice.

Recipe and photo adapted from Welcome to the Table

Peanut Butter and Jelly Spiders

peanut butter jelly spiders

Here’s a quick and fun take on peanut butter and jelly that your kids will totally get a kick out of.

Ingredients

  • 6 whole-wheat English muffins
  • 3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 6 tablespoons strawberry jam
  • 48 small pretzel sticks
  • 12 chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Have a platter ready for the finished “spiders.” Split and toast the English muffins, and spread each with about 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and a tablespoon of strawberry jam.
  2. Arrange 8 pretzels, 4 on each side radiating outward, on the bottom half of each English muffin to make 8 legs. Top with the other halves of the muffins.
  3. Make eyes on top by placing two chocolate chips on each English muffin; they should melt a little and adhere to the muffin. Serve warm.

Recipe and photo adapted from Welcome to the Table

Turkey BLT Wraps

turkey wrap

Healthy and super simple, BLT wraps are a crowd-pleaser no matter how old you are!

To make this recipe even easier, cook your bacon the night before and pre-slice your veggies that morning.

Find the full recipe at EatingWell

More Sandwich & Wrap Recipes to Try

Pizza & Quesadilla Recipes

You might not think of pizza as a quick and easy lunch, but it can be when you sub in English muffins or pita bread for the crust! And of course, quesadillas are a great way to use what you’ve got on hand.

Funky Pizza Party

funky pizza party

With an English muffin crust, these pizzas are super easy to toss together and can be decorated and topped with your kid’s favorite veggies, meats, and cheese.

Ingredients

  • 3 whole-grain English muffins halves
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce (optional: make your own pizza sauce; see Tips & Notes below)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 zucchini
  • sliced black olives
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 ham slice
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • green olives with pimento
  • 1 green onion
  • 1 green pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Slice the English muffins in half. Cover each muffin half with pizza sauce. Top each one evenly with cheese.
  3. Follow the directions below to decorate the muffins. Put them on a baking sheet. Bake them for about 8 minutes. Take them out and let them cool before serving.

Recipe and photo adapted from Welcome to the Table

Kid-friendly Cheesy Black Bean Quesadillas

This quick and easy quesadilla recipe takes next to no time to make and is surprisingly satisfying.

If your kids aren’t super interested in beans, sub in some leftover chicken!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped tomato
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 cup cooked black beans
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Hot sauce to taste
  • Softened butter or vegetable oil
  • 8 whole wheat, corn or sprouted corn tortillas
  • 8 ounces Monterey Jack or Cotija cheese, grated

Directions

  1. Combine the tomatoes, green onion, cilantro, lime juice, black beans, salt, and hot sauce in a bowl.
  2. To assemble and cook a quesadilla, spread or brush the softened butter or vegetable oil on one side of two tortillas. Place one tortilla butter-side down in a 10-inch or larger skillet over medium heat. Spread one-quarter of the cheese on top of the tortilla and top with a generous spoonful of the black bean mixture (and any other ingredients you may want to use). Place the other tortilla, butter side up, on top of all this.
  3. Cook until the bottom tortilla is nice and golden brown, using a pancake turner, carefully turn the quesadilla over and cook until nicely golden brown. Repeat the process 3 more times with remaining tortillas and filling. 
  4. To serve, cut each quesadilla into 6 or 8 wedges and serve any extra salsa on the side.

Recipe and photo adapted from Welcome to the Table

Peanut Butter and Banana Quesadillas

This quesadilla recipe is a fun riff on a peanut butter and banana sandwich and is a perfectly healthy way to fill your sweet tooth.

This recipe is a great way to use tortillas from taco night that you don’t want kicking around in the back of the pantry forever.

If you wanted to mix it up, feel free to add in your favorite fruit that’s in season. Apples or strawberries would make this quesadilla even more filling.

Find the full recipe at Fine Cooking

More Pizza & Quesadilla Recipes to Try

Simple & Fun Snacks

Maybe your kid likes to have little snacks here and there rather than an established lunch. And maybe you’re a snacker, too! Here are a few easy ideas that will fill that midday grumble.

Farm Animal Muffins

Make these muffins the night before for a quick and easy snack during the day!

And of course, your kids aren’t limited to the designs in the recipe! Let their imagination do the decorating.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 4 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 green apples, finely diced
  • red apple (or peach)
  • raisins
  • dried mango
  • natural red and black licorice
  • dried cranberries
  • blueberries

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Put paper liners in the muffin tin cups.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat together the butter, egg, milk, applesauce, oil, and vanilla.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. Gently stir in the diced apples.
  5. Spoon the batter into the muffin tin cups. Fill them about two-thirds full. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.

For the Pig Decoration

  1. Cut a small oval from the skin of the red apple for the nose. Cut two very small cubes from the apple for eyes. Place them on the muffin.
  2. Cut two slivers from the raisins for nostrils. Put them on top of the nose.
  3. Cut two small triangles out of the dried mango for the ears. Stick the ears between the muffin and the paper liner.

For the Chicken Decoration

  1. Cut a small triangle out of the dried mango for the beak. Put it in the center of the muffin.
  2. Cut a raisin in half. Put them above the beak for the eyes.
  3. Take a 1-inch piece of red licorice and cut it lengthwise into six thin strips. Use a toothpick to make six holes above the eyes. Stick a licorice strip into each hole.

For the Cat Decoration

  1. Put a dried cranberry in the center of the muffin for the nose.
  2. Take a 1-inch piece of black licorice and cut it lengthwise into six thin strips. Arrange the licorice strips around the nose for whiskers.
  3. Cut a blueberry in half. Put the blueberry halves above the nose for eyes.
  4. Cut two triangles from the outer edge of the apple for ears. Stick the ears between the muffin and the paper liner.

Recipe and photo adapted from Welcome to the Table

Apple Raspberry “Nachos”

apple nachos

Here’s a delicious junk food turned healthy dessert! Apples act as the chips while chocolate drizzle acts as the cheese in these dessert nachos.

Top these off with whatever crunchy toppings you like, whether that be coconut shreds, chopped almonds, or chocolate chips.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen or fresh raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 large Honeycrisp apples, halved, cored and sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons shredded coconut
  • 2 tablespoons plain or vanilla yogurt

Directions

  1. In a small pot, simmer the raspberries and maple syrup for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove the raspberry sauce from the heat and pour into a small container through a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds. (Tip: Use the back of a heavy spoon to push the raspberry sauce through the strainer.) Set aside the finished sauce.
  2. Melt the chocolate chips either in a double boiler or by microwaving for about 3 minutes on low, in a microwave-safe bowl. To build the nachos, spread out or overlap the apple slices on a platter or large plate.
  3. Lightly drizzle the apple slices with the melted chocolate and raspberry sauce, sprinkle pecans and coconut over the top, and serve with yogurt as a dipping sauce.

Recipe and photo adapted from Welcome to the Table

Ants On A Log

ants on a log

Here’s an oldie but a goodie… ants on a log!

Here, dried cherries are subbed in for raisins for a new take on the yummy snack.

These take literally a minute to make and can be served with whatever crackers or cheese you have on hand!

Find the full recipe at EatingWell

Cheddar Cheese Popcorn

cheddar cheese popcorn

Next time your at the Co-op, swing by our bulk department and grab some popcorn and make this yummy snack!

If you wanted to make this recipe vegan, but still kid-friendly, feel free to substitute in nutritional yeast flakes rather than cheddar cheese powder.

Find the full recipe at Bob’s Red Mill

More Snack Recipes to Try

By: Leigha

LeighaLeigha is the Marketing Assistant at the Skagit Valley Food Co-op.