I shrug my shoulders at the whole “Be a stay-at-home mom” or “Be a working mom” debate. Cause from where I sit: Both have their advantages. Since I’ve become a mom, I’ve:
- Worked part-time, with my sister as my babysitter
- Worked full-time, with 3 kids in a daycare center
- Stayed at home, with 4 kids, including homeschooling half-time with 1 of them for 2 years.
- Worked part-time, with 2 kids in a preschool/daycare center and 2 kids in elementary school.
Each stage has things about it that were easy. And each stage had it’s challenges. But of the challenges that surprised me about staying at home was lunch.
Yes, lunch. I had gone from a place where my kids had lunch with my sister or the daycare to BOOM! All of a sudden, they were looking at me to feed them over the noon hour. For some reason, I struggled with that.
But I figured out a solution that worked for me and for the ages that my kids were (preschool and under). I came up with our favorite 10 lunches and just rotated them. The kids loved it because they were all their “favorites!” I loved it because it simplified menu planning AND it simplified grocery shopping. We did deviate from it now and then – particularly if an event came up or we had an abundance of leftovers. But having that general framework served me well.
And now that most of America is suddenly back home during the day – with our kids – it’s become a slight challenge for me. Maybe for you too? So I thought I’d share some lunch ideas that make for easy meals. I’ve been packing my school-aged kids’ lunches, so I already had a good starting point, but I also have the added bonus of having access to a microwave, a stove and an oven. It definitely opens up some choices!
Yeah, it’s getting to be warmer outside and some people aren’t into soup when it’s warmer. But I am! Especially when it’s a slow cooker soup. Get it going early in the morning and it’s easily done by lunch time. Leftovers can be part of your evening meal or even served for 2 lunches. That’s a-okay with me! Here are some of my favorites:
- Baked Potato Soup
- Slow Cooker Ham & Potato Soup
- Cheesy Veggie Chowder
- Chicken Noodle Soup
- Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Ham & Bean Soup
- Slow Cooker Chili
- Taco Soup
- Vegetable Beef Soup
- Broccoli Cheese Soup
My boys (ages 3-7) actually really like salad. I think it started because I’d make them lunch, but make myself a salad. Anything that mom is eating looks good! Try some of these:
- Tomato Basil Pasta Salad
- Berry Watermelon Fruit Salad
- Cheesy Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
- Simple Pasta Salad
- Ceasar Salad (though I confess I’d just use a bottle of dressing rather than making mine)
- Taco Salad
- Cobb Salad
Sometimes it’s fun to have appetizers for lunch! They feel like you’re at a party and doing something naughty. We love these:
Sandwiches are almost always a winner at my house. I’ll often just grab out a packet of ham or turkey and some cheese. We aren’t fans of mayo around here, so I’ll use a little salad dressing instead of oil & vinegar. Yum! Here are some others to try:
- Grilled Ham & Cheese
- Egg Salad
- Peanut Butter & Jelly
- Turkey Wraps
- Chicken Salad Sandwiches
There’s a reason why Macaroni & Cheese is so popular. It’s well loved and easy to make. Here are some other classic ones:
Breakfast for Lunch
- Sausage Breakfast Casserole
- Sausage Bagel Sandwiches
- English Muffins (top with butter, cream cheese, peanut butter or jelly)
- Breakfast Burritos
- French Toast Sticks
- Eggs – Fried, Scrambled or Hard Boiled
- Pancake Bites
- Baked Oatmeal
Jayme is a wife to 1 and a mother to four little boys. She tries to coupon, builds a smart stockpile, and always meal plans. While she likes to cook, she’s in the stage of life where simple is usually better – she never knows how many hands she’ll have free at dinner time! You can find her on Instagram.