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14 Quick and Healthy Lunches to Pack for Summer Camp

So many options beyond basic PB&J

Jackie Freeman

Published on: July 16, 2024

two kids sitting in the grass eating a healthy lunch at summer camp

Parents and kids alike are excited for summer camp and are looking forward to adventures, and the opportunity to get out those wiggles and keep busy. Send your kids off with healthy lunches that are easy to prepare and will keep them full during long days of play.

1. Stuffed buns

The key to easy lunch food is something you can make ahead of time and simply toss into a lunchbox in the morning. These stuffed buns fit the bill! The recipe from The Kitchn has you stuffing them with ham and asparagus, but any combo of veggies and protein will be great. Bonus — Kelli Foster likes to use premade biscuit dough, making this hearty lunch option even quicker to put together. 

2. Homemade Uncrustables

Continuing with the theme of easy-to-pack options, your campers will love this homemade version of the lunchbox fav. Uncrustables are basically a PB&J sandwich without the crust (hence the name) cut into a fun shape with the edges sealed to hold in all the gooey, sweet goodness. Amy at Yummy Toddler Food has lots of good ideas for sandwich fillings and provides instructions for making Uncrustables using a sandwich sealer or a fork, whatever you have on hand. These can be made ahead of time and frozen for up to three months!

3. Pizza buns

These look like cinnamon rolls, but inside you’ll find cheese, sauce and all your favorite toppings! Simply make (or buy) pizza dough, add topping, roll it into a log, slice it and bake. The best part is you can put these in the freezer after they are baked for a quick and easy item to toss into a lunch sack. Head to Simple as That for the recipe and details. 

4. Turkey and pesto pinwheels

These baked pinwheels use packaged dough, making them quick to pull together (though if you would rather make your own dough, feel free). There are endless options for fillings for this simple and satisfying lunch solution; just use your child’s favorite combo. You’ll find all the info you need at The Scramble.  

5. Lunch box kebabs

In this fun and easy idea, the blog It Is a Keeper takes a ham and cheese sandwich and turns it into a unique, bite-size and easily packable meal. Cherry tomatoes keep the meat and cheese from sliding off the skewers, and add some colorful veggies to lunch.

6. Taco in a jar

Whether they’re camping in the great outdoors or headed to summer day camp, if your kids love tacos, they will love this handy lunch. Bush Cooking uses a clean canning jar for a sturdy and safe way to transport this meal. Let the kids mix and match their favorite toppings, like salsa, guacamole or shredded cheese.

7. Easy lunchbox mini quiches 

Breakfast also makes a perfect lunch. Check out Laura Fuentes’ Fresh Living recipe for mini quiches. They are easy to make, packed with protein and oh-so cute!

8. Quick pepperoni pizza quesadilla 

What kid doesn’t love pizza? This version by Two Healthy Kitchens is quick and easy. With plenty of whole grains and protein, this tasty lunch will keep them powered up throughout the day.

9. Kid-approved wraps

Sandwich wraps are probably one of the most popular, and easiest, lunchbox meals to make. Get inspired by five fun wrap ideas from the blog Kids Eat By Shanai including ham, eggs or salmon.

10. Apple cheddar corn muffins

Local PCC Community Markets knows that lunch doesn’t always have to be a sandwich, and a muffin doesn’t always have to be sweet. PCC’s recipe for apple cheddar corn muffins makes a savory snack that’s packed with apples, cheese and cornmeal.

11. Healthy lunchbox spring rolls

There’s no cooking involved in preparing these fresh spring rolls by Sugar Free Mom. Dip the rice wrappers in warm water and fill them with your favorite veggies (or fruit). Served with a peanut dipping sauce, kids will love the rainbow of colors. If peanuts are a no-go, swap out the peanut butter for almond or sunflower seed butter.

12. Tuna-stuffed cucumber boats

Some kids need to eat gluten-free but still want their tuna salad sandwich. When you need to skip the bread, try serving your tuna in a crunchy cucumber canoe, instead of as a sandwich. Add a few chip “sails” and a carrot “rudder” and these boats are ready to launch. For simpler transport, pack a container of tuna salad along with containers of gluten-free crackers and cucumber slices for dipping.

13. Hand rice ball (jumeokbap), spam and egg dosirak

The Korean version of the Japanese bento box, dosirak, is popular for children’s lunchboxes. Maangchi has tons of recipes that can be used in a dosirak. Kids will love sourcing possibly new-to-them ingredients for this tasty lunch, and they can help to prepare it.

14. Cinnamon ants on a stick

While your kids are off to summer camp, there’s a good chance they’ll encounter some ants at lunch. Allrecipes made this a good thing with crunchy and creamy cinnamon ants on sticks, a twist on the traditional ants on a log.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published several years ago and was most recently updated in July 2024 with new lunch ideas by associate editor Kari Hanson.

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