Parents and kids alike are looking forward to summer camp to work 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. 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.
2. 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. Bushcooking 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.
3. 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!
4. Healthy lunchbox spring rolls
There’s no cooking involved to prepare these fresh spring rolls by Sugar Free Mom. Simply 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 butter.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. Hand rice ball (jumeokbap), spam and egg dosirak
The Korean version of the Japanese bento box, dosirak is popular for children’s lunchboxes. Eileen Cho put together easy recipe instructions for this fun idea as a birthday tribute to her younger sister. Kids will love sourcing possibly new-to-you ingredients for this tasty lunch, and they can help to prepare it.
8. Apple cheddar corn muffins
Local PCC Community Markets know 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 make a savory snack that’s packed with apples, cheese and cornmeal.
9 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.
10. Lunch box kabobs
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.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in June 2018, and updated in June 2022.