16 Lazy Summer Lunch Ideas for Kids to Save Our Sanity

16 Lazy Summer Lunch Ideas for Kids to Save Our Sanity
Image: iStock

family eating lunch
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So many parents are already tired and summer has barely started. Between the mix of things that have happened this year and not having a whole lot of energy left, finding lunch ideas isn't easy. We want our kids to eat a healthy and balanced meal, but not at the cost of our sanity. Between work and the kids and all the things happening in the world -- oh, and the summer heat, we just want lunch to be easy.

That's what is so great about lunch, though -- it doesn't have to be complicated. It doesn't have the same pressure as breakfast does to give us that good head start of the day, and we know that after lunch, there's still dinner, which is often the largest meal of the day. With this, we get to have a little more wiggle room in how our lunch goes.

If finding some lazy summer lunch ideas is something mom needs, but there's zero interest in spending a ton of time in the kitchen, we've rounded up 16 lazy summer lunch ideas that kids will love and they'll save our sanity, too.

  • Quesadillas

    1

    What is there not to love about quesadillas – a mix of tortilla, refried beans, cheese, and other toppings. It's a favorite for kids who love Mexican food and great for parents who are working with little time to prepare something. Add fillings like spinach, broccoli, or asparagus and these are wonderfully healthy, too.

  • Tortilla Roll-Ups

    2

    There are times that sandwich bread just feels too heavy on hot days, and these tortilla roll-ups are perfect for those moments and when mom or dad just don't want to put a whole lot of effort into a meal. These can be eaten without utensils and there are numerous ways to switch up the fillings, so kids will never get sick of eating them.

  • Finger Food Tray

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    Finger foods
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    We're not sure why this happens, but kids tend to eat better and in large quantities when their food is in finger-food form. Offering options is another sure way to get kids to eat, and that's why this is one of the best go-to lazy meals. Just offer whatever is in the fridge -- carrots, hummus, ranch dressing, snap peas, crackers, deli meat, cheese strings, and yogurt -- it's got everything kids need.

  • Charcuterie Board

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    Charcuterie board
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    Yes, kids love this option of good cheeses, fruits, and meats all placed perfectly on one cutting board. These are great if parents are trying to find an ideal meal for kids in groups. While this is usually just a dinner idea for grown-ups, kids love to find ways to act like adults, and this is perfect for a lazy lunch.

  • Pancakes

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    pancakes
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    We know pancakes are usually reserved for breakfast, but families are missing out if they're not on the table for lunchtime, too. These are easy to make healthy by adding in peanut butter and granola or serving with fresh fruits – both options are great for lunch.

  • Meatloaf Muffins

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    Meatloaf is typically a dinner dish, but when we make them into the shape of muffins, they transform into a perfect lazy lunch idea. These can be prepped ahead of time and placed in the fridge or freezer so parents can just heat up however many are needed for the day.

  • Quiche

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    Quiche is kind of like scrambled egg in a handheld pie shape. They're delicious and perfect for eating during a picnic or a quick lunch at home. There isn't a kid around who doesn't love pie shells (or they're few and far between) and there's so many ways to customize, like adding spinach or drizzling with ketchup. Make two and have one for dinner and save one to reheats for super easy lunches throughout the week.

  • Pasta Salad

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    pasta salad
    iStock

    Pasta salad is a fun lunch idea because it, too, can be prepped ahead of time and served cold so it's another hot day lazy lunch option. There are so many ways to switch this up -- by adding peas or removing corn, making it vegetarian or adding in ham. It's also simple to tailor to picky eaters.

  • Hummus & Vegetables

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    hummus and vegetables
    iStock

    There is no need to go major for lunch -- hummus and sliced vegetables are the perfect lunch for kids. This meal requires no oven and barely any prep, so it's great for those days where we have too much to do, or just zero energy left to do anything fancy. It's healthy, too, but the kids only know it's amazing.

  • Mini Pizza

    10

    All kids love pizza, but sometimes it's way too hot for us to make it. That's why these little mini pizzas, which can be made ahead of time, are the perfect lazy lunch. Even if there was no time for them to be made ahead, they're simple to whip up when needed.

  • Cucumber & Cream Cheese Sandwiches

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    cucumber sandwich
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    We know that the trusty peanut butter and jelly is always an option, but sometimes the kids grow bored of it -- and other days it feels way too hot for sticky peanut butter. That's what is so great about this cucumber and cream cheese sandwich -- it's refreshing and cold, both which are huge bonuses.

  • Mac & Cheese Muffins

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    One of those meals we can make ahead of time and pull out when we're needing a simple meal in a pinch, mac and cheese muffins are bite-sized goodness that all kids love. They can be served with a little bit of ketchup and are also great for picnics or on-the-go lunches.

  • Tuna Salad on Sweet Peppers

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    tuna and sweet pepper
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    Tuna salad is one of those things that we forget about, but chances are there's a can of tuna in the pantry. Making the salad up with peppers, onion, mayo, or mustard and then serving on sliced and cold sweet peppers is a cool alternative to sandwiches and ideal for hot days.

  • Yogurt Bar

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    granola and yogurt
    iStock

    Yogurt with add-ins is a super healthy lunch option that isn't too much fuss for parents. Bonus points given because it's a cold meal that is perfect for a hot summer day that requires zero use of the oven. There are so many toppings that could be added to the yogurt, including raisins, nuts, sprinkles, granola, or fruit. Add in things like maple syrup or jam and it's even better.

  • Taco Salad

    15

    Nachos and tacos are a favorite of kids because they're incredibly delicious and the toppings add a level of customizable flavor that kids love. They like to be in control of things, so if they add extra red peppers but keep the onions out, it's no big deal. Taco salad is basically those two meals on top of healthy lettuce, so it's a win all around for everyone.

  • Smoothies

    16

    We often get too in our heads about lunchtime, but all our kids really need is something healthy, with enough good calories to keep their tummies full, and smoothies are the perfect thing. To kids, they're basically like milkshakes, but they're packed with all those good vitamins and minerals, too. There are several ways to mix them up so no one will get sick of them.

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