We’re with you: you want to mix it up for lunch with something different that’s still fresh and nutritious. But, when you’re a busy parent there’s no time to sift through thousands of recipes to find the right one that guarantees the kiddos will eat without a fuss. Here are our favorite recipe ideas for fast and fun meals—and they’re very flexible for picky eaters, too. Pro Tip: Each recipe is simple enough that you can use cooking as a math lesson to help teach counting, fractions, and more. Bon appétit!
- Honey Lemon Ricotta Toast. Who says toast is boring? Heat up a hearty sourdough or multigrain bread and spread skim ricotta along the top. Slice figs, zucchini, or pitted dates and dress with honey and a super light drizzle of olive oil. Spritz with lemon to finish, and you have a meal that’s sweet, natural, and much healthier than it tastes!
- Pickled Avocado. Pickled avocado, you say? Yep and it’s super easy, too! Simmer your favorite pickling seasonings in a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water while you cut a firm-but-ripe avocado into hearty chunks (remove the skin and pit, too). Put the avocado into a mason jar and, once the liquid solution has cooled to room temperature, pour it and seal. Leave in the fridge for a couple hours for a unique treat that’s good right out of the jar.
- Summertime Raw Kebabs. Or salad on a stick, if you will. Spear fresh butter lettuce, cherry tomatoes, zucchini wheels, and other veggies with a kebab skewer and drizzle with your favorite salad dressing. Have your little one help count out and arrange each ingredient for a creative way to make getting your daily veggies fun.
- Sweet & Spicy Quesadillas. A quick-food staple, quesadillas offer the chance to be creative in ways most foods do not. Why not have a little fun? Pineapple and jalapeño go great together, especially when paired with melted cheese. Add some bacon bits or black beans for protein and toast them up for a crispy delight. Creatively cut and teach your little one fractions of the whole.
- Quinoa Stuffed Peppers. Looking for a heartier lunch? Cook up quinoa or brown rice while cleaning and de-seeding your bell peppers. Mix your grains with tomato sauce, black beans, onions, cheese, beef, or whatever else your heart desires, then stuff and roast in the oven.