our everyday life

Quick Fast & Easy Lunch Meals

by Angela Tague, studioD

If your midday schedule includes picking up a toddler from a half-day school program, running errands and balancing work duties, keep lunch simple. Children don't expect a gourmet three-course hot meal. As long as your little one has a rainbow of color and several food groups represented on her plate, you've prepared a healthy lunch.

Cool Kabobs

If your child loves sandwich toppings, but leaves the bread behind, make meat and cheese kabobs for lunch. To keep the meal safe, use slender fiber-packed whole-wheat pretzel sticks as skewers. Alternate cubed deli meats and cheeses on the pretzel. Try low-fat turkey, calcium-rich cheddar and top with a bite-size cherry tomato for a burst of vitamin C and lycopene. Serve the kabobs with a side of baby carrots and dipping sauce for a well-balanced, easy lunch that doesn't require the stove, oven or microwave.

Simple Pizzas

Kids love pizza in any form. For a quick lunch, transform a bagel half into a single-serving pizza. Spread pizza or pasta sauce on the bagel, top with shredded mozzarella and load on the veggies. Keep the preparation simple by using a pre-cut frozen vegetable mix of green peppers and onions. For extra protein, dice meat from last night's dinner. Ground beef, chicken, ham or bacon blend well with pizza sauce. Add a dash of dry dressing and dip mix for a burst of flavor, and warm the creation in a toaster oven until the cheese melts.

Creative Sandwiches

Make bite-size sandwiches from cocktail bread or pita pockets. The miniature size fits perfectly in a toddler's hands and looks different than his usual triangle sandwich halves. Load the mini sandwiches with sliced hard-boiled eggs, deli meats and fresh sliced tomato. To make the sandwiches in a snap, prepare a batch of hard boiled eggs during your free time and keep them on hand for salads, sandwiches or as a protein-filled snack. Spread fat-free creamy dressing on the sandwich bread instead of mayo to hold it all together.

Reinventing Leftovers

Use last night's dinner to whip up a quick soup, casserole or sandwich for your little one. Add leftover cooked vegetables to a can of tomato soup. Layer leftover turkey breast on whole wheat crackers with a dollop of creamy dressing to create open-face sandwiches. Mix excess pasta noodles with that last portion of pot roast for a simple casserole. Slice a fresh apple for dessert and you've not only used up leftovers, you've created a healthy lunch in minutes.

About the Author

Angela Tague writes marketing content and journalistic pieces for major brands including Bounty, The Nest, Lowe's Home Improvement and Hidden Valley. She also provides feature content to newspapers and writes health and beauty blogs for Daily Glow, Everyday Health and Walgreens. Tague graduated from the University of Iowa with a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communications in 1999.

Photo Credits

  • Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images