What to Serve for Lunch on Sunday?

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What you serve for Sunday lunch depends on your family's lifestyle. If you spend the morning at church or going out, you might opt for a slow-cooker meal or easy cold cuts. For laid-back Sundays when everyone sleeps in, treat the family to a leisurely brunch. Extended families who enjoy a weekly gathering for dinner can go light at lunch to save room. Packing a picnic lunch and spending Sunday outdoors is another fun possibility.

Light Sunday Lunch

If your family believes that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, a rich lunch so soon after a big breakfast would feel too heavy. Have lunch on the lighter side and offer them a green salad enlivened with leftover ham or bacon from breakfast, shredded cheese or pinto beans. Adding meat, beans or lentils to salad boosts its protein content, making an already nutritious dish even more healthful for your family. Serve with light or fat-free creamy dressing. Salads are also a quick fix for the family after returning from church or a Sunday outing.

Football Season

For sports-loving families, Sundays mean one thing: football. Serve them healthier versions of classic halftime favorites and they'll enjoy lunch no matter how their team is faring. Instead of nachos, cut wedges of pita bread and serve them with hummus or yogurt dip flavored with dry dressing and seasoning packets. Give them fresh raw carrot sticks and celery to go with hot wings and choose a fat-free or light version of creamy bleu cheese or ranch dressing to use for dipping. Mix pureed edamame in the guacamole for a lower-fat, higher-fiber version of the treat.

Sunday Brunch

If your crew likes to sleep late and have a leisurely meal, combine breakfast and lunch into brunch. Historians argue over when brunch became part of the lexicon, but New Orleans and New York lay claim to the concept or at least to its elevation. Both cities know a lot about great cooking, so try a themed brunch paying homage to either of these food-loving towns. Serve eggs Sardou and puffy French toast for a New Orleans brunch or go for a hearty omelet with diced New York strip steak and peppers seasoned with a sprinkle of dry dressing mix.

Picnic Lunch

Spend a beautiful day in a park or by a lake, enjoying the weather and sampling a spread of picnic favorites. Picnic food must keep well, travel easily and taste terrific. Pack a lunch of separate sandwich meats, cheeses, condiments and vegetables that picnickers can assemble for themselves; this keeps bread from going soggy and makes greens stay crisp in the cooler. A roast chicken makes a great centerpiece for a picnic. Set it off with ranch dressing potato salad, olives and carrot sticks. Single-serving packs of creamy ranch dressing are convenient for sandwich spread as well as for dipping vegetables. For dessert, chilled watermelon works with any lunch favorites.

Hearty Lunch Fare

Some families prefer a later, but larger lunch that practically doubles as dinner. Roasted chicken or turkey as the entree and traditional side dishes such as green beans, mashed potatoes and biscuits make up a typical post-church family feast. Give your mashed potatoes a quick flavor boost by stirring in a packet of dry ranch dressing mix. If you plan to have an early Sunday and won't be home until later, keep the tradition but translate it to your slow cooker and braise the bird instead. Switching the chicken out for chilled sliced ham works well for hot days when cold cuts taste their best.