These easy summer lunch ideas are here to help you offer nutritious lunches that are quick, yummy, and perfect for warm days—for kids and adults.
Summer Lunch Ideas
Whether you have kids heading to daycare, camp, or who will be home through the summer, a fresh crop of lunch ideas can be helpful. I love thinking of a few new ideas to rotate in to help me stay out of a rut, to use other foods I may have on hand (or that may be in season) and to simply cut down on the time I’m spending in the kitchen.
These lunch ideas are great for toddlers, but can be served to big kids and even parents. (You’ll just need to adjust how much they are cut up or not!) They are all either no-cook or incredibly low-cook with a few seconds in the microwave or pan.
I hope you use these as a starting point for your kids lunches—and that you take the time to feed yourself too.
Your toddler won’t eat? Help is here!
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1. Smoothie with Muffins
This is a Cherry Smoothie with Sugar-Free Banana Muffins as an example of an easy lunch built around a smoothie. You could do crackers in place of the muffin and swap out the thinly sliced bell pepper for thinly sliced cucumber or a fruit.
Try this naturally sweet smoothie filled with cherries, banana, and creamy yogurt. Add the nut butter if desired for extra protein and flavor.
2. Hummus and Pita
Little wedges of slightly warmed pita with hummus—either Homemade Hummus or store-bought—is a really easy lunch option. Add a fruit and a simple veggie and you’re ready to go. (You can add cheese, shredded chicken, or turkey for additional protein and sustenance.)
With just 5 minutes and basic pantry ingredients, you can make the yummiest Homemade Hummus without tahini. This means that it’s nut-free, so it’s an option for school and allergy families, and it’s just perfect for dunking crackers or spreading on bread.
3. Pesto Pasta Salad
4. Bagel Sandwich
You can dice this up into small pieces for younger kids or use a mini size bagel. Spread on cream cheese and jam, PB&J, SB&J or hummus. Add fruit and a simple veggie for lunch to round it out.
5. Deconstructed Taco
You can serve a regular bean and cheese taco of course, or serve it deconstructed like this for younger kids who aren’t quite up to the coordination it takes for a regular taco. We like to do pinto or black beans, tortilla (warmed and cut into strips or wedges), shredded cheese, and shown here are grapes and roasted red peppers.
TIP: You might also like my easy Bean and Cheese Quesadillas.
I prefer to make these vegetarian since it’s easier, but you can of course add in cooked chicken, beef, or shrimp if you like! Add another can of beans or additional corn to feed a larger family or appetites.
6. Cheese and Crackers Lunch Box
This is an easy idea that’s great all year round and it’s super versatile. Shown here are Triscuits (choose the Triscuits Thin Crisps for kids under age 2 so they’re easier to chew), a cheese stick, pepperoni (thinly slice for kids under age 2 so it’s easy to chew), snap peas and diced mango.
TIP: Find tips on how to serve and cut fresh snap peas here.
You can do a big family-style platter or individual ones for the kids depending on your preference. Add anything else that sounds appealing and know that the nutrition info will vary according to what you use.
7. Pizza Quesadillas
These are super easy and so yummy! Simply make a quesadilla as you usually would, adding a thin layer of pizza sauce with the shredded cheese. I cut them into thin wedges for toddlers and add a simple side of fruit.
This meal is perfect for when you’re short on time or when you want to make pizza with less fuss. Add a simple side of cut up fruit, applesauce, or a salad kit and call it good.
8. Uncrustables with Easy Sides
Homemade Uncrustables are easy to make and my kids always get so excited to see them for lunch! You can use any fillings you like and you can make them ahead too. Here they’re shown with cheese crackers, kiwi, and warmed frozen peas.
You can make one sandwich at a time, or make a batch of a few to stash in the freezer. Adjust this as needed for your preference.
9. Yogurt and Granola
Breakfast for lunch is always fun, and it’s also really nice on a warm summer day. Here I have it in an Omie Life Bento Box with kiwi, strawberries, and Sungold cherry tomatoes. You can serve it in a bowl at home or in a divided plate.
This healthy granola recipe uses applesauce for sweetness and bakes at a lower temperature to lower the risk of burning around the edges. Plus, find an option to make it without added sugar id desired.
10. Snack Lunch
This is one of our go-to summer lunches since you can use up whatever you have, serve it on individual plates or family style for everyone, and go to town! It’s basically a kid-friendly cheese plate. So good!
TIP: Find the full into on how to make a Snack Meal here.
Best Tips for Success
- Keep it easy. I know that there’s pressure to complicate things, but it’s really not necessary.
- Think of foods that are cool and refreshing to add as simple sides like melon, Watermelon Juice, Smoothies, bell pepper strips, thinly sliced cucumber, and even Popsicles.
- Pack lunches in the morning if you’ll be out and about.
- If packing lunch for camp, consider freezing disposable items like applesauce pouches and yogurt tubes to double as ice packs. And using an insulated lunch bag.
- Remember that appetites can vary when the weather gets warm and kids drinks are just as important as food.
- Try a turkey wrap, a wrap with chicken salad, cold sesame noodles, Quinoa Salad, store-bought falafel with tzatziki, a simple taco salad, or noodles with peanut sauce as a few more ideas.
I’d love to hear your feedback on this post, so please rate and comment below!
Prepare your ingredients. Take care to thinly slice any raw veggies and dice the bread for one year olds to ensure it’s easy to chew.
Place onto a plate, starting with a small amount and offering seconds as the hunger of the kids indicates.
- Smoothie lunch: Cherry Smoothie with Sugar-Free Banana Muffins
- Hummus and pita with veggies and fruit
- Pesto Pasta Salad with diced melon
- Bagel sandwich with fruit and veggies
- Deconstructed pinto bean taco (or quesadilla)
- Cheese and crackers lunch
- Pizza quesadilla using pizza sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese
- Homemade Uncrustables with crackers, peas, and cucumber
- Yogurt and granola with fruit
- Snack lunch
Calories: 497kcal, Carbohydrates: 54g, Protein: 26g, Fat: 20g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 29mg, Sodium: 1197mg, Potassium: 481mg, Fiber: 9g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 60IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 161mg, Iron: 3mg
This post was first published May 2021.