Beating the Summer Lunch Blues

grumpy girl Tired of preparing lunch for your hungry kids this summer? Are the kids tired of the same old lunches?  Here are some general tips to help keep summer lunches interesting, healthy, and easy.

General Tips for Healthy Summer Lunches:

  • Bananas and peaches may get bruised in travel lunches. Try apples, oranges, or fruit canned in water to keep fruits more appetizing. These fruits that bruise could be used cut up in other recipes if possible Or save the banana or peaches for a smoothie, for a sandwich or a salad.
  • You can keep lunch cold by freezing a water bottle the night before and then using it as a cold pack in a lunch box.  By lunchtime, the water will be liquid, and the food will still be cool and safe!
  • To make sure you’re ready for last-minute trips to the beach or the park keep several cold packs in the freezer.  
  • Let your kids help pre-portion snacks that you buy into baggies or plastic containers as soon as you get home from the store.  The snacks will be ready to grab and go, and the lesson helps encourage kids to eat proper portions.
  •  To help avoid the fast food line, each week plan about three fast meals that you can easily prepare and keep the ingredients stocked.  Recipes such as scrambled eggs, and grilled cheese sandwiches can solve hunger emergencies in a jiffy.                                                 

Also, bookmark these websites for innovative, easy lunch ideas:

  1. If you or your children enjoy sandwiches for lunch, try out some of these from BuzzFeed Food.  They’re all meatless, and many include a full serving of vegetables as a bonus!   
  2. For more helpful brown bag lunch suggestions check out this link from Web MD 
  3. If you’re looking for a way to expand your child’s culinary horizons, try these lunch ideas from CookingLight
  4. Tired of sandwiches? Try something fancy & healthy with these easy summer recipes with a twist from Eating Well:
  1. These options are quick and easy, and can be made in advance – perfect for busy parents!


Lara Latimer, PhD, Cornell University 


Practical Lunchbox Suggestions During Summertime