3-Ingredient Packed Lunch Recipes

By Jill Britz

Do your kids bring home sandwiches that have only been nibbled on, fruit that has been half-eaten, or carrots that are still fully-formed? If so, it's time you jazz up their lunchboxes. After all, well-fed kids are happy, learning kids, right? Here are four 3-ingredient lunch recipes that will take your child's lunch from boring to sensationally delicious.

  • English muffin pizzas. You may already be an English-muffin-eating family, but if not, pick up a package on your next trip to the grocery store--try the wheat version for a healthier take. On top of an English muffin, lightly spread your family's favorite canned or jarred pizza sauce, then sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Broil in a toaster oven or regular oven on medium-high for 2-3 minutes. Once they cool, these little pizzas are a match made in lunchbox heaven. If you have the time and the desire, add a few slices of pepperoni per pizza for extra zing!
  • Veggie & Hummus with String Cheese. Who wouldn't love for their kids to eat more vegetables? Isn't that one of our strongest desires? Try cut-up veggies your kids enjoy. Go basic with carrots or celery if you've got finicky eaters. Think bold and new if you've got adventurous eaters: cucumbers, celery, grape tomatoes, or jicama!. Once you've got that down, pair your veggie of choice with hummus (this can be a place for adventure, too, but start with original). What kid doesn't love finger foods? And dipping makes every meal better. Add a stick of string cheese for protein to keep your kiddos going until the bus ride home.
  • Tortilla roll-ups. Another finger food your kids are bound to love! Take a plain tortilla and stack on any number of ingredients (no need to stop at 3!). Try peanut butter and jelly for a fresh take on the well-loved PB&J sandwich, or go healthier with a slice of cheddar cheese & a leaf of lettuce. If that doesn't inspire your little eaters, take them along on your next grocery run to pick out their favorite cream cheese or lunch meat. Pickles would be a great add-on, too, if kept in a separate container (so the pickle juice doesn't make the tortilla soggy. Nobody likes mush for lunch!). Plus it's perfect for a little lunchtime construction!
  • Crackers, cheese & fruit. Hors d'oeuvres for lunch! Crackers & cheese always feel like a party. Let your kids pick their favorite crackers (if you go gluten-free, most grocery stories have good substitutes.), then slice their favorite flavor of cheese (think cheddar, mozzarella, or Swiss) into small slices to stack on top of the crackers. Add a handful of fruit (grapes or apples go well) for a fun lunchbox meal!

Any of these recipes are primed to be added to or amended as you tailor them to your kids' personal tastes. And if your kids are big eaters, add an extra handful of cut-up veggies, an apple, or a handful of nuts (almonds or walnuts are super nutritious!) to fill their tummies so they can last the whole school day!