Although I typically fix a hot lunch for my kids each day, during our summer break, I instituted one do-it-yourself lunch day a week. This was a day when each child (ages 10-16) was responsible for fixing his or her own lunch, which usually involved heating up some leftovers or fixing something simple — like scrambled eggs, ham roll-ups, or Ramen noodles.
I didn’t think I would carry that over into our school year, since I didn’t want them to have to take time away from their job of getting an education to fix lunch, but I discovered that it really doesn’t take that long and they’re learning some important life skills in the process.
Depending on what our schedule is like, we may not have one do-it-yourself day every week, but most weeks we do. Rather than complain, the kids actually seem to enjoy it. Some fun ideas for do-it-yourself lunches for kids of a variety ages include:
- Sandwiches or wraps.
- Mini-pizzas (built on bagels, flat wraps, or tortillas)
- Ham roll-ups
- Scrambled eggs
- Left overs
- Pizza bread (pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, and your choice of toppings on half a hamburger or hot dog bun or half a sub roll)
- Homemade “lunchables” (turkey, ham, or pepperoni on square or round crackers topped with cheese)
- Macaroni and cheese
- Frozen pizza
- Cheese quesadillas
- Hot dogs
- Loaded potato bar (Just fix the potatoes ahead of time and everyone adds their favorite toppings.)
- Omelets (My son is a master omelet-maker.)
- Tacos or nachos (Again, make the meat ahead of time or just use beans instead. Put out the toppings and let everyone create their masterpiece.)
- Kabobs (Provide skewers and a variety of meat, veggies, and/or fruits.)
- Tuna salad (My oldest makes the tuna and the kids eat it on crackers more often than on sandwiches. I like it on a sliced tomato.)
What are some of your family’s favorite do-it-yourself or easy-to-prepare meals?
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