As a mom, it's a given that you're busy, and between working and caring for your kids, the hours seem to fly by. There's little time for cooking, so what are some quick lunches you can prepare that will keep the kids happy? Here are some ideas.
Finger foods make a fun lunch for kids, and they are particularly popular with younger children. Try rolling up a piece of turkey or ham with a piece of cheese and putting a toothpick through it to hold them together.
Fruit kabobs are another fun finger food. If you're running out of time, the kids can make these themselves. You will need wooden skewers and pieces of fruit, such as bananas, apples, pineapple, cherries, strawberries and grapes. If you cut apples or bananas for later use, sprinkle them with lemon juice to prevent browning.
Veggie dippers are a healthy, fun way to ensure your kids are getting their share of vegetables. Keep a bag of baby carrots in your refrigerator (or save money by making your own - simply cut up full-size carrots), along with pre-cut celery sticks, green peppers, radishes, broccoli and cauliflower. Serve these with a tasty dip, and your kids will love them!
Sandwiches are a quick lunch, but they don't have to be boring. Instead of a regular peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, surprise your child by making peanut butter and banana sandwiches. Alternatively, grilling a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in a skillet gives it a more unique taste.
Try using a tortilla instead of bread for sandwiches: you can either put toppings on the tortilla and then roll it up and cut it into round pieces, or create a round sandwich using 2 tortillas with spread between the 2 layers.
Another easy spin on sandwiches, especially for younger children, is to cut sandwiches into various shapes with cookie cutters.
Make a creative fried egg sandwich by putting a piece of bread in a buttered skillet and cutting a hole in the center with a biscuit cutter. Crack an egg in the hole and fry.
Let kids get involved by making their own mini pizzas. You can use half an English Muffin for the crust, or even a slice of bread will do in a pinch. Put out pizza sauce and cheese; if you're feeling ambitious, you can offer pepperoni and other toppings as well. Pop them into the microwave for 30 seconds, and you have a yummy homemade pizza!
Fruit is an important part of any meal, and quick lunches are no exception. For an alternative to a plain apple, try "baking" it in the microwave. Core an apple (and peel if desired). Fill the hole with a sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar, maybe some raisins as well. Put a pat of butter on top and a spoonful of water in the dish to keep the apple moist while baking, and microwave for 2 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic, and check to ensure the apple is done; if not, continue microwaving at 30-second intervals until done. Let the apple cool and enjoy!
Enjoy these quick lunches with your kids.
Susan Braun is a freelance writer living with her husband, three daughters, 2 rabbits, 2 gerbils and hedgehog in Indiana. She writes at girlsinwhitedresses.wordpress.com and Associated Content.