Cooking for two (or a few!) is about as easy as cooking for one. But coming up with recipes that please a crowd can be surprisingly challenging—especially when that crowd is your own family. When kids are in the mix, requests for PB&Js and grilled cheese sandwiches abound. Delicious? Yes. But worth eating on the daily? Definitely not. Thankfully, the internet is full of tasty kid-friendly lunches that are adult-friendly too. Because you deserve the efficiency of feeding your whole family with a single cooking session—and you also deserve to enjoy the food you’ve worked so hard to prepare.
The first step to crafting a kid-friendly lunch that you’ll also love? Expand your idea of what a kid-friendly lunch looks like. It doesn’t have to be a simple sandwich thrown in a box with grapes and celery sticks. In fact, a lot of meal prep staples—like wraps, pasta salads, and fajitas—taste great at any age, especially if you load them up with cheese and other delicious ingredients.
The second step? Make sure your lunch does everything it needs to. The meal should be filling enough to get your kiddo (and you!) through the rest of the afternoon, portable enough to pack up and take to school (or work!), and tasty enough that you’ll both enjoy eating it. Any nutrients you can squeeze in are icing on top of the metaphorical cake. Just make sure not to go too hard into vegetable territory. You may love a salad, but your little one might not.
The beauty of the kid-friendly, adult-friendly lunch? It doesn’t just make life easier—it makes it a little more fun, too. Because when you and your kid eat the same thing, you’re creating an experience for you to share in together. Even if you end up eating the lunch separately, you can chat about it after the school day (or work day) is done. You can discuss the flavors you loved most, and you can brainstorm ideas for what you should do differently the next time you make the dish. Sure, you might end up with some seriously weird ideas for what to throw in your next batch of fajitas—but hey, maybe your little one could you whip them up. Lunch is such a low-stakes endeavor that you might as well make it more joyful, and there’s no reason you can’t invite your kiddo to join in on the fun.