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Easy Homeschool Lunch Ideas for Parents

Alyssa Esposito | November 27, 2023

As a homeschool parent, you will enjoy the added benefit of sharing meals gathered around the table throughout the day. This is a beautiful thing, and with a bit of pre-planning, these mealtimes can become a favorite part of your daily homeschool rhythm. Here are some helpful tips to make homeschool lunches a breeze!

1. Calendar

Instead of answering the repetitive, time-old question “What’s for lunch?” every single day, create and hang up a homeschool lunch calendar that shows the meals you have planned for the week or month. For picky eaters, try including two or three choices and let your children make a collective decision by circling the one they want for each day! This may help reduce complaints, arguments, and struggles to decide what to make. Having a plan is half the battle.

2. Make it a Learning Opportunity

One of the beautiful things about homeschooling is the ability to make everything a teachable moment. Lunch doesn’t have to be just lunch; make it a learning opportunity for cooking, cleaning, budgeting, table etiquette, vegetable gardening, and more. Home economics is a forgotten subject that teaches skills essential to adulthood.

If you’d prefer not to make lunch feel like a separate class, consider combining it with a subject they are already learning. Baking ties in well with Exploring Creation with Chemistry & Physics and Exploring Creation with Chemistry. Nutrition easily correlates with topics covered in Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Health & Nutrition.

If you want to make the kitchen a learning experience, here are some recipe ideas for homeschool lunches. These are great to make alongside your kids and easily adaptable to your family’s needs and preferences.

  • Chili
    • Chili is so versatile. You can cook it on the stove or in the slow cooker, and you can put all kinds of (hidden) vegetables inside. Use this as an opportunity to pick some spices or vegetables from your garden and add it in for a personal touch.
  • Pasta Salad
    • Pasta salad is a great option for cooking lunch together with very little cooking. It’s especially easy if you’ve pre-cooked the noodles and the bacon in this BLT-style pasta salad recipe.

3. Multitask

Maybe cooking isn’t as much of a problem in your household as it is finding time to sit and eat together throughout your family’s busy days. If that sounds like you, multitasking sounds like the way to go!

One great way to do this is to use a subject your family studies together as the perfect time to eat. Our worldview and Bible curricula fit this method wonderfully!

For example, with The Word in Motion, your family could gather around the kitchen table, fill their plates, watch Rachael Carman’s The Word in Motion video, read the chapter aloud, discuss it as a family, and work through the notebook while they eat. Before you know it, you’ve got two of the most essential parts of the day done! This works great with breakfast, so your family does Bible time first thing in the morning.

4. Make a Chore Rotation

Nothing makes chores easier to manage than having a chore chart. Schedule a rotation, or if your kiddos are old enough, try splitting the work into bite-sized tasks. This helps keep everything from falling entirely on mom or dad every day, plus it teaches children about contributing to the household.

Tasks to Assign:

  • Planning the menu
  • Setting out the ingredients
  • Chopping
  • Stirring
  • Setting and clearing the table
  • Putting away leftovers
  • Loading the dishwasher
  • Handwashing delicate dishes and cookware
  • Wiping down the counters and table
  • Taking out the trash
  • Sweeping the floor

5. Meal Prep

If you enjoy cooking or worry about your children making a mess in your kitchen (that’s understandable!), meal prepping may be a good option!

Meal prepping reduces food waste. You can use that leftover chicken in such a variety that leftovers won’t feel like (or, more importantly, taste like) leftovers! Plus it saves so much time in the middle of your day. Trying to come up with healthy meal ideas during your homeschool day will prove difficult, but meal prepping ensures you plan ahead and helps maintain a healthy diet. And the good news is that most meals can be made healthy—sometimes, it just takes a little creativity.

Save tons of time with this method by cooking all at once and in bulk. One option is to split the meals into individual containers (helping with portion control) and freeze them until it’s time to eat. Microwave your homemade freezer meal for a healthy, waste-reducing, time-saving lunch. You can also try prepping all of the ingredients for a buffet-style meal.

Some Easy-to-Prep Meal Ideas:

  • Baked potato bar
    • Pre-bake the potatoes and bacon, crumble the bacon into bits, and store them in the refrigerator until it’s time to eat. Just pull both out, along with some butter, seasonings, cheese, sour cream, chives, etc. and everyone can easily make their own.
  • Homemade pizzas (with Naan pizza crusts)
    • Prep the sauce and let your kids decorate their pizzas with whatever toppings you set out. Simple, fun, and delicious.
  • Taco or burrito bowls
    • These can be done buffet-style or pre-portioned. Either way, precook the meat, pre-chop the veggies, and you’re good to go.
  • Power bowls
    • Here’s where you can get really creative, healthy, and resourceful. Choose any one-pan recipe your family will enjoy or sift through the food items you have left and easily accessible, portion out several individual containers, and stick them in the freezer.

6. Meal Prep Independence

Free yourself up to focus on teaching by showing the kids how to make a balanced meal and having them prepare their own individual lunches each day—even if it’s as simple as a sandwich with a side of fruit or veggies! This allows everyone to be independent, eat when they get hungry, and eat what they enjoy (within reason).

Without Cooking

  • Sandwich or Wrap
  • Salad

Easy-to-Cook or Heat

  • Tomato soup & grilled cheese
  • Pasta
  • Boxed mac & cheese
  • Canned soup
  • Frozen pizza
  • Chicken nuggets or grilled chicken strips
  • Frozen meal

Easy Homeschool Lunch Ideas for Parents