20 Cheap and Easy Lunches Your Kids Can Make for Themselves

Mom and daughter making lunch


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Mom and daughter making lunch

Let Kids Get Creative in the Kitchen!

Maybe you’re looking for a fun and easy lunch to make with younger kids. Or, maybe the older kids could use a project. Either way, here are 20 cheap and easy lunches your kids can make for themselves. (And keep it cool this summer with 35 Delicious Recipes That Don't Require an Oven.)

Microwave Mug Pizza
Ahmed Benzerguine/istockphoto

Microwave Mug Pizza

Mix 4 tablespoons of flour with a pinch each of baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix in 3 tablespoons of milk. Top with a tablespoon or two of pizza sauce, then shredded cheese, and pepperoni slices. Microwave on high for a minute or until the mixture has risen and is bubbly.

Related: 20 Microwave Recipe Hacks You Need to Know


Quick Quesadilla

On a microwave-safe plate, sprinkle shredded cheese over a tortilla. Top with another tortilla. Cook on high in the microwave over high heat until cheese is melted, about 1 minute. This can be customized with leftover meats and veggies—just add them to the cheese mixture.

Related: 21 Delicious and Inexpensive Mexican Dishes

Turkey Wrap

Turkey Ranch Wrap

Place two slices of turkey on a whole-wheat wrap. Layer with lettuce, tomato, and a few drizzles of ranch dressing. Roll tightly.

Baked Potato

Microwave Potato

Wash a medium potato, and poke a few holes in it with a fork. Put it in the microwave under the “potato” setting or for around 7 minutes. Top with your favorite potato toppings — chili and cheese are nice, as are sour cream and chives.

Peanut Butter Smoothie
Pita Pizza

Pita Pizza

Top a pita with a tablespoon or two of tomato sauce. Layer with shredded cheese and pepperoni. Microwave on high for 60 seconds or until the cheese has melted.

Looking to get a little more creative with toppings? Be sure to check out From Plain Cheese to Peking Duck: 25 Yummy Pizza Recipes.

Brent Hofacker/shutterstock


Spread mayonnaise over two slices of bread. Top one of the slices with cooked bacon slices, lettuce, and tomato slices. Add pepper if you wish. Top with the other slice of bread.

Avocado toast, hummus and tomatoes

Open-Faced Hummus Sandwiches

Spread hummus over a slice of bread. Add tomato and cucumber slices. Top with feta cheese.

Homemade Lunch Kit

DIY Lunchable

In a bento box, place lunch meat, crackers, cheese slices, and baby carrots. Add a fun-size candy bar for dessert.

Cheesy Tomato Sandwich

Cheesy Tomato Sandwich

Spread mayo over two slices of bread, then layer two slices of cheese over one of the slices. Top with tomato slices. Add salt and pepper if desired. Top with the other piece of bread.

Peanut Butter and banana sandwich

PB and Banana with a Twist

Spread peanut butter over a slice of bread. Top with banana slices and chocolate chips.

Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad

Layer slices of fresh mozzarella and tomatoes, with a basil leaf in between each new layer. Drizzle with olive oil, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Ham and Cheese Wrap

Ham and Cheese Wrap

Spread mayo and mustard over a wrap, then place two slices of ham. Layer with tomato, lettuce, and pickles. Roll tightly.

Cheese Dip

Microwave Fondue

Add ½ cup stock/broth or ¼ cup water and ¼ cup apple juice to a microwave-safe dish, then microwave for 1 minute. Add the shredded cheese, flour, and garlic salt, then stir to combine. Microwave for 30 seconds, then stir, then microwave for another 30 seconds, and continue with this pattern until the cheese is melty and stretchable. Enjoy with slices of bread.

PB and Fruit Roll-Ups

PB and Fruit Roll-Ups

Spread peanut butter over a wrap. Layer your favorite fruits over it, then roll tightly.

Apples and Peanut Butter

PB and Apple Pita Pocket

Cut a pita pocket in half and spread peanut butter inside. Add apple slices or the fruit of your choice.

Hummus Lunch

Hummus and Crudité

Assemble baby carrots, celery, and cucumber slices. Serve with hummus.

Spinach Smoothie

Spinach Smoothie

Blend a frozen banana with a cup of milk, a handful of spinach, and two handfuls of strawberries, fresh or frozen.

Yogurt Parfait
Alena Haurylik/shutterstock

Yogurt Parfait

Layer yogurt, granola, and fruit in a parfait glass. Top with fruit.

Ricotta Toast with Honey

Ricotta Toast with Honey

Toast a slice of bread. Top with ricotta and a drizzle of honey.