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Monday, August 19, 2019

From Summer to Back to School Easy Lunches

So, the kids have been out of school for the summer. If you are a SAHM like me, that means one phrase has been repeated over and over and over...

Can you feel me, Mamas?!

There is breakfast, snack, brunch, snack, lunch, snack, snack, snack, pre-dinner snack, dinner, dessert, and bedtime snack. Whew! How do these little beings eat so much?!

And, I don't know about you, but the summers and first two months of school here in South Mississippi are HOT!
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I do not want to heat up that stove more than once a day! Besides, who really wants a big hot meal in between playing outside in the heat, swimming, or getting back into the groove of school?

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So, to combat the heat (AND their constant hunger!) I decided that summertime and back to school lunches (and snacks!) need to be as simple as possible. And being a one income family of four, I have to keep the costs down as much as possible! 

Now, I know these ideas are super simple, easy, and (best of all) cheap. That's the whole point! Summer should be spent playing and spending quality time with your kiddos having fun, not feeling like you are stuck in the kitchen most of the days! And as far as back to school goes, your time is precious and very limited on busy school mornings. Who wants to spend a lot of time packing lunches?

Even if you are a working Mom or Dad, these simple lunch ideas are perfect and portable for you, too! My husband works in this heat, so a light and quick lunch is exactly what he needs to get through the day.

Here are some great ways to carry that lunch with you as you head out the door!!

Karat round and rectangular black, PP injection molded containers and lids are available in multiple sizes, and with multiple compartments, microwavable and dishwasher low as $0.12 each
or consider a freezable lunch box from Target! I love mine so much!

I know for me I can get stuck in a rut and tired of planning the same old meals. I love finding inspiration from other Moms and Dads!

With that in mind, I hope you can find some inspiration from what works for us, whether you find something new to try or rediscover a forgotten childhood favorite. 

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Now, let's do lunch!

Individual Pizzas: These are great! Just the right size and everyone can make their own the way they like it! (Pineapple is a must for me!) You can buy the small crusts (pack of three) at Dollar Tree and even your favorite toppings, along with sauce and  cheese!

Pizza roll ups: Crescent rolls stuffed with cheese and pepperoni? Yes, Please! Want it even cheesier? Use a mozzarella and cheddar twisted cheese stick. And don't forget the pizza sauce for dipping!

Quesadilla Pizza: We love these! Top a flour tortilla with your favorite shredded cheese, ours is a Mexican blend and place another tortilla on top. Then add pizza sauce, your favorite toppings, and more cheese. Pop in the microwave, toaster oven, or air fryer oven until cheese and all melted.

Cheese Quesadillas: These couldn't be easier! With only 3 ingredients and a frying pan, they are sure to please! Melt a small amount of butter in your frying pan. Place a tortilla down, cover with loads of cheese, and place another tortilla on top. Press down with a spatula and flip when the bottom is slightly browned. Cut into triangles and serve with sour cream or your fave salsa.

Roll ups (wraps):
There are so many variations and possibilities with a simple wrap, everyone is sure to find a favorite! The wrap itself can even add flavor, try a sun dried tomato wrap or spinach wrap to take your lunch to the next level of tastiness! All of these are delicious cold or warmed in the microwave.

  • Peanut Butter and Jelly
  • Peanut Butter and Banana
  • Peanut Butter and a little Maple syrup mixed (trust me, try it!)
  • Ham and Cheddar Cheese
  • Turkey and Swiss Cheese
  • Ham, Cream Cheese, and crushed Pineapple 
  • Cajun Roast Beef and Pepper Jack Cheese 
  • Chili, Cheese, and Fritos
  • Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato 
  • Bacon Club with Ham, Turkey, Bacon, lettuce, and Honey Mustard
  • Italian Sub with Salami, Pepperoni, Baby Spinich, and a splash of Vinaigrette 
  • Fajita Wrap (yeah that stuff is good even cold!) with leftover fajitas mix, sour cream, and salsa
  • BBQ chicken
Looking for more "wrap inspiration?" Check this out!!

Fruit slices and cheese bites: with yogurt for dipping

Raw Veggie Bites (broccoli, carrot sticks, cauliflower, celery sticks, cherry tomatoes) with Ranch dipping sauce or hummus 

Leftover Nachos: using a leftover meat from supper such as hamburger meat (add taco seasoning), roasted chicken (just shred), pulled pork, or even steak (cut in small strips or bites). Fill a plate or platter with tortilla chips (or broken taco shells!), top with loads of shredded cheese, drained can of Rotel tomatoes, the leftover meat, jalapenos (if you like it hot!), and more shredded cheese and pop in the microwave. Serve with sour cream and sliced green onions if you like!
How about pulled pork nachos!?!

Grilled Cheese: old one but a favorite for kids of all ages!

Tuna, Ham, Chicken, or Egg Salad: serve on a bed of lettuce with a sliced boiled egg, and crackers.

Pasta Salad: This is one of my favorites to eat. Super easy to make and simple to switch up the tastes. Play around with pretty pastas, bowties, or elbows. Add pepperoni, or ham chunks, cooked shrimp, crabmeat, or bacon. Toss it in a little sauce or your best tasting dressing, chill and enjoy!

Pea Salad: This one's my husband's favorite. Mix a drained can of English peas, a cup of shredded cheddar cheese (or Mexican blend!), and add a couple of tablespoons of mayo. Salt and pepper then mix well and chill.

Now, I can not write a post about summertime meals without including some amazing snack ideas!

I always try to keep two snack boxes handy. One in my pantry and one in a fridge drawer. Let's talk about the pantry snack box first.

This one is great for all those ready to go snack packs of chips, crackers, and goodies. But as convenient as they are, they can get a little pricey! My solution? Make your own!

Buying bigger boxes of crackers, cookies, chips, and nuts to fill your own snack bags is an economical way to get more bang for your buck.

They make some great snack size baggies now, so use them and create little grab and go packs perfect for a quick snack. Or, if you are lucky enough to own a vacuum sealer, get it out and put it to some great use. This one even has a built in scale, under $100!

And check this out! Portion cups are perfect for your pantry and fridge! To really save some bucks, do what I do! Buy direct from the source. Don't need a whole case? Split a case with your best Mom friend and save even more!

Here's just a few ideas to throw in your own pantry snack box.

  • Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers
  • Goldfish, Whales, or Cheese Nips
  • Homemade Cookies
  • Chips
  • Veggie Chips
  • Jerky
  • Kale Chips
  • Dehydrated Veggies (green beans and okra are our favorites!)
  • Graham crackers
  • Graham Cracker Sandwiches with Peanut Butter
  • Mixed Nuts or Peanuts
  • Homemade Trail Mix
  • Raisins
  • Pretzels
  • Chex Mix

Of course, I mentioned before about keeping two snack boxes in my house. The other is a refrigerator drawer that I designated just for snacks. I, also, keep a bowl full of handy and delicious fruit, like apples, oranges, plums, grapes, bananas, and satsumas for a healthy and quick snack.

A few more ideas on what we keep in our refrigerated snack drawer. (Again you can buy prepackaged snack size or save a little money and make your own!)

  • Cheese sticks or cheese squares
  • Yogurt cups or tubes
  • Grapes
  • Brownie Bites
  • Applesauce Cups
  • Blueberries and Strawberries
  • Jello Cups
  • Mini Muffins
  • Mixed Raw Veggie Bites

Be sure to remember that frozen treats and snacks are best to beat that end of summer heat! 

How about making your own ice cream, peach or strawberry with fresh fruit!

Frozen Banana Ice Cream: cut up and freeze a few bananas. Put the frozen bananas into your food processor and mix. Keep mixing until it has an ice cream like texture. We add a tablespoon of peanut butter to ours!

Chocolate Covered Bananas: cut up bananas into bite size slices and freeze on a cookie sheet. After frozen, dip each bite into melted chocolate. Keep in the freezer. You can even add a little peanut butter to the banana slice before coating with the chocolate!

Homemade popsicles are a must!

Get creative with them!
  • Sprite and Gummy Bears
  • Fresh Fruit and Juice 
  • Kool Aid Popsicles

Make your own pudding pops! My top flavors are White Chocolate Pudding with crushed Oreos! Or Vanilla with crushed vanilla wafers!

Really, the sky is your limit when you have the basics, a creative mind, and, of course, Pinterest!

So, don't let lack of quick meal ideas or snack woes keep you from enjoying the summer, back to school mornings, or enjoying a nice easy simple lunch at the office!

15% Off on cup when you purchase with strawless lids

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What is one of your favorite summer lunches, snacks or lunch on the go to fix?

Let me know in the comments below!

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  1. Wow that's an extensive list! Thanks for sharing all of your ideas. I don't have kids in school all day yet but these are still great easy lunch and snack ideas.

    1. I'm so happy you enjoyed it! Yes, a lot of those on the list my husband and I love, too!

  2. These are all such good and mostly healthy ideas. I'm always on the look out for ideas to make lunches and snacks more fun!
    -Elizabeth - Tired Mom Supermom

    1. Haha, I am definitely not the healthiest Mom on the block! I love to eat too much! I'm glad you enjoyed it and thanks for stopping in!

  3. I love these ideas! I don't know how they eat so many times a day. We love wraps and any way we can use leftovers.

    1. Yes, I don't understand where they put it all LOL! We love wraps, too, which is great. They are so versatile! Thanks for stopping by, Raina!

  4. Love the snack pantry ideas. In addition to my kids I'm always looking for snack options.

    1. I believe I have found my snack soul mate LOL! I love snacks! a lil' too much maybe? I'm happy you like it, Felicia! Thanks for coming in!

  5. Such a comprehensive list of back to school lunch ideas. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you and you are most welcome, Lorena! Thanks for stopping in!



Hi, there! My name is Shannon Dewease and I'm so happy you found my blog. I am from beautiful South Mississippi and live here with my family. My life can get a little chaotic, comical, and down right complicated, as you will find out. I can't wait to begin sharing my misadventures with you!

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