By Kelly Warner
Advanced Level Whole30 Coach
Summer is just around the corner, which means that parents everywhere are going to have their kids home for three meals a day, reminding them every hour how incredibly hungry they are. As a mom of four kids, I feel like the majority of my day is spent in the kitchen preparing and cleaning up after meals. This is probably why I am a huge advocate for picnic lunches and eating on-the-go, because any time I can save myself from needing to sweep the floor and wipe sticky handprints off the table, I shout a resounding, “YES!”
Because of my side hustle as an Advanced Level Whole30 Coach, I was introduced to the Whole30 Approved meals at Cooked. Naturally I fell in love with the convenience of a ready-to-eat meal, which I often enjoy for my lunches, but when I discovered that Cooked has a kid’s menu, my life was changed! I’ll admit I have a flair for the dramatic, but in all seriousness, just knowing that a few meals every month would require zero prep, zero brainwork, and would elicit zero grumbles from my kids, made this mama so happy!
I’ll usually split three of the kid’s meals between my four kids, and add extra veggies that I have on hand to make up the fourth meal. Some of my favorite things to add are raw veggies, such as sliced peppers and carrots, leftover roasted veggies, like broccoli and brussel sprouts, or fermented veggies and kraut from a local business here in St. Louis. The almond crusted chicken tenders and chicken tamales meals are sufficient as is, but since I don’t allow my kids to snack much, they have been known to eat as much as a grownup, so throwing some extra veggies on there helps. Whether you plan on warming up your Cooked kid’s meal at home, or eating it cold while out and about this summer, I know you’ll appreciate the convenience of a healthy, ready-to-eat meal.
If you follow me at Show Me Whole Living (or on my sister site specifically for kid’s meals, Coach Kelly Kid Lunch), you’ll see me share quick and easy meal ideas for the kiddos. I love getting the kids outside to eat (you know, because less mess), and I suspect many families will opt for park play dates this summer, so be sure to save these meal ideas for yourself and share it with others. I’ll drop two lists below that will hopefully inspire you to stick to your healthy habits this summer. The first list is for meals that are best warmed up ahead of time (I love my air fryer for reheating leftovers) and the second list is for cold lunch ideas that you can bring with you on your adventures this summer. You can also check out the gallery of kid lunch pictures on my website here for more inspiration. I don’t believe there is a one-size-fits-all approach to the food that we eat as grownups, and I believe that applies to our kids as well. I hope the resources I’ve shared will assist you in finding your groove this summer as you manage to answer the question, “What are we eating?” no less than a zillion times.
Coach Kelly’s Kid-Approved Paleo Meals:
- Italian chicken served with roasted veggies
- Taco Tuesday Salads with slow cooker green chili chicken and cilantro lime cauliflower rice
- Slow cooker pineapple pork over baked potatoes, with steamed broccoli (if you can tolerate white rice, my kids love putting the pineapple pork over white rice, too).
- Mini meatloaf with roasted veggies or a side salad
Coach Kelly’s Kid-Approved Picnic Lunch Ideas:
- Sweet Potato Quiche. These are amazing warmed up, but my kids have no problem eating them cold.
- Hard boiled eggs (bring some of my “famous” hot dip or your favorite ranch dressing to dip the eggs in)
- Lunch meat (try making lettuce wraps with mayo and a pickle for a little crunch, or just roll up and eat)
- Chicken salad or egg salad (if you have kids who hate the yellow part of hard boiled eggs you can mix the yolks with mayo, salt, pepper, and some Dijon, and have a yummy dip for veggies and meat sticks)
- Cold, sliced, grilled chicken thighs
- Cold, chicken drumsticks, wings, or thighs (sometimes I will take them whole/on the bone, and other times I will pick off the meat ahead of time)
- Cold hot dogs or chicken sausages
- Raw veggies, such as carrots, bell peppers, and celery, with mini guacamole cups or ranch dressing.
- Cold, leftover veggies (green beans, broccoli, and brussel sprouts are my kids’ favorite)
- Whole fruit, such as apples, bananas, oranges, and berries (try packing your favorite nut butter for dipping)
- Portable snacks, such as applesauce pouches, meat sticks, fruit and nut bars, and trail mix