Chelsea Jackle

7 quick, kid-friendly lunch recipes from registered dietitians

By Emily Fonnesbeck, Contributor | Posted - Mar. 26, 2020 at 8:35 p.m.

7 photos

SALT LAKE CITY — When life gets stressful and chaotic, food can become stressful and chaotic, too. And when you add in a pandemic, empty grocery store shelves and kids at home all day, food concerns can easily feel unmanageable.

Amid all the confusion and uncertainty, it’s important to remember that you, and your kids, still need to eat. In fact, making sure you are eating regularly and adequately can help you feel more physically, mentally and emotionally resilient to all that life may be throwing at you right now. Taking the time to prepare a good meal can be a great form of self-care.

To help with that, here are seven quick and easy lunch ideas from registered dietitians. These recipes are kid-friendly and utilize pantry staples to simplify meal time. While there is certainly nothing wrong with PB&J or mac and cheese for lunch, if you are ready for something a little different, here's some inspiration.

Tuna Cakes via Shahzadi Devje of Desi-licious RD

Tuna Cakes (Photo: Shahzadi Devje)

These tuna cakes will take you less than 30 minutes to prepare. You can also adapt the recipe with any herbs and spices you have on hand.

Naan Tomato and White Bean Pizza via Amy Gorin of Amy Gorin Nutrition

Naan Tomato and White Bean Pizza (Photo: Amy Gorin)

Naan bread is an excellent, easy substitute for pizza crust. This pizza checks all the boxes: delicious, nutritious and kid-friendly!

Tortellini Lunchbox Salad via Liz Weiss of Liz's Healthy Table

Tortellini Lunchbox Salad (Photo: Liz Weiss)

This tortellini salad is filled with color, flavor, fun and great nutrition. It’s easy to make with everyday pantry ingredients including dried or frozen tortellini, frozen edamame, dried cranberries, almonds and Italian salad dressing.

Veggie Pasta Bake via Sarah Schlichter of Bucket List Tummy

Veggie Pasta Bake (Photo: Sarah Schlichter)

This veggie pasta bake is a perfect make-ahead meal for easy warm-up, eating and clean up. You can also freeze it for later.

Tortilla Crust Pizza via Kristen Smith of 360 Family Nutrition

Tortilla Crust Pizza (Photo Kristen Smith)

There’s a secret to using tortillas as a pizza crust, and this recipe will show you how. You’ll have a delicious meal ready in 15 minutes.

Quick and Easy Chickpea Salad Sandwiches via Chelsea Jackle of Chelsea Dishes

Quick and Easy Chickpea Salad Sandwiches (Photo: Chelsea Jackle)

This is a twist on chicken salad sandwiches. This dish comes together in less than 10 minutes and is packed with fiber and plant-based protein.

One Pot Pumpkin Tomato Pasta via Lizzie Streit of It’s a Veg World After All

One Pot Pumpkin Tomato Pasta (Photo: Lizzie Streit)

This is another great make-ahead meal with veggies that your kids may not even notice are there. Bonus: This recipe will likely make enough for leftovers for a few days.

Emily Fonnesbeck

About the Author: Emily Fonnesbeck

Emily Fonnesbeck is a Registered Dietitian who owns her own private practice in Hyde Park, Utah, working with both local and virtual clients. She specializes in treating eating disorders, disordered eating and body image concerns. She is also the co-founder of Eat Confident Co., which offers group coaching programs for women struggling with disordered eating, and co-hosts the Eat with Confidence podcast. Email:

Editor’s Note: Anything in this article is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended, nor should it be interpreted, to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition; Any opinions, statements, services, offers, or other information or content expressed or made available are those of the respective author(s) or distributor(s) and not of KSL. KSL does not endorse nor is it responsible for the accuracy or reliability of any opinion, information, or statement made in this article. KSL expressly disclaims all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on the content of this article.



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