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Whether you’re eating at home more or less these days, sometimes we just need some inspiration for something else to make. Whether you’re making lunch for just yourself or a whole gaggle of kids doing virtual learning, I’ve got 30 easy lunch ideas that are also simple and frugal. Some of these may not strike you as the healthiest option, but I find balance is key. Serve chicken nuggets with a side of peas and apples; serve nachos with some raw carrots and dip on the side!
30 Easy Lunch Ideas
This chicken salad can be eaten with crackers or chips, or you can wrap it in lettuce leaves.
Rice cooker macaroni and cheese with peas
Making macaroni and cheese in the rice cooker means you can get it started, do something else, and come back when it’s done!
Peanut butter and jelly
There’s a reason this is a classic; it uses three ingredients and is extremely portable. Perfect for picnics! Use cream cheese or honey if you have nut allergies or don’t like jelly.
Butter noodles with parmesan
Even the pickiest eaters can get on board with this. Mix up the noodles you use. You could also stir in leftover meat from a previous meal to add to the protein!
We always have eggs on hand, and hard boiled eggs only take a few minutes to make, so this is a staple.
Boxed macaroni and cheese with hot dogs
As an adult I learned not everyone grew up putting hot dogs in their mac and cheese, but that was a weekly lunch for me growing up. Used boxed macaroni and cheese for a super quick lunch!
Hummus and veggie roll up
If you’re vegetarian or just trying to eat more healthy, then putting hummus and cooked or raw veggies in a tortilla is about an easy a lunch as you can get.
These don’t have to be fancy—melt cheese on tortilla chips, then dip in salsa or sour cream!
These meatball subs only have 4 ingredients, and you can cook the meatballs in the microwave if you need to make them quickly!
You have to plan ahead for these, but pinwheel sandwiches are totally worth it!
You can make them yourself, or just buy a bag of frozen ones at the store. We always have a bag in the freezer for emergency quick lunches.
You can cook a potato in the microwave in 5 minutes or less, making for a super easy lunch.
This one takes a bit longer than some of the other ideas on this list, but it’s still very simple!
These crispy tortilla pizzas are an easy way to have pizza for lunch!
Take tortillas in a different direction with quesadillas. Fill it with just cheese, or add veggies and meat.
For this lunch, just pull anything out that doesn’t have to be cooked. Lunch meat, cheese, raw veggies, fruit, pickles… anything works! Put it all on one big plate to save dishes.
All you need for this to be super simple is a can of beans and some cheese. Add other fillings if you have them!
Soup is a great lunch option because you can make extra and eat it all week!
Smoothies are often seen as a breakfast food, but there’s no reason why you can’t have one for lunch. Here’s a roundup of smoothie ideas.
English muffin pizzas
All you need are English muffins and whatever you like on pizza. Toast the English muffins, then put on the toppings. Then place under the broiler for a minute or two to melt the cheese.
While hot dogs on the grill are delicious, you can also just cook them in the microwave for a quick lunch!
We usually eat these for a snack, but there’s no reason you couldn’t have them for lunch!
Tuna salad was a staple in our house growing up. You can add extra spices to dress it up!
Meat and cheese sandwiches
Another classic. Take any lunch meat, some cheese, and your favorite condiment and put them between two pieces of bread.
If you had leftover food from dinner last night, eat it again for lunch. This is by far the most frugal lunch option available!
Start this soup in the morning for a quick lunch.
Beans and rice
Beans and rice are about as frugal as it gets. Add veggies for some extra nutrition!
Serve it with tomato soup, or just a side of fruit.
Dress up normal sandwiches by using hoagie buns and heating them up before eating!
A sandwich classic, this is great for when you have fresh tomatoes on hand.
Do you have an easy lunch idea I left out? Let us know in the comments!