10 super easy portable hot lunch recipes

It’s time to break out the Thermoses! These soups, pastas and saucy meatballs are perfect for school lunches.

By Today's Parent
10 super easy portable hot lunch recipes

Sweet-and-Sour Meatballs on Rice

A warm Thermos lunch is as comforting as it gets—especially when there are mini meatballs and saucy rice inside. Make meatballs as a weekend project and freeze. Just pull a few out the night before and defrost in the fridge, heat and pack in the a.m. Get the recipe: Sweet-and-Sour Meatballs on Rice

thermos filled with meatballsPhoto: Roberto Caruso

Magic Quinoa

Rushed mornings are no match for this protein-packed recipe. The quinoa actually cooks in the Thermos! Pack it uncooked with boiling water in the AM and it’s fluffy by the time your kid opens it up at lunch. Get the recipe: Magic Quinoa

thermos of quinoa with veggiesPhoto: Erik Putz


Italian Wedding Soup

With teeny-tiny ancini di pepe pasta and cute mini turkey meatballs, there’s loads of fun floating in this chicken-y broth. Our version of the classic comes together in just 15 minutes. Get the recipe: Italian Wedding Soup

thermos with Italian wedding soupPhoto: Maya Visnyei

Curried Lentil-Coconut Soup

Always preheat your Thermos with boiling water, lid on for 10 minutes before emptying and adding this creamy soup. Pack whole wheat pita to sop it all up. Get the recipe: Curried Lentil-Coconut Soup

thermos filled with lentil soupPhoto: Erik Putz

Chicken Vegetable Noodle Soup

This warm and satisfying veggie-packed chicken noodle soup is perfect for the Thermos and combatting a case of the sniffles (that they probably brought home from school). Get the recipe: Chicken Vegetable Noodle Soup

thermos with chicken noodle soupPhoto: Maya Visnyei


Turkey and Zucchini Meatballs

Loaded with veggies, pack these mini meatballs with a squishy bun, add a cute little container of mayo on the side and it’s the perfect DIY sandwich. Or, if your kid is more the dipping kind, cool, creamy Greek yogurt is the perfect choice. Get the recipe: Turkey and Zucchini Meatballs

thermos filled with meatballs and veggiesPhoto: Erik Putz

Tomato and Chickpea Soup

Have a little veggie on your hands? Whip up this little ditty in just 15 minutes. Thanks to that handy can of chickpeas in your cupboard, there’s eight grams of protein per serving. Get the recipe: Tomato and Chickpea Soup

thermos with tomato soupPhoto: Maya Visnyei

One-Pot Mac and Cheese

You won’t believe how simple this creamy recipe is to pull together, like, actually. Mascarpone makes it creamy and Dijon mustard gives it some zip. We are also strong believers in AAP; Always Add Peas. Get the recipe: One-Pot Mac and Cheese

thermos with mac and cheese with peasPhoto: Erik Putz


Homemade Apple-Cinnamon Instant Oatmeal

Yes, you can send oatmeal for lunch! Pack with toppings on the side: shredded coconut, seeds and berries. Get the recipe: Homemade Apple-Cinnamon Instant Oatmeal

thermos of oatmealPhoto: Erik Putz

Penne with Sautéed Sausage & Kale

This pasta lunch has it all—cheese, greens and mini meatballs. If your kid doesn’t do kale, try chopping it finely or swapping for spinach. Get the recipe: Penne with Sautéed Sausage & Kale

thermos filled with pasta and sausage and kalePhoto: Jodi Pudge

Read more:
12 peanut-free snacks 30 days of school lunches 8 handy on-the-go snack recipes

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