Lunch is all about leftovers...
We have two growing teenagers in the house. Food is very important and luckily both my boys like good healthy food. We all appreciate delicious food and I discovered, it needs to have flavour and there always needs to be enough. So now we ensure we cook larger portions, shop more often (everyone contributes to the shopping list) and make a plan to keep good food stocked and ready to grab.
Instead of grabbing a packet of biscuits or chips, we encourage whipping up a quick smoothie because all the items are ready and there in the freezer. We all consciously plan and think ahead. Not just me, but all of us (well this is still a bit of a work in progress but it's a healthy family goal). Meals are not just one item such as risotto like when they were younger (and it was enough). Now it's risotto, baked pumpkin wedges, fresh sourdough bread and gyoza dumplings (it's easier to feed more people with more variety and leftovers are a sure thing).
Now we're in the cooler winter months, warm leftovers are even more important as comfort food is a main staple. My oldest son has taken to meal planning so he gets his protein intake (yes lot of chicken, rice and vegetables). I don't complain when he makes a total mess of the kitchen with his weekly cook up as he's having a go and trying to put good habits into place (but we're still working in cleaning up as we go!!). After dinner it's a ritual now for hubby and the older teen to dish out their lunch for the next day so they're guaranteed to have a yummy meal. Younger teen is a work in progress.
Week days are super easy as well where leftovers get nuked in the microwave in the morning and then put in their Vac Flask to stay warm and tasty for lunch. There's a stainless spoon in the lid or they toss a bamboo spork into their medium lunch bag as a back up. In winter we don't bother using a thin panel in their lunch bag as the insulation helps keep their leftovers warm whenever they're eaten. My younger teen has been known to eat half his leftovers at school and the other half after school before football training - still on the run.
So no matter what age you/your children are, I'm sharing my experiences with you to provide examples of how to make life with food just a bit easier. Get younger kids to help you fill leftovers into their Vac Flask as the mouth is wide and very user friendly. Lead by example taking leftovers to work or on a road trip so 'buying' your lunch isn't what you always do. Making food, especially with love, saves money and definitely tastes better.
Whatever works for you and I make sure we're all collaborating and involved as food for the family is everyone's job. We're trying to instill healthy food habits that will last a lifetime - Rome wasn't built in a day. One step at a time to make healthy food fun and above all easy.