"We've been going through that too, and don't have tons of solutions. We have had luck with egg salad and tuna salad, hummus, and quinoa salad with feta tomato and cucumbers, and then making food that we normally have hot but eating it cold, like tortillas with beans and cheese and grilled cheeses."
"How about Greek yogurt with berries? Or cut up mozzarella and cherry tomatoes? Maybe a cold pasta salad but add in a lot of veggies. Gazpacho soup. You can sneak in some cold grilled chicken cut up into some of these. Hummus is also a good way to get protein and they can dip it with cherry tomatoes or carrot sticks. Are sandwiches not cold enough? You could put the bread in the fridge and make a sandwich with all-natural turkey tomato and lettuce. Or make an egg salad, chicken salad, or tuna salad sandwich."
"You could make a bunch of hard boiled eggs and have them waiting cold in the fridge? Yogurt and cheese have good protein! Just keep them snacking all day! But with healthy, hydrating snacks! Fruit for sure! Maybe try some nice cold celery and peanut butter (ants on a log!)? In reality, do YOU really want to sit down to a big, hot meal when it's hot out? The most stressful part is wanting to make sure they're full enough to sleep all night. But grazing all day should give them plenty of energy. What about hummus and peppers? Things like that?"
"Cold whole wheat pasta salad with veges, could add chicken?"
"I have found that my kids enjoyed eating things with toothpicks. Probably not the suggestion you were looking for but you may want to give it a try, with supervision. I was thinking veggie meatballs served cold or pinwheels."
"I go to Sahadis and Damascus on Atlantic Ave and pick out several premade salads and spinach pies and a selecfion usually gives us 2-4 meals over the course of a week or two. Fast to assemble for weeknights, healthy with lentils/garbanzos, spinach, some cheese and veggies. And makes for a nice plate with little piles of various things to give some variety to the meal. And a piece of pita to make some sandwiches too. Could add falafel (can sit in fridge easily). Lots of variety and combinations. And there are other stores that sell this, of course - need to eat around and find your faves (I prefer sahadi's lentil/rice dish - I won't pretend I can spell it mujadarrah?? - but Damascus has red cabbage salad my son adores)."
"Risotto and quinoa salad (add cheese, add hard boiled eggs) hold up really well cold. (And I know this because my 3 year old prefers all meals cold, even in the winter, so leftovers win!)"
"Cucumbers and pickles are big stomach-filling hits for him too. Also potato salad (add eggs?). Maybe try chia pudding too -- full of protein, and very filling, but it reads like a snack."
"Will your kiddos do smoothies that you make at home? If so, you can make them really nutrient and calorie dense with avocado, nut butters and yogurt while still tasting delicious thanks to frozen mangoes, pineapples and bananas. My 3 year old loves mint smoothies, which is a perfect vehicle for kale and spinach since she's expecting it to be great anyway. I put in a frozen banana, unsweetened hemp milk, raw greens, mint leaves, about 1/4 tsp peppermint extract and some ice and it's refreshing and yummy."
"We've also been putting yogurt in the freezer and making ice pops that way-I'm pretty lazy and just do it in an ice cube tray with a toothpick, but popsicle makers may be worth the investment for you."
"I love these "brownies" and keep them in the freezer. They're sweet and have chocolate, but also zucchini and nut butter, so not all bad and can be eaten straight out of the freezer. I've also been putting mini muffins in the freezer and my daughter is eating them still frozen. I use a lot of shredded carrots and zucchini in my muffins, but anything you like and feel is healthy for them is great."
"My daughter also loves frozen peas and frozen broccoli. Still frozen, right out of the freezer. Huh."
"Cold sesame noodles? Sneak some cucumber and scallion in there for fresh veg. Protein courtesy of peanut butter."
"Have you tried just serving cold food? My kiddo greatly prefers cold food over hot, so things like pasta get served after being chilled, or just not reheated."
"You could also try unique presentations like all food as kebabs or something. Mix cold fruit with sausage bits or similar."
"we are Italian and in the summer we eat delicious cold meals like: insalata di riso or insalata di pasta, fresh mozzarella caprese or with prosciutto lots of salads with tuna/cheese/olives/fresh pepper etc... You can look the recipes up, they are all super healthy and easy/quick to prep."