An Uncomplicated Life Blog: School Lunch Ideas for Toddlers

Monday, July 25, 2016

School Lunch Ideas for Toddlers

If your toddler is headed off to preschool this fall, check out these school lunch ideas they'll love to eat!


It's surreal to be sitting down to write this post, as we're just about to wrap up our summer session of preschool. At the same time, that means the normal school year starts in a few weeks. Where did the summer go?! Anyway, I have a something to confess about this year's summer preschool session: I sent Henry with the exact same lunch. Everyday. It was pathetic! But I have a picky eater, and he's very distracted by eating with all the other kids to boot, so I reverted to his favorite (PB&J) every. single. day. Mother of the year award goes to yours truly, sorry other mamas. I promised myself I'd do better this fall, so I've rounded up some of the best school lunch ideas for toddlers.

This post rounds up 4 great, healthy lunch options to pack your child for preschool that he or she will actually eat - not just throw on the floor!

Yes, even my picky eater will eat these! And if it will pass Henry's test, your toddler (or even grade school aged kiddo) will definitely get down with them. It's real easy to search Pinterest and find things like, "grilled chicken and rice cups" and "zucchini sweet potato fritters" for toddler lunch ideas. First, who the hell has time to make that?! I work from home part time and aint nobody got that kinda time. Second, you think my picky toddler is going to eat a chicken and rice cup (and dip it in the sauce that went with the recipe) while he sits with his classmates?! Nope, he's not. But here's what he will do: He's going to throw the sauce because it looks suspect, and steal little Sally's PJ&J her mom made her.

The number of pins I saw with things on a stick was shocking too. Like, do moms really put their toddler's food on a weapon pointy skewer and send them off to preschool??! Do schools even allow that nonsense in the lunchroom? And don't get me started about all the food I saw cut into cutesy shapes with the help of cookie cutters. One post even boasted a sandwich in the shape of Hello Kitty, complete with whisker cutouts. Maybe I'm alone over here, but that's a little too Leave It To Beaver for this momma. Aint nobody got time fo dat! Especially when half of it will get eaten, a quarter of it will end up on Henry's shirt and where the rest goes is a damn mystery.

Long way of saying, I had to find simple lunch ideas that don't take too much time to prepare, and are basic enough for my toddler to manage eating them. Or, you know, about half of it. Specialty "fritters" are great to attempt on a weekend, but I'm not waking up early to fry my son some pureed veggies for his lunch! Nope, these needed to be make-the-night-before friendly, too.

Here are the best school lunch ideas for toddlers, round-up style:

Pizza Mini Quiches
Eggs are a big time favorite in this house. Momables came up with this great recipe, although I'd probably skip the pepperoni and go light on the veggies (or make sure they're super small... Or both). Henry goes to school at 9am and they eat lunch by 11am so I'm not worried about the eggs and cheese being "left out" too long, but if you are, pack them with ice.

Cracker sammies
Love Make and Takes spin on the classic sandwich! Whole wheat crackers are easy to find everywhere, and I'd probably put either cream cheese (like she did in her recipe) or peanut butter on both sides of the cracker so that it doesn't get soggy from the jam.

Yogurt-filled Raspberries
Raising Whasians had this listed as a tea party idea, but if you use Greek yogurt (higher in protein than regular) I think it could totally work for a lunch idea. Fill the raspberries with yogurt and freeze. Pack them frozen, which will keep the yogurt in the berries and less messy, but they'll be thawed for lunch. Especially great for lunches while the weather is still hot!

Protein Muffins
Momables to the rescue again! Now, Henry won't eat anything green or with chocolate, but he loves banana bread and blueberry muffins. It'd be easy enough to add a few scoops of vanilla protein powder to any of these recipes to make it a "protein muffin" and even easier to make a bulk batch, then freeze them. That way you can have a go-to lunch pre-made on days you're just too tired to think about packing a toddler school lunch.

Packing lunches is a pain in the rump. Especially when you have a picky eater like me. But I've promised myself to venture out into the "world of food beyond peanut butter and jelly sammies"! These school lunch ideas for toddlers are all easy to make, even the night ahead. Here's to the
2016-17 school year and getting Henry to eat outside of his comfort zone while at preschool!


  1. Toddlers definitely like to eat meals that are a little more interesting as well like the ones you highlighted. This is such a great roundup!

  2. I would totally eat these too! Love the mini quiches!

  3. Love this round up! I actually don't like sandwiches every day, so... I might steal some of these ideas for me. Haha

  4. I love this list!!! Even though G isn't going to preschool, it's good to have some new lunch ideas because we tend to have the same few things on rotation. Also sharing with my sister whose daughter is going to preschool and is a super picky eater.

  5. YUM. Some of these ideas will be great for my lunch too. Thanks!

  6. The yogurt filled raspberries are a cool idea! My kids would go crazy for that!

  7. Protein and veggie filled muffins are my jam. I used to make them all the time when she was little to sneak in veggies. And those cracker sammies are a great idea!
    We can't bring PB&J (or PB & honey in A's case) to school because there's a kid with a nut allergy.

  8. Those yogurt filled raspberries look AMAZING.

  9. I know this is for toddlers but I'd totally eat all these too lol! xo, Biana

  10. I don't have a toddler... but I'm totally making mini quiches for me and the mister (who is kind of like a grown up toddler?)

    love this list!
    Laura @