Ideas For Toddler Lunches

Trying to find ideas for toddler lunches? You are not alone. It is tiresome to come up with something that a toddler would actually eat. It is much more difficult to pack a quick school lunch box. For an adult, a lunch break can last as long as an hour, but kids typically have about 20 minutes to eat their lunch.

Of course, it may seem like a simple task, packing the right type of food can be a tedious process. My reality is this, I have two picky daughters who rarely try anything new.  Do not get me started on the little one’s obsession with ramen noodles, YES ramen noodles.

No doubt, it goes without saying that ramen noodles do not provide kids with the type of nutrients that they need. On the other hand,  as a mother, I sympathize with moms like me who have to come up with creative toddler lunch ideas for school. Think about it, a lot of things go into planning your kids’ school lunch box: creativity, taste, quantity, quality, nutritional value, and the list goes on and on.  

It’s confession time. I am that mom that gets on the internet 15 minutes before lunchtime to figure out how I can make a quick lunch. I scan through dozens of websites trying to find simple, yet nutritious meals that my picky ones will devour. This method has worked out for me many times in the past but Google has also failed me in so many ways as well. Many websites offer recipes for toddler lunches, but they do not provide ideas for toddler lunches.

 The truth is for school lunches, you really don’t have time to search the internet everyday so I came up with this how-to idea that will work for what you already have at home and help you plan ahead. I have tweaked and altered the content of my toddler’s lunch box along the way, and I hope to help you achieve the same.  I will tell you how I did it so you can adapt this simple technique to a perfected school lunch box.

Furthermore, to help you plan out your week,  here are some tips.

  • First and foremost, make school lunch box easy to unpack. Kids typically have very little time to eat at school, don’t let them spend half of it unpacking.
  • Consider variety and nutrition. It is important for your child’s growth.
  • Pack a  different lunch every day but don’t make it entirely different. You can make different types of sandwiches or alternate with something else during the week but don’t alter their lunch by packing pasta for two days in a row during a sandwich week.
  • Pack small quantities of 2-3 different snacks. This will reduce mess and help them save some for later if needed.
  • You know what your toddler likes. Makes a list of everything she eats ( items that can fit in a lunch box without any mess.)
  • Avoid Dry Food. Your toddler will find something like this hard to chew and swallow.

One important note, get a durable, leak-proof lunch box. I use OmieBox Bento Lunch Box.

Always keep nutritional value in mind. In fact, this will help you complete the daily requirement of the essential nutrients that your toddler needs. Bonus: You will consequently have something new to offer every day without much thinking.

Above all, planning should be your guiding principle. It will save you time and confusion later. As a matter of fact,  you can even make things simpler by giving your kids whatever they ask for so don’t have to think much, but keep them far away from those unhealthy school lunches.  Otherwise, you can try these ideas for toddler lunches as a starting point.

Monday: Make a salad sandwich. Pack some Fries and apple slices. Don’t Forget the orange juice.

Backup snack – Cheese Crackers

Tuesday: Make a veggie sandwich. Add your toddler’s favorite sauce. Pack some graham crackers and grape juice.

Backup snack – Apple

Wednesday: Take a break from sandwiches. Let her enjoy some noodles with some tasty chicken in Manchurian gravy. Pack her favorite crackers to snack on. Today, I want some apple juice mom.

Backup snack –  Baby Carrots

Thursday:  Get creative with a double-layered sandwich. Even so, add veggies on one layer and turkey breast on the other. Pack any fruit of choice and some mango juice to drink.

Backup snack –  Veggie Chips

Friday:  Let’s keep it simple today and pack a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Add some Cinnamon Apple Chips. Pack Baby Carrots and a juice of your choice.

Backup snack – Popcorn


Incidentally, we do not have all the time in the world to invest in thinking about lunch. Instead of planning a week ahead, why not plan the entire month. Also, stock up their favorite juices and snacks. Similarly, be prepared for those days when they get extra-picky.

Now that you have my ideas for toddler lunches, you can add to it or modify as you please. Maybe plan your own lunch too.

See my adult packed lunch ideas. Happy packing!