Round out any lunch—whether yours or the kids—with one of our top picks for lunch snacks. These ideas require minimal effort, can be added to a lunch at home or packed for on the go, and are a perfect way to add an extra dose of nutrition (and yumminess) to lunch.

lunch-snacks-on-countertop

Lunch Snacks

The easiest way to ensure the kids have enough to eat at lunch is to add on a snack or two to the main meal. This can be as simple as tucking in a piece of fruit or a veggie pouch, or adding a snack bar on the side. This helps to hit more food groups and can be a nice safety net if you aren’t sure if the kids will eat the main part of the lunch.

Below you’ll find 50 ideas for what you include with a lunch and each works at home or packed for daycare, preschool, or school.

Use this to help you come up with ideas for filling that lunch box and to limit the amount of minutes you spend staring into the fridge wondering what on earth to pack!

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pizza-muffin-in-lunchbox

Fruits

These are some of my go-to ideas for fruits for lunch.

  • Canned fruit in 100% juice
  • Freeze-dried fruit
  • Applesauce
  • Avocado, diced (or as guacamole)
  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Clementines (dice up as needed)
  • Melon, diced
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries

TIP: Check out my Master List of Fruits for Kids for all of my ideas.

mac-and-cheese-lunch

Vegetables

  • Bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • Carrots, shredded (1+ yr) or very, very thinly sliced (2+ yr)
  • Cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • Cherry tomatoes, quartered or halved lengthwise
  • Peas (frozen and warmed up)
  • Snap peas, sliced thinly if needed

And try these easy recipes:

Easy Roasted Carrot “Fries”
These baked carrot fries are a simple side to go with burgers or chicken and pair perfectly with ketchup.
Easy Roasted Carrot “Fries”
baked carrot fries
Healthy Sweet Potato Pudding (2 Ingredients!)
You can also use plain Greek yogurt and sweeten to taste with maple syrup.
Healthy Sweet Potato Pudding (2 Ingredients!)
healthy sweet potato pudding
Pizza Muffins (with Veggies!)
These work well to make ahead and warm up for an easy lunch or dinner. These taste best served warm.
Pizza Muffins (with Veggies!)
pizza-muffins-on-wire-rack-with-kids-hand
Easy Veggie Muffins
Serve up veggies in a kid-friendly form with these SO-good Veggie Muffins. They have broccoli, carrots, protein, and kid-approved flavor!
Easy Veggie Muffins
veggie muffins on gray towel

TIP: Find all of my best vegetables recipes here.

smoothie-lunch-on-gray-plate

Proteins

If the main part of the lunch isn’t high in protein, one of these ideas can be a nice add-on.

  • Drinkable yogurt
  • Beans (such as chickpeas or edamame)
  • Cheese stick or slice
  • Chicken, shredded
  • Cottage cheese
  • Eggs
  • Nut or seed butter (as a dip)
  • Snack bar (such as Larabar)
  • Turkey (low-sodium deli meat)

And try these simple recipes:

How to Cook Eggs (10 Kid-Friendly Ways)
This is meant to be a cheat sheet for the best basic ways to cook eggs. Refer back to the body of the post for links to making egg muffins.
How to Cook Eggs (10 Kid-Friendly Ways)
eggs for kids on plates on countertop.
No-Bake Energy Bites
With just 3 simple and nutritious ingredients, these No-Bake Energy Bites are super easy to make and eat. They store so well in the fridge for weeks and are a perfect snack to share with the kids (and eat yourself).
No-Bake Energy Bites
no-bake-energy-bites-in-container-with-hands
Easy Fruit-on-the-Bottom Yogurt
Learn how to make the best fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt with all kinds of fruit flavors—and with less sugar and for less money than buying it at the store. Scale this up or down according to how many servings you're planning to make. The directions here are for one small toddler-size serving.
Easy Fruit-on-the-Bottom Yogurt
fruit-on-the-bottom-yogurt-in-containers
Favorite Healthy Toddler Smoothie (with Veggies!)
Learn to customize yummy smoothies for your toddler by starting with one simple recipe, then adjusting based on which fruit and veggies you'd like to use.
Favorite Healthy Toddler Smoothie (with Veggies!)
toddler-smoothies-in-mason-jars

TIP: Learn more about kids and protein.

uncrustable-lunch-on-blue-plate

Carbohydrates

Whole grains and carbs are a helpful way to ensure we’re full enough after a meal. Here are some easy options to include in a lunch.

  • Animal crackers
  • Cereal bars
  • Cereal (dry)
  • Cheese crackers
  • Granola bars
  • Muffins
  • Puffs
  • Snap Pea Crisps
  • Toast
  • Whole grain crackers

And try these simple recipes:

Easiest Animal Crackers Recipe
If you use larger cookie cutters, you may need to bake on the longer end of the baking time—and mini cookie cutters on the shorter end. This makes a relatively small batch, so double it if you want extras to last all week!
Easiest Animal Crackers Recipe
mini-animal-crackers-on-wire-rack
3-Ingredient Cereal Bars
Made with just 3 pantry staples, these bars make an excellent kids snack. They hold their shape best when stored in the fridge and served cold.
3-Ingredient Cereal Bars
cereal-bars-sliced-on-counter
Easy Homemade Granola Bars
We like to have these granola bars as a snack or toddler breakfast with milk or a smoothie—and they're an excellent lunch box component too. You can make them plain or choose a flavor to add!
Easy Homemade Granola Bars
stack-of-homemade-granola-bars
Healthy Chocolate Chip Muffins
Loaded with whole grains and protein, these healthy Chocolate Chip Muffins are a really great standard recipe to turn to whenever you're in the mood!
Healthy Chocolate Chip Muffins
chocolate-chip-muffins-on-white-plate
sandwich rolls in pink lunch box

Desserts

Add a dessert to the lunch with one of these yummy ideas.

  1. Chocolate chips
  2. Cookie
  3. Gummies (for kids over 3 who can easily chew them)
  4. Yogurt pretzels
  5. Fruit leather

And try these yummy recipes:

Favorite Applesauce Cookies (with Oats and Cinnamon)
These cookies are a little crispy around the edges right out of the oven, but soften as they are stored.
Favorite Applesauce Cookies (with Oats and Cinnamon)
applesauce-cookies-on-whit-eplate
Mini Banana Coconut Scones
These small scones are inspired by the Banana-Coconut Cookies in Flourless.
Mini Banana Coconut Scones
banana scones
Zucchini Cookies with Chocolate Chips
These healthy little soft-baked cookies are a yummy treat or snack to share. Rolling the shredded zucchini in a towel helps ensure that the excess moisture is absorbed—and doesn’t wind up in the batter.
Zucchini Cookies with Chocolate Chips
chocolate-chip-zucchini-cookies-on-plate
Healthy Oatmeal Cookies (with Apples and Carrots)
Make a batch of these healthy oatmeal cookies for dessert, snack time, or a special breakfast. You can make these half the size using 1-tablespoon batter for each cookie and reducing the baking time to about 16-18 minutes, or until the edges are lightly golden brown.
Healthy Oatmeal Cookies (with Apples and Carrots)
healthy oatmeal cookies on tray with hand.
So Good Chickpea Blondies
These blondies are packed with just-sweet-enough flavor and nutrition.They are delicious chilled right out of the fridge with a glass of cold milk.
So Good Chickpea Blondies
chickpea-blondies-on-unicorn-plate
Graham Crackers Peanut Butter Balls
These should chill for 30 minutes before serving to allow the oats to soften up a bit. (You can eat them immediately, they’ll just be a little chewy.)
Graham Crackers Peanut Butter Balls
graham-cracker-bites-in-white-paper-cups

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some healthy snacks for lunch?

Fruit, vegetables, simple proteins like cheese, yogurt, shredded chicken, and beans, carbohydrates including whole grain crackers, muffins, and bread, and any foods that fill in food groups that may not be in the main dish.

Can I replace lunch with snacks?

We love doing snack meals, where you essentially build lunch from an assortment of snacks. It’s super kid-friendly and is a great way to use ingredients you have on hand.

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Comment below with feedback and find all of my favorite store-bought snacks here.

This post was first published on June 15, 2021.

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