These lunch ideas for 1 year olds will give you inspiration the next time you want to pack a healthy toddler lunch at home or to pack for daycare or preschool. So whether your baby just turned one or you have a more experienced eater, need ideas for at home or to pack, these toddler lunch box ideas will help!
Lunch Ideas for 1 Year Olds
Coming up with toddler lunch ideas for 1 year olds is a challenge, to put it lightly! It’s so hard to know how hungry they’ll be, what food they’ll actually want to eat, how they’ll do with textures—and simply to come up with the ideas. To help, this list has easy ideas that you can serve at home or pack for daycare or preschool.
Food for 1 Year Old
One year olds are in a very specific phase of being able to eat more than they did as babies, but are still not able to chew everything that older toddlers and kids can. They are also notorious for having appetites that can range widely from day to day, so these ideas take both of those into accounts. The options here are easy to pack, but are also nutritious and filled with a range of textures and flavors.
Lunchbox Ideas for One Year Olds at Daycare
Any of these lunches can be packed to send to daycare or preschool. Or just to take on the go. I have a few lunchboxes and thermoses that I love, so see which might work best for you in your circumstances.
TIP: As always, adjust these toddler lunch ideas based on your one year old’s chewing ability, preferences, and allergies. Which is to say: Iff you see something that isn’t cut or prepared the way you know your toddler would need it to be cut or served, you of course have full permission to change it. I did my best here to visually show you suggested serving options, but you may need to adjust.
1. Easy Snack Box
I love muffin lunches since they allow me to make the main component ahead and then add in simple sides. This one has fresh blackberries, freeze-dried strawberries, O cereal, and Vegan Banana Muffins. (Not every lunch has to have every single food group…do your best with what you have!)
2. Pesto Pasta and Peas with Grapes and Fruit Leather
Having store bought pesto or homemade pesto on hand is an easy pasta sauce that’s flavorful and packed with nutrition—especially when paired with peas—but also kid friendly! Served with halved grapes and fruit leather, this is an easy and fun lunch.
3. Carrot Cake Muffins with Cottage Cheese
Muffins like my Carrot Cake Muffins are a great lunch option, as are Roasted Carrot Fries. We love both cold or slightly warm, so you have options when serving them at home or packed in a lunchbox. Pack a spoon for the cottage cheese if sending to daycare!
4. Easy Breakfast for Lunch
Pair Veggie Muffins with hard-cooked eggs and berries for a super easy and fully make-ahead kids lunch idea.
5. Chicken and Sweet Potato Bowls
This super simple idea pairs quickly cooked chicken with roasted sweet potatoes and zucchini for a super easy make-ahead lunch. I love this one since it’s easy to adjust for an adult’s lunch too!
6. Veggie Grilled Cheese, Corn and Applesauce
Adding spinach to grilled cheese is a simple way to increase nutrition in a kid staple. (Just use the filling from my Spinach Quesadillas spread on bread and prepare like any other grilled cheese.) Pair with warmed frozen corn and an applesauce pouch.
TIP: See below for the recipe!
7. Broccoli Pesto Pasta with Easy Sides
Incorporating broccoli right into the pasta sauce is a simple way to serve it up to one year olds. Try it with a fun pasta shape like stars and paired with simple sides like puffs, berries, and thawed frozen veggies.
8. Easy Finger Foods Lunch
Eggs, Roasted Butternut Squash, fruit and avocado is a super simple lunch idea. I often make the squash and eggs ahead and then warm very briefly to serve or pack. You can lightly rub a little lime or lemon juice on avocado to keep it from turning brown if packing in a lunch box.
9. Meatballs, Pasta and Fruit
My Chicken Meatballs with Sweet Potato are an easy make-ahead protein option that are super yummy and easy for one year olds to chew. Pair with pasta or a grain and fruit to round out the lunch.
10. Soft Roasted Chickpea Lunch
Pair Salty-Sweet Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas with diced cheese, kiwi, and crackers for a super simple finger foods lunch for a one year old.
11. Pizza Quesadillas
Make pizza for lunch a whole lot easier by starting with a tortilla. These are soft and easy to chew (use tortillas labeled “soft” for the best texture for little ones) and yummy—and boast a veggie punch from the pizza sauce.
12. Easy Hummus Lunch Box
I love using dips to help the kids get more interested in foods they may not love and this one year old lunch is a good example. Here, I paired hummus with bread strips, thinly sliced pepperoni, and sauteed green beans. Plus mini animal crackers and fruit.
13. Freezable PB&J
I never thought I’d find it necessary to make simple sandwiches ahead, but these freezable PB&Js are so handy to have on hand! They thaw in a lunchbox and just streamline packing. You can use sunflower seed butter if needed to make them allergy-free.
14. Zucchini Fritters and Tomatoes
These baked fritters are so good in the summer when there’s too much zucchini, or really any time of the year when you want a make-ahead lunch option with a veggie in the mix. I like to serve them diced with a dip like ranch, ketchup, salsa, or even bbq sauce.
15. Pesto Pizza
You can make this with store bought dough or homemade and it only requires two other ingredients. It’s a fun lunch to make at home or to send in a lunchbox. I like to cut it into strips or cubes to ensure it’s easy for a one year old to chew. Here I paired it with matchstick cut apples and sliced cucumbers.
Healthy Sides for Lunches
If you need some ideas for what to pack with a lunch, these healthy snack options from the store are super easy options.
Best Lunch Boxes for Kids
All of the lunchboxes shown here are in my guide to lunchboxes here.
If you have any questions about food for one year old’s or any of the lunches shown here, please comment below. I appreciate all feedback and hearing from you all—it always helps to make my content so much better!
15 Easy Lunch Ideas for 1 Year Olds
Spinach Grilled Cheese
- 2 cups baby spinach (loosely packed)
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 tablespoon cream cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 4 pieces whole grain bread
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Place the spinach, cheese, cream cheese, and cumin in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Spread a thin layer of the spinach mixture onto 2 of the slices of bread. (You may have leftovers.) Add the second bread slices on top to make a sandwich. Add a thin coat of butter to the outside of each sandwich.
- Warm a skillet over medium heat. When warm, cook each sandwich for 2-3 minutes per side or until warmed through and melty.
- Serve warm in slices or cubes.
- You can store any leftover spinach mixture in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days to make additional sandwiches.
- Easy Snack Box with mini muffins, diced fruit, freeze-dried fruit, and dry cereal
- Pesto pasta with peas, fruit, and fruit leather
- Carrot Cake Muffins, Roasted Carrots, cottage cheese, halved grapes
- Veggie Muffins, hard-cooked eggs, raspberries
- Chicken and Sweet Potato Bowl with diced pineapple
- Broccoli Pesto Pasta with puffs and fruit
- Finger food lunch of scrambled eggs, roasted squash, avocado, berries
- Pasta and peas with butter, Chicken Sweet Potato Meatballs, and clementine
- Soft Roasted Chickpeas, cheese, kiwi, cheddar bunny crackers
- Pizza Quesadilla with berries
- Hummus Lunch with hummus, bread, pepperoni, animal crackers, and fruit
- Make-Ahead PB&J
- Baked Zucchini Fritters and tomatoes
- Pesto Pizza with sliced cucumbers
Do you have to wilt the spinach first for the Spinach Grilled Cheese? The recipe above does not mention it but the linked recipe to the Spinach Quesadilla’s does.
You don’t have to, you can just grind it up!
I came upon your site while basically googling how to feed my 1-yr-old. I have an 11–yr-old with an eating disorder (ARFID) and he never strayed from 3 or 4 things at a year old and still can’t. Feeding a “normal” child is completely new to me. Thank you for all your information!!
You’re welcome and I’m glad you found it!
Thank you for your recipes. Baby #2 is finally one and I am struggling with ideas of what to feed her. This helped so much, thank you!
Thanks for your recipes ! just want to note that some of these foods are not safely cut for 1 year olds
Ex: grapes need to be quartered and fruit leather is a choking hazard.
There is a wide range of chewing abilities among one year olds (especially from 12 months to 24 months) so the best thing is to be responsive to your child. Some kids may be find with grapes halved lengthwise or fruit leather torn into small pieces, others might not. That goes for any age really. I try to offer ideas and use visuals that work for a range of ages. I do appreciate your feedback!
Any tips fir a parent who is still concerned with choking and is still cutting food very small?
Continuing to cut foods small for one year olds is fine, though as they get closer to two, it is a good idea to let them practice taking bites of bigger pieces—but you could do that at home and continue sending smaller pieces to daycare until your comfort level grows.
These ideas were very helpful for a dad quarantined with my 1 year old. Thank you!
I’m so glad they’re helpful!
I’ve been looking through the web and I keep coming across the same ten or so ideas for Easy Lunch Ideas for my 1 Year Old. I know it’s a bit of a cliche but I’m really not the type of person who likes to settle for second best and I know there are plenty more ideas out there. Thanks for sharing Amy
Any recipes that doesn’t require reheat ??
This should help! https://www.yummytoddlerfood.com/lunchbox-ideas/toddler-lunch-ideas-for-daycare/
Preparing lunchboxes may seem like a herculean task every morning. Try the innovative and healthy recipes shared in this article to make lunch time fun for your child.
Thank you! This is exactly the type of ideas I’ve been looking for.
I’m so glad it was helpful!