Try these healthy toddler lunch ideas when your little one needs a meal for preschool, daycare, or the sitter. They’re toddler meals that are easy to pack and that don’t need to be reheated since I know that not all places have that option!
Easy Toddler Lunches
Coming up with toddler lunch ideas is such a huge challenge for so many parents, myself included! These ideas will help you continue to come up with easy-to-pack toddler lunches that are also yummy and healthy. Each packed lunch can be enjoyed right out of a lunchbox, no reheating required, whether your toddler goes to daycare, preschool, or just needs a meal to take on the go.
Mix and match as you like for your little one, refer to my Master List of Healthy Snack Ideas for help rounding out meals, and you can include fresh veggies and fruit that your toddler usually likes as simple sides.
6 Tips for Packing Toddler Lunches Step-by-Step
Here are a few reminders to keep these in mind when assembling your child’s food for the day:
- Try not to send something that your kiddo has never seen in any form or tasted in any variation before. You want lunch to be fun, yummy, and familiar.
- Check any allergy or ingredient guidelines at your center or school to help keep everyone healthy. You may or may not be able to send nuts.
- Ask for feedback on how your child ate so you know what they are liking (and not liking…).
- Don’t worry too much if their appetite varies from one day to the next. This is totally normal.
- Add water and milk as needed and as preferred to these toddler lunch ideas and always serve specific foods in sizes that your toddler can handle.
- Round out meals easily with the best finger foods for toddlers.
Lunches and snacks above shown in Easy Lunchboxes.
15 Toddler Lunch Ideas for Daycare, Preschool, and On-the-Go
Here are some of my go-to lunch ideas for toddlers. Adjust the serving sizes and what you pack alongside to both offer nutritional variety and to account for whether your child needs their snacks packed too.
Toddler Lunch Idea #1: Hummus Sandwich
Spread hummus between slices of soft bread and cut into squares or small cubes, or place into a container and serve with whole grain crackers or sliced soft veggies like cucumbers or steamed carrots. We like Carrot Hummus and Creamy (Nut-Free) Hummus.
Toddler Lunch Idea #2: Egg Snack Box
Slice or cube hard-boiled eggs and serve along side whole grain pita wedges as deconstructed sandwich or crackers. Include a fruit, a veggie, and perhaps a little treat in the mix too. Healthy treats could be fruit leather, a few pieces of a favorite dried fruit, or your kiddo’s favorite snack. (Some toddlers take a while to learn to like the texture of hard cooked yolks and that’s okay—just send the whites for now.)
Toddler Lunch Idea #3: Spinach and Cheese Pizza Rolls
Include some fruit, a simple dessert, and/or some cubed meat or beans to round out this easy pizza-inspired lunch. (You can pack it in a thermos—we LOVE this thermos—or cube it so it’s easy to eat chilled. These pizza rolls are soft on the inside, so they’re not too chewy even if chilled or at room temp. And change it up with pesto pizza rolls another week!
Toddler Lunch Idea #4: Toddler Taco Salad
Make a container with brown rice, black or pinto beans, diced veggies, cubed cheese, and some salsa (if your kiddo likes it) for a tot take on a taco salad. We really like pureed mild salsa stirred together with plain whole milk yogurt as a yummy dipping sauce for this sort of a meal.
Toddler Lunch Idea #5: Pesto Pasta Salad
Either using store-bought or homemade pesto (like this Spinach Pesto), toss with pasta, halved cherry tomatoes, diced cheese or chicken, and an easy veggie like thawed peas. Pair with fruit to round out the meal.
Toddler Lunch Idea #6: Egg and Cheese Mini Muffins
These easy to make egg muffins are good at room temperature or heated (and they work well to make-ahead). I love them since they have a veggie tucked right inside! Include whole grain crackers or pita bread, some fruit, and perhaps some beans or simple veggies along side.
Toddler Lunch Idea #7: Veggie Muffins
These Sweet Spinach Banana Muffins or Flourless Cocoa Muffins with protein and hidden veggies are a perfect lunch option. They’re a balanced meal all on their own and are easy to enhance with a side of yogurt or a cheese stick, a piece of fruit, and maybe a little cubed chicken, turkey, or ham.
Toddler Lunch Idea #8: Tortilla Roll Ups
Spread Sunbutter or other favorite nut butter onto a soft flour or whole grain tortilla and top with a banana or whole-fruit jam. Roll up and slice. Add thawed edamame, puffs, clementine, or another favorite fruit and veggie alongside. Or, try spreading on cream cheese, add a piece of sliced turkey, and roll up into a simple wrap.
Lunches on the right shown in EcoLunch Box stainless steel containers.
Toddler Lunch Idea #9: Sandwich Bread Spirals
Roll soft whole grain sandwich bread flat and thin with a rolling pin. Spread on cream cheese and jelly, nut butter and jam, mashed sweet potato and nut butter, hummus, mashed beans and salsa, or herbed goat cheese. Slice and serve as spirals with simple sides to round things out.
Toddler Lunch Idea #10: Leftover Pancake or Waffle Sandwiches
The next time you have pancakes on the weekend, double the batch and place leftovers in the fridge or freezer. Spread nut butter (use Sunbutter if lunch needs to be allergy-free) or cream cheese and jam or honey between for a simple, but unexpected sandwich.
Toddler Lunch Idea #11: Soft-Roasted Cinnamon Chickpeas
Pair these flavorful beans with whole grain crackers, diced veggies, cheese, and a piece of fruit for a simple snack lunch. (Or pair with leftover rice, shredded chicken, and roasted veggies.) They’re a little salty, a little sweet, and are packed with easy-to-eat nutrition.
Toddler Lunch Idea #12: Yogurt Parfait
This is one of our favorite toddler lunch ideas, especially when it seems like we’re out of food! Layer berries, diced mango, or even roasted diced sweet potatoes with plain full fat yogurt and granola. Or, serve all ingredients side-by-side in a container. Serve with a favorite green veggie like diced cucumber or peas.
Toddler Lunch Idea #13: Overnight Oats with Yogurt and Berries
There’s no reason you can’t do breakfast for lunch—and you could spoon this yogurt and oat mixture into a reusable pouch if that’s easier for your toddler. Include sliced fresh veggies like halved cherry tomatoes, fresh snap peas, or shredded carrots or leftover roasted veggies, whole grain crackers, and/or some beans or shredded meat for added protein. (And this Applesauce Overnight Oats recipe can actually be stirred together in the morning and it will be soft enough by lunchtime—if you don’t think to do it the night before.)
Toddler Lunch Idea #14: Snack Box
Add cheese (slices, cubes, or string cheese); meat (cut up deli meat, leftover shredded chicken or beef); thawed frozen peas or corn, cherry tomatoes, shredded carrots; cut grapes, berries, melon, or another favorite fruit, to a lunchbox. Put in a few crackers or a favorite dry cereal and call it good with a simple, and toddler-pleasing snack lunch!
Toddler Lunch Idea #15: Creamy Quesadillas
Spread herbed or plain goat cheese onto soft flour tortillas. Or try spreading hummus or nut butter or cream cheese. Maybe smashed beans with shredded cheese. Or mashed roasted butternut squash or sweet potato. Slice into wedges for a quesadilla that’s great cold. Add dried cereal, a small granola bar, and some produce alongside to finish the meal.
For more easy toddler lunch ideas, check out my Yummy Toddler Lunches ebook.
Find my favorite lunch boxes for toddlers here.